I’ve been thinking about the surgery I had when I had the hospital acquired MRSA. I must have been admitted a good 20 times to my local hospital for IV antibiotics, only to have the infection return within days of stopping them.
Finally it was decided to transfer me to a larger hospital with an infectious disease specialist. She ordered a picc line, had a consult with the surgeon and sent me home doing IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. Sure enough once the IV drugs were stopped, the infection came back and this time it was the worst that is has ever been. Instead of Rudy taking me to our local hospital, we went straight to the bigger one where I was promptly admitted. Around 9pm the surgeon came by with a couple pieces of Godiva chocolate. He asked if I liked them, which I did, I devoured them. When I was done with the last piece he said he was glad I enjoyed them because I was npo from that moment on, he had me scheduled in the OR for first thing in the morning. He said he wasn’t going to cut that deep, only needed to get rid of the bad tissue and he was going to leave it open to heal from the inside out. It didn’t sound too bad the way he put it. When I was in preop, I suggested a local instead of general anesthesia and he said the last thing he needed was me telling him how to operate while he was operating. I don’t know how he knew me so well.
I now know I should have never watched “Braveheart” the night of my surgery. You know that scene at the end where Mel Gibson gets disemboweled ? Well that’s how I looked. When they brought me down for hydrotherapy I noticed a poloraid camera on the shelf and I asked someone to take a picture of my incisions. Well when I saw what the doctor did, I went into a full blown panic attack, the like of which I’ve ever seen or felt before. In fact they had to give me an injection of valium just to calm me down. People die from the kind of wounds I had. and I gave consent to this one. In the end, the surgeon was right and it was the last time I had an infection of my surgical site, though it took almost 2 years for it to completely heal.
Check this out, I find myself in the ER Wed. afternoon, my 2nd night in a row. I bet now that Doctor on Tues., wishes he would have just admitted me. I was throwing up for the 2nd day in a row and to say that getting IV access or a blood draw was going to pose a challenge would be a clear understatement.
What I can only hope is the varsity team comes in 3 sticks and nothing but a blown skinny-ass vein to show for her efforts. 3 sticks for the next person and the lab tech made a valiant effort getting a blood draw, but he too came up empty. Now the doctor was in there ordering phenergan and dilaudid as soon as they get a line in and the next 6 tries were made on my feet. Even with “juicy” looking veins there, it wasn’t going to happen.
If you’re keeping count we’re up to 15 sticks so far. The next nurse wasn’t messing around. She assessed the situation, quickly put me in trendellenburg position grabbed a 18 gauge catheter and proceeded to get jugular access. Wow did that hurt! I swear the doctor was looking on this whole thing nervously and I remember her asking the nurse if she didn’t want to save that move for a last resort, and the nurse told her “We’re there.”
I was nervous as hell, wow. Without a doubt the most painful IV ever. Believe me the phenergan and dilaudid were well received. I might add deserved. I was glad it was over, impressed as hell with a new respect for this particular nurse. We actually do our patient satisfaction surveys on a laptop while we wait for our ER disposition and I was more than happy to point her out as someone in particular who had helped me out.
I was back in the hospital twice in February, first with a mrsa infection, followed by more vomiting and wrenching pain in my stomach. The surgeon came in after a ct scan and told me I had an incisional hernia that had to be repaired. I made sure he knew about the mrsa, and surgery was scheduled. For some reason I came out of anesthia mad at the world. I ripped off my blood pressure cuff and demanded to go home. It was completely unlike anything I’ve ever done, and it gave the the nickname “The angry redhead.” My friends still laugh about it. Either way I got to go home.
I’m really starting to hate hospitals at this point. I knew I was getting depressed as hell. I had the mindset that I was never going to be anything more than a patient and I hated it. One of my nurses went to the same church I went to and would introduce me to her family and friends as a “problem child” and a frequent flier. I hated that so much I eventually changed churches.
I thought I was healing pretty good until I woke up about 5 days later and the incision was so red and swollen I knew I was going to have to go back in. I went to the ER, was admitted and the surgeon was by to see me in the morning and scheduled the surgery for later that day. The mesh had to be removed and a drainage tube was put in and I was put on some heavy duty antibiotics. I did not get to go home after this surgery. Good thing because 2 days later the drainage tube lost it’s suction and I was going back into the OR. The drainage tube was taken out and the incision reopened to heal from the inside out again. I did get to go home then. Home health care was back to do packing and dressing changes daily for a week and I seemed to be doing well.
A few days after that I had to go see my family doctor because I was getting some foul drainage once again. As soon as he saw me he sent me back to the ER to get admitted for antibiotics. This was a new doctor that I had only seen maybe 3 times because I had just gotten insurance again, and for some reason I forgot to let him know that I had a port. The ER doctor remembered and suggested I could do IV antibiotics at home. It only took a day to arrange and I was so happy that I could stay home. Of course my refridgerater was stocked with so much vanco, that it looked like a pharmacy.
I was on so many meds that I was starting to feel like I was becoming my mother. My frozen shoulder was hurting me so bad, that I asked my ortho to put me on Celebrex and it really seemed to be making a difference. Little did I know that my whole world was about to come crashing down.
Pancreatitis, it would become a word I got very used to hearing. My type 1 diabetes put me at risk for it and oh boy did I get it. Of course there were still doctors and nurses that assured me it was my alcoholism, that I had to convince otherwise. Now I don’t drink at all, but before pancreatitis it was still a rare event. That’s really when I first started encountering cycnicism from some on the medical team.
It’s really impotant to me that I be listened to and not assumed I’m a liar. I could never figure out how they planned on helping me when on a very basic level I wasn’t believed.
I was vomiting constantly, losing more and more weight, and my veins were so bad that evertime I would go into the hospital, no matter the reason I would have to get a central line. My ct scans would show a psuedocyst on my pancreas, and I had a gallbladder scan. So now my gallbladder needed to come out. I did feel better for a short time after that, but sure enough about 6 weeks later I was back in the hospital with pancreatits. I also had an endoscopy done and had a port a cath put in. All of this without insurance. Everytime I got pancreatitis my blood sugars would go out of control. The same thing would happen when I got a mrsa infection. My sugars would spin so out of control I would end up in ICU with DKA. I would struggle so hard with testing and insulin and it felt like to no avail. It was a very frustrating time for me.
My pain was increasing, neuropathy was setting in. My stomach never not hurts, and soon enough I was about to experience some of my worst pain ever.