Saturday, September 26, 2009

3 Days in the Hospital

Well if you are a regular reader you would know that last weekend I wrote about having a tough time with my illustrious colon. I was bemoaning the misfortune of having feeling like hell and having a disease that nobody wants to talk about, especially me!

The final chapter on last weekend was that I decided to continue on the steroids my gastroenterologist had prescribed me, and things will be looking up soon. That was last Sunday, by Tuesday I could barely get out of bed. I was in pain and had lost more blood than I was comfortable with. I personally called my gastroenterologist, and when I have time I will be shopping for a new one. All this time I had been in remission or had mild flare-ups but now that I was really sick, he was not helpful. He agreed that a trip to the E.R. might not be out of the question, but warned me I might lose my colon. I am not sure how he could tell that over the phone but it certainly didn't quell my anxiety.

I called my sitter Saint Sarah to come in early to get the kids dressed and to school and I insisted on showering. Erik drove me to the hospital and I won't lie I went straight to a bed instead of the waiting room and I was grateful for that perk. Erik gave the staff a quick update, kissed me and went to check on his patients. It's so embarassing talking about my symptoms that all 3 people were leaning towards me to hear what I had to say. I am not a quiet person, most people in my family don't own indoor voices. I just didn't want everyone to hear. And then I started to cry and then they took my blood pressure. 203/122! That spoke louder than words. I was in a lot of pain. The E.R. doctor was so nice and ordered some Ativan, "To step this crying down. ". He didn't say it in a rude way, it was helpful. I can't talk if I am crying and I couldn't stop crying because I was anxious, and the anxiety and pain was making my blood pressure go through the roof.

I was there less than an hour, and they decided who was taking over and that I was spending the night, and was scheduled a sigmoidoscopy for the next morning. Moms aren't supposed to go into the hospital.

San Ramon is a small town and Auntie M had seen Erik driving me to the hospital that morning so she called me on my cell and asked what's up. It was perfect because I could immediately begin to arrange child-care, and school transportation, and meals. When I got off the phone the nurse joked that I had been spotted by the paparazzi.

I was quickly whisked upstairs into a room and Auntie M came shortly after bearing trashy mags, a smile and a promise to keep the kids in line. After she left 2 nurses came back and started tossing stuff onto my bed and said we are moving you. "Why?", "Aren't you Dr. Gracer's wife?", "Yes". "Well we have a bigger room with a view for you.". "Oh that's really nice but that's not necessary I just need a toilet and a bed and a tv.". But they wheeled my groggy self to a bigger room, it was sweet but the view was wasted, because I immediately passed out.

They woke me for my clear liquid diet lunch and dinner and I ate it out of self-defense. Jello and popsicles should never be an entree. I was still in pain and the steroids make me weepy. It's embarrassing because my husband has to work there and they are going to think his wife is a crybaby. Thankfully my night shift nurse was a ray of sunshine. Super attentive without nagging or being clingy. I am partial to people who work the graveyard shift ,because I did that in an emergency psychiatric hospital, it takes a different kind of person.

The next morning was the sigmoidoscopy and they wheeled me down to that unit. I overheard my friend's voice so I called him over. One of our closest friends is a gastroenterologist and he is usually the one who would be doing this to a patient. I don't mind getting drunk and having a guy friend see me naked in a hot tub but a sigmoidoscopy is where I draw the line. He laughed and said he understood.

Now it was time for the procedure and they had me turn on my side. I warned them that I metabolize medications very quickly and have a habit of waking up during times I was supposed to be sedated. The nurse said, "OK ," Gave me the shot in my I.V. and then turned around to do paperwork. I bored holes in her back with my eyes. She turned around, and I smiled, she said, "Just give it a few more seconds.". I was feeling rainbows and unicorns but I was still awake, and there was no way in hell they were going to stick a garden hose up my ass while I was conscious. She turned around again to meet my buggy eyes and then turned to the physician, "Can I give her more?", "What!?". He was a little surprised to see my unblinking stare, but he must have said yes because that's the last I remember.

After the procedure there was a huge chunk of time that is not very coherent. I know that I was told some stuff, but then I had to ask over and over again because my short-term memory was a mess. After many people repeating to me many times I finally understood that I was grateful to not have an infection or polyps, and though they did take a biopsy they didn't think it was cancerous. But it did look like my colitis had spread significantly. I was weepy and tired and wanted my kids. My husband was tired too and very stressed out and everyone was just trying to hold it together.

My monkeys did come to visit and ate my popsicle, which was my entree, and some licorice the nurses gave them. They made a sticky mess and crawled all over me and asked lots of questions. And I was sad to see their smily faces go. The rest of that night I was still uncomfortable but I got another night shift nurse who was a rock star. All night long she kept trying to get me to lower my blood pressure. At one point I was on a pain med, benadryl and ativan and it was still 188/103. I was just laying there doing nothing! Finally she looked at me and said, "Is it me? Do I stress you out?". I cracked up and said, "You are the least of me worries!". She then said, "Well maybe I am just too hot.". I suggested she wipe off her sexy lip gloss and we can try again later. I believe bantering and a sense of humor is something that should be taught in nursing and medical school. This woman was so nice she stopped by in the afternoon to check on me on her OWN time.

When the doctor came by to visit me the next morning I told him the truth about how I was feeling and all it got me was another night in the hospital!!! What?! I was feeling better than on Tuesday so I thought for sure they would let me go. But he made a good point, "You are going to go home and start chasing your kids and end up back here on I.V. again. I need to get in as many steroids in I.V. form inside of you before you go back home.". He's right but this is just not practical. More crying. And Erik was supposed to be on-call that night at the hospital I am a patient at. I had to pull out the big guns and asked my mom to come please spend the night at my house.

By now my kids were showing by their behavior the stress of not having mommy at home. They weren't being very nice to their Nana and Grandma Wheeze and Mike was crying at school. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry. The only upside was that my MIL brought me some cute little scarecrow figurines to decorate for the holidays and my mom brought me some decent toiletries and panties (instead of the thong panties Erik brought me). And I was switched to a full liquid diet instead of clear liquid. Pureed soup tasted like a gourmet meal at this point.

Erik came by later with my laptop so I could order groceries online to be delivered, that made me feel a little more in control of my life. I told him to come back after tucking his patients into bed so he could give me a kiss. I tried to wait getting my pain meds until after he left but I couldn't wait. I have a fuzzy memory of somebody kissing me goodnight, I hope it was Erik and not the janitor.

Another Florence Nightingale got me through the night and in the morning I had one foot out the door. I told the doctor I was fabulous and was told to take it easy this weekend and eat a low-residue diet. Saint Sarah had to pick up the kids from school first and then I told her to just wait out for me out front so she wouldn't have to drag all 3 through the hospital. Well you know how hospitals insist on wheeling you out in a wheel chair? So here I am sitting waiting for a wheel chair and I can hear my kids over my cell screaming for mommy. Finally I flag down a nurse and tell her my ride is here. She asks if I can walk and I say hell yeah I can walk. We pass my volunteer in the hallway on the way to the elevator. A little old lady volunteer who practically needs the wheelchair as a walker. We told her it was ok, I can walk to my car, and the nurse and I laughed that maybe her volunteer duties should be stapling or giving out kleenexes instead of wheeling large adults around.

My kids were out of their little minds when they saw me. Mike and Bekah both unbuckled their seatbelts and lunged at me and Jake strained against his carseat and whined. I gave them lots of hugs and kisses and tried to get my bag from the nurse. She just stood there and said, "They are so happy to see you, oh it's so sad, they missed you. ". I thought she was going to cry. Oh jeez. So I just got in the van and buckled them back in and gave them hugs and kisses and then got my bag from the nurse and told her it was ok.

Wow coming home was not peaceful. The kids were hungry, whining and spinning out of control. The grocery guy showed up at the same time, to deliver the groceries and so did Erik with our new bookkeeper. It was total fucking chaos. I did not want to meet our new bookkeeper while dressed in pajamas and bruises from I.V.s on my arms and my kids in tears. She must think her new boss has the most dysfunctional family ever. The timing couldn't be worse.

We got the very nice grocery guy out the door even though I did want to talk to him about his daughter's wedding, she's a marine. I helped Erik seperate some personal and business files for our new bookeeper which she means she had to go in our home office in our messy bedroom. Then Saint Sarah and I tackled feeding the kids, cleaning the kitchen and putting the groceries away. I put Jake down for a nap and then sent Sarah to Target to pick up my meds while I did some more de-cluttering. But the hospital called the meds into Walgreen's instead of Target, sigh. So Sarah came back with the kids and made brownies with them and I went back to Target to straighten it out.

By this time my knees and ankles were starting to swell and I was really tired and irritable. But when I got home my dear friend Barb was here with her awesome monkey and everything was calm and quiet. Auntie M had come to pick up Bekah for some special girly time and Jake was napping. I was so grateful I teared up. This is more crying I have done in years, people who know me know I am not a crier. Another dear friend Danica brought dinner and we put the kids down for an early bed without a squawk.

This morning Erik came to the room and said, "Honey can you get up?", at first I was annoyed, thinking he should cut me some slack, but then he said, "It's 10:30a.m.". I was shocked I thought it was like 7 in the morning. I was so tired. I sent Erik back to bed and I got up to hang with the monkeys. I was feeling so much better and it's nice to be in my home. But I can really see the affect me being gone had on my young kids. When their Nana showed up today, my mother-in-law, the kids clung to me and were rude to her. Bekah ran into another room, Mike's rudeness was too much to ignore and he ended up on a time-out. I reassured them that Nana was just there to go to a birthday party with their Daddy and that I will be home the whole time. I am not going anywhere. Poor babies.

I just want to give a shout-out to all my friends and family that picked up the slack this week. Thank you for the orchid and the card, the magazines, tons of food, taking care of my kids and my husband, my laundry and just being here to listen. I really,really appreciate it and could not have done it without you.


Michael said...

That was a beautiful article, Charlotte.
You've gone through a lot, with style and grace.
It's good that you are explicit, people should be able to discuss human situations of whatever type without embarrassment.

Shavuah tov,

Charlotte said...

Thank you Michael. It took me all day yesterday to write it, I kept deleting it but then I just hope it makes somebody else feel better, or answers questions. I also wanted to say thank you to my friends.

brainella said...

Wow. I just want to say that I think you are very brave. To go through so much with a sense of humor, a thankful heart and love of family -- there aren't many who can do that. Feel good soon.

Unknown Mami said...

Charlotte I am so sorry to hear that your whole family had to go through such an ordeal. I'm sending you a hug and I hope you just keep getting better and stronger.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for the hugs. My kids are so clingy it's breaking my heart right now. When I drop them off at school they usually ditch me but they were hugging,kissing and clinging and I keep having to reassure them I am not going anywhere.
Thanks for listening.

drollgirl said...

oh charlotte. i am so sorry. and this post made me bawl my head off (i am an emotional wreck today, and this let the floodgates open!). i don't know how you handled this so well. you are a hell of a strong woman, and your kids and husband love you so much. i hope you are feeling better and stronger, and that you try to keep your stress level down. i wish i could help. hang in there.

Charlotte said...

Acccck,I hate bawling, I hate making people cry. I hope it was just a catalyst for something else and your day goes much more peacefully. I promise to get better and go back to be healthy, and funny. I only handled this because I have a ton of support. You hang in there too! I went to your blog a lot while on bedrest because you always make me laugh.