Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hospital Living: Part 2

By the time I was admitted and had a room at the hospital on Thursday, I realized that I hadn't eaten all day other than two pieces of toast, and that had been breakfast.

I'm entertained by this hospital because they call the food service "Room Service." When you get your bed, they give you a menu (unless you're on a special diet, in which case the doctors and nurses decide what you should be eating). I'm on a general diet, meaning I have no restrictions so I can eat whatever I want, and whenever I want. However! Don't try to call in your dinner order after 6:30 PM, because that's when room service stops taking orders.

Of course, I'm just starting to get settled in my room (a private room with a horrible view but decent TV), and the nurse points out that it's almost 6:30, so I should order my tray (they don't refer to it as a meal or food - aways as "your tray"). Quickly glancing at the menu, I select the lemon baked cod and small garden salad.

I wait for my food.

I'm starting to get hungry.

Suddenly my transport arrives. They want to do another ultrasound on my leg just to be sure there are no clots.

My nurse says they'll leave my tray, and it should be waiting for me when I return.

So, I mentioned a transport up there. After being admitted to the hospital, I haven't had to walk anywhere - beyond the bathroom, that is. They always bring a wheelchair. It is a good thing because I don't think I could have walked all the way to the ultrasound and back. But I didn't even have to walk to my room in the first place. A kid (who looked way too young to have a job at a hospital and way too scrawny to push around someone my size) brought a wheelchair and brought me to my room.

Anyway, back to the ultrasound. Under normal circumstances, they probably wouldn't hurt anyone. But with my swollen and burning leg, the procedure is awful. It hurts to have anything touch my leg at any given time. For the ultrasound, they need to touch my leg. Youchies.

When I got back, my tray had arrived. I sit on the edge of the bed and have at it.

It's not the best fish, but I really wanted to eat, so I lifted the cover and was a little surprised at what I saw. It was a standard dinner plate, with a small piece of fish on it, next to a garnish of something green and a cherry tomato. That small side salad was truly a small side salad was truly that - small, sad little bowl with about 3 pieces of iceberg lettuce, a cucumber and another cherry tomato.

Hmm. Portion control is going to be a piece of cake.

Good thing I wasn't overly starving. I may have had nothing to eat all day, but this amount of food seemed perfect in context.

I ate a couple bites of fish, and it was good. But the next thing I knew a guy was there to drain half the blood from my body. He was nice, but I should have asked him what it was all for. He had to take samples from both arms. It took him a while of staring and prodding at my arms before deciding which one to poke - his personal philosophy as a lab tech was to poke people as few times as necessary, which he did for me.

Then I got to finish my dinner.

And now I'm done with this post because I'm getting loopy from the drugs and should probably take a nap. Once again, not proofreading. My apologies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hospital Living: Part 1

I know I'm not going to have time to write this all in one blog post. Not going to happen. So I'll start when everything began: Tuesday.

I woke up in the morning very cold. Shivering, hypothermia type of cold. Tooth-clattering, hands-shaking, painful cold. And I was a little dizzy.

Thinking about getting warm as fast as possible, I figured a nice hot shower was my best option. Showering is tough when you're violently shaking, but I made it through somehow. Just out of curiosity, I checked the thermostat to see if the heat had gotten turned off overnight. It hadn't, and it was the same temp it always was in the house.

The next thing I thought of was that I must have a fever. 98.3. Not high. Higher than average for me (I usually run a cool 97.7), but not a fever. I went to work.

I was still dizzy. Halfway down the street I thought I should turn around. I was a little nauseated because I had taken my vitamin on an empty stomach that morning. But I thought that would pass and everything would be fine once I got to work.

All was not well. If anything, I felt worse when I got to work. I sent out a plea for someone to come pick me up and take me home so that I didn't have to bus home and do all that walking - I was still really dizzy.

Turns out it was a good thing I went home. My stop-mom picked me up and dropped me off at home on her way to work. It means so much to me that she did that for me. So much. When I took my temp again, it was over 102. One giant nap later, 103.3.

I take some ibuprofen for the fever and commence freaking out. It was somewhere around here that I was starting to realize how much my leg was starting to hurt. The back and side felt like they were burning, and they were red and hot to the touch.

So I did what any thirty-something would do in this day and age: the Almighty Google.

Pain, redness, hot to the touch? All symptoms of a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis. As in: can kill you if you don't take care of it fast.

The freak-out is instantly amped up. I made a post on Facebook, seeing if someone could take me to urgent care.

A friend jumped to the rescue. She and I were friends way back in elementary school but had gradually drifted apart over the years (as happens to most friendships from elementary school). She took me to the clinic I wanted to go to (the same clinic where I see my primary care doc). There was no wait at urgent care (note: this never happens).

The doc there identifies the problem in my leg almost immediately. He's 98% sure once I tell him about my fever.


No, it is not anything related to cellulite.

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the subcutaneous tissue or other deep tissue of the body, most commonly happening in the legs, hands, and face.

But, he wasn't 100% sure there wasn't a clot, so he scheduled an ultrasound on my leg to check for clots later that evening.

My step-mom to the rescue again! She took me to the hospital (because that's where you get ultrasounds).

Ok, changing to a faster method here. I'm starting to fall asleep thanks to the drugs.

The ultrasound was negative, so I started taking antibiotics for the cellulitis.

It didn't help. In fact, it started getting worse. A lot worse. By Thursday, I still had a temp over 100, the redness and swelling had spread to the entire lower leg. The pain was unbearable.

Call to the doctor's office and they told me I should come in to see my primary care doc. I did, and he said that the best option, since the infection had obviously gotten worse after 24 hours of antibiotics, was to be admitted to the hospital for a few days and receive IV antibiotics.

The hospital. Admitted. Inpatient. IV.

Yes, this is happening. And I couldn't even go home to get stuff. They made me go straight there to start treatment right away.

And that's where I have to stop for the night. It's bedtime for this sicko.

Monday, May 2, 2011

So Much to Say

Yesterday morning, I wanted to write a blog post, but couldn't find the words. Now I have too many.

I'm working on a post about same-sex marriage and the controversy surrounding it in Minnesota right now. That's going to have to wait. I want to be able to devote my full attention to it, and right now my mind is on other things.

I wanted to write a post about my 5k on Saturday, and how much it meant to me to have so many friends come out to support me and walk with me. Again, there are other things on my mind right now.

Last night, I watched Game of Thrones on HBO, then started getting ready for bed. Shortly before turning in for the night, I remembered I had wanted to post to Twitter about how much I'm enjoying Game of Thrones so far, so I did that. That's when I started seeing posts about a special announcement that the president was going to make. Rumors were flying that it was something about Osama Bin Laden. I saw the tweet from the White House with a link to the live feed of the president's speech.

[Side note: in looking for that link to post up there about Game of Thrones, I happened to discover that I can access the new "HBO GO" service. Seems incredibly awesome, and it's extremely distracting. If you're an HBO subscriber, check it out. You have access to every episode of every HBO show. Holy buckets. Must get back to blog post, but it's so pretty...]

I turned on the TV. For some reason CNN wasn't working. I turned to NBC while also watching the feed from the White House on my computer.

Twitter was going nuts. Everyone was waiting up to see what Obama was going to say.

Finally, more than an hour after the White House said he'd be speaking, Obama was talking, telling us that Osama Bin Laden is dead.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I mean, my initial reaction was surprise. And I'm not sorry that he's dead. But I don't seem to feel the joy that so many others have felt. I didn't jump up and down. I watched because I knew it was going to be historic. Remember the date, folks. 5/1/11. They're going to talk about that in history classes. Your kids will ask you about it when they're teenagers and discussing it at school.

However, countless people have died. This cannot be ignored. The death of one man doesn't end this, and it doesn't change the fact that so many had to suffer through the loss of their loved ones.

Partially because I'm distracted, and partially because I think it's appropriate, I'm going to share the quotation attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. that's going around Facebook today. I have no idea if he actually said this, but I would believe it of him. I'm seeing a few different versions in my Facebook feed, so I'm choosing the one that I like the most. I tried to find out if it came from a speech, but only found part of it. But I still think it's a fitting sentiment for today.

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."