21 April 2011

Reports of my death are greatly exagerated

As promised, the following is my account of last Monday's events.

Somehow, around dinner time, I made it upstairs to bed. My stomach had decided to join in the pain party, leaving me curled up in bed. After a few hours, Matt came upstairs to check on me. By then I had to pee quite badly, so he helped me into the bathroom. Unfortunately, try as I might, I was physically unable to pee. Not good. On top of that, I was sweating profusely and my skin was cold to the touch. Cold enough that Matt noticed it as soon as he touched my arm.

My mom was beckoned to survey the situation and immediately agreed with Matt that the doctor should be called. After explaining the situation, the doctor on call declared that it was time for me to go back to the emergency room! The doctor called ahead to let the hospital know I was coming.

I was half dragged half carried to the car for what I can only describe as the worst drive in my entire life. Every time the car went over a bump I thought I was going to die. Thankfully, I survived long enough to be pushed into the hospital in a non-ergonomic wheel chair.

Soon after arrival I found myself in a private room with a bathroom. Since I still had to pee quite badly, my mom helped me into the bathroom. This time I was successful, but it didn't alleviate my stomach pain.

The triage nurse came in to visit and take my temperature. It was a boiling 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Considering that your temperature rises throughout the day, this was even worse than it sounds.

I waited for the doctor while curled up on the bed. Sadly, the doctor needed me to lie flat on my back and poke my stomach for part of the exam. I managed to force myself flat by reminding myself that it would enable the doctor to give me pain medicine. Then I had to hold my arm perfectly still while the nurse took a super extra sterile gallon of blood for blood cultures. Since I still had some blood left, he filled four or five more vials for regular sterile blood tests. Afterwards, he hooked me up to a saline IV and gave me an injection of dilaudid, a narcotic related to morphine.

On a side note, the nurse who gave me the IV recognized me from my visit on Thursday. I was too out of it to remember much of anything that happened during that visit, much less the specific nurse.

I started feeling better in just a few minutes, but it was ruined by the doctor wanting me to have a CAT scan. CAT scans work best if the victim drinks a liter of the foulest tasting oral contrast. I successfully drank two sips before refusing to even try any more. The doctor approved of my dismay. Now the only thing preventing me from being scanned was the urine test.

Due to hospital policy, all females are required to have a urine pregnancy test before being exposed to radiation. Also, they wanted to do some other urine tests. Well, fine then. Except I just finally peed. But they just gave me a liter of IV fluids.

Well, my lower parts decided to return to uselessness. The result? I got probed by a catheter! I can honestly say that I did not enjoy that experience.

I barely remember the CAT scan or what happened afterwards as I drifted in an out of sleep from the happy drugs. I do remember, however, that the doctor declared me to have a lower innards infection. The nurse hooked me up to IV antibiotics while the doctor offered to admit me for observation. I desperately wanted to go home, to which the doctor agreed, provided someone kept an eye on me for the return of symptoms.

The doctor prescribed vicodin for the pain and giant horsepills for the infection. Apparently the infection was bad enough that even after the IV antibiotics, I still needed four pills a day for seven days. At least I got to go home.

Once home, I returned to my comatose state on the couch, where I stayed through Thursday. On Thursday, Matt spoke with Dr. Oncologist about my lack of improvement. She declared that I needed to be convinced to eat something, anything. Perhaps some medical marijuana would help?

That evening I forced two tacos down my throat. I can't really describe the amount of effort it took just to eat, or overcome the nausea for long enough to not choke. But I succeeded!

Friday I finally started feeling better. My stomach was no longer trying to kill me, the bone pain was no longer severe, and I had a bit of energy from the two tacos. I was even slightly mobile! I was able to eat a bit more, which gave me more strength. While there was no miraculous salvation available, it was the start of an upward trend towards rejoining humanity.

As the weekend progressed, I got kept eating and kept getting better. I even managed to get out of the house long enough to have dinner at a restaurant on Sunday night.

Today is Thursday, and I'm still not completely back to normal. I'm a bit shaky and I often feel week. But I am back at work, which is a vast improvement over stuck at home.

Only seven days left until round two. Needless to say, I am NOT looking forward to it.


photonsrain said...

Holy smoke. I'm glad the horsepills helped and that you're eating. Keep consuming food---it's giving your body that extra boost to help the chemo do its job and make you less susceptible to stupid infections and random pains.

dreamerj25 said...

Keep trying to eat and providing your body with nutrients so you have energy to enjoy the days you can, and preparing your body for the upcoming round of battle. Can't kick cancer's butt if other things are kicking yours in the meantime. Show them all who's boss!