Sunday, August 01, 2010

July Adventures from HELL! (And spilling into August!)

I've been having some health issues for a couple of years now. After many office visits, much blood work, and several types of doctors, I've slowly been narrowing down on what the heck's been going on and trying to fix it.

D Vitamin deficiency, diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, high blood pressure, issues with Iron levels in my blood. The last was starting to make my regular doctor sweat as all my reserves were showing as being depleted. The OB/GYN said I had fibroids but they'd not grown enough to be considered a real issue but said it could be one of the reasons for the iron problem. I'd also learned in the last year that endometriosis, which I'd been diagnosed with 25 years ago and normally stays only in the uterus, could be spreading outside around the ovaries, intestines, and other places.

So after much research and dragging hubby with me to talk to my OB/GYN, we decided I would have a minimally invasive procedure called a LAVH (Lapp Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy). I also signed paperwork to allow her to remove the ovaries if, like I suspected, the endo was all over the place. (Ovary hormones feed it, for all intents and purposes, it's the reason why 25 years before the doc I had back then recommended pregnancy as a disruptive option.)

The doc works out of a fabulous, partially physician owned hospital called Baylor Medical Center at Frisco. (Food is FAB there! Though I didn't get to have much of it. Hubby did though!) So I went there expecting an overnight stay and then a couple of weeks recovery. Way better than the six weeks for a standard hysterectomy.

Hubby says I looked deadly pale after the first surgery. The doc had taken some pictures and shown the amount of nasty endo covering a lot of my stuff. So they ended up having to open me up across the abdomen to do the hysterectomy, take the ovaries, and clean out the endo scarring as much as possible. (Finally saw the pics this past week. It was a mess in there!)

By the second day I was looking tons better. All the nursing staff were great. First day I kept falling asleep, but I was pretty coherent and understood everything. John eagerly got me out of there once I was released and went straight to 7-11 for a Cola Slurpee as my reward.

After a couple of days home though, I started feeling a lot of pressure when I ate. Had a bad night and had to sleep propped up to get through it as I had a lot of acid. That Friday I was totally miserable. That Friday night I could not sleep and vomited a couple of times. After much discussion, John called the doc. When her partner called back she told John to take me to emergency.

We went back to Baylor Frisco since it was both close plus they had my info. They took me right in and actually used my info already in the system to cut past a lot of paperwork crap (we'd had a bad experience with hubby and his kidney stone when we had to go back to the first ER we'd gone to before in Carrollton. I was so mad when we had to refill all the paperwork AND they didn't keep records of prescribed meds when he'd only been there two days before! Sheesh!) Did not have that problem at Baylor Frisco.

A ton of kudos to Roma, the CT scan lady. She was totally sweet. And knowing I was having a lot of problems keeping things down, was way gentle with me after I had to drink the goop for the CT scan. I was just happy I was able to hold it in long enough to get scanned. The ER peeps gave me my second IV slot in a week (super nice peeps!). They were quickly running out of places to poke me for blood or IV's as many had been used just days before. Worse, my veins are never happy and give all a hard time. Oi!

CT scan showed I had a blockage in my intestines and a possible bowel valve problem. I was put on liquids, antibiotics, and meds then actually admitted to the hospital. (First time I was in 201. Second in 203. And got moved to 1st floor on the weekend when the wing was closed.) Freaked out Nurse Debrina as she'd been the nurse who'd wheeled me to the curve but a few days before. I further freaked Suja, one of the night nurses I'd had before, when she came on shift and I remembered her name. Kristie, Onsan, and Meiling were all awesome as well.

Because I was clogged and my stomach would process nothing and send it back up, they wanted to pump stuff out. This was the WORST part of the whole ordeal. I was awake as they inserted a tube up my nose and down my throat then turned a pump to slowly pull out the acid muck in my stomach. Awful awful awful! Had that sucker on for three days or more. The junk coming out looked super nasty. And it always felt like I had something scrapping the back of my throat. Do not recommend it if at all possible. Was really wishing they had the Batman knockout spray so I could have been unconscious for this! First catheter I was under anesthesia, the second one I was awake. No picnic there either, but way better than the tube! Bleah!!!!

When they wheeled me off for a 2nd CT scan, I made a comment when Roma put the needle into the IV slot that it hurt. I'm ever so glad I said something. It was hurting without her yet pushing the plunger for the iodine. (For CT scans you drink some nasty junk then you get injected with iodine so it shows a contrast.) She looked at my IV and realized the vein had taken too much punishment from the first iodine round. She had to go find people to find other places to poke me. Unfortunately, despite a couple of very painful attempts, they could not get the veins to cooperate. So I got sent back to the room so they could request that I get a PICC put in.

For a PICC, it's like having micro surgery. Kyle dressed up in scrubs, put a tarp over most of me, and super disinfected and anesthetized an area on my upper arm. A PICC is basically a semi-permanent IV port. They actually cut into you and put a small tube from there to your heart. (Had to have an X-Ray right after to make sure it was in the right place and far enough.) With this in place they could do the IV, take out blood, give me meds, and do the iodine without having to poke me again. (Came with several little insertion tubes for different things.)

Now that I could get injected with iodine, they did a second CT scan. The blockage was getting better but the bowel valve looked worse. My doc consulted with a GI doc and they eventually decided to go back inside. Yes, they reopened the same abdominal incision again and manhandled my innards. Weirdly enough, they didn't find anything wrong. So they put me back together again.

I was on the IV diet for several days. John, who was wonderful through all this, helped me get up and do the walking up and down the hall three times a day. Was real thankful for the catheter then because I only had to get up to walk and not for a zillion trips to the bathroom. Pain meds are your friend! (I was actually sorry to see the catheter go. Getting in and out of bed to use the pot was no picnic. I had machines and wires connected to me all over the place and they all had to be disconnected for me to go! Gack!)

So, after a full week there again, I got released. Doc first told me I could go back to work in probably two weeks maybe more. (My boss and hubby's boss have been so understanding! Cause this just went so totally FUBAR on me.) Once home, I found myself unable to eat as much as before and also started having a few other problems. Most we found were due to the hydrocodone. The good pain pills are made with narcotics. Narcotics tend to have a side effect of giving the user constipation. So I was clogging up again. (I'd not taken all the meds as regularly at the hospital as I tried to do at home, so the problem did not show there. DOH!) So we switched tactics and did hydrocodone at night and Tylennol during the day and my body seemed to reach a balance. (The Tylennol though is nowhere near as good a pain pill! Waahhh)

Things are finally looking good. I'm getting better. Moving around, swelling getting less, got the doc convinced to let me call her on 8/5 to see if I could go back part time at least to work. Then I hit 8/2: Clear seepage coming from the abdominal cut area. Use hydro peroxide, it seems to get better. Two days later the seepage is blood. Call the doc. Get to go see the RN Nurse at the doc's office. She takes one look and immediately goes to get the doc. I've got some kind of infection doing its thing on the top skin. Back on more antibiotics. Blood pressure is sky rocketing too. Got a nickname at the doctor's office during this visit from the doc - Trouble. Nurse actually used it! Definitely not looking like I will be going back to work next week. :(

There have been a few good things. I had my iPhone with me and I used it to death. Awesome way to let the family and friends know how I was doing while I was at the hospital. (Phone calls were a pain as both arms hurt and certain positions were death.) I was so very very happy I'd gone out and gotten the thing. One of these days I will finish reading the manual and use it better. Another good thing was getting to watch NCIS. Had seen commercials, once even watched and episode and had liked it. Mark Harmon was a heart throb of mine from way back. Also recognized one of the other principals from Dark Angel. So with USA's day runs, I've seen many now. The last good bit was discovering Disney's Phineas and Ferb (will do a post on them later). Hubby and I are totally addicted. Way fun.

Hoping things are looking good when I go in tomorrow! No more bad news please!!!! Doc keeps saying once I'm past all this I will be dancing on the street with no more periods. We shall see! Bwahahahahahaha!
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