Come to visit in gowns and gloves
This time I choose not to play the hero and accept the wheelchair. As I’m rolled in, I don’t hide how miserable I am. Past experiences have taught me that looking as dire as I feel gets me faster attention than holding it all in and waiting like a good little girl. No, not if I’m at risk for my bowels perforating! I’ve been there before and nearly died. No way am I sitting back if that’s happening again.
A different GI doctor is on call now, and he makes all the difference. He orders me medicine and a CT scan immediately. Sipping on the contrast, I shiver under the blankets, cold and pain playing tug of war with my body. The doctor stays by my side for most of the night, pouring over my chart and talking to me about Crohn’s, asking me questions.
“You seem to know a lot about your disease. That’s good that you inform yourself.”
Why thank you for noticing! I want to say aloud…but my brain is shot and communication skills is the first thing to go in these cases. He talks to me about how they will find a cure, but it’s all mathematical, marking the microbiomes and figuring out the right calculations of bacteria needed to eliminate the autoimmune response. I’ve been reading up on the microbiomes and genetic marker research being done by CCFA, and I think I manage to mumble some conversational piece of my own. He sits by my side, no longer pouring over the chart, but looks worried for me. I realize later he didn’t have to spend so much time in my room…
Meanwhile my dad sleeps in the most awkward position in his chair-head bent and leaning against a steel medicine cabinet. He, too, won’t leave my side until the CT scan results are in.
His other uncomfortable position. And he still went to work the next morning…
Finally it’s time to wheel me away for the test, the movement inciting more pain, which of course starts my awkward shaking thing. The lady wheeling me keeps asking if I’m cold. How many people do I have to explain to that I’m just a freak and shake uncontrollably when in pain?
The tech is a pleasant guy, all smiles and jokes and questions. Why is he so perky at three am? That should be illegal. Still, his warmth is nice to be around. He compliments my wedding rings, because he has excellent taste, and talks to me about his wife. What he said about her I could not tell you, I just remember her being mentioned which put me at ease. You would be surprised how many times I’ve been hit on at the hospital. No joke. One time I was puking my guts out while being wheeled to radiology, and the guy asked me out on a date! I suppose that IS the highest of ego-boosts…but it’s really awkward to turn a man down whilst chucking up dinner.
I manage to sleep for a while until the results come in. NO PERFORATION! Yay! But the trauma to the area from the dilation is causing all my grief and the very concerned doctor wants to admit me for observation. I’m good with that, because I still can’t stand without feeling like collapsing.
Someone comes to wheel me away to the sixth floor, my old and dear friend. The lady is new and gets lost on her way to the elevators, slinging me around each time she turns to find her place. The constant turning makes my sensitive tummy full on nauseated, and I’m gonna hurl. For sure.
We make it to my room, puke free, but transferring to the new bed is the straw that erupts my stomach. Fortunately I’ve been gripping the same puke bag all night, so I emptied the contrast (what was left) in there. The nurse got me a new bag (thank God!) and some more nausea meds.
The rest of the morning blurs by, with nurses and techs and medical teams in and out, interrupting my sleep. I forgot how impossible it is to get any rest at the hospital. Through my exhausted haze, I register that the doctors want me to try eating, walking, and they want a stool sample to test for C Diff as a precaution. Joy.
My GI Dr. also stops by in the late morning, but at this point I’m so ragged I can barely hold a conversation. He relates that it’s difficult to know where the “line” is for someone when dilating. Would I have had a reaction if he had only gone to 15mm? Who knows? But in the long run this procedure will be beneficial. Of course as soon as he leaves the room it occurs to me to ask “well why didn’t you bloody do 15 instead of 18?!” Good ‘ol sleep deprivation let’s me come up with responses five minutes too late.
Nurses encourage me to eat, but I have no appetite. My mom brings the kids, and they have to dress up in gowns and gloves in case I have C Diff. Really? I feel dangerous, in a mischievous sort of way.
My dad makes it by before heading to work, and of course my best friend Sydney comes bearing books and amusing conversation I don’t have to donate to if I don’t wish. I order mashed potatoes, which come on a sad looking tray with a wilted leaf and an old tomato. Oh my.
So sad. Like why even try?
The doctors put me on oral pain meds, which work much better than IV, and I’m suddenly invigorated enough to walk. My mom and the kids are back, and along with Sydney we all take a stroll through the hallway.
Once everyone leaves, I manage to get some much needed sleep. At two am, I wake up to my husband and second oldest stepson walking in.
“What are you guys doing here?” I can’t believe it. I thought Mike had to work, and since it’s his new job I knew he wouldn’t want to rock the boat.
“I told work you’re in the hospital and came down. I brought TJ so he can drive you back up when you get out.”
Well that’s thoughtful. We snooze some more, until a nurse comes in to draw blood for testing. She pokes me with the needle, but misses the vein. Instead of taking it out, she moves it around, digging in my arm over and over until Mike gets that look on his face which means someone is getting chewed out for using his wife as a pin cushion. We’ve been here before. I sigh, hoping she gives up before my husband rips her head off. Actually, I’m hoping she gives up before I rip her head off because I’m sick of having a needle twisted into my arm. She takes it out, shaking her head and assuring me she won’t poke me again. Whew!
When the morning rounds stop by, I beg for some laxatives as I haven’t pooped in three days now (two? Who knows). So much for testing for C Diff. They order milk of magnesia, a gentle stool softner, and prepare discharge papers since I’m at least holding down food and walking around. The oral pain meds have really done the trick.
Just before discharge, I finally poop and feel so much better! Refusing to wait for a wheelchair, I walk on out with my family to head home. I have a long recovery ahead of me, after which I get to do this again in September. With a high probability that I will have this same reaction. Until the next time, Ashley Tower…