Monday, November 28, 2011

Surgery and Subsequent Illness

My surgery went well. Very well. I went in on Wednesday morning and I was released Saturday afternoon. Yes I was in pain and discomfort, but no more than I expected to be considering the nature of the surgery. Sleeping was going to be difficult but I was working it out.
My mom went back to work Monday and my sister and niece came over to work on my matted hair and keep me company. Tuesday my friend Steffie planned to come over. I was finally getting my appetite back and I asked her if she wanted to combine our efforts to make sandwiches. I had bacon and tomato, could she bring bread and lettuce? Sure. So she does, and she makes us some BLTs.

A few hours later, after Steffie had gone home, I am in chills but hot with fever. I am scolded by my family for overreacting and being dramatic and they use an old busted thermometer that doesn't read properly just to throw it in my face that I don't have a fever.

That night was horrible. I couldn't sleep. I was in and out of the washroom every hour. In the morning I was feeling awful, like I had the flu. All I wanted was ginger ale and crackers (which was brought to me by a loving family friend). I had been emailing my cardiac team about various ailments and once I spoke of my washroom issues they demanded I get to urgent care immediately.

I went that late afternoon to find out I had a temperature of 102.4

They gave me fluids and antibiotics via IV. I felt better but as soon as they were done I felt instantly shitty again and the fever returned. They wanted to send me to UCLA in an ambulance but because I don't own one of them money trees I declined and my mom drove me. I went to the ER and waited for an hour to be taken back.

The initial thought/fear was that something went wrong with the surgery OR I contracted a bacteria from merely being in the hospital. I was in the ER all Wednesday night, unable to find any comfort. This is also due to the loud, crass and obnoxious son of the man in the bed next to me who visited with his giggly trophy girlfriend until 3:00am, never once lowering their voices in respect for the person four feet away from them.
I was given a physical examine, a CT scan, blood tests, other fluid tests, etc. and finally admitted and taken up to a room by...oh, I think early afternoon Thursday.
I was given an ultrasound, x-rayed and had blood taken from me every morning at least.
Nothing.
They never found anything.

I was seen by OB/GYN staff, cardiac team, a gastrointestinal team, and an infectious diseases team. None of these people found anything, even when I realized that Steffie mentioned being sick too and we put 2 and 2 together with the lettuce and the timing of our mutual illness. She had similar symptoms (I don't know if she ever got a fever)

They broadened their search to include e.coli and listeria - maybe even hepatitis - but still nothing. They had me on antibiotics just as a precautionary but they really didn't know what they were fighting. They kept insisting it must be a virus that just needed to "run its course"
This never sat well with me.
I think they missed something or a test came up incorrectly negative.
Once I was able to break my nightly fevers I was able to go home - Tuesday the 22nd, five and a half days later.

Those were five miserable fucking days, my friends, let me tell you.

They sent me home simply because they had to admit they found nothing and could not treat me. So in their expensive degree wisdom they simply advised me to let this virus "run its course"

Yeah. It's still running its course, nearly one week later. No fevers but I've had some backlash from my heart in the form of sudden palpitations (my coumadin spiked very high at the beginning of this mystery illness and they released me with instructions not to take my coumadin. Bad move)

Truly, I do not feel out of the woods with this illness. I feel like I'm going to either be living with it for a very long time or until they wise up and look again. Which they may very well have to because if this illness doesn't "run its course" by the end of this week I will be going back (as an out patient most likely).

Surgery-wise, I feel stronger and less sore each day. I am sleeping a lot better and feel that I am healing very well.

I just wish this stupid virus/bacteria would go the fuck away.

how to visit someone recovery from surgery 101

NOTE: I wrote this very early upon my first return home, on my phone. It had an error I couldn't correct and I was unable to get to it before I wound up in the hospital again for another 6 days. I am publishing this post now, but keep in mind when it was originally intended to be published.

I am typing this from my bed at home, so cut me slack on errors that normally wouldn't occur. I have been home for about 36 hours and am already being asked by well-meaning friends when they can come and burden their presence on me, er, I mean graciously visit. I realize now there needs to be a list of things people need to be made aware of when visiting a friend (in this case, me) after surgery.

1) just because I am home does not mean I am well. I am well enough to be home, but not well enough to hang out like normal. I am still in pain.

2) don't ask me how I am feeling every 5 seconds. You know how I feel? Like I just had surgery! Save this question for a week or so out.

3) never just swing by unannounced. It's not fun for me.

4) please do not expect me to be a hostess during your visit. Plan to come by on the way to or from food unless we made plans to eat at my place together. Expect to serve yourself.

5) I tire easily. Keep your visit short or I may doze off on you!

6) I just went through a traumatic experience. If you don't want the gory details, be mindful not to ask.

7) at least in my case, anesthesia sticks around longer than I'd like it to. Crying over stupid shit isn't unheard of. Keep the conversation light and don't expect me to watch anything more dark than Care Bears or Pee-Wee.

8) I look as crappy as I feel. Be prepared and don't make comments.

9) don't take it personally if I am not ready to see you. Once I am comfortable receiving guests I will let you know (or make a general announcement)

10) although I'd never make you my nurse, you may have to help me out. Just be understanding and know I appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In less than twelve hours

In less than 12 hours my surgery will already be over.

I'm not going to say I'm not nervous because I'd be lying. I am.

I know I'm doing the right thing...for my health and on a socially-conscious front, too.

Keep me in your positive thoughts.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keeping an eye on the Pie

Thought I abandoned you, didn't you? Never, my love monkey's, never. Just when you think I've disappeared into the virtual ether, leaving you alone in the matrix of the grid, BAM! I pop back up like a bonus pinball.

Anyway. Less than a week left before my surgery and I bet you've been asking yourselves, "Wow, certainly Rachael has had so many missteps along the way, surely she would want to bitch about them on Offbeat Follies?"

Believe it or not, I've heard hide nor hair from anyone until yesterday. The ball has officially begun to roll and it's a pretty smooth, well communicated course. I have some labs to take care of either today or tomorrow (the only drama there being whether or not I have to hike it all of the way to UCLA to get it done) and I just got off the phone with a pleasant woman talking to me about anesthesia (probably the 2nd most source of anxiety when it comes to surgery as Me + Anesthesia = Hot Mess)

As we're coming down to the wire though I'm not afraid to share that I've been feeling a little...hesitant, shall we say? Not for any logical reason, oh, no, because these attacks of doubts are usually preceded by a visual assault of cute in the form of baby pictures from not one, not two but FIVE friends who have given birth in the last eight months. It takes all of my self-control to not post on their Wall and ask, "Tell me about how much labor hurt, how fat your ass grew, how much your infant looked like a squalling pile of alien goo and that you were swallowing the urge to scream KILL IT WITH FIRE!"

I need to hear these things sometimes.

It's very difficult to fight human nature and ones own biological urges to procreate. I think, once I'm through the other end of this situation and all is right with my world, I need to give a lecture "Telling your Biological Clock to STFU: Alternatives to having kids the biblical way."

Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Keeping my head on straight is going to be key this week, surrounding myself with people who will remind me that this is the best, most logical decision I've ever made and not letting my uterus dictate my actions. That selfish bitch.