The hospital fiasco
No, I’m not dead – but only by the hair on my chinny-chin chin.
I did OK after the chemo for about three days. Then, on Thursday things started to go downhill and by Friday I was too sick to write an update. Both of my body’s “evacuation centers” were on full duty. By the next Tuesday, I was dehydrated, in a full-blown diverticulitis attack, and running a high fever. My oncologist said to get to the hospital immediately.
The pain was so intense that I said, “Pain level of 10,” which I’ve never said in my life prior. They asked if I had thought of killing myself, and I said yes, every day for four days; I hoped I would have a heart attack and just die.
This hospital stay was 8 days. During that time, my life was truly hanging by a thread a few times. Despite having nearly constant IVs of antibiotics, every day the doctors had a new challenge. They did get the nausea under control by the third day. However, the other situation, according to my infectious disease doctor, will have to be handled naturally because Imodium holds bacteria in the gut -- the worst thing you can do with an infection. I was given IV antibiotics and now I'm being treated with Cipro at home.
My kidney function was reduced to 20%, and if it fell one more degree, they were talking dialysis. I was completely bed bound the entire time with a commode a step away for obvious reasons. They gave me a blood transfusion because my platelets were nearly zero and my hemoglobin was too low. I had almost no white blood cells at all, so I was getting shots in my stomach for that. They would say that I maybe could leave the next day, and then they would come in and say they had found something else. It was quite defeating. They sent in PT to prove to me that I couldn't walk before I left. My legs had “deconditioned.” So now I have to use a Walker until I can build my right leg back up.
In other words, I was left an invalid. I became afraid they were going to send me home in a hearse.
I just got home this Wednesday, and all I could do was sit in a chair and watch TV because my breathing has been affected. I had no energy at all. Yesterday was great because my high school best friend Nita Gardner came to see me. Also, we sat down with my oncologist and my chemo is to be suspended for a week (because I’m on CIPRO, thank God) so I have an extra week to recoup before the 16th. My most hated drug is being dropped and they will add a supplement to bring up my white blood cells. I also had a 45-minute computer driven lung function test (results not yet posted in my chart.)
I now have a home health nurse weekly and home PT to help me get my strength up. I have a nephrologist I have to see regularly to make sure my kidney function is still 20 or above, and also continuing appointments with infectious disease.
I don’t want to drag out this blog, so I will be posting more in future blogs: my most embarrassing moment (and I know it tops whatever you can imagine), a miracle experience, how faces began to change (and why I needed a head CAT scan), the best phone call, and yeah, a little advocacy with the food service that changed at least 2 hospital-wide practices. (I think they were glad to see me go.) And more, in short blog form.
Thanks so much for being a part of the positive energy that saved me, and no, I’m no longer suicidal. The cancer warrior is back full-strength even if the body hasn’t caught up yet.