Friday, October 05, 2007

DOING TIME...... in the hospital

Let me start off by saying that I'm stealing this from my wife. She
took the time to write it and I think it's fantastic. I will try to
update it in *my* own words so there are two sides of the story. That
being said, it is a work in progress.

The following takes place between September 16th, 2007 &
September 26th, 2007. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Sunday September 16th I was experiencing severe neck pains. Roxanne attempted to massage them out and make me as comfortable as possible, but to no avail. We had already planned to make it to a wedding that day and I was to be the photographer. I did make it, however I almost didn't as my neck was really bothering me that day, early on as well as prior to the wedding. I really needed something on the drive over, so I requested one of her pain killers called Tramadol. She didn't think it was a good idea to give me prescription-strength medication not subscribed to me, but I practically begged her as I was really in a lot of pain. She finally gave in. About 15mins later, I felt like vomiting. I figured it was because I took this medication without eating, but she assured me that was not the case. I had also tried a new Starbuck's Frappucino Double Shot Light (low carbs) to down it with. Thinking that might have caused it, I was a little leary about drinking another one. Later the nauseousness died down, but not the neck pain. I still dealt with it as best I could, and made it through the entire wedding. On the way home from the wedding however, I again had that nauseous feeling. It had occurred to me that I drank another 3 of those Starbuck's things during the wedding, so that may have caused it. I stopped at my grandmother's house and expected to vomit, which I did not. I couldn't drive anymore, so I had Roxy do it the rest of the way home.

The next morning I was feeling much better. I didn't have any issues at all. Worked the entire day and that night all was fine. Tuesday morning I had no issues as well. In fact, Roxanne and I went and saw the movie "3:10 to Yuma".

Wednesday on the other hand was a completely different story. I woke up feeling like crap and to top it all off, I had a very high blood sugar of 438. I did still go to work at 10:00 AM, but everyone could tell I wasn't my usual jovial self, so they sent me home around noon. My wife came home about 2:15 PM with lunch. She also brought 'Diabetic Tussin' and 'Clariton'. She was concerned I was catching a cold as apparently it was going around. She also felt I would start coughing anytime, which I had not. She also gave me one of her 600mg Ibuprofens from a previous prescription. When she got home around 7:30 PM, we watched TV and ate dinner. Shortly after that, I started getting chills. It was so bad that I thought I was freezing. I turned off the fan in the living room and Rox turned the A/C up to 74 from 73. She gave me another Ibuprofen as it had been several hours. By this time we went to bed. I was so cold, that I put a sweat shirt on, donned a pair of sweat pants, as well as two pairs of socks, and a ski cap. I just could NOT get warm. Roughly about an hour later, I woke up with sweat pouring down my back and body. I actually took everything off besides my boxers and slept in front of the fan the rest of the night.

The next morning, I woke and was feeling a little bitter. Rox had me take a 'Clariton' and an 'Ibuprofen' before leaving. Around 4:00 PM I once again started getting really cold. The chills were back with a vengeance. My boss Moe was on vacation, so I took his jacket off his desk to keep warm. When I got home from work that evening, I immediately bundled up again per Roxanne. When she arrived she had me take another 'Ibuprofen', which again caused me to be very warm in about an hour to an hour and a half. At that point, I again threw all covers off and everything else. Roxanne wasn't taking any chances and bought a thermometer (ear) and brought it home. My temperature was 102.4F, which apparently is not a good thing for a 34yr old. I also started coughing sometime toward the end of today so the 'Diabetic Tussin' came in handy afterall. We did not stay up too late on this evening because I felt very blah.

Friday morning I again awoke to a tad blahness, but it wasn't as bad as previous days. I again took cough syrup, 'Clariton' and more 'Ibuprofen' and went to work. I was able to make it through the whole day however, which was good. I got off work at 7:00 PM that evening and made it home about 7:20 PM or so. My wife actually didn't leave work until 8:00 PM and made it home about 8:30 PM or so. We both met outside for a cigarette and idol chatter. While waiting for Roxanne, I was itching uncontrollably as I figured I'd been bitten by a mosquito. I noticed the bite had actually multiplied which kind of bothered me. Anyhow, while sitting outside I asked her to look at my back as it felt like several welts. Even though it was fairly dark she was able to clearly see that I had several of these bumps on my back in a big clump. This clump went up the small of my back and really concerned her. I asked her if it looked similar to what was on my arm. Her reply was an immediate "You're going to the Emergency Room!!!". At this point I proceeded into the bathroom to look in the mirror at this 'rash'. I did see them clear as day and noticed when I came out that there were more. At this point we called Roxanne's 24hr hotline through her insurance. While on the phone with the 'nurse' I checked my temperature again which was 100.8F and my blood sugar was normal. After talking to me for a while, we came to the determination that I might have hives and to seek medical care within 4hrs. As it was 9:00 PM by the time I received this answer, guess where I went? You got it. The Emergency Room. My wife immediately called her work to notify them as to what was happening. I also called Mack at my work and notified him as well.

We arrived at the E.R. about 9:10 PM, checked in and sat down. Around 9:45 PM I was finally called up to do vitals and explain why I was there. My temperature at the time was 98.8F so they weren't overly concerned and asked me to sit back down. The triage nurse didn't even care about my hives!!! She did however, care about scolding Roxanne as she was apparently a very bad wife for bundling me up when I was cold. I guess the chills are actually your body telling you that you have a fever. Bundling yourself up can actually kill you because your body will overheat. I was really getting stressed at this point and told the nurse I was going outside. She told me, "No. You will be called back at any minute!". I went back and sat down. While I was waiting, the chills came back. I was miserable and nobody seemed to care either. Man I hate Emergency Rooms in Arizona. Roxanne's friend Dervish showed up to keep me company and brought her new husband Herbert. Herbert and I spent most of the night talking about movies so I was content. I really needed a cigarette due to the stress, so Herbert and I went out while Dervish and Roxanne stayed behind. We did this several times throughout the night before I was finally called back to another room. Oh BTW this was around MIDNIGHT!!!!! So they took me back for a chest x-ray where the nice nurse made me put a mask on due to my coughing. How lovely. Now I have to worry about being contagious on top of everything else?! After the x-ray they were nice enough to seat me back in the waiting room. Let's just say I was none too thrilled by this point and was getting more and more upset as the night went on. First off, my wife had to be at work by 10:00 AM and here it is almost 1:00 AM. *sigh*.

They finally called me back at 1:00 AM so I could go wait in another waiting room. They friggin' rock! I waited in there about 30mins before I was finally called back to another room for a vital check. I had a temperature this time so they were a tad concerned, but they called me back to draw blood. This is where it actually got fun. I was poked once for the blood but for whatever reason, the vein they hit was having none of that, so nothing came out. They decided to hit me in another vein that actually worked this time, but they accomplished two things by doing this: 1) they drew blood. 2) now I had an I.V.. After this I was put into yet another waiting room where I again was freezing to death. Roxanne wasn't allowed to cover me up, but she draped her legs over mine and I rested my head on her chest.

Unsure of the time now, but it had to be about 3:00 AM which was roughly 6hrs after arriving at the E.R.. I was finally moved to a bed to lay down. Again I was asked why I was there. I was getting TIRED of telling everybody why I was there. Don't they READ what they write on these stupid things?! Note I was pretty frustrated by now. So she writes down the information and leaves me lying there until about 4:00 AM. When the E.R. Doctor showed up and asked me what I was doing there I was getting really perturbed. After explaining AGAIN why I was there I then told her I need 42 units of Lantus as it balances my blood sugar for the next day and I was about 5hrs late in taking it. She didn't seem to acknowledge I had said anything. She did look at my x-ray and was pretty sure it was pneumonia, but she ordered an M.R.I. (cat scan) just to be sure. I left for this shortly after and it was fairly quick. After waiting a while, the doctor returned and said I had a very rare case of pneumonia as the cat scan confirmed it. She explained most pneumonia is a fluid buildup in one part of the lungs, but mine was showing a blotchiness all over the outside lining. She ordered an E.K.G. at this point and afterward said she was going to release me but I was to return to the E.R. if *anything* changed in my health no matter how minor. I agreed so she gave me prescriptions for antibiotics. Roxanne and I both were still wondering what the rash was, but Dr. Biggey said it was probably part of the pneumonia. So we're about to leave the hospital about 15mins later when she runs back and says and I quote, "I have decided to keep you overnight as I can't in good conscience release you without first attacking the problem aggressively!". I was shattered and so was my wife. Rox cried for several minutes and kept saying she felt like were were in an episode of 'House'. She then left me to smoke and presumably cry. When she returned there was another Doctor in charge of getting me into a room. I again asked for the Lantus and was told "You're in a hospital and we're taking care of you now." There wasn't a whole lot I could do, so I agreed to let them take care of me.

Roughly around 6:15 AM they came to retrieve me and take me upstairs to a room. Immediately upon entering the room there was a male nurse that took my vitals again. He looked at th rash and had no clue what it was or where it came from. NICE. I was concerned when every nurse that walked into my room asked me what I was doing there. DO THEY NOT LOOK AT CHARTS?!!!!! I again asked for the Lantus and was told they needed to speak with the attending doctor before any changes in medications would be performed. First off, that is not a change in medication. Secondly, if my blood sugar rises, what are they supposed to do exactly? I guess I will find out shortly as the Lantus wasn't there to balance me out. So a few nurses came in and explained the perks of the hospital room. To quote my wife, this place was the "Ritz Carlton" of hospitals. The following are normalities for this hospital: a) Every room is private. b) Every room has its own direct phone line. c) Every room has WebTV access. d) Every room has ethernet/wireless hookup for internet. e) There are NO visiting hours so you can visit all hours of the night. f) All rooms have a couch that folds into a bed for visitors. g) Room service is also provided for free, though it is specific to your diet and bigger items like crab legs cost extra. Roxanne spent a bit of time on that couch, but she stayed on the chair next to my bed in case something happened as I was strapped to an I.V. with tons of antibiotics going through me. At about 7:00 AM the wife went downstairs to smoke and call her boss. She had already been up for over twenty hours and had not eaten for 16 so she was sure she wouldn't survive the 4hrs they requested she work that day which incidentally, was in 3hrs. She already had her drunk walk and very thick country accent that she gets every time she is dead tired, so it was a matter of time before she fell over. When she came back she noticed a nurse had gotten me a bowl of cereal and gave Rox a very stale and dry sandwich to which she happily devoured part of it. The nurse gave her orange juice so it wasn't as bad, but she still couldn't stomach it. So about this time they came in and check my blood sugar which is through the roof! Hmmmm. Maybe if you gave me the Lantus that I *asked* for previously this wouldn't have happened. Of course they look at me as if it's my fault. This on top of all of the blood being drawn every few hours, several shots in my stomach, and other medications both in pill form and I.V.. To put it mildly, I was *not* having fun. They finally left us alone to which Rox and I immediately passed out. Here's where it got fun. Every time I fell asleep there would be somebody walking into the room to check on me or draw blood or change my I.V. or give me insulin for my high blood sugar (again THEIR fault) or whatever. If you ever go to the hospital and have any extended stay, do NOT expect to sleep at all as it will not happen. So a few hours later a doctor comes in and explains a little about my type of pneumonia as well as the possibility that I might have valley fever but that was inconclusive as they were still running tests. To learn about valley fever, click on this link. If I did have valley fever *and* pneumonia then I probably wouldn't survive as someone with a strong immune system could die from that so I was pretty concerned by this point. Anyhow, it is now Saturday night and they've agreed to give me my Lantus tonight. The problem with this, is that they're only going to give me half as I had a procedure the next morning at 8:00 AM which could also kill me if my blood sugar was too low. You get the feeling hospitals are dangerous places? I do. So this of course gives me another high blood sugar day. It wasn't as bad as previous, but it still wasn't where it should have been.

Somewhere between Saturday and Sunday Dervish and Herbert visited while I was asleep, leaving a laptop with several movies to watch. Now I not only had something to do besides WebTV (which was horrible), but now I could a) access the internet, and b) watch movies all on the same machine. I was set at present. There of course was more to the medical woes as follows:

They still didn't know exactly what I had, but they did know it was bad and another Doctor suggested the bronchial scope that I was to have the next morning on Sunday. I hate writing this, but I was VERY upset. Let's put it this way. I have not cried for years. Why I don't know, but I just don't cry. Well Saturday night I cried all right and it wasn't for selfish reasons. It was for Roxy. I actually thought she might lose me on the operating table the next morning and it really worried me. In fact, what actually happened the next morning didn't instill me with much confidence either. Before we get to that, let's discuss what happened on Saturday evening. So Roxy leaves to take a shower, feed the cats, pack me a bag, and eat. She was gone for three hours and had meant to be gone for one. By this time, all family and friends had been alerted as to the situation. In fact I received so many calls and had to tell the story again so many times that I swear my tongue was getting numb. This is where I was unhappy. So I have a friend I've known for years and him and I are good friends right? Well he calls me that evening and I answer the phone still feeling bad. Does he ask me how I'm doing first thing? No. He asked me if I had gotten tickets for a concert we planned to go to on October 16th. I'm sorry Dane, but if you read this it really upset me. In fact I'm still getting over it. I could have died and that was the important thing on your mind that day?! :( Then there was my friend Dove and his wife Targa. Targa has a heart condition and was concerned I might give it to her so Dove was unable to come visit me in the hospital as well as Targa. My brother Derpin was VERY concerned. He was trying to get out from California (he's training to deply to Iraq) and come see me. He was aware of the seriousness of the situation, plus I'm his brother. He asked my Doctor to contact the Red Cross to get him out to see me, but he was denied as it wasn't life-threatening according to the doctor.

Here we are on Sunday morning, the day of my operation. When they came to take me away, Roxanne went downstairs to call her boss to get her co-worker to work the whole day again instead of just in the morning. While this is going on, I'm wheeled into another room where they basically do another E.K.G. on me and the nurse and I pretty much talk about nothing, when I was able to get a word in between coughs that is. The nurse says Roxy should be there while I'm in surgery and attempts to contact her. At this point I'm wheeled into a room where there's 3 or 4 people in an O.R.. They have me drink some numbing agent for my throat and have me lie down. At this point they put oxygen in my nose and tell me I'm about to pass out and won't remember anything when I wake up. Ummmmm, yeah. Which is why I remember MOST of what happened and how horrible of a procedure it was. Lesse, they put you under but not completely. Now here comes this big tube inserted into your throat and down into your lungs. So now I'm choking to death. I can't breathe and don't know what to do. A nurse is screaming "breathe as it's ok!" I can't as I'm freaking out and think I'm about to pass out, but somehow I breathe properly and pass out. This happens a couple of times when I finally see my wife after it's over. Now I'm wearing this breathing apparatus as I apparently can't breathe on my own. Perfect. So we get back to the room and I was forced to use oxygen for a couple of hours before my body decided it was going to breathe on its own. So now I have my first visitor besides my wife. It's my buddy Tiger's mom Jam. I was exciting to see Jam. She hung out for a little while and talked and whatnot as we'd already talked on the phone quite a bit previously. Right about this time Naga and my mom brought roses. :) I had no other visitors until Tuesday night. As my phone in the room (and my cell) kept ringing off the hook, I had plenty of people to talk to anyway.

Sunday night the hospital decided I could give my own dosages of insulin as what they were doing was apparently not working, so I would request a certain amount of units and they would bring it to me. Due to this (and the fact they FINALLY gave me my Lantus that night) my blood sugars were very normal on Monday for part of the day.

So on Monday I'm feeling much better. I'm chatting online w/ co-workers and friends and talking better. The cough is still there but not as bad. They've even taken me off the I.V. for the day and I'm happy. I later found out they were discharging me that morning. So during the afternoon the lung doctor comes in and says I'm looking much better. This of course makes me happy as I'll be out of the hospital any minute at this point. Now he dampens my parade. :P He said and I quote, "Clinically you're much better, but medically you're no better." Turns out my pneumonia hasn't changed AT ALL since Saturday morning. Now I'm depressed. This is where it gets fun. He decides to put me on steroids to kill this infection as fast as possible. The problem with this, is the fact that NON diabetics have high blood sugars after being put on 'Prednisone'. Perfect. So now they have to give me another I.V. which of course doesn't thrill me. After applying the I.V., they inject 125mg of 'Prednisone' directly into my blood stream and I would be taking 40mg doses every few hours after that. They weren't kidding. My blood sugars were through the roof again. Madness. My wife of course had to go home that night as they wouldn't give her anymore time off work. I'm sure I can imagine what a restless night that must have been as I would have been the same had it been her.

I got up at 7:45am the next morning,
left at 8am, stopped at Circle K and got him some coffee, then arrived
in his room at 830am. I found him missing. I asked the nurses where he
was and they told me that he had gone to x-ray. I called my boss to
tell her I would not be going in for the conference call but I would be
on time for work, and to verify again that I was off. She then told me
that I would have to work the whole day because my backup backed out. I
was pissed. I waited for my husband as long as I could and was lucky
enough to get to see him before I left for work. While I was there he
told me that they may release him today it would depend on the x-rays.
I asked what bout the results from the bronchial scope? He just
shrugged his shoulders. I left for work at 9:40am. At 2:00 pm I would
leave during my lunch to go be with him and get a progress report. I
would leave to return for work 2:45pm. When I get off work I would
immediately go see him and then go get something to eat. When I arrived
my husband told me that the x-rays had come back and nothing had
changed in his lungs. All the drugs they were pumping into him and no
changes? Well he wasn't coming home any time soon.

morning was a repeat of Monday morning. Except the bronchial scope
results had come back. They found out that his rash that was on his
legs, back and arms was also on his lungs. The doctor said that he had
a rare case of allergic pneumonia. NO idea what the allergy was but
hopefully this would cure it. They began pumping him with prednisone
(steroids). At first it was 125 units. Then 40 units every 12 hours. We
learned that prednisone causes an incredible appetite and raises your
blood sugar. I guess when non diabetics are on it they watch their
blood sugar too. They were not kidding. He was up in the 500's. While
they are trying to drop it, he is eating, which makes them give him
more units. I still came back during lunch. After work I came to see
him, with food in hand. A visitor arrived about 30 minutes later. A
friend from work had come to see him. The only one from work that had
come to see him. He stayed for about an hour and went back home. I
stayed til 11:30pm and then I went home also.

Wednesday morning
I continued my regular morning routine. I guess he had just returned
from another round of x-rays. While I was visiting his doctor said that
he was acting to healthy to be in a hospital and should be released
sometime today. I immediatly called my boss but could not provide her a
time. Then of course my phone company started screwing up and all my
messages I sent after that, not one of them arrive til the next day. I
actually thought my boss was ignoring me. I went and visited him again
for lunch, hoping they would give him to me. They told me he was
definetly being released today sometime soon. I went back to work and
at 4:30 he was released from the hospital. Of course that is when
everyone decided to show up to take pictures and pick up their
pictures. So I called my best female friend to go and get him for me.
After everyone was done in the studio, I wrote a note and placed it on
the counter saying I had to leave it was emergency, and shut the place
down. My friend drove him home then came back to my work and gave me
his perscriptions, prednisone and levaquin. I picked them up and went
home to find him missing. I called him and he said that he gone to work
to do some paperwork that needed to be done by Friday. I asked him why
he couldn't just wait til tomorrow but he started bitching. I drove to
his grandmothers and waited for him to pull into the driveway. We sat
at her house for awhile then went and got something to eat. At home we
argued about when he should start taking his meds. I won finally. I
figured since they gave him his final dose of meds around 330pm he
should wait 12 hours before taking it again. It would also keep him on
a schedule I can monitor.

From day one we have been trying to
figure out what he had new that he was allergic too. At first it was
the starbucks double shot frapachino with splenda. He had, had 4 the
very first Sunday. Tuesday or Wednesday he had a grape leaf? I made him
chef boy r dee macaroni stuff. But Wednesday night after he had gotten
out of the hospital we found 2 more things that he could have had an
allergic reaction too. One was the clariton that he asked me to get for
him on the first Wednesday, the second could have been the tramadol I
gave him on the first Sunday. Thinking of it now he had never had that
high of a dosage of ibuprofene before either. So any one of those
things could have made him sick. Or it could be something new at work
that one of his co-workers is wearing or has on their desk. He is
scheduled to see an allergist sometime in November. He went to see his
diabetes doctor and they told him to increase his nighttime dosage and
split it into two. Take 20 in the morning and 30 at night.

As of
today October 4th he is off the levaquin and has 4 more days with
prednisone. Now if they can just fix his bitchiness when he bloodsugar
is high.

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