Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More hospital drama

 At the end of the last post, I was in a room on the third floor of a giant hospital in Memphis TN. The next few days are kinda jumbled together because of the pain, the meds and the fact that being in the hospital is like going into a time warp. It didn't help that I was installed in the room in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. I'm pretty much a get up in the morning, take care of my business during the course of a normal day, and go to bed around the same time after watching a little tv or tidying up. I like the comfort of my routine. It didn't help either that I had spent most of Sunday and Monday in an addled state as well as in pain. 
  The pain was really bad sometime during the early part of my stay and one of the nurses insisted I take something so I could sleep. I'm thinking he wanted me to stop crying and refusing the pain meds, because he had lots of other patients that needed his attention, and knew I just needed to chill in a huge way. So I took the lortab and at one point came to a little, saw the drab walls surrounding me and saw the rails of the bed in my peripheral vision and immediately thought I was my mother. 
   Although she passed away at her house, per her wishes, she had a rough year or two before she died. She was in and out of the hospital and I spent quite a bit of time with her there. It took me a moment or several to realize I was indeed myself and for a split second wondered what was going on, before it all came back to me in a sickening rush of pain and anxiety. 
  The other reason time gets twisted around in the hospital is because people come in at seemingly all hours of the day and night to stick needles in you, wrap your arm with tight bands and poke meat thermometers into the side of your mouth. Beep boop hiss. The reality of this intrusion is the schedule of the shift changes of the health professionals, checking on your progress or demise, whatever the case may be.
The bed goes up, the bed goes down. At one point I was joking with the two kind ladies helping me regain my normal state of good health, that I would tell everyone they were running an amusement park with cool rides and people would be lining up to get in. We laughed at the fact the bed rose at a glacial pace, but yet threw our hands in the air like it was a roller coaster on top of a building in Las Vegas.
The doctors chose to grace me with their presences on Tuesday. A veritable parade of white coats, except for the surgeon who arrived in blue scrubs, in serious life saving mode. They all wanted to touch my ever swelling lip, and for the most part were gentle, or maybe were afraid it would explode on their clean white attire if they got too close and prodded too hard on the giant purple-red monster clinging to the lower part of my face. It looked that bad.
 I'd had sense enough to take a photo-a "selfie" if you will--of my constantly changing countenance since the Sunday before. I showed the pictures on my phone to one of the doctors who was truly impressed at my record and appreciated the fact he could also see the progression of the infection. The next day he brought students in to view the mess that once was my mouth and asked if I would show them the pictures. Intellectual curiosity satisfied all round. I continued taking pictures everyday and couldn't believe my own eyes when I looked at them. 
  So time slipped away. Time for meds. Time for an IV. Time to check my blood pressure. Time to check my temperature. Time to draw blood. Time for an injection of stuff to keep me from getting blood clots. That one I figured pretty quick and made a deal with the nurse that if I got up and walked around, would she discontinue those shots. I particularly did not like them, because they were administered in my belly. And even though my lip hurt like nobody's business, I could still get up and move around as long as there was no IV running. 
   Amazingly enough, I was able to eat soft foods as long as they were cut up small enough to poke into the space on one side of my mouth that was the least swollen. Fruit and soft sandwiches washed down with juice or Sprite were on the tray at my request. The surgeon told me to drink carbonated beverages as the bubbles would help destroy bacteria. And I thought sodas were only good for cleaning car batteries and emergency spermicide!!!
   My dear and wonderful friends came to visit, bringing the phone charger, clean undies, magazines, flowers, candy and yogurt. The most important thing they brought was love and caring. None of them was really grossed out with my looks, but we did joke about a possible career for me in freak shows. I could be walrus woman or people could toss coins into the opening above my massive protruding lip for points and I would keep all the coins! 
    Friends who didn't stop by texted their concerns and encouragements, so I didn't feel all alone in my battle with staph. The nurses and other staff people were very, very nice to me, too, and I was grateful for their help and kind attention. 
    Wednesday morning, I got to take a field trip to radiology for a CT scan. Modern medical technology is so amazing. I can only think of Star Trek episodes I watched as a child when I see the advances made in non invasive testing. I also remember my parents talking about a sick friend back in the old days, having to undergo "exploratory" surgery to find a cure for their ailments. Absolutely barbaric in comparison to today's procedures. So that was fun. Then back to my room for more waiting and time travel. 
  On Wednesday afternoon during a visit from gal pals, the abscess decided to drain. Ewwww! Yet I was so relieved, physically and emotionally, knowing the end to my trauma was getting closer. The doctors had discussed surgical intervention with me at the beginning of this ordeal, but after looking at the scan results had decided it wasn't necessary and now, thankfully the rotten crap was leaving on its own! It was pretty yucky, but the pressure and pain abated almost immediately. 
   Still, I had to finish the course of antibiotics and other meds being pumped in to my veins as well as my mouth. They were throwing everything at my system to kill any and all variety of bacteria that had mistakenly decided to linger.
   Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and the tale of the robot bed.

1 comment:

Trish said...

This is a good revord of a not so good time for your body! So glad the lip is healing!