So, yes my instructions when I left the hospital after having the baby factory removed and almost bleeding to death were simply to rest and to go to the ER if I started running a fever. Well, I wasn't sure how long those instructions were for. Because, I went home on Sunday. On Tuesday or Wednesday (it's all a little fuzzy), I started running a very low grade fever. I SO did not want to go to the ER. But after some prodding and close to downright shouting from my mom & FB friends, I did phone the GYN on call and she said to take some Tylenol, that I probably had a UTI and to call my regular dr in the morning, which I did. He sent me to pee in a cup & put me on antibiotic which did NOT agree with my digestive system. I kept having the fever but just took Tylenol. The lab results came back I and I did NOT have a UTI and since the antibiotics were making me sick and unable to eat, the dr said I could stop taking them. This was Friday, I think.
The weekend was fairly uneventful. Like I said before the kids got to spend time with their dad. My uncle and cousin came by for a visit, I got out and walked a bit (per doctor's orders)....things were okay. Mom was even contemplating going home. My tummy was still a little upset, so Mom thought she'd stay at least one more night & get the kids off to school. Sunday evening, my stomach was really bothering me. ***Here's where you need to stop reading if you have a delicate constitution*** I felt really gassy & couldn't seem to go to the bathroom. I went for a walk and the stomach cramps about overtook me. I made it back into the house and to the bathroom in time to toss everything I had eaten that evening. And then everything I had eaten that week. I was doubled over and couldn't stop throwing up. Finally I was just throwing up bile. Mom called the clinic since I could barely speak and the doc on call said to take me to the ER. So, a wonderful friend came over to stay at the house with the kids since they were all asleep - and help me walk to the car (Mom seriously considered calling an ambulance, but I didn't want to freak out the kids or the rest of the neighborhood).
We got to the ER and Mom ran in and asked for a wheelchair since I couldn't walk. Evidently I was moaning pretty loudly and got triaged right back to a little ER room (there was a 3-4 hour wait otherwise). I kept calling for my "Mommy." (Amazing how we revert back when we are at our most vulnerable, isn't it?) And she just held me as best she could and yelled at those people to take care of me. Seriously, you don't want to get crosswise my mom over one of her kids. She will make you wish you were dead. They gave me lots of drugs and I finally stopped puking. Of course I also stopped being lucid at all. They took me for an x-ray. Then they wanted to do a CAT scan - can I just say that there are few things nastier than barium, especially when you've been throwing your guts up. I do remember trying to choke that crap down. I guess I didn't have any bleeds anywhere, but my fever had spiked to over 104, so they thought it might be a good idea to admit me. I have very little memory of being moved to my room. One of the nurses who was there said that they had to lift me because I was barely conscious enough to slide over. Evidently, I was in serious condition and there was talk of putting me in the ICU. Yeah. As it was I was on IV fluids, three different IV antibiotics and lots of pain and anti-nausea meds. And I was bloated up like a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
EVIDENTLY, I had developed an infection at the site of the repairs made in the second surgery. One of the abscesses was big enough that it was blocking off my bowel, essentially trapping all of the gas and *ahem* everything else from coming out of my body. That was making me a little queasy...and nearly septic. Because it was cellulitis. Which is really bad from what they tell me and to have it INSIDE is extremely rare. The doctor was a little freaked out.
My mom was keeping my friends & family updated on my condition and let them all know that I had cellulitis of the vaginal cuff. One of my friends later called to tell me "Um, your mom sent me a text about your vagina." NICE.
I stayed knocked out on pain killers and nausea meds for the first few days. By Wednesday, the first offending abscess had gone down enough for my bowel to be able to, um, deflate. Yeah, that was pleasant. Especially for the housekeeping staff. There are some great stories that could go with that day, but they are better left untold. In the meantime, doc came in every day and did a pelvic - oh, yes, just as awesome as you can imagine it would be. I also got to go for another x-ray, an ultrasound - both external and internal. I was wheeled to the sonographer by a lady who was very insistent that I wear those lovely hospital socks with the grippy things on them. She told me all kinds of stories about why this was important. Evidently it is crucial. Whatever.
Every few hours, they came to take blood, take my vitals, change one thing or another on my IV, give me medicine or something or just aggravate me. The good nurses (read: the ones I liked) would turn on the least intrusive light possible. All the hullabaloo and they changes in my meds had given me one doozy of a migraine & I wanted it as dark & quiet in there as possible. There were some terribly cheerful nurses who would burst in in the mornings and turn on all the lights and open the curtains - I had a corner room so I had two windows. I hated those nurses. The nurse I had the biggest problem with was a night nurse who kept insisting that I should take a shower, it would make me feel better. I had already taken one shower and learned that those were the worst showers in the history of ever. There was barely any water pressure and you had to rotate yourself to get completely wet. I was cold the whole entire time. One of the GOOD nurses had brought me some of those cleansing cloths to use so that I didn't smell like a lumberjack and I really didn't care what my hair looked like. Nurse Ratchet tried to blackmail me and tell me that she would take my blanket away if I started to run the slightest fever. I asked for the charge nurse and never saw Miss Smarty-Pants again. I may have been known as a pain in the ass but I just really don't give a flying flip.
My friend came to visit Wednesday night and as he left he told me I was hot. I laughed and said "Oh yeah, I'm hot. I look fantastic after laying in this bed for three days." He cracked up and said, "No, you are burning up, I'm going to go tell the nurses before I leave." Yeah, my temp was back up over 102. Super.
By Thursday afternoon, I was still running a pretty good fever most of the day. (Though I was no longer bloated so that was good) All of my blood cultures had come back clean. Nobody knew exactly what was making me sick. But I still felt like shit. I had another CT & it was decided that I was going to have a drain put in me to try to remove the infection from my vaginal cuff (I know, sorry). I thought I had a vague idea how this particular procedure might go. I was very, very mistaken.
The next day, they wheeled me off to CT and had me lay on my belly and zipped me in and out of the CT scanner dealio while the radiologist, Dr DeSade, inserted a tube from my right butt cheek through my lower abdomen to my (close your eyes) vaginal cuff to drain the infection.** BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...while he was in there he took samples of the fluid to send to the lab to see if they could identify the bacteria that was trying to kill me. For the record, they could not. The little collection bag just kind of hung out there off the skinny little tube which was about 12 inches long or so. Surprisingly, once the tube was in, it really didn't bother me at all except that it was a little awkward trying to find a place to hold it when I went to the potty. It was good for freaking out visitors, though.
**Yes, I was awake thru all of this, but I did have some pretty good drugs on board to make me relax. Plus I did that breathing that they teach you in the childbirth classes. Nice that THAT finally came in handy!
The drain seemed to do the trick. By the next day, I was off all IV antibiotics (still taking two oral antibiotics, though. One for colitis which I developed at some point in there and made things even more fun.Good exercise though!) It was good that I was off the IV since most of my veins had been blown - all of them in both lower arms - and my last IV was in my upper arm near my left shoulder. Actually that was the only one that didn't leave any lasting marks AND it was the easiest to manage. You can still feel the knots in my lower arms where the veins have scarred. It's super-creepy. One of the nurses told me that one of the reasons that I blew so many veins was because of all the Phenergan they gave me for the nausea for all those days. And you know what? TOTALLY worth it. I hate feeling nauseated. SugarPlum says I was pretty funny on phenergan, too. Mom & I evidently had whole long conversations of which I have absolutely no memory. Same goes for phone conversations & actual in-room visits with several friends. So if you called or came by & I don't remember it, sorry. And, if you DIDN'T call but want credit for calling, you can say you did and I will have no way of knowing you are lying.
Mom brought they kids up to see me nearly every single day. I did let them open the window shades because there were pigeons nesting on the window sills and occasionally they would have eggs. They named one set on the birds "Coco & Loco" and one of their eggs was "Yoko" (get it? Yolk-o....they thought it was hilarious). Sadly, we never saw an egg hatch.
By Saturday I was SO READY to bust out of there. The doctor seemed inclined to send me home, too. Except that I still had that damn drain in and he wanted to leave it for at least 24 more hours. He actually was going to send me home with the drain. I was somewhat opposed to bringing a bag of bacteria home to my three children. He let me stay another day. Sunday, he came in to remove the drain. He had the little kit and as he got started, he honest to Doogie said "I think the radiologist said to cut right here...." The nurse and I both had the same look of shock and dismay on our faces. Then, with absolutely no warning, he just pulled that sucker right out of me. HO.LY. CRAP. He asked me if I wanted any pain meds for home. Uh, yeah. So he wrote me a few scrips for that and for antibiotics and I don't know what else and shortly after I signed all those papers, my Mommy took me home.
Oh, and they never did figure out what was making me sick. Every single culture came back clear. All of them. I had some mystery bug that tried to kill me. I am either Dr House's dream patient or his biggest nightmare.
All in all, I was in the hospital the second time for eight days, not counting the night in the ER before they admitted me. I lost about 20 lbs. Nothing at all tasted good. I read about four books. Thank goodness for having Kindle on my phone. I updated my Facebook statuses in the moments that I had the energy & could see straight. And I never did wash my hair. I know. EW. Shut up. The first thing I did when I got home was take a shower and climb into MY bed. That bed never felt so good.
Little by little I have been getting my strength back. I am still amazed at how tired I am and how much I MUST nap. I mean, it's been two months. But the doc keeps telling me to give it six months before I even approach being my old self again. I have gained back all the weight - I really didn't have much that I could lose - thanks to Girl Scout cookies and Haagen-Dacz. I managed to pull an 'A' in the class I was taking last semester in spite of my prof sending me home my first week back because I "looked frail" and I was "making her nervous." I sported the whole "heroin chic" look for quite some time - skin & bones, sunken eyes, tracks & bruises all up & down my arms. I looked terrific.
Bear still tells me almost every day that he is glad I'm all better and home. I hug my babies a little tighter and try to fit in some extra snuggles every day. Bless their hearts. In one week, their Dad deployed to SW Asia and their mom was suddenly back in the hospital at death's door (although they don't really know just HOW sick I was). SugarPlum has been amazing, as always. She is an astounding caretaker, especially for a 14 year old, and she is fiercely protective of me. And I have discovered some truly wonderful people in my life. I am honestly blessed beyond measure. I have realized who and what really matters.
God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.