Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In Lock Up Once Again

Since my last post, I was found not to have the H1N1 virus. I was released on the 24 and was pretty happy to be going home. Just had some asthma issues but I figured that I could handle it. I spent three days at home feeling good and healthy. Was a little tired, but otherwise was feeling pretty good.

By Monday though I was having trouble breathing. I figured that I was just a little out of shape from the flu and it was nothing to worry about. By Friday, I was gasping for air when I would brush my teeth. I called and went in to see the doctor and ended up being sent back to the hospital. Turns out that I had managed to get a small tear in one of my lungs, causing air to leak out. This would explain the difficulty breathing and tight chestedness. X-rays didn't show wear the tear was located but they did show air bubbles in my neck. Can actually feel them when I press the sides of my neck. Kind of like pressing on bubble wrap. A little freaky.

So for the past few days I've been going through blood tests, ultrasound on my legs, X-rays... Just to make sure that I don't have any other problems going on. Good thing is I don't have any clots in my body, which I could have told the doctors that since I had none of the classic symptoms of clots (swelling in legs, pain...). My white blood cell count was pretty high though. When I had the flu it was only at 5 now it's at 20000. That means I'm trying to fight off some sort of infection. And I lost even more weight. So since the flu, I have lost over 10 pounds. It took me three months just to get to my goal weight. So this is a serious setback.

I'm back on IVs for now. The tear seems to be healing since I can walk short distances again without gasping for air. I can brush my teeth without feeling like I'm going to pass out. And the air in my neck is slowly going away. My oxygen levels are going up slowly (currently at 94%). And I have managed to gain back a pound. So I am improving. It's just a slow and frustrating process.

Unfortunately, with this hospitalization I have missed too much class to catch up. So I had to file a Planned Educational Leave Petition for the quarter. Means I won't be getting my degree till March 2010 now. Sort of a let down, but my health is more important. Going to have to find ways to keep my mind busy till I can go back to school in January. I only have two classes left, so I feel a little frustrated. My goal is so close, yet so far away at the same time.

This hospital stay had a stressful start. First I get sent here for not being able to breathe, and then I felt like I was dealing with nurses who just had no clue. I had a nurse try to access my port, turns out it was her first time and she missed. Twice. You have to realize, a port is an easy stick. Just have to get the needle in this rubber thing that is under my skin. Much easier than trying to find a vein. In the end they had to have an Action Nurse (someone who specializes in IVs) come up and access my port. She was a nurse I used to know in Peds. She did one stick and was done. Pretty simple.

The port issue wasn't the only stressful thing I dealt with. The hospitalist (doctor assigned by the hospital) kept treating me like a child and she wasn't telling me what was going on. And she kept changing my medications without even notifying me. She even ordered finger sticks before and after I ate. And she ordered heperin shots. I finally just had to start refusing things, just so she would contact my real doctor.

The whole time I was having a hard time breathing and I was thinking that this was stress I should not be having to deal with. Finally got to a point where my mother started staying the night with me so that my wishes would be respected.

Things have gotten better since my own doctor stepped. The finger sticks stopped, and he gives me answers. Even if it's a "we're still trying to find out what's wrong" at least he keeps me in the loop. He doesn't want me going home till I show more improvement. I guess he's making sure not to have a repeat of sending me home and me having to return a week later.

Throughout all this I am surprised that they don't have some sort of note in my chart saying that I'm a noncompliant patient. I had to lecture an instructor on the importance of asking a patient for permission to have a student do a procedure, before letting the student do it in the first place. I was pretty pissed at her and may have come across rudely. The doctor had ordered that I receive my flu shot and pneumonia vaccine. Not really a big deal, but for some reason it was decided to let a student give me the shots and I wasn't consulted. The student's shots really hurt and then the instructor was telling the student that she should be present for another procedure that I was going to have. All this right in front of me without asking if I was okay with it, so I told the instructor that she needs to ask the patient first. She looked a little shocked that I would say such a thing but at least she didn't try arguing with me.

Don't get me wrong, not everyone here is incompetent or unfeeling. I have nurses who are on top of their game. One even brought me information on a new drug that the hospitalist had decided to put me on without even consulting me. When I complained to the nurse, she brought me info on the drug to read, so I could make my own decision on it.

I figure this is a good time to give a little warning to my readers. Some of my articls will be planned out. But times like this, I will put the article I've been working on aside to give you a taste of what is going on right now. Given time, I might actually be able to include some photos so you can have a better view of what it is like.