chronic illness

Putting My Latest Hospital Stay In The Past & Looking Towards The Future: Reclaiming My Hope With Chronic Illness

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Another post, another trip to the hospital.

That’s right folks. Another trip to the hospital. And this one lasted almost a week.

I had my post-op checkup on August 4th and it went fine. Biopsies revealed what we already knew so there were no surprises there. He was surprised that my pain was still at the level it was and that I was still unable to eat. He said we would keep a close eye on it and I went on my way.

Two days later I felt like I had fallen into the seventh circle of hell. I was vomiting or dry heaving non-stop so I called my surgeon’s office. He wasn’t in yet but the nurse said that I could either go straight to the ED or she could get me an appointment that afternoon. Considering I absolutely hate everything about the ED, I opted to stick it out for the appointment. As soon as I got to his office, I went downhill and I went downhill FAST. By the time he got in the room, I was shaking from the pain and vomiting. Unfortunately Abby was with us and she had to witness it which shattered my heart. She was so scared and just held my hand. Of course he sent me straight to the ED, the place I had been trying to avoid in the first place. He didn’t want to go ahead and admit as I could have just been severely dehydrated and needed meds and fluids.

The ER is less than a half mile away so we got there quickly but of all days, the place was code red (meaning it was completely overflowing and they were on the phone calling in more staff when I rolled in).  Thankfully they saw how bad of shape I was in and I got slid through a little faster. A family friend came to pick up Abby and my mom had already planned to come down for the weekend so she just headed straight to the hospital.

Two nurses came in the room to start the IV and I warned them that I had really shoddy veins. They laughed it off and said not to worry, they were good. I hate that response because I know it means they aren’t taking me seriously and are going to half kill me before being able to sink the IV (why won’t they get one of those new devices that helps locate veins?!). I had one on each arm digging around. They would either blow the vein or not be able to stick it. I don’t think I have ever been so close to passing out. I felt my eyes starting to roll back in my head. Then I heard another nurse come in the room. She told the others to back off and she nailed it first try. She had been an army nurse for years and knew where to get people when you need to move quickly. She is most definitely a hero.

They started the fluids and meds and then the most God awful pain I had ever experienced in my life hit (I must have descended down to the 9th circle at that point). Had I know known better, I would have thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe it was so intense. They gave me a shot in the shoulder for quick relief and while I usually hate the site of a nurse with a massive needle, at that point I didn’t care. It finally got me stable enough to go to CT. The scan didn’t show any stones or anything that had been left behind from the gallbladder surgery but their was some fluid and inflammation so they were going to admit me for the night for observation and to keep the fluids going.

That one night turned to five. We couldn’t get my pain under control nor could I keep anything down. Even ice chips would make me throw up. Over the course of my stay, they repeated the HIDA scan and an EGD. When my labs came in, it showed that my pancreas enzymes were five times what they should have been so the official diagnosis was pancreatitis. They dropped back down rather quickly but it still didn’t provide answers for everything that was going on. Once I was able to keep liquids down, I was discharged on the 11th with order to see my GI in Charlotte as soon as possible. I was able to see him last Thursday and he is sending me to a pain specialist he works with for a second option on treatment options beside pain medications. Praise Jesus! I have wanted to get away from my current specialist for quite some time but there is a lot that goes into changing clinics without looking like a drug seeker so with him making the referral and notating that we are looking for non-narcotic options, it will cut through a lot of the red tape and keep me safe.

I’m still not able to eat normally (Ensure and milkshakes are my current BFFs) but I am definitely feeling hopeful that change is just around the bend with the referral and the news that I finally having a hearing! My court date for my disability has FINALLY been set so we are in the home stretch of getting the whole ordeal put to rest! I am definitely feeling more energized and ready to take on the world. I read this post by my endosister, Kasanndra, wrote called “Why You Should Be Brave, If Nothing Else” and it was definitely something I needed to read today and maybe you do too. I am ready to put the past behind me, look forward to the future, and reclaim my hope with chronic illness.

I am working at getting back in the swing of things and get back on a regular posting schedule. I’ve also been doing some behind the scenes work to keep things running smoothly and to really put more of myself into the blog. If you have any ideas on what you would like to see happen on the blog or within the community, most definitely leave a comment or shoot me an email! I will be chatting with you again soon!

chronic illness

My Hospital Saga

As hard as it is to believe, my sweet Abby turned 3 on Friday! It feels like I no longer have a baby but a little girl instead! This weekend was supposed to be a weekend of family fun and celebration and it was for the most part therefore there will be a separate post for all of that! The not-so-good part of the weekend hit last night.

We spent our afternoon at the Merry-Go-Round Festival at our local park. We had so much fun! I did quite a bit of walking so I was prepared for the possibility of a flare as a result. Around 7pm, the pain definitely started to escalate but it wasn’t the type of pain I was expecting. I was prepared for more joint/muscular pain instead of the intense cramping, stabbing pain. I had to call John home from a local concert he was attending as I was starting to dry heave.

He took over giving Abby her bath while I took my pain medication and tried to lay down. The pain got so intense that I knew by 9:30 that I needed to go to the ER. John started packing Abby a bag to head over to church friends who are practically family. While he packed, I wrote down a list of all my prescribed medications and threw on some sweatpants.

We were taken back to a room at the ER around 10pm. The pain was if someone was stabbing me on my left side where my ovary would be and then cutting straight across. My body just have tensed up from the pain enough to cause a migraine. First thing the nurse did was to take blood and prepare an IV. I was thanking my lucky stars when she was able to get my vein first try (although it took her a few minutes to find one).

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally the doctor came in around midnight. He was a major hottie. Me-ow! Definitely a perk of the visit. My husband just rolled his eyes at me.

They had gotten the first round of test results back and he diagnosed me with pancreatitis. He was a little puzzled that the location of my pain wasn’t centered near my pancreas but more lower ab/pelvic but he felt sure of the diagnosis and felt the ab/pelvic pain was the result of chronic pain due to my history with endo.

Following the diagnosis, they finally gave me some pain medicine through my IV so immediately my pain levels began to drop. The only setback was it made me itch something awful. The first round of benedryl didn’t work so I ended up with a shot in my butt which thankfully took it away.

At 2:40am, we were finally able to head home with orders to contact my doctor first thing Monday morning and a presciption for a different type of pain medicine to get me through until then. I questioned the staff to be sure that it would be allowed being a pain clinic patient (which has a different set of rules) but being a Saturday and in the middle of the night, they said it would be fine. Considering we had been there almost 5 hours, I didn’t question as we were beyond exhausted. I am pretty sure we were both asleep within 2 minutes of our heads hitting our pillows!

Pain had returned this morning so I took the one pill they had sent home with me and John took my prescription to the pharmacy to get filled. Then we got the call. Because I’m a patient at the pain clinic, the pharmacy was required to call the ER for further clarification and for approval to fill but the new ER doctor on duty would not authorize the prescription so it had to be shredded. Talk about frustrating. I understand in theory why the system is the way it is but it didn’t make it any easier.

Until tomorrow at 8am, I will be striving to just make due until one of my doctors’ offices opens and my soap opera ER sage can continue.

Hospital soap opera saga