Home, again

There is that moment coming home from the hospital when you have to carry your purse and drink, walk around the car and up the steps to the house and you realize that you are still sick. We stopped by Tim Hortons for a coffee and a donut and visually scanning the menu and communicating my order to the cashier was a challenging event. I was reminded of my stroke and TBI patients in the hospital who sometimes had to start from scratch in learning these basic fundamental skills. Sometimes I wonder why they let me leave and I get nervous about taking care of myself. But it feels so nice to be in my own bed again.

Yesterday my abdominal CT scan was normal. I should have counted all he scans I’ve had in the last year but just guessing I’d say I’ve had 10-12 CT scan both out patient and inpatient. I again had to drink the contrast fluid. That stuff is so awful. A doctor told me he completely understands what patients go through because once he had a bone marriw biopsy done because he needed fresh healthy cells for the lab. Yeah, thats exactly what we go through. So I drank the contrast and thanks to two nausea meds I did not throw it up. I passed my pregancy test to the surprise of no one and I got contrast fluid injected through an IV line that the radiation tech had to place. I think she stabbed me with the needle instead on inserting it because it’s still sore and is bruised. I had to explain to her what my central line was and that she couldnt use it for the contrast dye and needed to start a peripheral line. The dehumanizing experience of going to procedure in the hospital is in the walk down and back up the the room. Well, I don’t walk. I ride. Transport comes to pick you up in a wheel chair. My IV pumps have to transferred and come with us. I have to wear a mask that covers my face. I did not put a scarf on my head but I needed two blankets on my lap and one on my shoulders because I was so cold. I become hidden and anonymous with all the layers and I passively sit through our journey past other floors and healthy people mixed with the sick. People see me but they don’t because I am a sick person.

I had a massive migraine last night in the hospital that included vomiting and dizziness. I got all upset and didn’t want to ask for meds because they would have to call the doctor and I worried that they would want to keep me longer. The nurse called anyway and he brought me an ice pack for my head and waited for my medication order to come in so I could go to sleep for the night. The med took care of the headache and I slept until 4:30 am.

This is where the fun started. I sat up on the edge of the bed so that I could go to the bathroom. My pajamas felt wet in the front and something was dripping. I felt around and there was a loose saline line in the bed not connected to anything. The saline had spilled. Then I saw that my pajamas were wet with blood. Yeah, blood in my bed and on me. I thought of a movie and started looking for a dead animal head like a horse in the bed. I looked at my central line and the cap that should be on the end was not there and blood was dripping freely from the line. I gave myself just a second to absorb this. I held my line in my hand while watching the blood, MY blood, dribble out down my front and onto the bed. There was something sattisfying about holding my inconvenient and perplexing blood in my hands and letting it run. My blood is something I have no control over and I passively let nurses take it out sometimes daily. I get safe good blood from other people and I let that mingle with my own. Now, my blood hasn’t really seemed like mine since the transplant. It’s someone else’s cells and DNA flowing through my body but this time when I had it in my hands I claimed it. I possessed it. Then I snap closed the clamp to stop the bleeding and called for a nurse. I said “blood” and “line” to the receptionist and within seconds two nurses I didn’t know were in the room to fix me. I told them I shut the clamp so the bleeding stopped and they congratulated me on my genius. I had to change clothes and take a shower to get cleaned up while other people changed my bedding and cleaned the floor. I got to go back to sleep until 8:00.

The doctors came in and Dr Jeffrey was given credit for suggesting that we add back in one of my heart meds that was changed even though it was my amazing nurse Larry who got me the hookup on meds and always does. The addition significantly improved my vertigo and although its not 100% better the doc said I look well since the medication change and the surgeons approved my discharge and there was no reason to keep me unless I would feel more comfortable staying. Hah! I called Jeffrey to come pick me up.

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Posted on February 28, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Lauren, so glad that you got to go home. You have a real talent for telling your medical story: smart, amusing, and real. Thank you for being such a trooper! Onc nurses are a special folk, I am thankful that you have such good care when you are in the James. Take care & hope you can stay home! Bonnie

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