Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Chip Away The Stone"

Monday, February 4th is a day that I don't remember much about.  Pictures on Facebook are telling me that Noelle visited me with Buddy and I finally had some of my pain under control.  I do remember that someone gave me the genius idea to go on a "walk" to get out of my hospital room...I can't remember who but I'm thinking that it was one of my regular visitors (Nicholle, Noelle, Rachel & Dan, Rick, Dad, or Julia).  And I think that Rachel and Dan took me on that first walk and it was wonderful!!  A few awesome people "walked me" while I was in there.  I'd hold and push the IV pole, they'd push me: it was wonderful!  I'm fairly certain that this is also the day that they came to my room and did an echocardiogram to check my heart.  I remember that the lady who did it loved Buddy and let him stay on the bed and snuggle with me while she ultra sounded my heart.  She would pet him with her ungloved hand in between pushing the buttons and he just snuggled up to my stomach and hung out.

And Instagram collage of the first few days of my stay at Kadlec.

Tuesday, February 5th is a day that was filled with doctors, planning, and information.  I remember that was the day that my hospitalist, cardiologist, ID specialist, and orthopedic surgeon held a telephone conference with my "team" from Virginia Mason (my cardiologist, rheumatologist, pulmonologist, dermatologist, and ID specialist) to try and figure out what to do next.  I was having my blood drawn daily and the local doctors at Kadlec were monitoring multiple things, particularly my white blood count (WBC), my C-reactive protein (CRP), and my Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR).  In very basic terms, the WBC told my doctors how hard my body was fighting, and both the CRP and the ESR tell them about my internal inflammation.  With the amount of antibiotics that I was on all of those numbers should have been plummeting, however they were all rapidly rising which told me doctors that they were on the wrong track.

That afternoon my hospitalist came and had a discussion with me.  He explained to me that during the conference it was decided to put me on a very high dose of IV steroids and watch me for 24 hours.  It was essentially their last ditch effort.  If I began to rapidly improve then it was most likely a rheumatological issue and hopefully enough steroids would put whatever it was into remission.  If I didn't show significant improvement the team had decided that it would be best to ambulance transport me to Virginia Mason so they could invite in specialists from other Seattle area hospitals.  

I was also informed at this time that placing a PICC line was seriously discussed.  Between how difficult of an IV stick I was and how sick I apparently was, they all thought that it would be a good idea.  That terrified me.  By then I was pretty used to being poked.  I literally had my blood drawn every morning, I had had so many IVs that I couldn't keep track, each IV placement took more than one attempt, and over the past year I had been sent for blood work on almost a weekly basis.  One would think that I'd be exited about having a PICC so that everyone could stop poking me over and over again but for some reason it was THE scariest thought to me and I adamantly opposed it.  At this point everything was just a waiting game.

Just a few of the flowers that I received...they were such great reminders to me that I am loved and supported when I was having tough moments.

I took a lot of random pictures while I was at the hospital and drugged...this is one of them.  I imagine that was a bolus of Dilaudid she was giving to me but I don't know for sure.

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