Friday, April 30, 2010

In the hospital...AGAIN!

I've definitely been MIA on my blog lately, but I have a good excuse... I've been in the hospital again. That makes three times this year, and I was so hoping that 2010 would be a hospital free year just like 2009 was! No such luck! Here's how everything went down...

I had surgery on April 5 to remove the kidney stones that were in my left kidney. The surgery went well and the urologist put a stent in my kidney to help it drain. (A stent is a small tube that goes from your kidney through your ureter to your bladder, and it helps everything drain after a procedure.) I had to get the stent taken out about two weeks after surgery. Fortunately this is something that can be done in the doctor's office, but I always dread it because it involves an uncomfortable and yucky procedure. It's not exactly painful, just really uncomfortable.

The appointment to have my stent taken out was Friday, April 23. Everything went well and I thought I was good to go. When I got back into my wheelchair I noticed some slight pain in my kidney, but I wasn't concerned about it considering that I'd just had a tube removed from the inside of my kidney. My mom and I left the office, and we probably should've gone straight home, but there was a church activity that I really wanted to go to, so we went to get a bite to eat before the activity started.

As the evening went on, the pain in my kidney intensified. The activity ended around 8:30 pm, and although I really wanted to socialize with my friends, I decided to go straight home. By the time I got home around 9 I was in intense pain. I decided to take a sleeping pill so that I could get a good nights sleep, and I fell asleep shortly after 10.

I thankfully slept well (which is rare for me) and when I woke up the next morning all of the pain in my kidney/lower back was gone. I was relieved that the pain had gone away, but I noticed I was much groggier than usual and it was hard to wake up. I was determined to get going, though, especially since I had big plans that day. My younger sister Chandra started working full time earlier this year, so she works almost every Saturday. I'm happy she has a job, but I miss hanging out with her and our friends on the weekend. To make a long story short, Chandra was off work so we were going to go to the movies for a double feature. Some people might not like sitting still for two movies back-to-back, but I was excited since it had been two months since I'd seen a movie at the theater.

I'll write about the movies in another post, but let's just say that I'm going to have to see both of these movies when they come out on DVD because I slept through a good majority of both of them! (Good thing I didn't pay to see them!) I got home and continued to get more and more tired. I had no appetite and absolutely no desire to eat anything for dinner -- something else that is also rare for me since I only eat two meals a day.

As the evening progressed it became apparent to my mom and Chandra that I was "going down." Around 7 in the evening I told my mom that I was feeling really badly. I was extremely lethargic, I was repeating myself and I couldn't keep anything straight. These are clear signs from my past experiences that I am becoming septic. My mom and Chandra got me ready to go to the ER at Barnes and we left.

When we arrived at the ER, my mom checked me in at the front desk and told them that my vital signs were all over the place. (My heart was racing and my pulse was about 125/sec, I had a fever, my blood pressure was dropping and the oxygen saturation in my blood was in the low 90's.) I was taken back right away, and this was the last thing I remembered for a few hours.

The long story short is that things got stirred up the previous day when my urologist took the stent out of my kidney, so an infection had begun to brew in my body. I'm not sure how the infection gets into my bloodstream, but once it does, it doesn't take long to start taking over.

I spent the next four days in the hospital. The first 48 hours we were waiting for the blood cultures to come back to see what bug I had and what drugs would be resistant to it. I was disappointed, but not shocked to find out that the antibiotic I needed to fight the infection had to be administered intravenously. (I was hoping for an oral antibiotic, but I was expecting an IV antibiotic.) The next hurdle was getting some kind of line started so that we would have access to my veins so that I could do my two weeks of antibiotics at home. This was easier said than done. A picc line in my arm wasn't an option this time, so I had to get a central line put into the subclavian artery in my chest. Getting a central line is much more invasive than getting an IV or even a picc line, but fortunately they were able to get it done on Wednesday morning without too much trouble.

Although I was only in the hospital for four days, it felt like a lot longer. I was first told that I could go home on Monday night. That turned into Tuesday and Tuesday turned into Wednesday. I was on a normal patient floor, so either my mom or my sister had to spend the night with me each night. Thankfully I was in a big enough room so that they could have their own hospital bed to sleep in. Even still, it was a lot of extra work for them.

I came home on Wednesday evening and it feels great to be back home! I really could use a nice, long break from being hospitalized. I'd like a good 18 months before being hospitalized again! 18 months isn't long, but I'm only being realistic since I know that I'm going to be plagued with kidney stones and other urological problems for the rest of my life! I can't complain, though, because I'm really very healthy for someone in my situation. I know my health could be so much worse than it is.

Glad to be back home doing the things I love!


Brianna said...

I'm glad you're out of the hospital! I was in town this past weekend and was at church Sunday and missed your smiling face!

Renee Webb said...

Glad you are feeling better! Hopefully this will be the last one for awhile...

Tyler and Jen said...

Glad you are home! I'm crossing my fingers that it will be 18 months hospital free for you!

Anonymous said...


thehallebunch2 said...

heather you are just amazing...always looking on the upside of things. So glad you are out of the hospital..! Take care hon!

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