Monday, March 17, 2014

Turning a Corner and Heading Home

I've had lots of extra things to work on lately, so I haven't had near as much time for blogging. I'm finally making the time to finish the story about my surgery/hospitalization from last month. (You can read the first two posts I made HERE and HERE if you need to recap.)

Friday morning dawned much brighter than the previous day. When the doctors rounded in the morning they checked the drainage from my chest tube, and I was surprised at how much drainage there was. When the doctors had said that I had a "small" pleural effusion that needed to be drained I was expecting maybe 50 cc's of fluid at most, but a cup and a half of bloody fluid had drained out. (It made me wonder how much fluid there would've been if I'd had a "large" pleural effusion!) Since all of the fluid had apparently drained from my lung one of the resident radiologists came and pulled the chest tube. (And when I say "pulled" I mean as in, "one...two...three…pull!") "Ouch" is all I have to say to that! It wasn't pleasant, but fortunately it was over quickly. My white count was finally back in the normal range now that the fluid had drained, which was a really good sign. As badly as I'd wanted to go home the day after my surgery, I guess it was a good thing that I hadn't since I most likely would've had to be readmitted to the hospital.

My doctor came to see me on Friday afternoon and she said that I was looking a lot better. She said that there was a possibility that I could maybe go home that afternoon, but she didn't seem completely comfortable with the idea, so I said that I would stay until Saturday. At that point things really did seem to be going in the right direction, so I felt optimistic that I would go home the next day.

On Saturday morning I had to get one final chest x-ray just to make sure the pleural effusion was better. They usually just bring the x-ray machine right to your bedside, but for some reason I had to go to the radiology floor to get it done (maybe to get a more thorough x-ray). I always get annoyed when I have to go somewhere because it's always such a process, but this trip was actually a breeze. It was very quick and the patient transporter that had to take me to and from the x-ray was so nice. (Usually the transporters are just there to do their job and they usually just talk amongst themselves and don't really go out of their way to be friendly with the patient. That's always been my experience, anyway.) This transporter was so nice and personable, which I appreciated.

When the doctors looked at the x-ray they said I might have a pneumothorax (which is air in the cavity between the lung and the chest wall). My heart sank when I heard that because I desperately wanted to go home. A few minutes later the doctors came back around and said that there was a mix up with the x-rays and that mine looked fine. What a relief that was! I got the free and clear to go home a little after 9 that morning. Getting discharged from the hospital always a long time, but it takes forever on the weekends since things move at a glacial pace! They said to hold tight for a few hours and that I would hopefully be able to go home about noon. Well, things always take longer than they say to expect and I wasn't discharged until after 2, but thankfully I was finally able to break out and head home!

(I have to say that weekends in the hospital are the absolute worst. A lot of the main doctors aren't working and things just seem to be at a standstill until the next week starts. There's just a completely different feel in the hospital on Saturdays and Sundays. It's hard to explain what the difference is, but any time I've ever been in the hospital, the weekends always have that same "weekend" feel about them.)

I know that spending five days in the hospital doesn't sound that bad, but I just hate being out of my normal environment/routine. I'm a busy person, and I don't have time to waste languishing in a hospital! All's well that ends well! And in all reality, I guess I got off pretty easy. My mom's friend had the exact same procedure done a week after I did (with my same doctor, ironically) and she developed a lot of complications and ended up being in the hospital for nearly two weeks, and is now staying in a rehab facility while she gets her strength back. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update. I am glad that you are doing much better and are home. Thanks to God for helping you during your hospital stay. I will continue to pray for you. -- Love and prayers, Linda Lung

Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Thank you for the update. I bet you were really happy when they said you could go home - as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home":)

I hope your Mum's friend is feeling better.

By the way, I know what you mean about how awful weekends are when you're in hospital. When my Dad was in hospital the weekends were so dull & boring, in fact he got very depressed.

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