8.24.2015

From London to the ER Part II

This part of the story includes me utilizing those glorious diapers one too many times, and everyone in the room being none the wiser.

I walked into the ER less than 30 minutes after deplaning, and the place was empty. Not that I didn't think my cancer card would trump most people waiting, but I didn't have to play it, so it didn't matter. Unless I'm feeling like total crap, I keep that baby in my back pocket.

They sat me down and took my vitals. They only thing I heard was that my heart rate was 150, and they were going to put me in room 32. The one place I had been dreaming about over for almost 36 hours was finally surrounding me, and a bed and some fluids were minutes away. After 12 hours of very ill traveling, it sounded like heaven to me. Especially if I was directly across the hall from the bathroom.

After explaining to everyone that I had literally gotten back from London in the last hour, my situation seemed under control. It's not like I was returning from a third world country, but perhaps they were just amazed I made it back in one piece. I was hooked up to fluids, provided one of those special bloody samples for the nurse, and eventually had enough fluids in me to reinflate my veins for blood cultures. Oh, and I let an extremely attractive ER doctor check out my backside.

That very attractive doctor took a look at my ass to make sure the bleeding wasn't coming from hemorrhoids. Apparently me saying, "Yeah, it's not. I can assure you!" didn't work and over to the left I rolled. I missed this part, but according to Kyle he said my back end apparently looked perfectly normal. Only I would take that as a compliment given everything the poor thing has been through.

Parenting with Cancer 101.
I eventually settled off into sleep, and was taken to my room around midnight. Because of my accelerated heart rate, they put me on the cardiac floor so I could be monitored around the clock. I was still violently shivering from the fever as I sat on the edge of the bed and the nurse stuck heart rate monitors all over my naked self. She dressed me, covered me with a warm blanket and told me that was all my little malnourished shivery self was going to get. Apparently anything more than a warm blanket is bad for a fever, but laying in bed shivering violently for hours is fine.

All those heart rate monitors would prove useful a couple of hours later when my heart rate took off and the nurses started pouring in. It was over 150 again, my blood pressure was dropping rabidly, and my fever was rising despite the Tylenol I was given when I got to my room. I vaguely remember looking over at the gaggle of nurses, hearing the word sepsis and starting to really get concerned for the first time all day. I knew sepsis was serious, and finally admitted to myself that I might actually be very sick. The concern turned to fear when a nurse came over to my shivering self and told me I wasn't going to like it, but they needed surround me in ice packs to get my temperature down.

Because my vitals had been so erratic, I was put on the "fall risk" list because of my potential to pass out and hit my head in the bathroom. This included an alarm on my bed, which I didn't take too kindly to. For a girl going to the bathroom every 10 minutes, having to call a nurse was a drag. I got to the point of asking for either a bed pan or a diaper, which I was denied. And what happens when you tell an ornery girl with the runs no? She gives the nurse a reason to change her sheets. A few minutes later, my bathroom door cracked open and my first glorious diaper was handed to me. My first of many, many glorious diapers.

Gloriously sexy diapers. 
The diapers were a lifesaver, as after they released me from solitary confinement in my bed. Making it to the bathroom would still be a challenge for the next two days. Kyle would like me to tell everyone about the time the hospital doctor came in to check on me during his rounds. As he stood there talking, the urge hit. And short of being rude and interrupting him, I utilized the diaper with a smile on my face. He had no clue, but Kyle sure enjoyed the idea that I (who won't event fart in front of him) was sitting there crapping my diaper 2 feet from a total stranger.

The bathroom and those diapers continued to be my friend for the next day, until they ruled out C. diff and I was finally able to take some Lomotil. One dose and things went silent in my gut.

The final verdict was "neutropenic fever and colitis." All samples and cultures ruled out any other type of infection. My body simply freaked out on itself, and my chronic lack of white blood cells. I knew London was not to blame. This was confirmed when the infectious disease doctor finally came in to sign off on my discharge. He seemed far more interested in my trip to London (and seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet), than the fact that I walked into that hospital a very sick mess.

This could have happened to me anywhere, in any country. I'm just grateful to have made it almost 4 years without ever being sick while my counts are extremely low. I went home, resumed drinking my daily dose of kefir, and within 48 hours things were back on their very predicable schedule and I was full steam ahead.

Mommy can go to London and the hospital any time she wants if it means
this kid ends up with a giant bar of Cadbury.
At least it's on the rocks, and not room temperature toilet water.
CT time. 4 days without a shower, and a body that's been to the bottom
and back. Oh, and nothing to control that curly mess that's growing in
on top. Results: inflamed intestines (no surprise) and a preview of my
latest PET - a perfectly cancer-free abdomen.





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