Breathing is Overrated…

which is a common theme of this blog and my life, it seems.  PulseOx is not cooperating-down to 89-so I’m back on oxygen.  The respiratory tech who came in to give me my breathing treatment just now said, “Thank God you’re so nice to me.”  Really?  She then went on to tell me that there were other patients who were incredibly mean to her because they didn’t want to be here.  Well I don’t want to be here either, but that doesn’t mean I have to be crabby to people.  They’re just trying to help.  

What is it about hospitals that bring out the crackpots?  There was WienerMan the other day, and apparently the patient in the room before WienerMan was a serious kleptomaniac (maybe that room is possessed…).  The care tech told me she caught him with a whole SUITCASE of graham crackers as he was being discharged.
I should explain that late at night, if you get the munchies, and providing they have the supplies, the nurse or care tech or whomever will bring you some graham crackers and milk.  It’s delicious!  So apparently Mr. Klepto was here awhile, requested an inordinate amount of graham crackers every night, and was hoarding them in his suitcase.  So next thing I hear is the care tech yelling (!!) at him, “Sir?  You just don’t DO that!”  These crackers are for everyone on the floor!”  (I don’t think he got to take them home.) So later, the tech is in my room telling me about this, and I immediately start to feel guilty, because I save my leftover condiments for later meals (so as not to waste them).  I also save the leftover bottled water so that I don’t have to bother the techs all the time for water.  The lights were shining brightly on me, so I confessed, and showed her my stash.  Three containers of pancake syrup, a pack of ketchup, and three water bottles.  I expect to be arrested, or at least yelled at, but she says to me, “Baby, that’s different.  These came up on your food tray.  They were specifically for you, so it’s okay to save them.  That man was stealing from the canteen, which is for everyone on this floor, patients and employees alike.”  I never thought of it that way.  So apparently hospitals bring out the worst in some people. I have found that (for the most part anyway) hospitals also bring out the best in their employees.  These people at Wingnut General have been fantastic.  Now I had a couple of sadists when I was here for the pancreatitis episodes, but I guess no one’s perfect.

My best friend finally got to meet “the Famous Dr. Dash” as she calls him, and it was hilarious.  They are both from different parts of the country, and apparently not too fond of the other person’s part of the country as a rule.  Dash told my friend that he interviewed for a job when he first got out of medical school in what was basically her backyard, took one look at all the cornfields, and said to himself, “Nope!  This place is not for me!” To which she replied something to the effect of “well you come from a bunch of inbreeders in the country”, and it was love at first sight.  They both started laughing and later Dash asked me had he laid it on too thick with my friend, and I told him no, she loved him.  (She does, but it’s because she’s my best friend and he keeps me alive.)

Also feeling incredibly dizzy today, maybe from the lack of oxygen.  Was up all night again last night, so I slept most of the morning.  Had the worst headache followed by severe night sweats and was generally just uncomfortable.  I’m just tired of feeling like crud.  Maybe it will get better tomorrow.



yeah so I was brushing my teeth with my electric toothbrush and one of the hospital staff told me it sounded like a sex toy, which it does.  It got me to thinking, they must really see some crazy things here.  I also switched back to the manual toothbrush they found for me the first day I was in here.  I don’t want to give them any ideas.

Criminals and Aliens

So I’m back in the hospital with a severe asthma attack; breathing’s for sissies.  I spent 8 days in June in the hospital with pancreatitis again, but that time the puking was worse than the pain (so no inclination to blog, sorry). I puked my guts up, and as I was looking in the garbage can, the nurse asked me what I was looking for, and I told her:  “My pancreas!  If it’s in here, I can go home!”  Finally got discharged with adequate pain meds this time, but fortunately only had to use them once.  Pain is pretty much gone now, thank goodness. Still have to see Junior at the end of the month; hope this is over with.

Got admitted this past Monday; was coughing like crazy, could not breathe.  Basically I sounded like a phone sex operator, low voice, heavy breathing on the phone, answering the phone with “What are you wearing?” or “Take your pants off!” so when it gets that bad it’s time to see the pulmonologist.  I don’t think I’ve posted anything about him before, so here’s the basics:  he’s a medical genius, hilarious, and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I truly believe I would not be alive if it wasn’t for him.  He found my CVID (which is why I no longer live in the hospital, despite what you read here.  I’m not being admitted every 6 weeks for an infection anymore; Google CVID).  Anyway, suffice to say I love him, (not romantically, but you know what I mean), and he’s turned me on to a fantastic immunologist (more on him in another post). For purposes of anonymity, I’ll call him Dash, as in Dash Riprock (again, Google him) because apparently he’s got women (nurses, admitting techs, care techs, etc.) who are in LOVE with him.  I had a nurse once who wouldn’t shut up about how lucky I was to have him as a doctor, and that once she had this crud I had and had to be hospitalized, and she was soooo disappointed because she got another doctor in the group.  Frankly it was kind of weird listening to her talk about him that way.  Anyway, the other women tell me he looks like one of those suave soap opera doctors, (trust me, he does NOT), so I don’t get the attraction thing at all. One of my care techs told me yesterday that when Dash comes on the floor, there’s this one nurse who just sighs, moons at him, and literally can’t talk to him because she’s so nervous.  Hilarious. 

So why the introduction, other than he’s a major player in my health care?  Because, of course, I had a bizarre dream about him Monday night.  The dream started out just like the appointment I had on Monday.  I was in his office, coughing like crazy, trying to negotiate a cough syrup instead of a hospital stay, which of course went nowhere.  (“You didn’t pack a bag?  You should have known better!” etc.).   Anyway I was explaining to him why I called him (the phone sex operator bit) and we (Dash, his nurse, and I) were all laughing about it.  Then I went to the hospital.  The next morning, around 4AM, four of my relatives (one of them dead IRL) came to visit and said one word to me:  “Goodbye!”  (WAIT! Where am I going?? But they left.). So then Dash comes in and tells me he’s discharging me from the hospital.  I tell him I still feel miserable, and ask him why he’s discharging me, and he says, “Well, we here at the Pulmonology Federal Reserve Lung and Phlegm Society (PFRLPS) have long suspected you were an alien, and you confirmed it for us yesterday, so the aliens are coming to take you back to your home planet.”  So I told him, “What makes you think I’m an alien?  I’m NOT!” and he ROLLS his eyes at me and says, “Phone sex operator?  There’s no such thing as a phone sex operator.  That’s how we knew.”  So I exclaim, “Yes there is!  Now, I haven’t personally spoken to one of them, but they do exist!  And who’s this WE business?” at which point I see three other doctors from PFRLPS standing in the doorway, agreeing with Dash.  IRL, I’ve seen these guys in the hospital on many occasions and they are all fantastic, but the only things can think to say to these 3 stooges as I’m leaving is, “You know your website is full of typographical errors, right?  It makes you look really unprofessional!” (which again IRL is true.  Their website drives me nuts), and the middle stooge says to me:  “You’re OCD!”

So then the nurse wheels me out into the hallway in my wheelchair, and leaves me and I realize the hospital is totally empty.  So I’m standing there with my car keys in my hand, so I go to my car to avoid the aliens.  I get to the first traffic light in front of the hospital, and the alien ship shows up hovering over my car, trying to beam me up, but since I don’t have a sunroof in the car, the only thing they’re successful at is banging my head on the roof of the car, which is giving me a severe headache.  The light changes to green, so I get away from them, but at the next red light they try again to beam me up, but again my head just hits the roof of the car, and Ouch 2.0.  So the next light goes to the interstate, so I think, “Hey!  If I get on the freeway I won’t have to stop and they can’t beam me up!” But at that point my nurse IRL woke me up because it was time for my solumedrol, so who knows if I ever got abducted. 😟

Also, there’s been this old guy here all week with wiener problems (he’s in the next room to me; I hear the urologist go in all the time) who’s been screaming at my nurse all week.  He won’t use the call button, just screams “NURSE!!” at the top of his lungs every three seconds; it’s one reason I haven’t been sleeping at night. Anyway there was a huge commotion this morning, and he attacked my nurse! She was messing with his catheter and he punched her twice (HARD) and then kicked her violently.  The transport tech was in the room, so she saw it all, but of course the man denied it to the doctor’s face (“I never touched her! She’s LYING!!”). She’s my nurse and was telling me about it because I asked what all the screaming was earlier this AM. For the record, she’s a fantastic nurse and from what I could hear, she in no way provoked him, he was just an ass.  So they called the police to escort him off the property and he can no longer be admitted to to this hospital for any reason. The nurse also told me they called ALL of his relatives and no one would claim him (go figure) so they called him a cab and disposed of him via that route.  

So it’s been an interesting stay this time.  Excellent medical care with a side of cray-cray.  Stay tuned.

Eyes Wide Shut

So in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m an entertainment junkie who loves movies and music (why I picked that crappy Tom Cruise movie for a title, though, is beyond me.  Must be the pain meds).  Now my best friend Barry doesn’t understand watching the same movie 35 times.  He always asks me, “Did the ending change?”, but he’s 10 years younger than I am and has yet to understand the finer points of senility.  Plus with these movie studios nowadays shooting more than one ending so you’ll buy the blu-ray, it’s possible that yes, the ending did change.

Is today the day you set the clocks forward?  I can’t remember.  

The nurse never came back to repair my IV dressing, so I went to bed.  She forgot to reset the call button, however, so every 5 minutes after that ALL NIGHT LONG it was, <beep> “Can I help you?” Repeat.  Ad infinitum et ultra.  They couldn’t even send in someone to reset the call button, that’s how lazy [busy?] they are.  She finally showed up at 4:00 AM after I asked the care tech who took my vitals about it.  I’m on the labor and delivery floor this time.  I’ve literally been in the hospital so many times that I’ve been on every floor of it, and recognize most, if not all, of the nurses I have had this time, but this floor has been the worst floor I’ve ever been on in this hospital.  I’m convinced that unless you are actively giving birth at the time, they could care less about helping you, although last Sunday I was actively giving birth to my pancreas, and they didn’t care; they seemed to enjoy my screaming.  My niece found a baby monitor in the room when she visited means apparently they were listening to me scream all night and laughing (my nurse that night was named Ratched, but that’s a whole ‘nother post). It’s a minimum of 30 minutes before a nurse will come help you for anything. My meds have been consistently late, yet they always have an excuse as to why they are late.  The only exception to this rule seems to be the care techs, all of whom have been awesome, and my nurse Nikki, the one who told me I was her mother’s white twin.  She really treated me like I was her own mother, no pun intended.  Respiratory was supposed to be here at 8:00 AM.  Still haven’t seen them today.  It’s 9:30 and I haven’t had my morning meds yet.  My Synthroid was due at 7:30 AM.  Press the call button, wait 25 minutes for them to answer, rinse and repeat.

Anyway, the nurse eventually did fix up my arm:

The dressing was coming almost all the way off and I was afraid my midline was going to get infected.  The IV team is supposed to come change the dressing every four days (learned that last time I was here) but I’ve been here a week and haven’t seen them since they originally put it in.  The RN who installed my midline was the one who found the blood clot in my arm last time I was here and remembered me.

Waiting on breakfast.  I need to eat, even though it hurts (I was up all night with the pain again) and I’m not pooping (who knows WHERE my food’s going; I don’t even want to think about that). Pancakes and grits.  That’s pretty soft and hopefully won’t hurt too much.

Saw the gastroenterologist this morning.  He says the lumps are hematomas from my blood being so thin and not to worry about it.  He says I need to work out my discharge from the hospital with the hospitalist since he won’t be covering the hospital tomorrow, so I’ll see what she says today.  I have (surprisingly) had a fantastic hospitalist during the week.  The weekend one?  Not so much.  So hopefully either today or tomorrow I will go home, provided I meet my goals:

I think a more important goal is “be able to poop” but I’ve been here so long that I’m becoming obsessed with it like the doctors and nurses are; or perhaps since I’ve only pooped three times in the past 8 days I’m just worried it’s going to back up and start coming out of my ears.  Maybe that’s how I got the poop behind my ears the other day; it backed up and I never realized it.  It doesn’t explain the poop between the toes, though.

I’m new at this blogging thing, so I’m learning every day.  I just figured out that I can post pictures on my blog, thus today’s blog embellishments.  And this Miralax is vile.

I Had A Bad Day

Had a crappy day today.  I was up all night in pain.  It was really uncomfortable, so I only got a couple hours sleep.  Then I woke up feeling nauseous (or is it nauseated?  I always get those two mixed up), and that sucks.  I slept most of the day as a result.  

They gave me regular food to eat tonight.  It was delicious, but I’m up again tonight, hurting.  The pain is better than last night, but it’s still here. I’m making progress, though, because I’ve started dreaming again.  I have really vivid dreams, and pretty much the entire time I’ve been hospitalized, I haven’t dreamed, which is weird for me, since I dream almost every night. I had a couple of strange dreams when I got close to discharge from here last time, and one at the rehab hospital, but that was it.  Last night’s dream was that I was diagnosed with blood cancer.  I don’t remember the details, but I remember being in the ER, with the doctor telling me I had blood cancer, and I asked him, “Do you mean leukemia?” and he said, “Yes,” so I asked him, “So what do we do with this?” and he said, “You’ll have to see an oncologist.” and then I woke up.  I hope I’m not psychic. I have been in he past, and frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if I ended up with cancer (it’s just about the only major disease I don’t have at this point).

It hurts when I breathe deep and on my left side, and I’ve discovered two lumps in my stomach tonight that weren’t there yesterday that are concerning me.  I found them in the shower tonight.  I had scar tissue in my belly while they were giving me Lovenox (injectable blood thinner, goes in the stomach) but they stopped the Lovenox earlier this week, so it can’t be that.  Plus the scar tissue that I had previously is gone.  I have to remember to ask the doctor about it tomorrow.

Despite the pain, I am making progress.  I’m off the oxygen, currently satting around 92, which should be higher, but it’s better than 85, which it was when I got here.  The pain is getting better, so I hope to go home tomorrow or Monday at the latest.  The hospitalist wants me out ASAP, but the gastroenterologist says don’t be too anxious to leave, because he wants me fully healed before I go.  I was so green when I saw him this morning, I just moaned, so he said he’d see me tomorrow.  I hope to eat solids tomorrow, and then go home in Monday.   I’m still in pain from the pancreatitis, though, and I don’t want to go home and have the kind of pain I had that brought me here.

Also, I’m not really pooping again.  I had a small watery diarrhea this morning, but for the most part am constipated from the pain medication. That’s also painful.  So I’m eating the colace pills and drinking the disgusting Miralax (they claim you can’t taste it, but trust me, it’s vile) and once again on Poopwatch.

I’m up hurting, waiting on the pain medication, watching bad reality TV.  Sex Sent Me to the ER, Untold Stories of the ER, etc.  Now the latter was pretty interesting this time because it was a Valentine’s Day episode, and some guy gave his new wife a) a blender and b) diamond earrings for V-Day and what does she do but drop an earring into the blender.  Rather than tip the blender over and dump out the contents, (safety first, people!!) she sticks her hand in, leans over, and her boob accidentally hits the pulse button and blends her hand.  Awesome.  Did I mention safety first, people?

I had as bunch of visitors yesterday, and today as well.  My sister Niecy came by, and my friend Amy (all names changed in this blog to protect the innocent), and of course the hospitalist, the gastroenterologist, and the PA from my pulmonologist’s office.  She was asking for my history, so I was explaining everything, and her face lit up, and she exclaimed, “I remember you!  You were in agony last time I saw you!” So we caught up with the latest that was going on with me, and ended up chatting like old friends.  All of the people in my pulmonologist’s group are really fantastic, not just the doctors, but the PAs, the front desk people, the intake people, the RNs that work for the doctors, everyone is just top notch, and I honestly believe I would not be alive if it weren’t for these people.  My pulmonologist is a genius!  He’s the one who found my CVID, and he found my immunologist (who is also in the group) for me, who is also a genius.

So the bills have started coming in (I’ve been hospitalized for the better part of 8 weeks now) and the first hospital bill was $89,671.24.  Thank God for insurance!

Just got the pain medication.  I’ve got a midline in because I just can’t keep an IV in, and my dressing is in tatters, so my nurse is coming back to change it in a few.  I hope it’s not infected.  It hurts, but I think the pain is from the tape pulling on my skin and not from an infection, although I am really hot right now.  I’m sweating like a pig and it’s fairly cool in here.  It could be the steroids, though, because they always make me hot.  I’m still itching like a crazy person, too, again from the pain medication, so yet another reason I can’t sleep.  That and bad TV.

Time to get the dressing changed, and to find out about that guy’s surgery for a testicular torsion.  Ouch.

Water You Waiting For?

I should have started off this blog with a warning that if cuss words, bodily functions, body parts, medical procedures etc. upset or offend you, then you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.  I am very blunt, so you always know where you stand with me, and I’m telling it like it is (or not, this blog could be primarily fiction), mainly because no one really knows about this blog, so I don’t think I have any readers.  It’s a way of documenting my medical experiences as well as whining to no one in particular.  I’m not a whiner in person, so this blog lets me do that and blow off steam at the same time, without bothering my real time peeps or my doctors.

That being said, the poopwatch is definitely over.  This morning I had to pee more out of my back then out of my front.  The watery diarrhea has finally arrived.  Of course, they are all consumed here with poop in the hospital, so I had to tell everyone that I had hot, watery diarrhea.  And honestly, after straining yesterday for 45 minutes in agony, that watery stream felt pretty good.  It shot out of me like hot water out of a summer hose.  Oh, what a feeling.  Heaven.

Speaking of Heaven, the Lord really does work in mysterious ways.  I was sitting here this morning thinking how nice it would be to have some life savers, or butterscotch, or peppermints, or something, since my mouth is pretty dry, and who unexpectedly shows up but a lady I work with and what did she bring me?  Peppermints.  I was flabbergasted!  A) because she came to visit at all, (she’s really nice but we don’t even work in the same building), and B) she brought me peppermints!  Thank you, Jesus!

Had a shower this morning, and boy do I feel better!  It’s so nice to be clean and smell good.  This stool softener has given me a real case of the farts and sitting here in the bed I look like PigPen from the Charlie Brown cartoons, surrounded permanently by a brown cloud.  Fortunately they don’t smell, or at least I hope they don’t.  I’m not really sure because my sinuses are clogged, but I’ve had several visitors today, doctors (including one lost OB/GYN–I’m on the labor and delivery floor; I don’t know who was more surprised, me or him), nurses, care techs, the girl from work, my cousin and her husband, and none of them passed out or even coughed, so I think I’m good.  

OMG!  Law and Order, and for only $9.95 Chef Tony will send me his cleaning secret!  Where’s my willpower when I need it?  I might need to know Chef Tony’s cleaning secret!  And he’ll double the offer and throw in two cleaning sponges if I call now!  I think honestly I’d rather see the pizza commercials.  


Ok so maybe the liquids weren’t such a good idea.  I was up most of the night in pain.  Do you realize the dangers of this?  There’s QVC, HSN, and any number of infomercials that normal people can ignore, but when you’re bored in the hospital while hopped up on pain meds and good credit?  Watch out!  Fortunately, though, for me at least, with boredom along comes apathy, so I didn’t care that I didn’t have Isaac Mizrahi’s Copper Infused Healthy Lingerie !available in 5 colors! at the bargain price of $219.99, payable in three monthly installments.

However those infernal pizza commercials will drive you crazy!  The absolute worst pizza on the planet, is, in my opinion, Papa John’s (leathery crust, lame pizza sauce, and ingredients from a can that are supposedly “fresh”), but even that looks appetizing when you can’t eat.  Ok well maybe Domino’s pizza is actually the worst, but only because I ordered one for delivery about 12 years ago, and they never delivered it. When I called to ask about it, the girl said they were out of the pizza I wanted and they were NOT GOING TO DELIVER ME A PIZZA.  Now that would have been fine had I been at home and could have gone out to get something to eat, but I was alone at a friends house with no transportation  or money (long story for another time), just a lone check she had left me, made out to Domino’s Pizza, never to be cashed.  Needless to say, since I like to write, I wrote a very nasty letter to the Domino’s CEO and to their credit, they never responded.  So, since then I’ve spent (in a conservative estimate) eleventy billion dollars in pizza (hey! No judgement!  I love Italian food!) and not one penny has gone to Domino’s Pizza, nor will any of my future pizza money.  It used to go to Pizza Hut, but they’ve shortened their baking times in an effort to save money so half the time the pan pizzas are raw on the bottom, and the whole appeal of a pan pizza is the crunch of the crust.  Am I right here, lovely reader?

As a result, currently my pizza of choice lately has been Little Caeser’s.  Their deep dish pizza is square, crunchy, and frankly pretty delicious for being so reasonably priced.  And now that it’s encased in bacon?  Puh-leeze.  Stick a fork in it, ‘cuz I’m diggin’ in!  Also, they have the four piece version available at lunch with a drink for $5 and that’s a bargain.

So where was I?  Oh.  The hospitalist just came in and I told her about the pain from last night and lickety split I’m back on the clear liquids.  Crap.  (Wish I could, but that’s another blog post…)