I am starting with “Good Morning” because it is 1 in the afternoon on Sunday and I have just woken up, for the 6th time today. The good news is that I’m out of the hospital; the bad news is it’s still going to be several days until I have fully recuperated. I’m going to try to stay awake long enough to explain what happened that put me in the hospital; cover what I went through to come to a diagnosis, and finally what my state is now. (I may doze off spontaneously; if so, I will note time that elapsed.)
As mentioned in my last post, I left work with a 101.3 temperature, and by the time I got to the hospital, my breathing was shallow, I had pain in the centre of my chest, I was dizzy, unfocussed, and hyper sensitized. First at Med Express and then in the triage room at Forbes General I was given a standard physical stimulus (blood pressure reading and blood draw) that caused an excessively and intensely high level of pain. In both instances I had a vagsovagal syncope. This is a very fancy way of saying ‘I fainted.’ I use the former term because it’s nowhere near as graceful or romantic as you see in the movies. (This link details the TMI) I am lucky that my S.O. was there to pull the wheelchair away the 2nd time because I surely would have injured myself on it. (Dozed for 30 minutes) The only thought going through my head as I spilled onto the floor was that my father would be amused that I’d become a “GOMER” and gone to ground. Beginning to lose consciousness in a triage room tends to attract attention. There were about 3-4 people who rushed in to pick me up.
The doctor at MedExpress thought it might be pancreatitis, but figured a CT scan would be necessary to determine, which they couldn’t do there. After the syncope at MedExpress I was feeling somewhat better. It took about 30 minutes to ride to Forbes Regional. During that time I was moving back to the state I was in earlier. They needed to bring me in by wheelchair. Triage saw my fever was up to 103.1 and the blood draw caused the 2nd syncope. This one was worse. (I sat up to keep an eye on the kids as they got ready to go to the pool in the back yard and my BP dropped. Dizzy spell lasted about 30 minutes)
Once the syncope at Forbes had passed they moved me to emergency triage. Again after the episode I was feeling back up to about 85%. I knew that it was more than likely within 30 minutes I’d be down again. They were able to hook me up with an IV at that point and draw blood. Despite not having eaten for the day, I was able to give them a urine sample.
Forbes did a CT of my abdomen, x-rayed my chest, ran my blood and urine. Elevated white blood count, very low BP, and 103.1. They knew more tests needed to be run. I was admitted. Over the next two days there were more blood draws, an EKG, another CT, and a constant IV of Saline, antibiotics, anti-mimetic and steroids. The CT of my chest showed that I have a very deep, very small yet vicious pneumonia. I’d been diagnosed about a month and a half earlier with Bronchitis which by x-ray seemed accurate. It was in fact not just bronchitis, so I’ve been living with this pneumonia for about 1-2 months. This is an infection that affects the entire body. The symptoms can include hyper-sensitivity to allergens, mood changes, flu symptoms, the more I read in the death book (the internet) the more and more amazed I am at the periods of health I’ve been displaying.
By Saturday morning, I was fairly stabilised at about 85-90% of my normal healthy self. However, some other issues had been discovered. The EKG showed an irregular rhythm in my heart. Once “healthy” they want me to take a cardiac stress test. The blood tests also revealed hypothyroidism. This may explain, among other things, my inability to lose weight past a certain point.
So I was discharged Saturday with the following: a week of high intensity antibiotics, thyroid medication, a prescription for a heart stress test once I am healthy, and a followup with the doctor from the hospital in a week to recheck my progress. Emphasis here on the word progress.
I was NOT released from the hospital as “all better.” I was released as stable and improving with a diagnosis and medications. I am still having periods of BP drop which requires me to sit or lie down and hydrate more. I am not safe to drive at this point or lift heavy objects. (Hopefully in 3-5 days the meds will have rebalanced that.)
Needless to say, I must give immeasurable credit to my family. My MIL who was willing to drive in from Baltimore to take care of me. One friend who was willing to pull me to a better hospital if I felt under-treated in any way. And of course my immediate family, 3 other adults helping to wrangle two kids and coming to visit and prop me up while I am in this weakened state. H, a, S, D, and k, I love you all and the way you take care of each other and me as well. A support structure like I’ve always dreamed.
Mentally I have good focus during up periods. I just seem to have 10-15 minute spells every 1-2 hrs where I need to lie down. The stats geek in me wants to track them on a chart to make sure they are going down not up. Likely I will try to work from home for the next few days in a part-time sense. (Have to negotiate that with the boss and HR.) We’re really getting down to the wire with a really awesome product I’m working on and we need to get it over the line.
Lastly, I want to thank the friends and family who took out time to send good wishes either on this blog or the social media sites I’ve been posting to. Being in a cold hospital room alone (for the first time) has caused its share of minor PTSD. Last night I was not sleeping well because mentally I couldn’t get myself out of the hospital room. This morning I found myself on the living room couch drifting repeatedly into bad dreams and waking up startled on the couch. The contact and chat with friends has given me a grounding.
I’m not going to kid anyone. This was a very scary experience. I’ve gone through a’s birth which was scary because I thought I might lose my wife and unborn son. I went through a horrid stomach flu with my H. But to lay on the floor of a hospital Triage room convulsing and leave a hospital with no more than a potential solution… to have been in the hospital as a patient for the first time. To be there and not know why. I suppose I’m glad it wasn’t worse.
I’m better than I was Wednesday night. I’m recovering. But the next few days… They are still likely to be shaky.