Tag Archive: hospital


post-opHello to all you wonderful people.

It is now 24 hours since I went under the knife. I didn’t post yesterday after the procedure for obvious reasons. Lynne, you were so very right and at the same time very wrong. You said that after the Versed went in I wouldn’t really care about what they were doing to me. Not only didn’t I care but about 10 seconds after the Versed went in I found myself in the recovery room. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Looker” from the early 80s; that is truly the feeling of time hiccupping.

Admittedly, the other effect of the time skip is the realisation that first you are dizzy and mildly disoriented. Secondly, there is great pain in your belly. It took me until today to realise that the pain felt like I was about to have a small creature ‘bust’ out of it and start singing ‘Hello my baby.’ About the time I woke up they administered some painkiller into my IV. Once I went from a 6 to about a 3 or 4 they sent me out of recovery back to a room.

In my room I waited for about 5 minutes before my glasses, iPhone and most importantly a Heather followed me. I was very happy to hear that Heather had broken her revulsion of Facebook long enough to post the news that I was fine and in recovery. I realise that everyone knew I was going to be fine. I knew (intellectually) I was going to be fine. But then there is emotional “Theatre of the Mind” which can think of unending terrors to eat away at intellectual reason.

The day was spent pretty much on the reclining sofa in the living room bouncing between unconscious and eating while pretty much consistently in pain. I was so out of it that I slept through 2 episodes of Doctor Who. I have an ice bag for my tummy, which has an amazingly deep navel now. People were wonderful in helping me get things, as standing up is a horrid strain on my body. Just being in a standing position is absolutely a horrid and burning thing. I finally realised what this specific pain felt like.

In the evening, Dinner was light. I skipped Arrow although it is on the DVR and went to bed around 9:30. I wish this had been uneventful.

Bed was unpleasant bordering on nightmarish. First there was the laying down bit. In general, you really have no idea how much you use your abdominal muscles until the thought of them hurts like an ice pick shoved in your stomach. Once actually in bed, you are laying basically flat. This is essentially standing but at a different pitch of rotation. Fortunately with a great mound of pillows I was able to get enough bend that it quieted down the throng of screaming nerve endings. I think they are planning a revolt.

The good news is that there is Norco (Vicodin + Acetaminophen). The bad news is that reaching it on the bedside table is worse than laying down in bed. All it requires one to do is to roll over using and twisting their abs. Heather actually pushed me to roll me. And at that moment I flashed on what being 90 must be like. This made me grumpy. With meds however, I was able to roll a little and sleep. Granted, the latter might be more on the order of passing out from Vicodin aided unconsciousness, but that is neither here nor there.

So for the next day or so… there is recovery, pain and Vicodin. I chatted briefly with my team at work. My manager knew I was doing this and we’d scheduled the time off.

However, in the meantime…

I can not in any way sufficiently show my appreciation for the comments, likes, and support from friends and family through Facebook. Over 7 posts there were nearly 100 ‘likes’ and 90 comments of support. While this isn’t the Academy Awards; beyond thanking everyone there are a couple of people I really have to take notice of:

Michelle Ma… and Erica… two people I haven’t seen in far too long. Both sent me very lovely messages of support outside of commenting on one of my posts. My dearest Carleen, one of my closest friends in college and someone who knew how dearly I crushed for her, Carleen sent a comment that had an image of a bouquet of flowers. I have no idea why this touched me so much, but it just made me smile and the pain subsided for a little.

Obviously also is Heather who cared for me while I was getting ready the night before the surgery and especially for updating everyone when she got the news from the doctor. I do not envy her life in pain, but it makes her so amazing when I am suffering. Both she and additionally Kylie (who helps around the house) have been beyond amazing in helping me as I meander around the house like a 90 year old.

But, I really must give a should out to Michelle Mc… Honestly, I haven’t seen her since a Pennsic that was approximately 15 or so years ago. She and her (now) husband were in the neighboring camp. Michelle talked (online chatted) with me most of the morning while I was waiting for nurses, injections, IV, etc. She was calming, reassuring, and above all else distracting. It was like having a friend in the triage room holding my hand. It was a very special thing to me and I will likely never have the chance to do for her, what she did for me. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try :)

Well, the next Vicodin is beginning to kick in. The number of typos I am making is enough that auto-correct is beginning to scowl at me.

Again, thank you to everyone for the kind words, support, and just mentions of thinking of me. I am so proud and blessed to know about 95% of you personally (There were a couple of friends of friends that were equally nice, but unknown to me :)

Once I can move without pain again, I really would like to offer each and everyone of you a huge hug!

Love to all.

Andrei with a huge belly button divot again.

I got very sick yesterday at work. My fever peaked at about 101.3. Last night I went to MedExpress in Monroeville and managed to pass out while they were taking my BP. So from there they sent me to a hospital.

At the hospital while trying to draw blood I managed to pass out again and then managed to crash. My temp was at 103.1 (which in my opinion is a radio station, not a human temperature). They moved me to an emergency triage room, drew blood, hydrated me, and gave me an anti-mimetic, morphine, and a whole bunch of other things. At this point my typical 128/72 BP was reading at 84/42.

I was told they were admitting me. Amazingly in 40+ years this is the 2nd time I’ve been admitted to a hospital and even the 1st time shouldn’t count as I was 5 for an outpatient procedure they felt would be better as inpatient due to my age. My BP and temp were worrisome enough, but the blood test showed my white blood cell count was VERY high. They also wanted to run a CT scan. I hadn’t eaten, but they weren’t sure if I might need surgery, so they didn’t permit me to eat or drink.

I got to spend the night in a nice single room in the hospital and around 10am the nurse called a doctor and got permission for me to get food… Starting at lunch. Fortunately Heather showed up and brought my computer and power cables and then ran down to the cafe and got me a banana and a bag of Fritos (The latter of which isn’t sitting as well as I’d hoped)

So… Now I am in the hospital with no real knowledge of release or what the diagnosis is. I’m feeling about 80% as compared to the 10% last night. I’m even trying to do some work to stay on top of things.

I’d welcome visits from friends. I’d ask that you email or IM first. (If you don’t have an email to contact me… ) This is why I’ve been vague on “The hospital.” When you contact me I’ll give the details.

Not doing too badly. Don’t know the details, still.

-Me

This post contains some medical information that may be TMI; but I try to softball it. Also: The picture to the side is fake. This is not what I looked like during the episode.

This morning I awoke to an annoying feeling that there was something in my mouth. Sadly that object was my tongue; but it was assuredly the wrong size. The left side was noticeably larger than it should be.

When I was in my graduate school years, I began experiencing random episodes of Angioedema. Initially I’d believed that my arches were falling from doing too much folk dancing on a paved drill deck. I’d feel swelling on the bottoms of my feet. Then it spread to my hands, and at rare times my face. The usual target was my lips. The most entertaining episode was a swelling of my eyelids the day I was helping to teach a class on Origami. My friend in the group who was Japanese took one look at me and said, “You’ve gone a bit overboard for this.” I replied, “Ironically timed illness.” The worst episode had my face swollen to the point that my eyes wouldn’t open. My ex-gf to this day tells me it wasn’t as bad as I think. (I still believe she lies really well.)

I didn’t know what it was because typically by the time I’d gotten to a doctor, it had faded. After a FULL battery of scratch tests, I came back negative on all counts. Allergists put me on Zyrtec and Zantac as sort of a “Hopeful Guardian”. The random flares subsided but never went away. For the longest time the culprit remained unknown.

We turn the clock forward a smidge over a decade and now I have a 6 month old child. One night the child is really crying. We call the doctor and he says it could be teething or a mild fever and to give him children’s liquid Motrin. Filling the alligator dosage spoon is a very messy job. Motrin is also annoyingly sticky. And about 30 minutes after dosing the infant… my hands were hurting. No, they were swelling. The reason I didn’t place a link for Motrin is because of what it is. Motrin is liquid Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen was something we used in abundance in my grad school days.

It turns out that Ibuprofen only has a half-life of 1.8 – 2 hrs. This of course is based on how it is distributed to the system. You don’t take “Ibuprofen” directly, you take it in a pill that releases it over a certain amount of time. Liquid and gel forms are more fast-acting. This would explain why one or two ibuprofen tablets wouldn’t show a reaction for several hours and not be really noticeable for making a connection. It would also explain that taking one or two maximum dosage tablets (and why would a college student ever think of exceeding the daily dosage of a painkiller) might have a cascade effect.

So with the reaction to my hands from the Motrin and the thoughts back to college. Okay… cut out ibuprofen. Easy. And the number of episodes of Angioedema became negligible.

The clock of reminiscence returns to today.

I woke up this morning and my tongue was very swollen. I went to the bathroom and opened my mouth to look. This caused my tongue to move back in my throat. Bad plan. I choked for about 45 seconds trying to clear my airways. This I fortunately succeeded at. Blessings upon the great Saint Demosthenes and his determination to fight a speech impediment. I was only concerned with maintaing a slow and calmed breathing pattern. I knew that if I couldn’t muster that, well… I had to muster there was really no choice.

I woke Heather calmly and signed to her that I was swelling and having difficulty breathing. It was also obvious that Demosthenes be damned, it was nearly impossible for me to talk. Swallowing and/or talking led to me having to re-adjust or choke a little.

In her words “I’m not panicking, I’m just energized.” I kept mouthing to her with a smile, “You lie.” She was determined to convince me that she wasn’t panicked and works great in a crisis. It was tense as we located the nearest hospital. The problem with Yogic breathing and concentration is that when you tell the drone at the emergency room, “My husband is having an allergic reaction, his tongue is swelled and he’s having difficulty breathing.” they tend not to get very fazed. She was about as deadpan and dis-interested as imaginable. In retrospect, understandable. At the time in question ANNOYING! She paged the staff and said, “Triage: Patient has swollen tongue and difficulty breathing.” And a nurse and tech appeared within about 15 seconds. Yay medically trained people.

Within about 10 minutes I was in a room and being prepped for an IV. My BP was 158/88. My BP NEVER goes above 132/76. The nurse looked at me and said, “Do you usually take your BP when suffocating from anaphylaxis?” She also said I’d be good as new and I asked if I’d be able to play the piano again to which she responded, “Absolutely, and pitch for the Yankees as well as you did before as well.” She was good.

The IV cocktail was a combination of Benadryl, Pepcid (Similar to Ranitidine) and some steroid that I don’t remember. They three kept (and to the moment still keep) me kinda loopy with waves of clarity. As of 6pm the bouts of clarity are much better. Thank you to EVERYONE who commented.

As a result, I am now the owner of an EpiPen. I’ve known people who’ve had them. However, until about 15 minutes ago when my prescription was handed to me, I’d never seen one, seen one used, etc. And no, “Pulp Fiction” used Adrenaline. So the chance of something like this happening again are much more reduced.

The cause is still up in the air and as mentioned, we’ve already begun scheduling my trip to an allergist.

Thank you one last time for all your good wishes. All is well.