Monday, March 26, 2012

Games People Play

You know People...I will do just about ANYTHING to write a blog to entertain you...

So, my blog readers, I decided that landing myself in the hospital would make excellent fodder for a blog.

Well, not really...

I mean, I DID end up in the hospital, but it was far from intentional.

Actually, it was my lower GI tract that decided that I was feeling far too healthy (and so I was burning the candle at both ends) and that by acting up I would not only slow down but I would have great material for the blog so that you might be entertained by my plight.

It all started make that Wednesday...

I went to Body Pump that evening (as usual) and picked up some Thai soup on the way home. Don't know why I went with soup---I usually run with pad thai or the grilled lemongrass beef---but fate was smiling on me (well, not exactly smiling...more like smirking).

When I got home with the soup I told AngelAmy that I was feeling a bit nauseated and not feeling so well so I ate a bit of soup and headed to bed...

at 8:30

that is sooooooo not me.

I was asleep by 9:30.

Again...soooooo not me.

In the middle of the night I started feeling...shall we say "funky"?

I knew I was in trouble when I woke up and didn't feel well enough to help with a project at school and then I knew I was in big time trouble when I knew I didn't feel well enough to go to J'taime Jamie's spin class.

If I am going to miss spin then I am either:
1)stuck with a project or meeting I can't get out of no matter what
2)one of my children is ill or needs me to take them to the doctor or meeting or something
3)I am at death's door

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen...the answer to "why did Anice miss spin?" is #3...

I'm kidding...I wasn't LITERALLY at death's door but what I had was nothing to fool around with....and I have had a friend die from it.

What I have...if you have been a long-time reader of this blog...was a re-occurance of my "how the hell did this happen to me?" divirticulitis.

(If you want a refresher course on it you can refer to my July 2010 blog called "The Word of My Body") or just know it is an inflammation and infection of the GI tract.

So I headed to my fabulous doctor's office and she took a look at me and pressed on my stomach and after I came off the table in pain screaming she said:

"Yeah, you are going to the ER to get a CT scan. Where do you want to go?"

Ummmm...I DON'T want to go but if I must I will return to the Methodist ER on Kirby and 59 like I did 2 years ago.

Good choice because it is an EXCELLENT ER. As for the hospital...more on that later...

Once settled in at the ER the fun began.

First came more poking and prodding...then I was offered up a fabulous cocktail of Sprite and contrast dye.

Then the REAL fun began...

Let's play a game called "find a vein in Anice's arm where you can start an iv since she is deydrated and sick".

Poor Christina the nurse...she was the unlucky one to draw the straw to be the one to start my iv and draw the blood.

Stick #1...she couldn't get it to fact when she withdrew the needle it didn't even bleed (but I have a lovely bruise now to prove her attempt).

Stick #2...again, no go...

Then the REAL REAL fun began.

Because I passed out.

Yup...right there laying in the bed in the ER...flat on my back. I remember telling Christina that I was "very very dizzy" and then the next thing I remember the ER doc and a bunch of nurses are standing over me tapping on me and asking me if I was ok.

Christina said I turned blue and my eyes rolled back...scared the poor dear to death.

After that little setback Christina left it up to another nurse to start the line and get the iv going. She managed to get it in with a minimum of fact while it was in I hardly noticed it at all.

I drank my drink, rested a bit, got a shot of a lovely drug to help with the pain and off to CT I went...and sure enough I had divirticulitis again.

Big surprise...

No, it was!

Because I have not eaten any of the so-called "trigger" foods (nuts, popcorn, things with seeds) and I eat a ton of fibrous fruits and veggies. I have come to find out since from the doctors the trigger foods are not necessarily "triggers" (and I have partaken of them like a thief in the night) and it can just happen.

Then the ER doc informs me I also MAY have a blockage and suggests that I might need surgery or to have a tube stuck down my nose into my stomach for 24 hours.

Hell to the No!!!!!!!

Oh, and here is the BEST part...I would not be allowed to be sedated at all...I would barely be allowed pain meds but only very light ones.

Hell to the No to the power of 1000!!!!!

I've had that before...when I had a broken jaw...I had it twice. And for some reason at that time I was allowed to be sedated and on morphine. And it still drove me insane to have that NG tube down my nose...I felt like I was choking. I flew paper airplane messages to the nurses telling them to take it out or I was.

So that obviously was NOT an option.

I'll take what is behind Door #1 Monty Hall...I'll take my risks at surgery. Because Door #2 is the zonker (the NG tube) and there is no way I am going home with that prize.

So I decided to roll the dice and agreed to go to the hospital for observation and prayed that I would not be "blocked" and would not be cut on. I mean I would get cut on if I HAD to...and if they promised a tummy tuck along with it! The only abdominal surgery I plan to have is when Dr. Bonnie Baldwin does my tummy tuck...

AngelAmy was with me...she was my witness to my refusal...and she was my source of strength for all I was going through...and then she went above and beyond and went and packed me a bag to have at the hospital.

So off to Methodist I went.

I thought AngelAmy could just take me there.


I had to go by ambulance?


I drove myself to the ER...I couldn't drive to the hospital (I knew I had pain killers by then) but I do not understand why I had to ride in the ambulance...and it was NOT a comfortable ride.

Here is the fabulous photo I took while I was riding in the meat wagon chariot:

They took me right up to my room and got me settled in. I had the most wonderful nurses---Miss Cody and Miss Yvonne...they took amazing care of me and were very sweet and wonderful.

Once I was settled in, AngelAmy came up with my bag and helped get me and kept me company. Aunt Jane (the best person in the world) was there too. I think I might have pulled that iv out and walked out of the hospital if not for them.

And so began my frustrating journey to get well...and to not become to fond of Dilaudid (the pain killer).

I was visited by my admitting doctor...a man I had never met but since my regular doc does not have privileges at Methodist, they had to assign one to me. They also put me up on a floor with all the Alzheimer's and Dementia patients...

NO THAT WAS NOT A SIGN...but it was funny...and did make me a highly coveted patient since I could talk and walk...and I was the YOUNGEST on the floor

Then came a parade of "Grey's Anatomy" characters I like to call my surgeons...they were all residents. I never saw the "real" doctor/surgeon. He is a a unicorn...but I will get billed by him all the same.

So first I got "Christina Yang" who was all excited to tell me how I should probably have surgery and let them cut out a section of my colon.

Settle down, Yang...not gonna do it...

She was cute and sweet but a little to ready to cut...

Then came "Lexie Grey" who was adorable and had a cute headband and banging sharp eyeliner.

She was calmer and not so ready to cut...

I asked if I could eat...oh, and how I loved the answer:

"ice chips"

That is NOT dinner...especially if you only had a cup (literally a cup) of thai soup the night before and a cup of tea that morning. But I felt bad enough that I was ok with it.

I was woken up all night by nurses poking and prodding me...par for the course.

At 5:30 am I was woken by another surgical resident. We can call him "Owen Hunt". He told me he didn't think I needed surgery. That was good news. He was the last member of Grey's Anatomy I saw for some time.

I spent the day having blood drawn, being given meds, and just laying in the bed trying to feel better.

I named the little iv pump "R2D2"..."he" made little whirring and beeping sounds. He was my constant companion. Literally...

He also got temperamental and would sound an alarm if I moved funny. Which made the nurses scurry in to check on me...

I saw my admitting doc again and asked if I could eat...I was now at 48 hours without food. He said it was up to the surgery team.


Where the hell was "Meredith Gray"? Or better yet "McDreamy" or "McSteamy" or the dude with the amazing green eyes?

Um, obviously NOT taking care of me. I didn't see a surgeon all day. So I lived on ice chips again.

And was hungry

And cranky

The only good thing was that AngelAmy and Twirler Girl came to see me. That made things a lot better. We sadly were missing the usual bottle of wine we enjoy when getting together.

AngelAmy brought me lilies to make my room smell nice and Twirler Girl brought Gerber daisies to brighten the room up as well.

AngelAmy helped me to shower and dress in my regular nightgown and that sure helped me feel better.

Then the best medicine in the world came...

The Cutest Boy in the World!!!!

He came to visit courtesy of my nice ex husband and he was better than a pain killer.

After everyone left Cody the nurse discovered that the panel controlling the nurses "call" button was not working. So for amusement she decided to redecorate my we moved the bed to the other side and rearranged the furniture.

Hey, it was something to do...

I got through another night with R2D2 whirring away and feeling a bit better but still hungry and cranky.

The next morning I got up and my awesome nurse Nicole decided to take matters into her own hands. It was Saturday and I had been given nothing but ice chips and iv fluids since Wednesday night. So she called the surgeon.

Mind you I had not seen one person from surgery since 5:30 the morning before so they agreed over the phone to let me have "clear liquids".


The surgical head resident also promised to come by and check on me. Um, isn't that why I was stuck in this predicament? That my guts could possibly explode or abscess? Shouldn't they be checking me for that? Hello? That is why I was IN the hospital and not home!!!!

I got to "order" service this was not...

more like Jeopardy...

"Um, I'll take broth for $200 Alex and jello for $100"

Here was the menu...Cafe Annie it was not:

Doesn't that just look DELICIOUS!

At that point I truly didn't care...and when they delivered my tray, I wolfed it down. Now if you are eating as you read this you might not want to look at the photo because you will lose your appetite. And yes I even drank the Diet Shasta...but was jonesing for a diet Dr Pepper!

Now here is the most heartbreaking part of the entire story...

It was Saturday, March 24...and it was my son's birthday.

Yes, I was in the hospital on my son's birthday!

I cried a lot about it.

He was ok about it but I was not. I wanted to take him and some friends to see "The Hunger Games". I wanted to take him to dinner. I wanted to bake his birthday cake.

It was a horrible day.

To top it off I never saw a surgeon that day.

Then, the "cherry on top of the sundae" vein that the iv was in burned up and gave out...I stared bleeding and it was swelling up.

Time to change the iv.

My veins were shot by then.

Lucky for me Trainer Girl and De-Nice had come to see me so they were keeping me occupied.

The nurse, a very sweet man named Dexter, tried to start a line.

It hurt like hell. I started crying and screaming like one of the dementia patients. De-Nice came and held my hand and told him that I was a pretty tough cookie so it must be really hurting me. He took it out and tried again.


notice I didn't put an exclamation point at the end of that...because it was a success but not a roaring one. The last iv I had didn't hurt at all and this one bothered and tugged at me all the time. But I wasn't willing to go through it all again.

The girls kept me company and we had fun even if we were stuck in a hospital room.

It would have been so much better if we had had some wine.

I had dilaudid instead...

Once they left I went to sleep and managed to get a semi-descent night's rest.

The next morning Nicole was back and she was having none of it. She declared she was getting me outta there.

So she changed my diet to "soft" and told me to order food and see if it stayed down.

I opted for eggs and a bagel.

They were awful but the first real food I had in days so I rolled with it.

She called the admitting/attending guy and he said if surgery cleared me he would clear me to go now we waited on the mythical creature called "surgical resident" or "surgeon"

At that point I think I believed more in chupacabras and fairies.

Somewhere about the time I was ordering lunch he appeared.

He was NOT McDreamy...and most certainly NOT McSteamy...

But hey...he was McSurgicalResident

He apologized for "not making it by to see me" the day before because he was "buried with patients and cases".

I informed him that it had been 2 days since I had seen ANYONE from surgery and that nothing had moved forward with my care because of it.

He said "but it HASN'T been 2 days...someone saw you Friday!"

I said "yes, at 5:30 has been 50+ hours since I saw him...that makes 2 days in my book".

He said it was one...

Then I informed him because no one could be bothered to check on me I missed my son's birthday.

He felt bad then...but not bad enough to hand me Dr. R*********'s card (who he works for) "so that he could continue with my care".

Hell to the no

He cleared me to go home. Which could have happened the day before.

I'm not a doctor but I know that on Saturday I was well enough to go home and I know how to do a clear liquid diet.

So I ate my "soft food" lunch of chicken and veggies and Nicole unhooked R2D2 from me, but left the port in "just in case".

I can't say I miss R2D2 all that much.

We didn't want to play "find a vein" again if we had to.

So I got dressed and waited for my ex who sweetly picked me up and had my son in tow.

I packed up and was taken downstairs to my car once I was cleared and the iv was removed from my vein. I got in my ex's suburban and was blissfully home at 2:45.

And home is most certainly the best place to be.

So what did I learn from all of this?

Well, for one, I thought I had been playing Russian Roulette with my intestines when I ate popcorn (only a few bites in the last 2 years) or nuts (ok, I have done that). Turns out the "trigger" foods are a myth...and this proved it...I had not had a trigger food.

Getting a doctor assigned to you when you don't know one to use is a crap shoot. And I ended up with crap.

That nurses are like a prize...when you have good ones, they are the BEST. Lucky for me each and every one of them was like the prize in the Cracker Jack.

I'm better today...I even enjoyed a glass of wine last night and today I did a gentle workout on the arc trainer. I'm getting better and stronger all the time.

And here's the best news of all...I get to have a colonoscopy in a few weeks. But hey I blew through my huge deductable (oh yeah...that was the best deductable is so high that I could have gone to Hawaii with the kids for what I spent at Methodist on bad food and a room with no view), so it will basically be free.

And no, I will NOT be blogging about THAT (the colonoscopy)!

Now if I can only figure out how to make insurance pay for the tummy tuck!

Inspiration song: "Games People Play" by The Alan Parson's Project. And old 70's tune. Fitting because this all became like some sort of game...or a bad game show...

Bye things we should not play games with is our me, this was a wake up call...

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