Here's the good news: on Monday, they replaced my PICC line. Since 2008, I've had 5 PICC lines, all placed in my right arm. They each leave a little round scar. I am getting close to having the Big Dipper constellation on the inner part of my right arm! So I was a little disappointed when the nurse went for the PICC in my left arm. ;) It took the lady a couple tries to get the line in, and she didn't lidocaine me enough. She told me to tell her if I could feel it, and I said, "Yes. Ow," and she said, "Well, I'm almost done, just hold still." Not really sure why I was supposed to tell her if i could feel it... since she didn't intend to do anything about it! Anyways, I now have a PICC line in my left arm! I am very thankful for PICC lines. I don't have to get poked for labs - they can just draw blood out of one of the lumens. I don't have to worry about the IV blowing, and I can get my anti-nausea meds. Plus, mine is purple. I like purple.
My stomach has dramatically improved, and I am EATING again! It is still hard work and requires anti-nausea meds, but I am eating! I eat small amounts very slowly, then walk for 30 min to an hour after eating a meal. The pain in my pelvis/lower abdomen is improving, too, which is great! There was some discussion of restarting TPN in my new PICC line, but by Tuesday, I was able to eat enough food to satisfy the doctors.
Yesterday late afternoon, Dr. Opposite freed me from my IV pole (except for when I'm receiving my IV antibiotics)! We are going to see how I do without IV fluids. This is the real challenge for me. I have to be able to drink quite a bit, which is hard when you have a shrunken, nauseated tummy. I can't fill up on liquids, though: I have to leave room for food, too. Finally, I also have to be able to absorb the liquids I drink. Please pray that I will be able to stay hydrated and nourished!
Here's the not-so-good news: Dr. Saturday is gone through FRIDAY of this week. So, in Dr. Opposite's words, "I have to get you out of here before he gets back." I think Dr. Saturday understands my body's idiosyncrasies better than Dr. Opposite does... and boy, does my body have some idiosyncrasies! My white count was trending down from Monday to Wednesday, but I was feeling crummy. Very tired and lethargic. I started running fevers again and getting night sweats. Dr. Opposite wasn't worried about it, since my WBCs were looking better. Yesterday, he mentioned, for the first time, the D-word... discharge! I am eating well, and could go home on oral antibiotics. I'd have to be monitored closely with labs and scans to keep an eye on the abscess, but I could go home.
Sadly, this all went out the window this morning. My white count is reflecting what I've been feeling for the past few days. They made a big jump back up, so I need to stay in the hospital. I asked how long I'd have to stay, and he told me he wished he knew. That doesn't sound too promising to me!
The past two nights have been fairly sleepless due to really bad muscle pain. It has been a rough couple of days with pain. Pain flares seem to be my body's way of signaling that I have an infection. Today we are going to try an anti-inflammatory medicine that's really helped my pain in the past. Hopefully we can get it back under control.
I really appreciate all your prayers and support and encouragement! I know it's wearying to keep praying for someone as their trial just drags on and on - but please, please, don't stop praying! I was reminded of the story Jesus told in Luke 18 about a widow who was being harassed by a wicked man. She pled before the corrupt judge of the city to take up her cause. Even though he didn't care about her, he got so tired of hearing her beg that he gave her legal protection. Jesus concludes that if even the unrighteous judge helped the widow he didn't care about, "Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly...." (Luke 18:7-8a)
Please be in prayer for me and my family! It's been 3.5 weeks since I got admitted, and it's just tough on the whole family. The novelty has worn off and it's so easy to lose perspective. I am so thankful for the body of Christ and for the ministry of so many people. You all keep me encouraged and strengthened in the power of Jesus Christ.