Sunday, September 30, 2012

Same Song, Nth verse

Same song, ??th verse
Lil bit louder
and a

I'm writing from my home away from home... yeah, don't make me say the H-word.

I had a good run there for about two weeks! Pretty decent energy, good appetite, not much shakiness or dizziness! Then, I started dumping a little, then my pain kinda spiked. Neither one was awful, but each was a small step in the wrong direction.

Early Thursday morning, I started dumping very, very badly, and then started vomiting. Seemed like just a tummy bug... but alas, it took all of about an hour of this until I totally crashed and was an incoherent, shaking, sweaty mess. I felt so bad that I actually told my mom that we needed to call 911... yeah, it was that bad. I really felt like death.

I'm sure my rescuers were heroic and brave, but I was way beyond noticing them - I was just focusing on breathing in one more time and breathing out one more time. A couple of guys got to work right away trying to get an IV in me. I am a terribly hard stick to begin with, but then you add in dehydration, and it's gonna be quite a challenge. After a couple sticks each, they somehow got a baby IV in and immediately started dripping in fluids and medicine.

When we got to the ER, everyone kept poking me all over the place, trying to get in more IVs so they could get more fluids and meds in me, since I was massively dehydrated and continuing to lose fluids. My belly hurt so bad. My white count was through the roof, and my lactate was elevated, which is a marker for sepsis, infection in the bloodstream. Finally, they put in a PICC line (#7? I think?). The doctor called Dr. Saturday, and they deliberated about doing another scan, but decided to wait.

The doctors believe that I have some kind of infection, and my body had that Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS). This can progress into sepsis if not treated quickly, so the ER doctor said it was very good that I came in by ambulance, or I could have gone into shock sitting in the waiting room. I was thankful for how quickly everyone worked to help me (and this includes Mom and Dad for sacrificing their day, among other things, to sit in the ER with their incoherent daughter). Usually in the ER, you see the nurse or doctor once in a blue moon, but we were rarely alone -- there were often three people in the room working on IVs, orders or monitoring me to make sure I was okay. The ER doc introduced me to the internist (Dr. D) who would be looking after me in the hospital. He was wonderfully smart and funny and nice. God was so good with His perfect timing and with providing some amazing caregivers.
So that's how I found myself back in the hospital, on IV antibiotics, stress-doses of steroids and my other meds in IV form.

I was very out of it for most of Thursday, but began to perk up a bit by Thursday night. Until Friday evening, I felt a bit stronger, but still had pretty bad nausea and belly pain. By Friday night, however, I turned a corner, and on Saturday, I started to feel like myself again. Praise God!

Hopefully I will be able to go home sometime tomorrow! This would be a very short stay for me, so I'm excited (but wish I could go home today). I'm eating again today, and they have turned down my IV fluids, and I'm trying out pills instead of the IV forms of my meds. I just need to stay hydrated, absorb my medications and eat and I think I'm almost there!

The SIRS is what they think happened after several of my surgeries - I usually get terrible pain, elevated white count, fever, and overall feel absolutely awful. ;) I asked about how to prevent this from happening again - basically, don't have adrenal insufficiency, don't have autoimmune issues, and don't take any immunosuppressants to treat the autoimmune issues. Oh, and don't have underlying dysautonomia, which already causes problems with heart rate and blood pressure. And having all your intestines would probably help, too. ;)

This came on scary fast, and it's a bit disconcerting to be told that this can happen to me as a result of any illness, surgery, or stressor. The doctor emphasized the importance of being very aware of my fluid status and heading directly to the nearest ER the moment things start going south.

Thankfully, God is in control of all of that... and I know I can trust Him.

Hannah ;)

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