Can you even STAND it?
I have a story to tell. Some of it not so pleasant. Please excuse some of the graphic pictures and description. Feel free to skip over those parts. Let us go back to my port surgery, shall we? We all know how THAT ended up. Not so pleasant...but very needed. I spent the next couple of weeks having Amy take care of me. She's an EXCELLENT care giver I might add. I felt like a brat most of the time because she would bend over backwords to feed me anything that sounded good. Most of the time nothing did. It was NOT an easy job...trust me. I had another routine doctor appointment on the 18th of June. The doctor listened for the heartbeat and found it. Hearing the heartbeat always gave me the extra strength I needed to get me through another week. I had lost more weight and my body was in starvation mode. The doctor was not pleased. She threatened me with TPN. It's what I had with my last pregnancy, and it was NOT a good experience. I begged her to give me a week. She gave me 5 days to show improvement. I went home depressed. I really did not want to be on TPN. Amy went into fight mode. Now she was making me eat whether I wanted it or not. My food was still coming up. The next morning my visiting nurse came to change my needle. They did this once a week. Not the most pleasant experience. It's quite painful. They stick the needle through your skin into the port. The weeks seemed to drag so slowly because I was feeling SO ill...but on the other hand, it seemed so quick when I saw the nurses drive up. The 19th of June my nurse took the needle out. She was really concerned with what she saw...
(This is a picture of my port with the needle. I plugged in here to receive hydration and medications.)
She was concerned that the port was infected. My stomach sank. I had a bad experience with a different nurse the previous week and feel like my infection was due to her. The nurse made a bunch of phone calls to different doctors. They all told her NOT to place another needle. Off to the surgeons office I went so that he could look at it. He too agreed that he did not want my port accessed. The good news was that the infection seemed to be on the outside and that he wasn't going to have to remove my port. He treated it with topical antibiotics, covered it with a special bandage and started writing a prescription for an IV antibiotic just to be on the safe side. I quickly reminded him that if I can't access my port, I'll have to be admitted. UGH! I am allergic to PICC lines...the kind of long dwelling IV's that they thread through your arm. The home health care company will not let patients be home with regular IV's. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. There was no choice but to be admitted so that I could get the medications and hydration that I needed through regular IV's.
(this is a picture of my port without a needle. You can obviously see the infection.)
My OB doctor admitted me to the hospital that day. I was going to be there for atleast a week. I cried. I wanted to be home with my family and my sister. Those days in the hospital were SO LONG and SO DEPRESSING! Thank goodness for excellent nurses and my fabulous doctor and the fact that Steve came to sit with me for hours each day. With Amy at the house, he was able to do that. It was a HUGE blessing. That weekend was uneventful. Monday was really hard though. I was really tired of being in the hospital and Steve was scheduled to leave the next morning for 2 weeks in Utah. I was okay with him going up until that point. He came to see me Monday night and I broke down. I looked at him and told him that I needed him. I never asked him not to go, and I wouldn't have done that. I wanted it to be his decision. He immediately grabbed my hand and asked how he would go about cancelling his flight. I honestly was shocked. I didn't expect him to give in so easily. After all, he was going out to his 20th high school reunion to see two of his best friends that he hasn't seen in a long time, along with seeing his dear family that lives out there. Inside I was feeling guilty that he wasn't going, outside I was SO happy that he was staying and that I wouldn't have to be alone through the rest of the week. It was a blessing in disguise. Wednesday the 24th we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in my hospital room. He snuck in contraband food from my favorite restaurant and brought me a card and chocolates. Even though I couldn't stomach chocolates at the time, I was so grateful for his thougthfulness. It was a good day. (that makes two wedding annivesaries in a row that we've celebrated in the hospital - good grief) During my stay I recieved daily IV changes. Normally they last anywhere from 3 days to 10, but my poor veins just couldn't tolerate them. For me the IV would last a maximum of 24 hours, most of the time less. Below are some pictures of my IV's.
This is an example of one of the IV's that blew. See the gauze and tape below? If you look closely, you can see redness around it. My forearm was really swollen and SO sore. I lived with heat packs all over my arms to ease some of the pain and swelling. You can see some other IV marks as well. I think in total I had 11 IV's in 7 days.
This is what my arms started to look like at the end of my stay. My husband told me I looked like a junkie. Thursday the 25th I was prompted to ask the doctor to hear the heart beat. It had been a week. She popped in at different times each day, I never knew when to expect her. That night Steve came by during his dinner break (he's a local policeman) and sat with me. My doctor happened to stop by at the same time. She informed me that she had actually stopped by around 11am that morning but that I was taking a nap and she didn't want to distrub me. After she spent some time with us I asked her if we could hear the heartbeat again. She jumped up and went to get the doppler. Many minutes went by with nothing. Part of me was anxious, part of me knew that there was a chance she wouldn't be able to pick it up. After about 5 or so long minutes she went to get her small, portable ultrasound. That's when I started to get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I couldn't even watch the ultrasound. I was traumatized from my last pregnancy and was scared to watch fearing there would be no heartbeat. She quietly looked for what seemed like forever. I just stared at my husband. After a little bit she informed me that she wasn't picking it up and listened again with the doppler. Nothing. She went back to the ultrasound for another go. Another eternity passed. Finally she put her hand on my arm and sadly informed me that there was no heartbeat. Devestation. She ordered a quick ultrasound from the bigger machine just to make sure. I knew in my heart the baby was gone. We waited for an agonizing 30 minutes or so for the tech to arrive and she was able to confirm what my doctor had seen. At that point I begged my doctor to let me go home. I didn't want to stay there another night. We arranged together for surgery in the morning. I was grateful she was able to do that for me. Last time they made me wait 5 painful days.
The next morning I was back in early for my surgery. I bled a lot and so they kept me over night to watch me. I went home on that Saturday only to return to the Emergency Room Sunday night due to a low grade fever and pain. They admitted me again for another two nights due to an infection. I came home Tuesday and was back in my surgeon's office that afternoon due to the fact that my port was really hurting. If felt like it had shifted and everytime I moved I was intense pain. He discovered that one of the stitches that held it in place had shifted to where it was protruding. You could feel it and see it. He numbed me up with some lidocaine and made arrangements to take it out on Thursday.
Thursday arrived and the port came out. I was admitted over night again due to a fever after surgery. I was able to go home Friday and finally be done with surgeries and hospitals. (I hope) I'm in recovery mode now. Physically I am still dealing with health issues. I think it will just take some time before I'm fully recovered. I'm trying to be patient with myself. I'm grateful for the tender mercies of the last couple of weeks. It's eased the pain some. I'm grateful for all of my family and friends who cheered me on in lots of different ways these last couple of months. Now if you'll please excuse me, I have a Hutchins Family Reunion to attend this weekend. I'll return here on Monday.
It's good to be back!