Sunday, August 8, 2010

Adventures in Medicine - Part 2

Saturday, July 31
The phlebotomist arrives at 4:45 AM to collect more blood samples. I have started referring to the phlebotomists as vampires. I am not the only one... the nurses do it too. 

I give up on trying to sleep, turn on the TV and wait for breakfast. Breakfast arrives at 7:30 and it is surprisingly good. My husband arrives with more stuff from home - things to keep me busy. A friend from work stops by for a visit. She was recently in the hospital, so we compare notes.

I am hooked up to a telemetry monitor, so they can keep tabs on me, and now the IV has to stay in. It's in the bend of my left arm - uncomfortable. I am not happy. Fortunately, the telemetry monitor is wireless, so I can still get out of bed without assistance.

After lunch (decent food), more visitors - family and friends all arrive at the same time.  My room is crowded with seven visitors. It's hard to keep up with what everyone is saying.

My doctor stops by and tells me it's okay to walk around a bit if I want to. Then the pulmonologist arrives and asks all the visitors to step outside. He tells me that they have found a clot in my lung and wants me to stay in bed for 5 days. He uses strong, scary language - tells me that I am lucky to be alive and if another clot goes to my lung I might not be so lucky. He schedules an echo cardiogram.

The vampire comes and collects 8 more vials of blood.  (Total vials - 25)

Interesting fact about hospital stays: Your nurse and tech team changes every 12 hours. Sometimes you get a different team each day.
Most nurses and techs are great, but some are not so great. Tonight I have one of those not so great teams. The nurse injects the Lovenox so quickly that it burns for half an hour afterwards. (Future shots will be preceded by instructions to inject the medicine slowly.) I ask the tech for more water at midnight. At 7:30 she remembers to bring the water.  I wish I was at home.

Sunday, August 1
No vampires this morning. Surprised, since they are supposed to check my PT/INR levels every day. PT/INR measures the length of time it takes for the blood to clot. Normal is 1, they want my number to be between 2 and 3.

I want a shower, and spent most of the night formulating a plan to convince the nurse and tech to let me have one. I am surprised when the tech arrives and asks me if I would like a shower. Just like that... no negotiations required.  It is amazing just how much better I feel after a shower.

My boss and her husband stop by for a visit in the morning and my family shows up in the afternoon. Having the visitors spaced out is much better than everyone showing up all at once.

The vampire shows up after dinner and collects four more samples. (Total vials - 29) Later I learn that my PT/INR is 1.0, yesterday it was less than 1.

I'm still not sleeping well.  I can't get used to all the noises, the people in and out of my room every hour, and the bed that is constantly adjusting. I am enjoying the novelty of having television, though.

Monday, August 2
Vampire's running a little late this morning, she showed up at 5:00, collected 4 more samples. (Total vials - 33)  At 6:00, the tech arrives with the echo cardiogram machine. Finally, we get to see if my heart is still functioning properly. The tech arranges my bed so that I can see the monitor. Very cool pictures and sounds. The tech keeps me laughing the whole time. What a great way to start the day.

Breakfast is good. This is the one meal that they consistently do well. I have learned that sandwiches and salads are a safe bet, and to stay away from the dinner entrees.

My PT/INR is 1.1 today. The number is just barely moving up. I want it to move faster so that the shots can stop... so that I can go home.

Not many visitors today - most everyone has to work.  Mike comes by for a few hours during the day, then he and Jimmy come back in the evening. I receive a lovely bouquet of flowers from work. They make me smile.
I watch TV until 10PM.  I am so tired that I can't hold my head up.  I shut off the lights and go to sleep.

Yes, sleep.