Thursday, August 12, 2010

Adventures in Medicine - Part 3

Tuesday, August 3
Last night, I slept! I remember waking at midnight when the tech came to take vitals, then again at 4:00 (more vitals), at 4:40 for the vampire, who collected four more vials (total - 37), and finally at 7:30 when breakfast arrived. Nine hours of sleep (more or less) does not make up for the previous 3 nights, but it helps.

Today's PT/INR is 1.22 - still just barely creeping up. The doctor doubles my dosage of Coumadin.

I have no morning visitors, so I spend time on Facebook. I am terribly amused by a friend's analogy comparing blood clots to loud drunks tubing down the Guadalupe river toward his favorite fishing spot.

I take another shower (a long one) and wait for the pulmonary specialist... who never shows. I visit with a dietitian who instructs me on which foods to avoid while taking Coumadin. Evidently all of those wonderful leafy green veggies that are so good for you, are now off my diet. They have vitamin K and that reduces the effectiveness of Coumadin. No more spinach salads or broccoli for a while.

I scare the staff when my telemetry monitor makes strange noises. They come running into my room to check on me and find me calmly writing in my planner. I wish I knew what I did to cause this... I could try it again later when I get bored. 

There is talk of sending me home, but I still need the twice daily shots of Lovenox. Patient services checks on the cost of the prescription.  It is almost $1100 for 7 days ($220 after insurance). At 4:00 I realize that I will not be going home today, and am disappointed.

Afternoon visitors arrive - family and a friend. It's a slightly smaller crowd this time, only 6 people at once. They stay until dinner time. Then it is just me and Mike - until he leaves for dinner. Jimmy stops by on his way home from a Scout meeting and stays until 9:00.

I have a male nurse tonight. Something new and different. 

I stay up late playing on Facebook. I realize that I have forgotten to order breakfast.  I hope they send something good. I am not worried, because I know that breakfast is the one meal that they do really well at this hospital. Even the eggs are good. Lunch is usually good as long as you stick to soups and salads. Dinner is tricky. If you order items from the grill (chicken strips or burgers) you are fine, but stay away from the dinner entrees.  They have three different choices each night, and so far they've all been disappointing. I can tell that I have lost weight during my stay here.

Wednesday, August 4
The vampire is late today. She arrives at 6:00 (better watch out for that sun!) - total vials collected now at 41. I watch TV until breakfast arrives.  I am pleased with the selection, but there is too much food and I don't eat everything.

My PT/INR is 1.52. It has jumped 0.3 in one day. I am encouraged.

The pulmonary specialist arrives to tell me my echo cardiogram was normal. He can do nothing more for me and is signing off my case. I am overjoyed. This improves my chances for going home today... and I am no longer stuck in bed!!

A financial services rep stops by to ask how I plan to pay my deductible and (estimated) co-pay. I dutifully hand over my credit card. I expect to be doing a lot more of this as the bills start rolling in. Now, I am sure that I will get to go home today.   

I take a long shower (bliss) and "forget" to have the tech reconnect the telemetry monitor.

My doctor stops by. She wants to send me home, but is concerned about the Lovenox. I assure her that I can administer the injections myself. I convince her to write a prescription for three days instead of seven, to reduce the cost. If my PT/INR is still below 2.0 after three days, my doctor can prescribe more. This solution works for her and she begins the discharge process.

I gather all my things and prepare to check out, then I wander down the hall to fill my water mug - feeling almost guilty for being out of bed.  A friend stops by with a gift of puzzle books. She is happy that I am going home and stays to keep me company while I wait.

The doctor moves my evening injection up to 6:00 (instead of 9:00), so I can leave. I receive instructions on how to administer the Lovenox and am surprised at how easy it is to stick myself with a needle.

I call Mike to come pick me up.  He has 30 minutes to get there before shift change. If he is late, we will have to wait another hour. He and Jimmy arrive with 10 minutes to spare.  The nurse has stashed a wheelchair in my room (smart woman), and we are loaded and out the door in less than five minutes. 

Our first stop is Pizza Shack, where I have some of the most delicious pizza I have ever tasted. My hospital diet has given me a new appreciation for good food. Our next stop is the drug store, where we fill my prescriptions for Coumadin and Lovenox. The bill is almost $100.  Yikes!

Finally, we head home. I am so happy to be back home. I unpack my bag and settle in.

The cats take a full day to recognize me. Darn cats.