Four hourly observations wherein blood pressure, oxygen levels, and my temperature were taken and recorded were replaced with a question asked with less rigid regularity: “How are you feeling?” An instant reading in-ear thermometer was replaced by sweat soaked bed linen. I had a fever and not one she’d given me. Chest pain and laboured breathing.
My plight was medicated with regularly taken analgesics and less often taken hard stuff some of which promised to mitigate the fever. Occasion necessitated ad hoc descending of stairs. Accompanying stair climbing was the feeling of breathlessness and exhaustion exceeding that which could be attributed to the surgery of three days ago.
The laborious breathing and rattly feeling made me think of it as a chest infection. I made a GP appointment to coincide with the removal of stitches. The stitches were not ready for removal, but the GP colluded with my suspicions and prescribed a course of antibiotics.
By Tuesday night, I didn’t feel right and the niggling, mountain climbing inhibiting issues became more of a concern. Chest pain intensification. Breathing difficulties dialled up a notch. Ambulance called. I was back in the emergency department’s waiting room. Six hours later, readmission.
A scan was ordered and the results showed two large pockets of non-descript infection. One was subhepatic (which means under the liver) and being the bigger of the two, was the cause of the laboured breathing an associated chest pain. Pocket pressing on the diaphragm giving the disguising itself as a chest infection.
Oral antibiotics were superceded by intravenous and a nil-by-mouth order. It was thought that another surgical procedure would be required to drain the fluid. Bloodwork on readmission showed concern-worthy inflammatory markers and other indications of infection. Remaining an inpatient for several days, daily blood work showed desirable movement in results. The threat of surgery waned with each daily laboratory report.
During this time I was fairly mobile – often taking walks with the IV infusion device to sit in chairs but sun-facing windows. This sense of mobility broke the monotony of being confined to a hospital bed, though while there, I did manage to work through many of the movies that made its way into the catalogue of the 1980s.
Pain reports began to come down, as did the inflammatory markers revealed by bloodwork. It was time for discharge – to again make the switch between antibiotic delivery methods, again with prescriptions of analgesics and harder stuff (which were never dispensed).
Home again with a second medical certificate to give to the boss. It was Saturday. This second admission brought the sum of my hospital stays to 8 days.