Tag Archives: hospital

Observations

Observations

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.

Readmission

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.

Needles

Oral antibiotics were superceded by intravenous and a nil-by-mouth order.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.

Away From Hospital

The Journey Home

I left the hospital with a bit of pain and some difficulty breathing. It had been thought that this was a simple hangover from the surgery.  With pillow bracing my recently operated on-abdomen, I waited for my ride to approach the drop-off (and pick-up) are.

As we, now in a motor-vehicle, departed from the hospital carpark, I realised how in need it was of resurfacing (the hospital carpark, not the vehicle).  Every dip and slump and bump and ridge and area of patched up bitumen had an impact on my tender torso.  I grimaced, bracing for the impact of every topological feature of what ought to have been a completely level surface.

Emphatic apologies issued forth from the mouth of my driver as I attempted to deflect them with my eyes.  She was doing her best given the circumstances.

Arriving home, I gingerly emerged from the car and shuffled towards the door, pillow still tightly clutched.  As I opened the door, the greatest of challenges lay before me – a set of stairs.  The prize at the top of these steps was the comfort and ease of my very own bed.

Out the corner of my eye, I spotted another prize.  A package had arrived in my absence and I was looking forward to opening it and availing myself of the joy it promised.  Unpacked and plugged in, I sat, almost tentatively on the couch.  It was then that I felt the effects of the sevredol: nausea, a feeling of deep muscular relaxation, light-headedness (perhaps it would be better to dub this “away-with-the-fairies-ness).

The Next Move

Bedtime was approaching – or at least a time when it would be acceptable to go to bed.  Unless I was prepared to sleep on the couch (which I wasn’t, I had long pined for my bed), this meant I would need to ascend the stairs.  As I sat, in a prescribed-drug induced daze, I steeled myself for what was becoming more and more inevitable.

Standing, shuffling, and then actual stepping.   One foot on one stair, pushing my weight upwards.  Each step followed by a rest, and repeat.  With one hand I braced my abdomen with a pillow; with the other, I strangled the handrail.

Exhausted, I reached the top.  It was like I had scaled an Everest and the air was thin.  Unlike the actual mountain, there were lodgings at the top of my mountain, lodgings I had long anticipated.  Puffed, I shuffled on.  There it was – my El Dorado.  A new challenge emerged – getting from the shuffling standing position to a level lower than the couch.  Bending my knees, I allowed gravity to aid as I brace (physically, and mentally) for a kind of impact.

I was home and in my bed – and here I would spend the majority of my time for the next week.

 

Fetal Position

Double

I was doubled over in pain, in bed.

The pain was centralised in my abdomen as if I had a bad stomach bug.  It seemed the internalised pressure was having a significant impact on my stools, a squeezing like liquefaction.  I was no stranger to watery stools so I was mostly unconcerned.  My mantra was This too shall pass.

I slept, in the fetal position from early evening until what would normally be bedtime on a Saturday evening.  The pain had not abated and I was to make several trips to the toilet before the clock struck twelve.  Some pills before back to bed for the night.

Double

The fetal position was employed all night in an attempt to mitigate the increasing abdominal pain.  By the next morning, the liquefaction was making an upward journey – water in, vomit out, abdominal tight.  Back to bed and the fetal position.  Two days of being doubled over in pain and discomfort that I reduced to a stomach bug.

Toil

More pills, this time with an anti-nausea tablet that would hopefully give me a reprieve from the vomiting.  It availed little.  I told a friend who proceded with caring questions of “Where did the pain start?”, “Where is the pain now?”, “What other symptoms have you got?”  Questions I would be asked multiple times in the ensuing days by those with large student loans and hard soled shoes.

She said what I had considered, “Maybe it’s appendicitis…”  I sought another opinion from Dr. Google.  It lined up.  I wasn’t confident in our amateur diagnosis, but there was sufficient reason to see qualified medical advice.

I thought the after-hours would be a sufficient stop as my chauffeur drove in the opposite direction.  The hospital.  The seemingly unnecessarily overcrowded hospital where wait times extended into hours.  The joy of joys.  Labourous waiting, discomforted and in pain.

Trouble

The vomiting continued into small white pails.  “How long would it be?” she enquired.  “I really need to lie down” I expressed.  Between enquiry and request, the nurse was to be called, but this hadn’t happened.  Soon after my request, the heavy and heavily guarded doors swung open.  “Mr Ward?”

The previous enquiry and the expression that soon followed it were in response to a rise in the numbers, where 1 is next to no pain, and 10 – the most unbearable of pains.  By the time I made it through the doors, it was approaching the upper end of the scale.  This was when the little white pail was put to greatest use as the watery yellow content seemed to force itself out of my body.   The pain causing the vomiting, by this stage, accentuated by the pain of vomiting.

I was given a bed, hard and hardly accommodating.  There would be other beds, in time and process.