Saturday, August 29, 2009

Turning a corner?

If you were to tell me I’d have gone through hell on earth and back just because of having a routine hysterectomy – a fairly standard operation of which 660,000 are performed every year in the U.S. – I wouldn’t have believed it.

But this experience, and especially the last week and a half, has changed me forever.

Very early at 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning, I awoke in my hospital bed to excruciating pain in the lower right lobe of my lung. As if what I had gone through wasn’t enough. I thought my lung had collapsed. I hit the nurse call button and yelled for morphine – a drug I rarely accept. My breathing was extremely shallow and labored and shot pain throughout that right lower lobe every time I took a breath in. My oxygen saturations were 82%.

Helpless and unable to move, a portable x-ray machine was wheeled in, followed by an echo cardio gram. On 6 ml of morphine, 6 ml liquid IV Demerol and Adavan, the pain was still uncontrollable and literally took my breath away.

Earlier that day, I had been up for my first shower and eaten actual food for the first time in days. I thought I had turned the corner. What went wrong? All I could think of with my constant every thought was how to escape this pain. But there was no escape.

Tests revealed pleural effusions of my right lung, which is a fancy way of saying portions of my lung had pockets of fluid in them as well as atelectisis, or a collapse of all the aveoli in the lungs, in the lower lobes of both lungs.

And, still, acute renal failure.

Because of the renal failure, my body puffed up full of water. Nurses could no longer find a working vein with which to draw blood from. I had to have heparin shots every 12 hours to prevent blood clotting, be hooked to an IV drip of a super potent antibiotic and saline, as well as being hooked 24/7 to 4 liters of Oxygen at all times.

But today, one of the dozens of doctors and clinicians came in to tell me he thinks I’m “rounding a corner.”

Can we only hope?

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