3.17.2011

The Hospital

After my experience in the ICU, everything else seems not-so-bad, although there were still some rough spots:

I was never comfortable, and there were cords everywhere. Lots of poking, prodding, thousands of beeps from all of the machines, hundreds of pain scale questions, and heparin shots twice a day. A CNA, nurse, doctor, or therapist was in my room to do something at least every forty-five minutes.

My foley catheter didn't work very well. (Steve might argue that it didn't really work at all.) It was continually obstructed by air-locks and required a nurse (or Steve) to sit there for a few minutes and manipulate the tube until the urine would drain. It was actually pretty ridiculous.

Oscar, the really-nice-but-probably-thought-I-didn't-like-him physical therapist, always came to try and get me up for a walk at the wrong time. I just wanted to sleep. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Before I could get my NG tube out, they sent me downstairs to a lab for some testing. I remember asking Steve if he thought I was safe. (I'm quite sure I wasn't.) I did not feel well and waited in my wheelchair for almost an hour. He finally told the technicians (performing a test in the adjacent room) that I needed to lay down, so they helped me up on the table. The x-ray table they used moved strangely similarly to a tilt table test. (Not a good idea.) I was completely terrified that I was going to pass out, but thankfully, didn't.

As wonderful as it was to have out, the process of getting the NG tube out wasn't very fun. I desperately hope I never need one again for the rest of my life. Steve captured it on camera so I can always remember it.


My epidural went out again, but was quickly fixed after a small readjustment.

There was a day that we tried to get up for a walk four times in a row, and each time had to turn around and go back to bed because I just couldn't do it.

And there were times that, for the life of me, I could not stay awake. A one-sentence text message took five minutes to write because I would fall asleep so many times.

And then there were the dreams. They were horrible. Not scary/gruesome bad. More like super stressful bad. I kept thinking I HAD to do these obscure things that felt like they were of life-and-death importance, but were obviously meaningless and always ended up being impossible. Especially in my condition. . . which I clearly recalled in my dream. I finally figured out that the dreams were coming from the television shows that Steve was watching as I was drifting off to sleep. He kindly turned the television off so I could sleep in peace.

My digestive system wasn't working too well (still isn't, actually) so I got to deal with all of the fun that comes with that.

I spent one night walking up and down the halls with a big, distended belly and a backache so bad that, even with all of that pain medication, I couldn't sleep. It felt like being pregnant all over again.

My pancreatic enzyme levels were off for a couple of days and I had to take some medicine that just about made me throw up.

Sometimes just listening to nurses or doctors or respiratory therapists just about made me throw up.

There were a few bright spots:

My favorite sister came and visited me and brought loads of treats (for Steve), waterless shampoo, and beautiful flowers from my cousin, Julie.

My parents came for a visit and brought books, snacks, and a bag full of quarters, as requested by Steve.

My favorite uncle (and aunt) came and brought a very thoughtful present.

Rachel sent great pictures and messages via text message.

The day I could walk without the walker was pretty cool.

And the part where my husband barely ever left my side and was pretty much incredible.

But the best part was leaving.

Just like that. . . out came the epidural. Out came the foley catheter. Out came the IV. After seven days in the hospital, I was ready to go home. Well, mostly ready. (I might not have been completely honest about a few of the questions they asked me before discharging me.) We drove home, very thankful that we were not trying to fly home from the Mayo Clinic.

11 comments:

AngelaW said...

That video is awesome. I wondered what the boys would think of it. Jack had to leave. Sam keeps wanting to see it over and over again. He gags at the end with you. He cringes, and looks away. It is hillarious to watch. I wish you could see him.

Stephanie said...

I gagged with the video. My little sister had one of those every day of her life. I don't know how my parents had the strength to take that out and put one in daily. I NEVER want anything like that. I'm glad it's over for you. Seven days in the hospital sound like an eternity I never want to go through. I hope things are going much better for you now. I almost cried at the husband staying by your side bit. How cute. Good luck.

Mrs B said...

Oh, Emily. Bless your heart. Glad you're on the mend. Would love to get together when you feel up to it. I could even bring lunch to you or something. Let me know! & kudos to Steve. :)

J&Jchambers said...

Yikes.. I seriously can not believe this!! I am still debating whether or not i should watch the movie you posted.. i got squeamish just looking at your stitches or staples:) I am so happy that you are home and hopefully feeling better.. or at least starting to feel better. Let me know if you need anything.. for reals!

Amanda said...

I have taken out many an NG tube in my day, but it's different just watching it. That was nasty, but I loved your face at the end. Gotta thank Steve for capturing that special moment for you. :)

Aneesa Bee said...

I'm so glad you're home! And wow, that NG tube was like the never-ending story. I don't remember them being so long in nursing school. I hope you continue to recover--and soon. hugs to you.

Lori said...

i'm glad you're home and the surgery went well!

Rebecca said...

Aneesa, do you think the longness of the tube had to do with the longness of the patient? :)

raburkhardt said...

You and Andrew should get together and compare survival stories at IMC. He was there for 22 days. It would take me a novel to write everything that happened in those 22 days - then only to come home and be readmitted to the hospital TWICE more! The worst was when his incision from chest bone to pubic bone came WIDE open. They did not staple him back up they left him open and packed with gauze and sent him home like that. I could sit across the room and see into his abdomen. We do have pictures but I would never dare post them. It took him 3 months to for his incision to completely close. Don't get him started about the epidurals - the pain management there is a joke. Sorry I could go on and on!!! Glad you are feeling better.

emily ballard said...

Oh my goodness, Robin. That makes me feel so bad for Andrew. I will count my blessings.

Before the scheduling mishap, my surgeon chose to have the surgery at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden over IMC because he said the nursing staff was so much better here. Now I know what he meant.

Min said...

I absolutely hope that the surgery is 100% worth it. What you've gone through sounds . . . nasty painful. Best of luck for a quick recovery and hoping you never have to do anything so icky again. Ever.