The last I shared my oncologist was scheduling a procedure to have my lung catheter removed because an infection had formed at the drain site. There was some confusion with the hospital and scheduling. We were told our procedure was scheduled for Wednesday morning, so we went in to get that done. When we checked in they told us there was a mess up and I needed to come back tomorrow morning. Frustrated and in pain, we slowly walked back to the car.
As we got settled back home, I nuzzled myself into my favorite spot on the couch and put on a cooking show while dozing off and on. Suddenly, I started not feeling so great, I told Evan I felt really hot and cold and achy. He took my temp and sure enough it was over 100 degrees. He immediately called my oncologist and she said now I had to go to the ER.
Back to the ER we went… it took awhile for them to admit me and when they did they said I had all the markers for sepsis. So they started me on a sepsis protocol, which meant flooding my system with antibiotics (ugh). For those that know me, I don’t do medicine so ALL of this path is very outside my comfort zone and I have learned I have to retreat into Him to trust and have faith that no matter what He has me in the palm of His hand.
Evan and I hung out in the ER for the night, around midnight they finally got me a room. The sassy nurse tried to say that Evan had to go home. After being put on morphine and a new stage 4 diagnosis, Evan was not about to let that happen. He worked his knight in shining armor magic, and before I knew it, he had a cot being rolled into my room.
Sidenote:: with each passing day it is clear that God not only provided the very best husband for me, we are learning he has been preparing Evan for such a time as this. Pretty amazing to see God’s work unfolding.
Thanks to morphine, I was able to sleep pretty well that first night. The catheter was so painful that I relented on accepting some heavier meds.
We finally got the procedure scheduled to have the catheter removed, I was so nervous about it being even more painful. Even the slightest touch brought flashes of pain.
When they rolled me into the very room where they had put in the catheter 2 weeks prior, I even had some of the same nurses. First, they needed to drain any remaining liquid in my pleural space to make sure they got out as much as possible. This took a really long time, when they finally did get some liquid out it was red and very little was expressed.
Finally, they gave me medicine and instead of crying to the nurse (as I did before) I allowed myself to rest and take a mini nap as they removed this infected catheter from my side.
They sent the tube that was inside me to be cultured, to find out what was really going on in my body.
I started to get restless and frustrated with the system. Why do we feed our most sick people some of the worst food? Shouldn’t our sick people be fed the best food around? I was growing increasingly exasperated with our medical system. Like this catheter, it was placed inside me without much discussion and it caused an infection that created another ER visit, heavy antibiotics and the inability to start my medicine… I know there are important parts of our medical system and people who work really hard to do the right thing, but there are a lot of missing links.
I had some really rough days in the hospital, I was in a lot of pain. Not to mention, each night I tried to sleep I had someone coming in to check my vitals and then to take blood at 3 A.M. One of the most frustrating things with my body now, is since I had 3 lymphnodes removed from my right side 4 years ago, I can no longer use that arm for blood pressure, IVs or blood panels. Everything is not on my left side, which gets old fast. In the hospital that stuck me so many times, I think my veins started shrinking. They had such a hard time finding a vein for an IV. When they finally did find a vein, it ended up leaking blood and fluid, to where they had to put in a mid-line. I had (still do) bruises polka dotted all up and down my left arm from IV attempts and where they tried to take blood and successfully took blood.
My whole body hurt, my spine ached, my head pounded, I was uncomfortable, I couldn’t seem to shake it. They offered me a muscle relaxer, which I had never taken before and I finally accepted it so I could sleep. I remember crying to Evan saying how much pain I was in and how exhausted I was…he helped me see through this low point. He even came and cuddled with me in the very small hospital bed, just to hold me. I tried joking that we needed to stop having our date nights in the hospital...
Then the culture came back to reveal that my infection was staph. With this new information they were able to give me antibiotics specifically for staph. This plus me laying hands on my lung and praying for God’s healing is what I believe helped turn me around.
My head stopped pounding, my back pain was gone, I could get up and best of all I could smile. My mom came in and braided my hair, brought me food (I stopped ordering the hospital food) and my friend Lissie came in to visit which gave me a pep in my step. My girls came to visit which made my mama heart soar, cuddles with them made all my pain disappear.
From that point, I fought to get home. We were released from the hospital and got home so I could heal and kick this infection. I was very grateful to all the hospital staff who were taking care of me, most of the nurses were very kind and helpful. My doctor made sure I was in good hands. But phew, I was ready to get out of that hospital and I hope I never have to go back again.