Sunday, May 20, 2018

The One With The Pain, The Stupid Doctor, And The Beans

Tuesday night I went to bed with some pain in my abdomen, thinking it was just a little gas. Every time I began to doze, the pain awakened me. By the time my alarm went off in the morning, I was wide awake, in horrible pain, running a fever, and fully aware that I was suffering from another bout of diverticulitis. My sixth bout of diverticulitis.

Still, I like to live in complete denial of medical issues so I waited a few hours, convinced that, through sheer willpower, I could stave off an infection. My rising temperature and my inability to stand up straight said otherwise, so around 1:00, I headed to the hospital. Because I believe the medical care down here will kill you is subpar like I wrote in my blog post HERE, I debated where to go. There's only one hospital in Central Florida that I've visited and have not hated with a burning passion, so one would think that I would go to that hospital. But I did not.

Now, I have a reason for this! A perfectly good reason! And that reason makes total sense! Hear me out! I didn't go to the not-horrible good hospital because the emergency department in Winter Garden doesn't have any rooms; it's just an emergency facility. So I came up with the brilliant plan of going there because I knew they couldn't admit me; they'd have to send me on my merry way with a couple prescriptions for antibiotics! That idea was foolproof! Only I didn't take into account the possibility that they'd transfer me to another Florida Hospital.


A white cell count over 20,000, a fever, and a CT scan showing extensive inflammation earned me a fun little ambulance ride to a larger hospital. The paramedics who transported me were all nice and friendly, but none of them looked like this:

When the hospital sends me a survey about my experience, I have some things to say about that.

A surgeon was called in for consultation. His assessment is that I will continue to have attacks and if I do nothing, it's just a game of Russian roulette until my intestines explode and I need emergency surgery. Although they could have done the surgery while I was in the hospital, the surgeon said I'd be better off waiting 4 to 6 weeks until the infection and inflammation were under control. By waiting, according the surgeon, there's less of a chance of needing a colostomy. I thought that was a great suggestion because it combines two things I love: procrastinating and not pooping in a bag.

I will say that everyone, from the ladies who registered me to the nurses and the CT tech, in the Florida Hospital in Winter Garden was nice. They were concerned with keeping my pain and nausea controlled, and making sure I was comfortable. The doctor was friendly, compassionate, had a sense of humor, and checked on me more than once while I waited.  And I will say that the Florida Hospital in Apopka where I was transferred was nice. My room was big and clean. But seriously, with all the advances in hospitals, you'd think they would've realized the beds suck! You'd think that maybe they could've come up with something a little more comfortable. Like a slab of concrete. Or a bed of nails. But the nurses who cared for me were nice and compassionate. They always asked if there was anything they could do for me.

However . . .

Late Wednesday night they took me for an MRI. I asked why they needed it since the CT scan had shown them what they needed to know. I was told, "Just to get a better look." Okay. As it turns out, I learned the next day, they wanted a better look at a mass they'd seen on my liver in the CT. If anyone had bothered to tell me this, I could've let them know that I was already aware of the mass and had already had an MRI like a year ago, and already knew it was a benign hemangioma. But thanks for bumping up my bill, guys. Appreciate it.

On Thursday evening, I was allowed some clear liquids. The surgeon takes a look at the clear liquid diet sitting mostly untouched on my tray and says that I shouldn't be eating or drinking anything at all for another couple days. Okay. TMI alert - Infection in your colon + strong antibiotics = massive diarrhea. Or well, I guess not massive exactly if you haven't eaten for 2 days, but still. In the middle of the night I had a little um, accident. (It takes a while to get out of bed when you're hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV!) I cleaned up and was changing into a new pair of underwear when a male tech walked in. Yeah. I have super-lucky timing that way. He was concerned my heart monitor had come off, so in the dark, before I had even finished pulling up my undies with one hand because my other hand had a death grip on my IV pole so I didn't fall over from overwhelming dizziness, he grabbed my hospital gown, pulling it out from my neck as he messed around with the leads on my chest. Awkward. He didn't even buy me dinner. 

On Friday, the PA from surgery told me I could try a liquid diet. About 2 seconds after she left my room, someone came in with a tray of spaghetti and meatballs, grapes, and milk. I told her I couldn't eat that because I was on clear liquids. She argued with me that no, I'm on a regular diet. Ummm no. I literally just talked to the doctor! She didn't believe me, but agreed to bring me a new tray with vegetable broth and tea anyway. No sooner did she bring me a new tray than the nurse came in telling me I'm on a regular diet and I'm ready to be discharged.


Then a person, who I can only surmise was Frank Abagnale Jr. impersonating a doctor, came in and told me I couldn't leave until I could eat a regular diet. When I asked him, "Why?" he didn't have an answer. Since he had apparently never encountered someone with diverticulitis, even though it's a very common problem, I enlightened him a bit. "Listen buddy! I have had this SIX times. And EVERY time, I have been discharged from the hospital on a clear liquid or perhaps a bland brat diet. I will not be able to eat SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS for some time!" (There is much debate on what kind of diet can prevent diverticular disease and/or flare-ups of diverticulitis, but everyone agrees that when you're healing from an infection, you need a bland, low-fiber diet for a couple weeks.)

He left and I burst into tears because that's what I do. I missed Clay's band concert on Thursday night and I was stuck there missing his 8th grade dance. I felt awful that my Littles had been left to their own devices for what felt like a week and a half. I felt sorry for myself because being a single mom when you're sick sucks. No one to take care of me. No one to take care of my kids. But I've got to say that Lexi is the awesomest! She took care of Clay and Brooklyn. She bought them dinner and made them go to bed before 2:00AM. She brought me clothes and toiletries and came to visit me every day. I'm so grateful for her help!

Anyway, while I was bawling, the nurse supervisor person came in and talked to me. I expressed my frustration that no one seemed to be on the same page, and I just want to go home. I shouldn't be expected to eat a regular diet in order to leave. I asked why on earth would they bring me spaghetti and meatballs. Why not just plain noodles or mashed potatoes or white rice or a piece of bread? She was sympathetic and said she'd do her best to get me discharged that night. She came back in with some mashed potatoes and said if I tolerated my dinner I could go home. Those were the best mashed potatoes ever!

Want to know what they brought me for dinner?

Corn. And black beans. Because everyone knows how easy it is to digest corn and beans. The perfect food for a person healing from a vicious intestinal infection.


I didn't eat it, of course. I left anyway. (Thank you Austin and Codi for picking me up!) I'm home and the pain is much, much better, however the nausea and dizziness from the evil antibiotics is in full force. And I guess I'll be scheduling surgery for this summer which is good timing since I won't have to take time off from the school at least. But I'm still not looking forward to it for oh, so many reasons, not the least of which is the colonoscopy-like prep.


Lisa said...

ASk to do the Miralax and Gatorade prep! The regular go-lytely which we all know is not lyte! I was not able to tolerate the regular prep while in the hospital on anti nausea meds so they have agreed that this is the prep I do from now on.

Mary said...

Longtime reader. I had surgery in 2000 to remove my sigmoid colon after never-ending bouts of diverticulitis. It's been 18 years and I have not had a single attack since then and I can eat anything I want.

I wish you the best and a speedy recovery!!

Renee Burns said...

Glad I finally found your blog! Glad you are on the mend. Please don't hesitate to ask for help! Also, you ARE awesome and funny.

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