Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 32 Wednesday- If you're scared of boobs... don't work in Cardiology

Hinging on my previous revelation, today I followed a decision to NOT BE INSANE!
Today I had to go down to UVRMC to get a holter heart monitor put on. Yes, I had to wait an additional day to get it... but there was no way you could get me to go into AF Hospital! You would have to drag me kicking and screaming... or knock me out! If given a choice, I will ALWAYS choose UVRMC.
Anyway, I went in to get the monitor put on...
I filled out the paperwork and specifically asked for the results to be read my Charlie. (Dr. Dahl)
The nurse... or assistant... or whatever she is came out to get me. My sister in law pushes me back to a room where I start getting the explanation of a holter monitor.
She was a twenty-something, 'glowy' skinned, naturally pretty woman. She gave me paperwork to fill out, and read some instructions. I noticed towards the end that she wasn't making eye contact with me. She seemed uncomfortable as she started explaining where the leads were going to be placed on my chest.
Now maybe I'm not as private as a person... or just too comfortable in my skin... but when she's talking I'm thinking HEART, and CHEST. Cardiology is gender neutral to me. Yes, I'm a female... which means I have boobs! In my eyes they just get in the way of the more serious issue... MY HEART!
She left the room so I could put on a gown backwards so it opened in the front. When she left I asked my SIL if she thought it was weird. We both wondered what was going on.
She came back in and  showed me a diagram of a body and where the leads would be placed. At this point I was like... GREAT! I get it...Just put it on already! I started to open my gown and she yelled "NO! NO! DON'T OPEN IT!!" It startled me so bad I about jumped out of the chair. She started all these sneaky maneuvers so I could show just enough skin to fit a lead on. It really was strange! Probably the most discreet medical hands that had EVER touched my body!
When she left for me to put back on my shirt I looked at my SIL, we both got the 'raise-the-eyebrow, wide eyes, WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT?' look on our faces. I busted up... I couldn't stop laughing!
I pulled it together enough to have me SIL push me out of the office.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 30 Monday- Another Doctor? Really?!!

I had my follow up with Dr. Larsen today. They did x-rays, and the usual check up. My leg looks like it's healing well.Which is great news to hear! I do wish that the good news brought some pain relief... but unfortunately no luck.
When I tell the Dr that I'm in pain... a lot of pain. Why doesn't he believe me? When I say that Percocet doesn't relieve the pain... Why doesn't he believe me? There is nothing worse when you are miserable than to be told you are a liar. Sure, he doesn't come out and say "You are a liar!" But he might as well.
Nobody wants to feel like they aren't heard... especially by the only person who can help you feel better! So it sounds ridiculous... but when I say I'm in pain, guess what? I'm in pain.
It sounds hilarious now to say things like I have a very high pain tolerance. Before this whole ordeal, I was the person who told other people to 'suck it up'. I thought people were silly... or just weak. Now I've got people questioning my pain. So my lesson learned today... it doesn't matter how pain tolerant a person it. Pain is pain!
Dr Larsen showed me the pics of my bones... then he sat in the chair and looked at my foot.
I've recently started some real abnormal bruising, it looks like blood pooling. If it weren't for the fact that I keep it elevated 24 hrs a day I might not wonder... but it's weird.
Dr Larsen crossed his legs, rested his elbow on his knee, and propped his chin up with his hand. It reminded me of that famous statue of the man thinking...
only this was Dr. Larsen's version. He said nothing and starred. After what felt like quite a while of silence, he leaned in and said "I've never seen this before!" then another pause "there can be a delay of bruising after surgery... but it's been too long. I've seen a lot of feet, but I need to send you to a foot specialist." Really?! Another Dr?!
So I get to see Dr. Faux. Apparently he's really good, and hard to get into. So they will get me in three weeks from now, at 7:30am... whew! If things clear up between now and then I can cancel my appt.
It is strange that it hurt so badly after surgery. Dr. Larsen said he saw the fracture on my follow up appointment... but it will be good to have someone take a good look at what's going on.
On a side note... this is my leg...

SHOCKING!! I know, I know. I sure hope I can eventually build back all the muscle I have lost, I just can't believe how much I've lost. It's gross... but I actually took the picture because my scars look so dang good! I have rubbed vitamin E oil on all 5 scars every day. I try to push through the pain and rub out the scar tissue building. I know that if I do everything I can I won't look back with any regrets!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 28 Saturday... Needy

It's really hard to explain the struggles and frustration I've had.
How do you tell someone that you like ice... but just a little bit? I have sensitive teeth, so cold water is good, and with a straw I can drink it no problem. But I do however, prefer it cold... but with little or no ice.
When someone is waiting on you hand and foot, the last thing you can do is turn down a cup of water because it has too much ice. I'm just so thankful they got me water in the first place! I feel bad that when I drink it all gone, I have to ask for more! (and I swear the second they get a moment to sit down and relax... I run out of something)
When someone is constantly asking me if I need something my automatic response is always "no... I'm fine" I feel like I can't ask. I just wait for someone to notice I'm out of water. I literally could ask for things all day... it's just because that's how I lived my life. I was always busy... so now it's impolite to ask for things over and over. I wait for someone to notice it's lunchtime.
Which is the other obstacle. "What do you want for lunch?" That is an easy question when you can open the fridge or pantry. I would ask myself that everyday. Now, I have no idea what is even in the kitchen... so I play it safe and ask for a sandwich. I've had at least one sandwich a day since being home. I HATE having to rely on other people!
I feel like I'm always barking orders... asking for things... noticing what's wrong, or what should be done. I sit here and have my internal struggles all day long. I have to let go of control in my life! I can't explain how hard that is. I have to let go of my housework, control of how things are done and when they are done. Have the kids done their homework? Are they done with their chores? Do their clothes match? Did anybody get the mail? All the day-to-day stuff... not to mention things like the yard, my church calling, volunteering at school, and all the activities and events nobody can do for me, even if I could ask them to.
I didn't have a blessing come to mind today... it wasn't a good day.

This is a picture of my Respiratory Therapist, she's a good one!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 26 Thursday- I can now define insanity!

When I couldn't get in to see Dr. Christensen, my only choice was to wait over three weeks to him, or get in that afternoon to see a new Dr. Timmons.
When I came in see him... it was a HER!
I gave her the run down...

chest pains
INR testing
Coumadin dosage
Blood clots
Prescription for compression socks

She gave me a number to call and schedule a 'holter monitor' for my heart. She couldn't pull up my last CT scan with the dye to test for a pulmonary embolism, it was done at the Utah Central Clinic with Dr. Larsen... so she asked me to go have another one. I told her I didn't want to go to AF Hospital after all that I had to deal with in the ER. But she said it was important to get it done. Against my better judgement I thought... how difficult can a CT scan be?... it's not like I have to go back to that ER.
When I had the last CT scans done down with Dr. Larsen, he left the door open as he was looking at the scans. He was talking to his PA about what he 'couldn't' see and said he would pull up the last scan done at the hospital. After a moment of silence the PA made the comment "There equipment must be better than ours." To which Dr. Larsen responded "I think their TECHS are better than ours." So when he re-entered the room still having doubts about what may be causing my issues it was no surprise.
My sister in law was driving me around, but needed to go home early. So my sister had to meet us at the hospital so she could leave early... we had to go to the medical supply store and get measured for the compression sock. Dr Timmons nurse said AF could do the scan at 3pm.
So it was 1pm... if we ran to Orem for the sock, we could make it back to the Hospital by 3pm... ready set go! Keep in mind I had been up getting ready to go to the Dr appt, and it's such a crazy ordeal just to get in and out of the car, in and out of a wheelchair, propping up my leg with pillows, pretty much just taking 10 times longer to do the basics... not to mention hurting like hell the entire time.
So sure enough... we took off! We hit traffic on the freeway, I had to call AF and make sure we were okay running minutes behind, they could get us in at 3:30pm.
We got to AF Hospital and they got me right in. Then they had us wait in the 'special waiting room' outside radiology. It made me a bit nervous ... it made us all nervous. My sister in law didn't want to leave until we got the news. It was now 4pm and  we had been out since 12pm. I had ice bags, but they were almost all melted. My pain meds seemed to have stopped working.
We saw two families come in and out. I'm thinking that after an hour there must be something wrong. After about an hour and a half the tech came in to let us know that she had tried to get a doctor to read the scan, but he hadn't got back to her.
30 minutes later she came back and informed us that the Radiologist who was supposed to read it had opened the file, not dictated it, and closed it... so it wasn't in the main file to allow other Dr's to read it. He had gone home for the day, because it was now past 5 o'clock!! They were trying to get a hold of him so he could make the image accessible so another Radiologist read it.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! I was in way too much pain to take it all, my sister in law was now late for her obligations, not to mention Dr. Timmons had also gone home so they were trying to contact her with the results before telling me anything.
So at 6 o'clock I was finally informed that everything was fine. FINE! I had sat there for 2 1/2 hours to confirm I was fine! My sister in law was finally able to leave and my sister took me home.
How many times does it take for me to learn that it's not worth ever going to AF hospital. What I thought would save some time by not having to go all the way to Provo ended up taking longer... much longer.
What's that saying from Albert Einstein?...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results

It seems like something so obvious... apparently I'm no Albert Einstein.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 23 Monday- It's lesson time again!

So this is how nicely things are healing... I'm getting there!

With all the recent drama and hurting both emotionally and physically I've been down. Which means that it's time I write down another lesson I've learned or a blessing I've received through all this...
I am much more compassionate towards those who suffer from medical illnesses.

I have a dear friend who has unimaginable pain and suffering. Her entire family has some kind of serious medical challenge.
I knew that her life was hard, and I knew that she was limited... I know now that I didn't know anything! My situation, as stinky as it is, will get better in the upcoming months. I will slowly progress to a healthier place and be able to do lots of things and enjoy the things I used to. (may just in a different way)
She, however, has a terminal illness. She is progressing down the path with things getting harder and harder. She knows that the things she can't do, she will never do again. So while I'm suffering climbing up the ladder... she is having to face the losses as she gets closer to the bottom of her ladder.
I still will never know what her struggles are, but I feel that I have learned what a taste of that might feel like. My heart hurts for her and her family. She is such and amazing woman, she carries herself in a way which makes others completely unaware of her suffering.
I have to remind myself that no matter how painful things get, or how hard it is to do some things... I'm blessed to be able to just do them at all! The pain I feel from Physical Therapy just means I'm that much closer to getting better. I need to be thankful for the strength and health I have, even if it's limited now, I know that when this is all over I will have opportunities to do the things I love.
I pray I don't forget some of the struggle and pain, just because I want to really feel compassion and be so thankful for the health I DO have.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 16 Monday- Pulmonary Embolism... fancy for An Evil Clot

I've died and gone to hell... really, I have. This is what my blood clots look like! They are bulging, bruising, and the skin it hot to touch. They are painful... so painful!

Today I had to go back to Dr. Larsen (or as I now refer to him 'the-man-who-thinks-I'm-a-crack-whore') for another follow-up.
Again, the appointment starts with x-rays. I'm still hurting, and I'm terrified that someone pushing me in my wheelchair is going to bump a wall or door frame.
X-rays check out... which I now have gathered is really the only thing he cares about. So he says that he wants to step me down from Dilaudid to Percocet. I just cringe at the thought... I'm still hurting... A LOT! My physical therapist came last week said that on the scale of 1 to 10, I really shouldn't even be doing therapy unless my pain is at a 3 or lower. I told her what had happened the week before, and basically how Dr. Larsen doesn't think I should be in as much pain as I am. It just made my therapist upset. She told me I should tell him how I feel, and it's his job to help me. Exactly! That's exactly what I did last time. I think he believed me after the blood clots and fractured foot... but even then I still get the feeling he thinks I abused narcotics... because they aren't working for me like they should.
Anyway, I agree to try coming down off the Dilaudid. But honestly, at this point I just want to manage the pain. I don't care what I have to take to do that.
I have an increasing heart rate. It's over 100 bpm. Dr. Larsen check my ER records which showed that when I checked in before surgery my heart rate was only 83. I told him that my resting heart rate is usually very very low.(not that he believes me) I've always had low blood pressure, and a low heart rate... especially resting. I told him I had a few moments of chest pain this past week, so he wanted me to get a CT scan with dye to check for a PE (pulmonary embolism) He also ordered an EKG.
The CT scan was a new experience... when the tech told me that I would have the sensation that I was peeing my pants I thought "sure... whatever..." Then sure enough, I totally had this weird taste in my mouth, and I felt like I was peeing my pants. So strange!
Then I went down the hall to Cardiology. We saw Charlie! He looked at me and asked what happened. We told him about the accident and how I was having complications and needed and EKG for a possible PE. He personally walked us down to the room, had his nurse do the test while he visited with us, then ran the scan right there with us. He said that everything looked good! He said that if we had any concerns or questions we could call him anytime on his cell phone. Love him! It's so interesting to have Dr. Larsen compared to Dr. Dahl. One Dr doesn't believe what I tell him... and the other is telling me I can call him in the middle of the night for anything I need. What a funny situation... although I'm not laughing!
We head back to Dr. Larsen, who confirms I'm clear without a PE. We get the prescription for pain meds and head out.
It's the longest I've been out of the house... and I can't believe how much I hurt! It's so sad to think that my physical ability is so limited... and so painful. I can't even imagine how long it will take me to get back to the way I was... IF I can get back to the way I was.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 11 Wednesday- Enema Queen

My body has never done well with narcotics. They are a necessary evil... a wonderful relief when I can get a break from the pain... but the aftermath makes for hell.
The first time I took a narcotic was after getting my wisdom teeth pulled. This was before my Mom had money to take me to an oral surgeon. I didn't get the experience of being sedated and waking up not remembering the sensation and sounds of things being ripped out of my gums!
Instead, I have the memory of crazy right wing guy... who's breath stunk... talking about Rush Limbaugh. The textured ceiling with sparkles. I will never for get the smell of the gas... the smell of sterilized instruments... the sound of the tube that sucked out the spit and occasionally sucked up the side of my cheek. At one point, he braced himself to pull, after having pulled unsuccessfully... no lie... then he stood up and put his foot on the chair and pulled with two hands! I will never forget it!
He sent me home with Lortabs. I'd never had them, or heard of them. 20 minutes later I was vomiting so hard the gauze flew out and my open sores were exposed to the acidic vomit that would not stop coming.
This had been my worst experience with narcotics. My Mom made the mistake of Tylenol with Codine once... but my pain has to be pretty darn horrible to suffer through what they to do my stomach. This had been the worse experience... UNTIL TODAY!!!
I have been taking Dilaudid... and thanks to Phenergan, I can have something to take the edge off. Zoloft doesn't work, but I can stomach the pain meds thanks to the anti-nausea meds.
So today I felt super yucky.. as the day went on... I felt sicker and sicker. My stomach looked really distended, I had flashbacks of my appendectomy... after the surgery my bladder wouldn't work. Sure enough I went to the bathroom and no luck. I started to think about when the last time I had used the bathroom. Dang it!
I decided to take a laxative. I waited and nothing... about six hours later I took another... no luck. I finally called the Dr who suggested a enema. WHAT?! I learned how to do those in my CNA classes, but they were the deal breaker... enema's were the reason I knew I couldn't go into the medical field. Now I was supposed to get one?! So my hubby went and got one. He was reading the directions... and I couldn't handle it! Not to mention... all the instructions involved moving, walking, and unmentionable things... all things I was incapable of doing in my physical state.
I was determined to wait out the laxatives... but I was feeling so sick I couldn't handle it. Sure enough, about 6:30pm I start vomiting. I'm in love with these little blue bags... it's sad that my quality of life has caused me to really appreciate things like vomit bags, but I really do love them. They used to give you those pink little kidney trays. I've given my kids bowls, that what my Mom would send me to bed with when I was sick. But never fail... between splashing and spilling... they are always just wrong for the job.
So I had vomited quite a bit... about half a bag. (which, by the way, also have measurements. So you know how much you have brought up.) I know I can't take my medications, so I know this has to go away quick!
I hobbled to the bathroom and when I got up all hell broke loose! I was throwing up so hard and so violently I kept fading in and out. My whole body felt ice cold, but I was sweating from every pore. I filled an entire new blue bag in 3 hurls. I was so shaky I couldn't hold the bag. My other sister in law had just showed up to see me. She hadn't seen me since the hospital... and little did she know what she walked into.
My sister in law had a third bag in hand. I barely had time for her to take the full one before I emptied myself into the new one. Where was it all coming from? My entire body hurt. I sat down, shaking uncontrollably. Kim was sitting there waiting for more vomit, while Jen had to leave so she didn't lose it herself. She was horrified. I kept apologizing for being in such terrible condition! She had brought the new movie 'Footloose' to watch and stuff for facials. Ha! It couldn't have been more opposite.
As Kim handed the bags of vomit to Mike he was getting more and more worried. After three full bags of bright green bile that wouldn't stop... Mike decided to take me to the ER. Jen was so worried that she insisted on coming, she didn't want to leave. I told Mike not to call Jess... she had been at my bedside for the past 4 days, I knew she would come to the hospital. Mike called to let her know, but told her not to come.
As we arrive to the ER, bag in hand, Mike starts to explain. The problem is he had to give history from the whole past week to explain why I was in this situation. Poor Mike was so frazzled, he got me in the wheelchair. It about killed me getting out of the car. They skipped triage and got me right in. Then it hit me! Oh no... I have to use the bathroom! Crap! (literally, so not good!) Mike bumps the wheelchair trying to get me to the bathroom, poor guy is getting so frustrated! Luckily, I make it in time to empty anything else that could be in my body. Seriously!!! The amount of bodily fluid that came out of me in the past 4 hours was unbelievable! So much so, that I find out Mike had taken pictures of some of the bags he took out to the trash. He said it was to show the Dr, because if you didn't see it you might not believe. It was neon green... florescent green... and so much! *This picture doesn't do justice to the color... but yes... so disgusting!!!*

Anyways, I know, I know enough is enough... but they ran me through the tests. Luckily they could start an IV, they had to try twice. I got some pain relief... which meant my brain could function again. I got fluids through the IV, and it only took about 15 minutes before I started to feel so much better.
The xrays came back good, and the CT(?) showed obstructed bowel, but not bad. The Dr wanted to give me an enema though to be sure.
My poor nurse came back in... I said "Do you have to do it?" She nodded, "No! I like you... and you are pregnant! Can they get someone else?" She laughed at me and explained it was no big deal. What? I've never done this... but it's a huge deal! She said it was her job. I finally agreed, apologizing every few minutes.
She explained how it would work, the challenge was that I can't walk. Exactly! That was the challenge when we read the directions on the box. She agreed there was no way I could have done it at home. She found a room available with a bathroom attached. I told her I didn't want Mike there. She kept laughing at me... I was humiliated. Seriously! I will have absolutely zero shred of dignity at the end of this! He already has to help me do almost everything... I just couldn't bring myself to do that to him! I could only handle this because I knew the likely hood of me ever seeing this nurse again was tiny. Or at least I sure hope so!
Needless to say... it wasn't that bad. My nurse was hilarious! She called me the "enema queen" part way through, the afterward told me I was her "Enema Hero!" What a title! She literally kept saying that she couldn't believe it! I felt none of the discomfort she described... it was easy! Then again... compared to what I had been through that day... it really was the highlight of my day... so, so sad when an enema is the highlight of my day. Not to mention, I had better be pretty darn good considering I only 32! Compared to the 80 year-old's I have great abilities.

Here I am, as you can tell, I'm feeling much better! Still not sure why Mike is taking my picture!
I asked what I needed to do so this didn't happen again... because I was determined it wouldn't. The nurse actually recommended an herbal supplement. Done! I got home and set up a chart on my bathroom wall... so I could mark each time I used the bathroom. It's like potty training, when I get a sticker on enough days I'll get a prize!! The prize?... no more enemas!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 9 Monday- Don't even!

I've officially had the worst weekend I've ever had in my entire life... even worse than last weekend, which was when I got HIT BY A CAR!

I'm allergic to one of my medications, the blood thinner Xarelto. I have massive amounts of lesions and blisters inside my mouth, covering my tongue, and down my throat. All I can eat are popsicles. I can't shower, because I can't get my incisions wet. I'm a mess!

When I left the hospital 3 days ago, I didn't get enough pain meds to make it through the weekend. We didn't realize it until Sunday, and Mike called Dr. Larsen. A narcotic prescription can't be called in... it has to physically be picked up. Dr. Larsen said that I should just take the Percocet I have on hand and he'd see me the next day. So needless to say, I was anxious to see him.
So today Mike and my Mom took me to my first follow-up appointment with Dr. Larsen. 
I'm not sure the reasons, but the Percocet was definitely not working! I needed something stronger!
When we got into the office, they started by doing x-rays. Every time my foot or leg gets bumped it brings me to tears! I rode to Provo in the car crying every time we hit a road bump, or stopped too fast, or accelerated too fast... anything!

The x-ray tech was doing the very best he could... but I was crying.
When Dr. Larsen came in and started asking questions and squeezing, poking, and pushing on different parts of my leg, I was close to my breaking point! There has got to be a better way to check on a patient than inflicting pain and asking "Does this hurt?" I wanted to kick him in the face then ask him the same question. I found that every area I said "yes" to, just meant that he pushed again.
I told him that I had been in a ton of pain the last 24 hours. I told him that the Dilaudid helped tremendously, and I felt it made the pain manageable. He then said "Well, I don't know why it hurts that bad... it shouldn't be hurting like that." Are you kidding? Did you just tell me that I'm not in as much pain as I'm telling you?! Then he followed with "Most of my patients I send home with a few days worth of 5mg Percocets and then they don't need to take ANYTHING after the first week." then he said "You are taking 7.5 mg Percocets! Usually when narcotics don't work well for a patient it's because they have been abusing narcotics." I couldn't believe what he had just said to me... it even took me a minute to form any words. He had just called me a drug addict! Me!! I felt such an overwhelming urge to scream. One from the pain I was feeling... and two, I couldn't believe my own surgeon didn't believe that I was in as much pain as I was. I was!!! Now I'm a drug addict?!!!
Trying my best not to cry and swear and call him names I told him that I'm not sure why... but on your stupid scale of 1 to 10, I was at a 9. I only go up to 9, because in my mind feeling a 10 would be dying. I looked at Mike with so much fear in my eyes. I didn't know what I was going to do if I had to keep enduring this much pain.
In an effort to defend myself I told him that I had never abused narcotics, NEVER! I can't even take narcotics without a lot of anti-nausea medication... why would I do that to myself?
Dr. Larsen said that the pain in my foot was strange, after my surgery my foot was in so much pain I couldn't handle it. It hurt worse than my knee! He also said I might have blood clots, so he sent me for an ultrasound.
After the most excruciating pain of the ultrasound, (I literally bawled like a baby! The tech had to go up and down my leg... pressing her wand so hard into my leg!) sure enough... not just one, but TWO DVT'S!! (DVT is Deep Vein Thrombosis... very painful clots in the deep veins of the leg) We went back to the room and Dr. Larsen came back in. He confirmed my blood clots, and he also said that after further review, I had a fractured heel. As much as I didn't want more pain and issues, I was so thankful that he now believed that I was in a ton of pain!
He prescribed me another week of Dilaudid... but wasn't very happy about it. I told him that I was well aware of the risks with addiction to pain meds. I told him that I'm not giving myself any medications... other people are managing them for me. I told him that I was taking any and every precaution to avoid addiction. Being the Dr. he was, I know he was just covering his own ass. He said "Well, good people get addicted! I just saw a woman the other day. I operated on her son. When I asked how he was doing, she told me that following his surgery he had become addicted to the pain meds and lost everything! His wife left him, he lost his children, his job... And he was a good person! He was in the Stake Presidency!" AGHHHHH!! Such an idiotic 'Utah County' thing to say! I don't care what calling in the church the guy had... it doesn't automatically make him a good person... and it sure as hell doesn't make him any better than me!
I knew if I didn't get out of his office quickly I was going to make a scene. I had hit my breaking point! My pain was totally unmanageable... my Dr didn't believe me... I was called a drug addict... and now I'm being told that despite my best efforts, my future was going to be lying in a gutter with a needle in my arm!
I honestly can't remember a time when I was that offended. Maybe it was so devastating because I was trusting this man to help me... he was the only one who could help me!

He said that there was nothing he could do for my foot. Since I will be non weight bearing for the next 7 weeks, it will hopefully heal. He also said that he didn't want to manage my blood clots. He said I would need to see my primary care physician for that. Since I was allergic to the blood thinner I was taking... he ordered me to start taking Coumadin, and also I needed to give myself a Heparin injection for the next three days... to bridge the gap until the Coumadin started working. Since I already have Home Health Care coming twice a weeks for physical therapy... they would test my blood twice a week to figure out what Coumadin dosage I need.

I've come to the conclusion that while I think Dr. Larsen is a phenomenal surgeon, he's an ass! I'm so glad he is a talented Orthopedic surgeon, and I do believe that he is very good at what he does... bones. However, anything aside from the bones... he needs a lot of work. His bedside manners, his lack of caring, the dismissal of blood clots and foot fractures. I'm thankful that he was able to do the surgery, but if I never have to see him again I will be so happy!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 7- The Remodel

Today Mike and Dave (Thomas) gave my bathroom a remodel. It's sad... and yet I've never been more thankful for the additions. I hope they are not permanent, but who knows what life holds!

Mike added a bar on each side of the wall in the toilet room. I'm just thankful we have a bathroom with such walls around the toilet! I also have a 6" riser on the toilet seat... so I don't have to sit down too far. I keep a stool in there with me, because I have to put my foot upon it in order to sit at all.
They switched the shower head to a hand-held spray wand. He also got a bench in the shower! I will be forever thankful!!! I don't know how I would function without them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 6 Friday- Get me out of here!

I hate hospitals! I hate ornery night nurses! I hate being in pain!
Thursday night was one of the worst nights of my life. Literally, has to be in the top 5.
I have a night nurse named Ryan. Yes, that's his name. I'm not changing his name to protect his identity... in fact... I wish I knew his last name! I think his tag had Ryan C. on it. He is about 5'9", dark hair, average looking face. He works on the fourth floor of the hospital, obviously the night shift. I wish I knew where he lived so I could punch him in the throat!!! If I ever run into Ryan in the future he will receive a very colorful and nasty greeting from yours truly. I believe in karma, so that is what get's me through.
Thursday night the nurses switch and he came into my room. In fairness, I have wonderful daytime nurses and assistants... which make nights that much harder. The night before he had done his job, very impersonal and promptly. He came in every so often, looked at my meds and asked about my pain. He was short and asked or answered questions with as few words as possible. At one point in the night I had fallen asleep long enough to stop pushing the button on my pump. I woke up hurting so bad I wanted to scream! I pushed the button and a few minutes later he came in. I told him I was hurting, he asked my favorite question "on a scale of 1 to 10... how would you rate your pain?" I said 9! I asked if there was anything else I could get. I pushed my button but the pain was so far gone I couldn't handle it. He looked at me... emotionless. Then he let out a 'huff' of air... clearly I had put him out. Without answering me he turned and walked out. I really didn't know what that meant. Thankfully he came back in with another man. He walked over to the pump, pushed some buttons and then turned to the man and said "see what I mean?" The guy nodded. I heard a few more beeps and Ryan said "there" and left. There? What the hell does 'there' mean? Apparently it was good, because three minutes later I started to feel better. Much better.
But back to Thursday... I wasn't impressed with him the night before, but little did I know what was in store the second night.
It was getting late, and earlier that day my nurse had my catheter taken out. I had gotten up and used a bedside commode and it wasn't too painful. But Ryan came in and told me I needed to get up and use the bathroom again before I went to bed. He didn't say hello, or ask how I was feeling. I said okay and sat up to the edge of the bed. He set the commode over the toilet and came back to my side to help me. Now standing and pivoting was quite the accomplishment earlier... but hopping on one foot to the bathroom was another story. Without warning he grabbed my arm and put it around him. He lifted me up and started moving forward. It was more of a super painful dragging... not my hopping. Every inch seemed to feel worse and worse. My leg hurt so bad, and every time I tried to hop, my landing sent shooting pain all the way up my leg. We got to the bathroom and I couldn't sit down. My leg was extended and couldn't bend... so the bathroom was too small to accommodate my leg. He turned the commode over the toilet as far as he could to the side. My leg still wouldn't fit, and it was clear that it wouldn't. I look up and saw that the main door into my room was wide open! There people walking back and forth, not to mention the nurses station right outside. I said to Ryan "Would you please shut the door?" He paused, did his 'huff' and whispered something like "are you kidding?" under his breath. Without warning he let go of me and shut the door. I started peeing and heard a weird splashing sound. I didn't know what was happening, nor did I have the strength to care. As I finished, Ryan stood me up. I looked down and saw a puddle of urine on the floor. Well, Ryan must have seen it at the same time because he said "Oh my gosh... you've got to be kidding!" I quickly said "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I don't know how..." He was dragging me so fast I couldn't breathe. I was holding my breath hoping I wasn't going to fall. I continued apologizing over and over as I got back into bed. He said nothing! He was mumbling words and ripping paper towels violently from their holder on the wall. He was pissed! (funny... pissed!) He had moved the commode so far to the side that it wasn't centered over the toilet. He moved it! He cleaned it up without acknowledging me. I kept apologizing and after being ignored for a few minutes I started to cry. This man treated me like I wasn't even a human being. He didn't care about my privacy or feelings... at this point I felt like I had lost almost every shred of dignity I had left. I was humiliated! I rolled toward the wall and cried myself to sleep.

It was sometime in the middle of the night. I was awake in pain... like usual. I reach down and feel that the ice pad wrapping my leg wasn't cold. My incisions felt like they were on fire! Pretty soon my entire leg felt like it was on fire! Ryan came in and started typing on the computer. I said "I'm sorry, but my ice machine isn't working... my leg feels SO hot, and it's killing me." Without even turning his head from the computer screen he mutters in a monotone voice "Umm, yeah. I don't know about those machines. The are provided by home health... and I don't know how they work" Then he walked out. I spent the rest of the night thinking that I had to get out of this place!
Sure enough, morning came. My wonderful CNA Hannah came in and I told her that my ice machine broke. She said "Oh no! Let me look at it" She picked it up and moved a few things. She explained that she didn't know how they worked, but she could try and fix it or get me a new one. She went and got my nurse Ashley. She came in and said the nurses had recently been trained on the ice machines. She did something and hooked it back up and it worked! Wow... less than 5 minutes. I told Mike "I don't care what I have to do... I'm not spending another night here!"
Sure enough I expressed to my nurses and my Doctor that morning that I was ready to go home, and I was ready to do what it takes! When physical therapy came I walked like my life depended on it (and it kind of did) I even did an extra lap around the nurses station. I pushed through the pain and knew that if I wanted to leave I had to prove it! I got up to use the bathroom, used my walker, and got back to bed. When the nurses were doing their shift change I thought I was in for another night of hell! Then Ashley came in and had discharge papers in her hand... I could have kissed her!
So I'm home. I'm trying to manage the pain, but it's difficult. I fear that without an IV in my arm I can't control the pain. I'm not sure if it's the 11 screws drilled through my bone... or the muscle that was cut to put in the 12" metal plate?... all I know is I have never felt pain like this. And I do have the fear that it won't get better.