Monday, December 17, 2007

Hospitals are fun!

So. I'm home after another six days in the hospital. Six glorious days. Wanna know what I learned there? When I was hospitalized for the toxic pimple in November, we had it cut open and cultured it for bacteria. This was November 19th. I went home on the 20th. That same day this culture came back with serious results; my face wound culture had grown pseudomonas bacteria. (Read about it, it's fun!) But the ENT, who ordered this culture, was not sent the result. Instead, it went into the computer under the name of the Hospitalist Doctor under whose name I had been admitted. The hospitalist, having never ordered this test was certainly not looking for the results. And my ENT didn't go looking for it, probably because he didn't expect it to grow anything after my having been on massive antibiotics for days. All we know for sure right now is that I was discharged home on the wrong antibiotics for a Pseudomonas infection and no one read that culture result for three weeks. Not until I had a blood count of .7 and was re-admitted with the hole in my face becoming red and angry once more. And guess what antibiotic is the best defense against this terrible multi-drug-resistant bug? You guessed it, my favorite antibiotic in the world, Levaquin.

Isn't that a lovely story? David and I think so. My whole family thinks so. About the only people who aren't overjoyed with this story is the hospital who very nearly could have killed me. Killed me. Really. The story isn't over. It has several chapters in it,incuding many small mess ups that lead to a major mess up that cost me another six glorious days in the hospital. We will be studying this story up close as soon as I can get all my medical record together. News at 11:00.

Six days in which I could have been Christmas shopping and living my life that I should have had back by now since my last chemo was November 6th. Instead I got bone pain from Neupogen shots that thankfully raised my white blood count from .7 to 9.8. Plus all the antibiotics and pain meds that left me unable to keep anything down for a day or so. Lots and lots of fun.

I do have some more fun hospitalization facts to share. Such as:

1. If you run out of clean jammies while hospitalized and you ask your husband to bring more, he will bypass all the comfy underpants in your dresser and pick the cute uncomfortable ones. But you will adore him anyway.

2. People who build hospitals have absolutely no clue as to what it is actually like to be a patient. For example the door leading into the bathroom has this really pretty little marble ledge. They put this little ledge there because it keeps water from the shower, (which is the same level as the floor with the exception of the same cute marble ledge) from pouring into the room. But the serious design flaw here is that a patient entering the bathroom is almost always going to be chained to the six wheeled monster; the IV Pump. And this little ledge is just high enough to make it nearly infrickenpossible to wheel the IV pole over. And this pole is heavy and with a blood count of .7 I simply wasn't able to get the wheels over the ledge. My mom had to help and let me tell you it isn't easy for her either. After a while, like a good patient, I lost all dignity and generally left the IV outside the open door while I used the potty. Engineering geniuses, I tell you.

3. Like a fruit market, a hospital is a place you can dicker. After getting up to pee, I kid you not, every 40 minutes and battling the fine bathroom architecture, you can ask the nurse to turn off the fluids. If you are nice, she will call the doctor who will come back' with 'how bout we turn them from 125 per hour to 75? 'I'll take it', you'll say in relief, but secretly plan to ask the hospitalist tomorrow who will surely be someone you haven't seen yet.

Also, when being discharged you can have a bartering session with the hospitalist on exactly how many days of antibiotics you will take when you get home. "Dr. George said five more days would be ok." "I think we really need to do 10 to 14." "With the two weeks of thrush madness I have just been through? Are you counting the days I have already been on it while here in the hospital?" "We can do that. So Dr. Georges five, plus three more." "Ok, but can I have the 500mg instead of the 750mg?" "Done, and I will give you an extra pill in case you lose one." Uh huh. In case I lose one. Cause adults do that a lot. No, I get an extra pill just in case I forget what we agreed on and you can get me to take an extra day. I am on to you, silly hospitalist, can't fool me.

4. Sometime you are more knowledgeable then your caregivers. This is especially true when you are a cancer patient who spent the last 5 months obsessed with blood counts and Neupagen/Neulasta bone pain. When my counts reached 4.5 yesterday, we rejoiced, "My counts are up! Yippee! But wait, my chart still calls for me to get Neupagen. Noooooooo! No more bone pain, my counts are up! I don't want it!" So when the nurse came in with the shot, I simply declined. 'No thanks.' You can do that, ya know. You can just say, 'I don't want that.' Later when the day's Hospitalist came in, I was proud to learn I was right, I didn't need it. An order just stays and order until a doctor gets around to calling it off.

5. There is a point in post-cancer hair-growth when putting on a head cozy or turban wrap makes you look more like a cancer patient than your own short, short hairs. I am not quite at that point, but almost. It is uncanny how fast my hair is growing. From fuzz to down to almost real hair. Soon, very soon, I will have hair.

6. Post-cancer hair growth is not always a good thing. I didn't take a razor to the hospital and my underarms chose this week to grow, grow, grow. I would rather see my eyelashes return so aggressively. I could do with out the arm and leg and (ahem) hair.

7. Even if you have never been a law-suit kind of person, certain events can make you think perhaps you should become one.

Glad to be home people. I have shrugged off a lot of anger and pain and bitterness and I am ready, fucking-A ready, to get back into life at a sprint. Look out world.


Fire Berry said...

Wow.Wow. WOW.

I am so glad you're home. And you seem to be yourself today!

eefolsom said...

Ok Marsha, what will it be, chocolate candy, my famous chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream???? You name it, as I promised, I will bring it!

I would have come to visit in the hospital, but I've has the most horrific cold that I was afraid to bring you any more bad germs. Soon as I'm on the mend, the chocolate is all yours.

I'm glad you are home:).

Mrs. Geren

The Holmes said...

Geez, talk about a horrible series of oops'es on the hospital's part. Glad you're back home now.

Jooley Ann said...

UNbelievable. I am SO glad that you're outta there and feeling better! Let's make this the LAST time, eh? :)