Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week in the hospital

I meant to come back and write the whole saga of the hospital stay, but the days kind of got away from me. The time in the ER was awful because I was so sick; the ultrasound made me even sicker because I had to lie on my side. I just wanted the pain and nausea to stop. Everyone was doing everything they could, but I'm very susceptible to nausea and it's difficult to get it under control. They eventually were giving me two different medications, alternating them, and it finally helped, although it never completely went away until after the surgery.

It turned out that I had pancreatitis. One of the doctors--there were so many!--told me that, and told me that I was "very sick." I didn't really realize how sick until it was all over and I looked it up.

They were giving me the anti-nausea medication through IV, and pain medication, but weren't giving me anything to eat. I didn't want anything to eat, of course, but I was kind of worried about my blood sugar. I tend to have problems if I don't eat regularly, and I was worried that maybe some of the nausea was from not eating. But I realize now that they were letting my pancreas rest. After a couple of days they started giving me glucose in the IV, and then they started giving me insulin.

I didn't really understand that, either, I thought it was in reaction to the glucose, but I guess it was because of the pancreatitis. It was all sort of a blur, really. I just did whatever they told me to do. Once I stopped throwing up, it wasn't horrible. Bob was there every day, as much as he could, my parents came a couple of times, Bob's parents came, and my sister Lynn, and Anna from work and my friend Patti. I got flowers, and Bob brought my library books, although I couldn't concentrate enough to read.

I didn't even watch television except the last day when I caught a Pink Panther marathon, which was kind of fun. Mostly I tried to sleep, but of course, I only got to sleep about a half hour at a time before someone came in and woke me up to check my temperature or stick me with something. They were constantly sticking the ends of my fingers and checking my blood sugar; by the time I left most of my fingertips were bruised. The IV machine would start beeping if it was empty, or if I turned over and the IV in my arm moved, but as far as I could tell, the beeping was confined to my room, and it didn't turn on any alarms anywhere else. So it would wake me up, and I'd lie there for awhile, then call the nurse and tell them "the IV is beeping," and someone would come and fix it.

On Thursday they scoped me; the ultrasound had showed that there was a gallstone blocking the pancreatic duct, which I guess was what was causing all the problems. But the doctor said that there wasn't anything there; I guess it had passed by itself. On Friday the surgeon came by and said that my liver and pancreatic enzyme levels were better, but my white count was still high, and he wasn't sure why, and didn't know if they were going to be able to get it down. He said he might have to go ahead and operate over the weekend.

The ended up doing the surgery on Sunday, and only after thinking about it afterwards did I realize that I wasn't scared at all. It didn't even occur to me. I just wanted it to be over.