Sunday, August 12, 2007

Should Have Turned Right at Albequerqie

Didn't Bugs Bunny used to say "I should have turned right at Albequercy" (I know, I spelled it wrong both times, I just can't figure out the right way).

So, Tuesday morning, Deb and I went out for breakfast, went to vote then went to my chemo appointment. I'm glad we went out for breakfast because it was past 6pm before I got to eat again.

My PICC line was infected. When they flushed it at the chemo office, they waited to see what was going to happen. Sure enough, about 45 minutes later I began to shake uncontrollable. Oddly enough, I hadn't spiked a fever yet, it was still normal at that moment, as was my blood pressure and blood sugar. They started an IV in my right hand (because the PICC was infected, they couldn't put anyghtin into it and they couldn't even draw blood out of it because my body was being uncooperative). They administered Demerol through the IV. After about 3 minutes, I stopped shaking, so I didn't feel as bad, but Deb looked at my arm and saw bright red welts following the path of that vein up my arm. Evidently, I'm allergic to Demerol. They gave me Benedryl through the IV and the reaction stopped almost immediately. It's pretty cool how that works. So, they pulled the PICC line right then and there. I knew that the nurse was checking it out carefully. I didn't realize that she was actually pulling it out until she said that it was out. I was busy looing at my IV and freaking out. Probably good that I wasn't looking considering the amount of anxiety I've been having lately. Of course, I was pretty stoned at that point, so it may not have freaked me out.

They had Deb take me to the hospital, go directly to the hospital do not pass go do not collect $200 do not go home for clean underwear.

By the time I got to the hospital, my temp was up to 101 or 102, not sure since I was high and they gave me the numbers in celsius.

I stayed in the hospital until Friday afternoon. I was on two IV antibiotics. Vancomyacin twice a day and Rocefitin (not sure how to spell this one) three times a day. The Vanco is really hard on veins and blows IV sites pretty regularly. I panicked and teared up when the site in my hand finally gave out on Wednesday. Then on Thursday when the next site went, I was much more reasonable about it. Part of the reason I was better is that when the Wednesday site was put in, the nurse, CK, got it on the first try. The one on Thursday did, too. The other reason that I was more reasonable is that it hurt like crazy when that site gave out.

The Vancomyacin pretty much always hurt a little for the first couple of minutes of the infusion, but would be fine after that. When the site in my left arm began to give out, that couple of minutes kept going and getting worse. Then it started to turn red and swell. Deb had already told me what to watch for, so I knew that it was going bad.

Once that site came out and before the new site in my right arm was put in, I was able to take a REAL SHOWER. No saran wrap, plastic bag or tape on my arm. No soap on a washcoloth standing at a sink. An honest to goodness hot shower, totally under the water running over me. Ahhhhhh.

The nurse who put in the last site, Rick, said that it wouldn't last long because it was a really small vein and not a good site. He got it on the first try and it didn't even hurt very much. Then, onced they started running the Vancomyacin, it didn't hurt at all. Not even the first few minutes like usual. It was the best site yet. That one lasted through Thursday night and Friday morning's infusions of both antibiotics and Friday afternoon's Rosefitin infusion. It was removed when I got sprung.

Wednesday and Thursday, I rode in ambulances to go and get my radiation treatments. I missed Tuesday's and my radiation Doc flagged Deb down in the hospital parking lot to let her know to make sure that I didn't miss anymore treatments while in the hospital. So, because I was in their custody (in their care), Deb couldn't take me because insurance company's won't allow people to have passes from the hospital. So, anyway, I had to go in ambulances for 5 minute radiation treatments. It was kind of embarassing. I got out just in time on Friday to make my radiation appointment on my own two feet instead of on a gurney for no reason.

The blood cultures that they drew in the emergency room hadn't grown anything by Friday. When the chemo clinic pulled my PICC line, they didn't keep the tip for a culture. So, I was sent home on two heavy duty oral antibiotics.

One of my friends pointed out that some of my postings have been rather graphic. I apologize if it grossed or freaked anyone out. That was not my intention. Part of that graphicness came from my the fact that my brain on steroids was not very good at censoring my words. Part of it also is that by writing those feelings and experiences out, I was able to set them aside easier than if I related them orally to people over and over, or played it out in my brain over and over. Having it in black and white helps me to let it go. I haven't been journaling in my regular journal since the radiation treatments started, so unfortunately, sometimes more shows up on here than I intended when I started the blog.

While in the hospital, I caught up on a lot of my journaling. Not all, but enough to help deal with some of the weirdness in my head. Also, I didn't have chemo on Tuesday and since I only take the steroids for the 3 days following chemo, by Thursday, I was finally starting to feel like myself again. It's amazing how much they affected my personality. I have a little better perspective now on what Deb went through when she was on them. My dose is very small. She was on a much higher dose when she first had her adverse reactions to it.

On Saturday, our friends Delores and Walt came over to help us get our house and yard in order. Walt mowed our lawn while Deb worked on the basement and laundry and I gave all three dogs baths. (I couldn't do that with a PICC line in.) Then we had lunch and Delores helped me work on the main part of the house (she did most of it, I kept running to the bathroom with the runs.) while Deb continued working on the basement and the entryway. I am so grateful to both of them because that is a lot of work and Deb and I are both exhausted from this week's events. Then, our friend Connie made us all dinner. I am so lucky to have such an incredible group of friends and support surrounding me.

By the way, I discovered that my brother, John, was right about me when we were kids. I AM a big whiney baby. I complained and whined almost every time they had to try to draw blood or start a new IV. I complained about being stuck in the hospital, and I protested needing to take an ambulance to my radiation. Whaaaaaaa.

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