A couple of days ago, I had a really bad day.
My night nurse saw me sleeping so fitfully that she didn’t want to wake me up at 4 in the morning to take my pain medicine. As sweet a gesture as that is, it was not entirely wise. I woke up with a pain level of easily 8, possibly 9, out of 10, even before moving. That was not fun.
Once I got that pain under control, we realized that my IV was not running the way it’s supposed to. I have the unfortunate luck of having blood that likes to clot, so if I have an IV in, I have to have fluid running through it constantly. Why did I still need an IV? After the section, I developed a case of cellulitis, which is basically a sub-dermal bacterial infection that is angry red and extremely painful to the touch. The only way to treat it is with intravenous antibiotics, two different kinds, staggered every six hours.
My day nurse realized that there’s definitely something wrong with it, and she tried to troubleshoot the problem: no crimps in the line, she opened the line all the way up, still nothing, checked the joins… finally, she cleared the insertion site with some saline and the clot (painfully) got flushed away. The line started running again, but she forgot to turn it back down to a normal level.
That means that I got about a liter of fluid intravenously in about ten, maybe fifteen minutes. No one noticed this.
ANOTHER occlusion happens, and the site is getting puffy and angry. The bag runs out of fluid, which is a Bad Thing, and I feel the vein slam shut, blowing back blood into about seven inches of tubing. She pulls the IV and calls another lady in to put another IV in.
This new lady normally works in only on the Pediatric side of things, so she is very not used to working on big people. How this factors into what happened next is a little beyond me. Anyway, she takes her time picking a site with a nice fat vein, and as she’s putting the stint in, we both realize that she didn’t “miss” exactly – she just punctured the far side of the vein as well. (ow.)
So, she tries AGAIN, and this time manages to get the stint in, except that it’s not a great placement and bothers me constantly.
Around this time, I realize that I’m having a hard time breathing. No matter what position I got into, I just could not get a full breath. Remember that whole thing about the liter of fluid in ten minutes? Some of that settled in my lungs. Blech.
Another night of rough sleeping, having to try to snooze sitting up, and no being terribly successful about it, but what’s sleep to a person with a newborn? (Answer: an alien concept.)
Yesterday, I figured it couldn’t get much worse, but I was a little wrong.
I had my same breakfast as always, but the Good Doctor increased my Metformin dose from 500 mg in the morning to 1000 mg. Why? Because the diabetes will actually take about six weeks to go away. (I really wish someone had been more specific about this before…) I take my blood sugar at two hours after breakfast, and it’s running about 180. Meh. Okay, I get the standard amount on the sliding insulin scale – 7 units – and things are just fine.
Before we can check the one-hour-post-injection sugars, I start getting really faint and shaky, and I start pouring down sweat, and I can’t move well at all. My CNA was in the room at that exact moment, gratefully, and pulled the nurse in STAT to check my blood sugar.
It was 20. We don’t know exactly how I was even conscious at that point.
Many little boxes of orange juice a few servings of peanut butter, and this absolutely nasty stuff that was supposed to be lemon but was really just glycerin soap later, and I’d recovered enough to realize that I was still desperately in need of recovering.
Oh, and either just before or just after that, the site of the IV from the day before had started getting puffy and angry and pissy, so we pulled THAT one and decided to start abusing the OTHER arm. If they’d missed or gotten bad placement that time, I was going to throw an uncharacteristic fit.
I get through all of that, including being assigned an Elephant on which to suck (it’s a simple machine that you use to expand and strengthen your lungs and expand your air capacity. What else am I supposed to be doing? Walking a lot. Except that I have a baby AND an IV tree to haul around. Whenever I want to go for a walk, I have to put Daniel in the nursery, and that’s okay.
Today is much better.
I got my staples out, I got the IV out, and at midnight, I’ll be discharged and become a boarder. Best part? I get to wear my own clothes. Seem silly? Wear a hospital gown for a month and see how YOU like it.