Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Hospital

My girlfriend drove me to the hospital. She dropped me off in front and I hobbled in. I signed in at the desk and waited to be called back to triage. They soon called me. I gave them the run down. I hurt. I have been in the bathroom non-stop for a good long time and feel like death warmed over.

They grab a wheelchair. Off to the admissions desk. Lots of questions. Lots of forms to sign. Do I have a Living Will? Or something? Ai yi yi. No, but I should. But I am not thinking. I scrawl my name on a bunch of papers. Off to wait to be seen

I am wheeled back to my very own er cubicle. Things start to get hazy at this point. I remember my lips were very chapped. I remember I hurt. I remember a doctor from the GI practice came. I remember a nice Irish nurse came and started my iv. I know they finally gave me painkillers. I know that they collected a urine? stool? sample and that my girlfriend had to stand in the bathroom with me while I did that fun stuff. I also had some sort of x-ray. I don't remember this at all. Next thing I know, I am being admitted. They asked if I wanted a private or semi private room over some weird intercom. I said whatever. I really wanted a private room but figured the insurance company wouldn't have paid. In any case, I got wheeled into a hallway to wait for a room. Up to the room now, I got the bed by the window, the "big" side of the room. IV running, pain meds, steroids. They tell me that evening that I can also have anti anxiety meds and sleeping meds. Uh huh, whatever. The next 10 days pass in a blur. I remember after my first roommate left, I asked for the other side of the room so I didn't have to trip over other people's family members on the way to the bathroom. Then I missed the window and the big side of the room. I only had to trip over my family members.

I am not sure how many room mates I had while I was there 5? 6? I remember a sweet old woman and her husband. She was having a lot of trouble getting the care she needed. Her husband was very sweet to us. I remember one woman told she couldn't have intercourse for some period of time and her and her husband discussing what counted for intercourse after the doctor left.

I remember wanting to work, being frustrated I couldn't. I remember wanting my kids. I don't know what it was about being in the hospital, but I missed my kids more than ever. I wanted to be home. I wanted them to annoy me. I wanted to fix lunches and dinners.

My friends were great though. Lots of long distance calls to me. Flowers, balloons, teddy bears, cards, emails. It was wonderful. I am not sure I made all that much sense. I doubt I did a good job thanking everyone. But it was very, very appreciated and special.

Most special of course was my girlfriend. She knocked herself out. She managed wrangling my children, her children, her job, everything while I was completely out of it. Not only that, she spent so many hours everyday right next to me. She worked at the hospital. She tended our life from the hospital. Then she would go run children around, made sure they had what they needed. Then she would be back. She would stay late into the evening, going home around 11 and working more from home with the faster connection. She would be back though the next day, as soon as she could. She wasn't eating right. She wasn't sleeping. But she was taking good care of me. She asked questions. She looked up meds. She translated for me to the doctor and the other way around. She got permission for me to walk. She got permission for me to go outside. She brought stuff to me. Most of all she held my hand, watched while I dozed, and crawled into the tiny hospital bed with me and held me. She dealt gracefully with staff and people thinking she was my mother, aunt, sister, or friend.

I had more tests in the hospital. A CAT scan, a sigmoidoscopy, blood tests. The CAT scan required another tasty barium cocktail. Most people get to have a different sort of contrast but because of my allergy to nutrasweet, I was unable to drink the first one offered. After the drink, I was taken to the room for the CAT scan. It was cold, but a short, easy test. Lay still. Don't look at the light. Hold your breath when the signal said to do so.

The sigmoidoscopy was like the colonoscopy, except no prep was needed. It seemed to go easier than the colonoscopy in general too.

They showed things were looking better, but that didn't mean I was feeling better. I was eating nothing and still in the bathroom more than 20 times a day.

They had continued the Asacol in the hospital. I had pointed out that I thought it might have something to do with the problems. Finally, one of the docs in the practice decided to pull the Asacol. I started to get better. It was about time. I hurt still. I still was in the bathroom all the time. They had been switching pain meds and steroids so I was down to oral meds only. Then they started 6-MP which was to be my replacement for the Asacol. However, I felt crummier by the day. It was clear that no more good could come from the hospital though. Time to go home.

A fistful of prescriptions, a car full of stuff collected at the hospital from flowers to the scissors and tweezers they used to pull the pic line out, and we were on our way.

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