So, last week I got back from an out of town film shoot, and didn’t feel well. Not surprising, little sleep, strange bed, working with 20+ people, I figured I was getting a flu or a migraine.
Tuesday I was dizzy and nauseous, Wednesday I was turbo-barfing. You know, the one where you throw up stuff you ate at age 6! So, when dear hubby got home from work, I made him turn around and take me to the hospital.
I expected to spend a couple of hours, get a gravol shot (since I barfed up the gravol pills) and go home. Nope.
I saw a dozen different doctors, had blood tests, ultrasound, MRI, ECG, you name it! The hardest to do was the urine tests. I hadn’t noticed it, feeling so generally miserable, but I was severely dehydrated and jaundiced!
They put me on an IV to hydrate me at 6pm, it was after 9pm before I manage a >2 oz sample for them to test. It looked like thick tea. Ewwwww……
Things happened after that. Not quickly, but they happened. My gall bladder, liver and pancreas were all inflamed, possibly infected. My liver had been dumping bile into my bloodstream because the common bile duct was blocked, stone or infection, they weren’t sure until after the ultra sound. To be fair, they weren’t really sure afterwards either, it appears I barfed up the stone.
Around midnight (7 hours after arrival) they decided to admit me overnight for observation and wait for more tests. It was 3am before I got a “bed” in an observation ward. They woke me at 530 for the first test. Good thing it wasn’t a written exam.
They actually came to get me for the test at 1pm. And I’d had to be zero food by mouth, even water. At this point it’s Thursday afternoon, and my last solid food was ½ a sandwich Tuesday afternoon. Finally I found a room and a bed and a partial answer. They weren’t entirely certain, despite all the doctors and all the tests, but it looked like my liver was not working, my gall bladder was blocked and my pancreas was inflamed.
This is a little upsetting. My blood numbers are almost perfect, except for the liver being off for the past 12-18 months. But we eat healthy, real food. Actual vegetables, not canned, mushy shite. Nothing deep fried, no fast food, no chips, little pop or crap at all. How dare my gall bladder pull this?!
The decision was to keep me on minimal food intake (apparently by making my food inedible) and pump me full of IV fluids and antibiotics, and then remove the gall bladder when everything seemed calmer in there. Lack of food, utter boredom, and frequent naps made my judgement of time a little…well, fluid, but I think they finally operated on Saturday afternoon.
Remember the last solid food being ½ a sandwich Tuesday? They were feeding me a liquid diet until the operation, so I got lunch and dinner Friday. 1C of broth, milk, juice, jello, and yogurt. Twice. I don’t remember eating Thursday, but I was still pretty sick.
Saturday’s surgery was at 2pm, but I was no oral food or drink past midnight. I was starved!
It went as well as can be expected after 4 days without food, combatting infected organs and general queasiness and pounding headache. Jim was waiting in my room when they brought me back. Gods, was I glad to see him.
My food instructions from one doctor were: no dairy, fat or sugar. So my first breakfast after surgery was cheddar cheese, yogurt, milk and pudding. With decaf coffee, no sugar and 2% milk. No GF options for lunch: sandwiches or pasta! They really were trying to kill me.
The food for the rest of my stay was torture. My mouth was always dry and pasty, so I got plain rice cakes, dry chicken, horrid, horrid pot roast….. And regular shots of painkillers to keep me dizzy.
Finally got home Sunday night and am still feeling crappy. It’s been exactly a week since my trip to emergency for a few hours. I had a lot of time to stare at the ceiling and think. I had a lot of friends asking how I was holding up, and a few going out of their way to give me something to hold onto in my sea of nausea and uncertainty.
But I did come up with a few noteworthy thoughts. Noteworthy for me, at least. YMMV.
- Having almost 100 people contact me and/or my husband to offer support, prayers, and food was unbelievable. So much love in my circle of friends. And a totally unexpected bouquet of sunny, yellow flowers when I got home.
- I had been in escalating pain and sick for months, but was too busy to do anything about it. I put it off for a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, which I missed while in hospital. Next time, I think I’ll get it checked earlier.
- I truly am a Stoic at heart; I don’t know how many sympathetic questions about my back and health were answered with “it is what it is.” My back has been this way for 30 years; my first spinal operation was in 1980. It’s degrading and more painful now, but since there are no options (yes, I’ve checked, yes I’ve seen specialists) there is no point in moaning and moping. It is what it is, and I deal with it. I let it interfere with as little as possible that brings me joy.
- I’ve let my back and my perceived obligations interfere with far too much joy lately. I’m tired, cranky and feeling pulled too thin. And that was before I was sick. Now I plan to cut back. No more doing for others and letting my life slide. (sorry dude, just how it’s got to be)
- What gives me joy: my hubby, my mom, my friends, my home, my art, writing, reading, gardening…. Film has become more obligation than joy, so although I still see stories as films, it’s being shuffled off the front burners.
- I want to spend time getting fully rested before hitting it up with my writing and painting again. So I’m looking for someone to come in once a week to sweep/ mop/ vacuum/ clean the kitchen & bathroom, etc. Maybe $100/day?
- I want to start eating even better than usual. Granted, we haven’t had fast food or “boxed” food in years, and I’m a little peeved at my gall bladder for causing all this fuss…. But I have wanted to eat less meat, more fresh foods, more light foods, etc. for quite a while. So I will. Bought a cook book for homemade paleo Thai food. Should be a good start.
- My hubby really is the biggest blessing of my life. He turned around and drove me to hospital, a one hour trip, immediately upon finishing that very same one hour trip home from work. He was up at 5am to go to work on Wednesday, and stayed with me until I sent him home at 2am. He was back the next morning, spending excruciatingly endless hours waiting with me to find out the test results and decisions.
Even now, he’s doing all the cooking and cleaning because I hurt when I lift anything. Or reach for anything. Or cough.
It was both amusing and touching to see his panicked response to my text that they were keeping me for several days and I would need another book. He packed a week worth of t-shirts and undies, and a month worth of books.
- I love my life. It is nearly perfect for me, just needs a few tweaks. I am nowhere near ready to give it up. So, whatever needs to be done, will be done.
- I’m still going to Firelight Gathering this weekend. I’ll bring my spices and creams, my gel scarves and elf/ fairy ears for sale. I may even set up my tables. But mostly I’ll rest. Come get me if you want to buy something.
- Next fest I expect to be selling Golden Milk mix, butter chicken spices, and maybe Thai mixes….