Jabberwocky for 2004 June 17 (entry 0)

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[Comments] (6) The Medical Gestapo Versus Me:: I have escaped. My life is my own again.

Last Monday when the nurse checked me, my temperature was 100, so she said that if it goes up I should call the doctor. I said “yeah, yeah,” because my temperature is always going up and down. But Tuesday morning in class, I started shaking uncontrollably. I finally had to let the students go early, and I was just freezing. I went and sat in the sun and it didn’t help. I crawled up to my desk and slept on the floor under it for a couple of hours, and then I finally made it home and to bed, where I dove under the comforter. When I woke up I took my temperature and it was 104, so I decided to call the doctor after all.

Dr. Amin was out of town. His PA said to go to the emergency room (always my favorite thing to do), so I called Sherrie Lewis and she took me in. It was freezing in there, and Sherrie made them give me a blanket. The triage nurse gave me two Tylenol, and we sat down to wait. We made friends with all the people there–a four year old named Larry who had been dragged along because his baby brother was sick, Larry’s grandpa, the mother of a man whose arm had been crushed. (That’s GOTTA be painful!) We watched the Lakers game against Utah, which they won coming from behind at the last minute during overtime.

I was worried that I had that PCP, which is what Roy died from. Same symptoms, cough and high fever. We waited and waited. My TPN container ran out, and I didn’t have any Carmex in my purse. The profile was really piling up on the “I don’t want to be here side.” When they finally took me to the back, they found all these things wrong with me, so they kept me.

It was about 20 hours before they moved me out of emergency to a room. I felt really bad about that because there I was taking up a stall in the ER when there were so many sick and injured people in the waiting room–as I had been. I made Sherrie go home. I was going to call people, but my cell phone wouldn’t work in there. They called in a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, and an infectious disease specialist.

Coincindentally, the ID specialist was the doctor Leonard had when he had osteomastitis when he was about eight years old. She hasn’t aged a bit, which doesn’t seem fair to me since the rest of us are all turning into hags.

So I cooled my heels in the hospital for a week while all these doctors ran every test in the textbook. They gave me a unit of blood right off the bat, and I immediately felt much stronger.

Life in the hospital was awful. They had me on a liquid diet, which means nonfat dry nonsoup and fake jello (Did you ever wonder just how artificial something can get???) They took my blood sugar (finger prick) every hour round the clock, vitals every four hours, and blood draws about six times a day. Also, it was noisy! I’ve decided I have a very low tolerance for noise, and that is why I never turn on the radio, and why Sadie’s barking drives me so insane. I’d rather be hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or in pain than exposed to continuous noise.

Lots of people came to see me and smuggled in real food. Rachel brought me a Too Fat sandwich, which was really good, and I had some nice homemade matzoh ball soup that Hillary brought me. I missed home and work and my students very much, and Gretel, of course, was a basket case when I didn’t come home.

The good thing about this adventure, is the gastroenterologist found a very serious problem. The duct between pancreas and stomach was infected, inflamed, and totally closed off. He poked a tiny little hole, and I feel much better, but I have to go in for a laparoscopy on it when summer school is over. The optimistic view is that if this is fixed, I won’t need to be on the TPN IV anymore. That would be wonderful.

Finally, all the doctors said I could go home, but the nurses got excited because my blood pressure was low, and they didn’t believe me when I told them it was always low. They put in a call to the cardiologist, and he never returned it. I don’t blame him, because he had said I could go home the night before. The day nurses didn’t believe he had said that, however. Finally, I got disgusted and took of f the heart monitor myself and just left. Jonell Amundsen and Becky Bean took me home, where I found GIGANTIC zucchini. I tried to get the ladies to adopt them but they wouldn’t.

I fell into my own bed and slept like a person who’d had no sleep in a week–and I hadn’t. It is SO good to be home and eating real food and sleeping in my own bed. I’m going to make a really nice dinner for Rachel before she goes back to school. Some kind of chicken breast dish, sauteed zucchini, wild rice.

I really felt bad about being sick when Rachel was in the middle of her senior thesis and finals. She made a lot of trips from Los Angeles to take care of me, and was so stressed, and I regret that. It was a bad time to be sick. I am so very grateful for the loving care of all my family and friends.


Posted by Kristen at Thu Jun 17 2004 15:20

Welcome home!

Posted by John at Thu Jun 17 2004 16:25

Hope you are feeling better.

Posted by Susie at Thu Jun 17 2004 17:05

Glad someone finally came to pick you up =) Can I adopt the zucchini??

Posted by Frances at Thu Jun 17 2004 19:05

By the time you get here, there will be 500 new ones.

Posted by Marianne Morse at Fri Jun 18 2004 13:37

Very glad you are home again.

Posted by Alyson at Fri Jun 18 2004 18:47

Frances, YOU ROCK!!!

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