hospital

Ok, so June…

by grace on September 28, 2022

Yes, September is almost gone, and here are a few photos from waaaay back in June.

June 1st, I wanted a photo of this crazy tall yucca plant…it’s almost as tall as Kevin! None at the shore have ever gotten that high. Spot was happy to be in the picture.

The funny thing is that even though the original ones get lots of sun down at the shore, this one got kind of burnt up pretty quickly. But they’re mostly doing OK where I’ve transplanted them and the deer aren’t so crazy about them, which is all that matters. They’re green, they have pretty flowers, and the deer don’t eat them (much).

Later that day Pumpkin was lying on the couch like a little angel.

Then, early in the evening of June 2nd, Lester and Pumpkin were very mellow.,,

..But shortly thereafter Marley ran through the room and Pumpkin bit her badly. We didn’t pay enough attention to how badly because that’s when my horrible stomach pain started, rushed to the ER, etc, etc etc.

Here’s me, still in the ER at 10:30 the next morning. I don’t look that horrible considering I had no sleep and was in more pain than I’d ever had. The pain must have diminished by then. Hmm, I wonder who took this picture? Maybe Kevin? I know he’d gone home in the early morning but maybe he came back, and if so, I wonder why I wanted my picture taken.

I think I got to the hospital at 10:30 or so on Thursday night and of course they give you nothing at all to eat or drink for such a long time, but finally they let me have liquids. I ordered two orange juices and some tomato soup and maybe that’s pudding? I know I was pretty restricted but I was so overjoyed to get something.

Kevin took a video of this wonderful owl fountain that Amy and Jim bought me for my birthday a while ago. It’s been broken but while I was in the hospital Kevin fixed it. So cute! And it only took a trip to the ER to get it repaired…

Here’s my big Saturday night feast at the hospital, but I bet I didn’t eat that much of it. At this point I’d had the horrible pain every night and was hoping it wouldn’t come back.

Mom came to visit me on Sunday evening and we walked down to an inner courtyard. It was weird to walk around the empty hospital in my nightgown but I didn’t care. I do remember that it was muggy and hot out there.

Amy took a bunch of photos of the cats on Monday morning at 8:30, in case I might have forgotten what they looked like, and I love this one because it looks like Lovey is intently reading the info about the citronella plant while Riley dozes.

I left the hospital that evening and I know I was freaked out about the pain coming back so I took many many strong drugs and slept about a million hours. The next day I lounged on the recliner in the fenced yard, and now I’m realizing that I barely did that all summer. Dang.

Wednesday, June 8th, Riley was continuing to try to chillax.

That night Kevin took me to see the spectacular “Riverdance” and here’s me, looking just fine, no indication of all the dumb stuff that happened.

And just one more photo, here’s Kevin driving my boat on June 11th. Just took a stay in the hospital to get him to drive my boat…

…A good time was had by all. Gee, this brings up so much stuff, but it seems like it didn’t really happen. I’m relieved that the cardiologist explained the likely cause of so much horrific pain, but it continues to puzzle me as to why nobody else figured that out.

Hopefully there won’t be a next time…

Ok then,

Mrs. very very late September Hughes.

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Thursday!

by grace on June 23, 2022

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling so much myself again with boundless energy. I’d been so drained that I’d forgotten how good it feels to feel good.

I went to the grocery store for the first time this month and scampered around outside in the garden area, scooping up many on-sale flowers. I hadn’t bought any yet this year and treated myself to some very lovely ones and rushed out to the car with my full cart. I sprinted back into the store and dashed hither and yon. Amy had told me that they’d re-arranged many of the aisles and she was right. As I tore down one aisle I realized that things were in different aisles, none of it making much sense, but I was so energetic that it didn’t matter as I happily grabbed stuff off the shelves.

I literally ran through the main aisle to get back to the garden center checkout because they were also updating the self-serve checkouts and there were long lines at the few open checkers.

There was no wait out there in the garden center and I told the very nice woman behind the counter, Jean, about my recent hospital horrors. She had her own hospital horror story because many people do, and all I remember specifically is that when she was in the ambulance she begged them not to lay her flat and restrain her because she was severely claustrophobic and it made her freak out. Fun times.

I got home and Kevin unloaded the profusion of flowers, setting them on a table in the back yard. I dashed around the house and realized that I had to get them up onto the deck because if I didn’t the deer would have a flower smorgasbord and in the morning there’d be nothing left but some stems.

Some of the flowers were a bit heavy to move but that was fine, as my energy was still high.

And then in the afternoon I gave my first massage since my surgery. I quickly realized I had waaaay overdone it. I was lethargic and ready for a nap and my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. Luckily, this client had no serious issues requiring lots of work on my part, and I got through it.

Lesson learned. This particular elderly woman is darling and kind and wanted to hear about my hospital visit. Her late husband had been instrumental in getting the medical school here in town up and running, a surgeon who taught surgeons.

After her massage I handed her a pen and paper because she wanted to take notes about the name of the doctors who saw me at the hospital and highlights of my experience. On Friday night she’s going to a party given by a surgeon and she’s sure that many other surgeons will be in attendance and she plans on finding one to corner and pepper with questions about the quality of my care.

She’s so sweet , and it’ll be interesting to see what she finds out. Maybe instead she’ll just enjoy a lovely evening which would be good because she hasn’t gotten out much since the pandemic, plus I don’t think she’ll discover anything alarming. But it’s so kind of her to want to find things out for me.

Today I have to give a massage that requires all my energy so until then I plan on doing as much sitting around as possible and I’ve said to Kevin several times “don’t let me do anything!”

So we’ll see how that goes. I hope to sift through the videos of our Seattle trip and that’s about the extent of my plans for the day.

Ok then,

Mrs. sitting around quietly so far Hughes.

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I wrote the stuff below last week and I can’t for the life of me remember when I wrote it. I know I wrote about Stan dying on June 1st, and all the hospital horrors started the next evening, so I’m pretty sure I wrote this stuff on that very day.

So here’s what I had to say last Thursday, June 2nd:

I truly think I must have been out of my mind in Seattle, taking more videos than I’ve ever taken. I wanted Kevin to see everything I saw so I just kept recording and sending them, but as I’ve mentioned here, he quit watching because there were so many. Plus, of course, when I post videos on here, the only way anybody watches them is if it’s a stupid video that I made for Bev about making a cheesecake that wouldn’t set and then burned but I slathered it in lemon curd and served it anyway. That dumb little post has 1.3K views I believe, because obviously people are obsessed with cheesecake videos, as opposed to ones I felt were much more interesting, like hiking in Wales. Oh Well.

However, of course I’ll keep posting the videos because I guess I’m always optimistic that eventually, someday, somebody will spend a precious 32 seconds or maybe even eighteen seconds out of their very very busy days to watch.

Meanwhile…I had my gallbladder out last Friday, May 27th. I’m still not feeling so great, but I’m getting better. It’s a little disturbing that I never had any kind of surgery before, and then last June I had to have my torn meniscus repaired, and less than a year later I was anesthetized again.

But this time they removed an organ, and it seems like a bigger deal. I have twice as many incisions, for one thing, and I’m just to fatigued and lacking strength. It was a huge deal to try to open a glass door and I had to have Kevin open our hall closet sliding door because I just couldn’t do it. Ditto closing the bathroom window.

My strength/energy is slowing returning, but I thought it would happen faster.

Ok, that was last Thursday. And then things went to hell…

On Wednesday evening I’d had some stomach pain and jokingly told Kevin, “you have to stay awake til I feel better in case you have to take me to the ER.”

I took…something? Advil? And got relief, but the pain was back Thursday morning, but then it went away.

Thursday night we were watching TV and the stomach pain suddenly got bad and I quickly took Advil. By 10:00 or so it wasn’t better and I took half a Norco, the pain medicine my surgeon has prescribed for the gallbladder surgery after-effects.

And then I was kneeling on the floor in back of the couch, in more agony than I’ve ever experienced and started panting because I couldn’t get my breath and the pain just kept on and I started gasping “you need to call an ambulance.” And that’s just what Kevin did, and quickly, although it felt like a million hours, and then about four or five firefighters were surrounding me there in back of the couch, saying soothing things and ushering me onto a gurney that had appeared in the front hall.

It was painful to get wheeled out of the house down the tiny step onto the porch and into the driveway. “I don’t have my shoes,” I said. They assured me it didn’t matter.

And then it was just me and one EMT in the ambulance while the other EMT drove us to the hospital. He put an IV into the inside of my left elbow and pumped in some fentanyl and suddenly I wasn’t feeling as wretched. I remember telling him all about what had happened, and I certainly should have not have done so much talking because from that point, I wouldn’t get one drop of water til the next afternoon and my mouth was already dry as all dryness.

I was taken into the E.R., where people were lying in beds all around the halls, just as I’d been last March when I almost fainted and my doctor told me to go to the E.R. and I had all kinds of tests which proved nothing.

But if you arrive in an ambulance I think you get special treatment. I was in a room, but there were two of us in there, only separated by a curtain. Four different people occupied the next bed during my time there and I heard almost every bit of everything going on with all of them.

Kevin hadn’t been allowed to ride in the ambulance, but he was there in the room with me, all night long. No sleep for either of us. The fentanyl started wearing off and the pain was coming back so they gave me morphine. Two units. After a while this didn’t work so then they gave me four.

I can’t tell you exactly what happened except that they wheeled me down the hall for some kind of tests, and the bizarre thing is that when I was wheeled past an old lady lying in the hall she said “good luck, Mrs. Hughes.” Maybe the people in the hall could hear everything going on in the rooms.

It’s weird how little I remember of that, except that I was pretty delirious. They did an ultrasound which was agonizing because it was painful to lie flat with my arm over my head, and then I was lying in the ultrasound room for what seemed like forever until the transporter person took me back. Then I had a CT scan which wasn’t as bad.

More drugs, more pain, and I remember lying there moaning/softly weeping while poor Kevin was looking at me but his eyes kept closing as he fought to stay awake but was asleep sitting up.

A couple of surgeons came to see me sometime in the early morning and I got a covid test, which made me think that I was going to have to stay. And sure enough, they said they were admitting me, although they couldn’t find the source of the pain. The floated the possibility of me having exploratory surgery to try to find out what the problem was, and one of the surgeons said I’d be in a room “in an hour.”

But they let me walk to the bathroom by myself and I asked a nurse about that and she said she had patients who were waiting for rooms for five hours. I told Kevin this and said he should go home and sleep, which he did.

And then what? Waiting and waiting and pain, I guess. I didn’t get out of the E.R. until about 2:30 on Friday afternoon.

Every other person who arrived at the other side of the curtain begged for water, or ice chips, or anything, but I knew they would be denied.

The first person wasn’t around very long and I remember the nurses saying something about cancer and I feel they were getting treated and had some kind of setback? The second person sounded like a sweet guy and when they asked his pain level from 1-10 he said “6” and I wanted to say “dude, you’re way more than a 6,” but of course everybody interprets their pain differently. He had tried to drive himself to the hospital but only got to the police station in Chatham and I feel that he said he had to crawl into the station, where they took him in an ambulance.

We couldn’t see each other but at some point I called out to him, and he said that his wife was at home with their child, and she’d been with him in the ER all night on Wednesday. He had kidney stones, and one of them passed on Wednesday, but they’d told him he had more, and while he was in the room with me, the other passed, hopefully all of them.

By the time he left I was moaning/crying, and as they took him out he called out “Good luck, Grace!” which was so nice.

The next guy sounded like he was about 100 years old but when they asked him when he was born he said “1962,” so he was just one year older than me. He kept telling them over and over about how he’d been throwing up since nine o’clock the night before, and then he proved it by wretching pretty regularly and it was quite horrible to listen to. I feel that maybe he did something that brought this on himself, but I can’t be certain.

By this time it was early afternoon on Friday, and good lord I was there a long time. I thought that the final couple behind the curtain was a gay couple but then realized that the partner of the patient kept saying “she did” this and that, so it was a husband with terrible hearing and his wife who had jaw cancer. How do I know that? Well, she had a hard time talking, and maybe the cancer was mentioned.

And almost the moment they got into the room, they turned on their TV, loud, to Fox News. They’d turn it down a little when a nurse would come in to talk to them, but I decided that this was too much to bear.

Meanwhile, Amy and Mom showed up and Amy roared into action, turning on music and other things that I can’t recall but right then, somebody came and took me to a room.

Whew.

I was in that room B407, from Friday afternoon until Monday at about 5:00 p.m. Weird, weird, weird. The pain wasn’t so bad when I got to the room, as far as I can remember, but it came back at about 6:00 p.m. and they gave me many, many drugs. So many drugs were pumped into me at that hospital, it’s alarming. On Friday night they used up all the pain options so the nurse had to contact the doctor to get more drugs, and I finally fell asleep.

On Saturday they tried giving me drugs all day long so that they’d be in my system but this was a fail, and the pain roared back at 11:00 p.m. Sunday, not so many drugs during the day and the highlight was when Mom came to visit in the early evening and we walked down to a courtyard and sat there for a few minutes.

I was hopeful that the pain wasn’t coming back but it hit at 1:45 a.m.

Enough already.

In the meantime, I’d been visited by surgeons and an awesome gynecologist and I had more and more tests and things and they still couldn’t figure out the source of the pain and they decided that opening me up again was a bad idea. On Thursday night I’d hoped they would and they’d find out what was wrong, but now I’m glad they didn’t.

The surgeon on call was the partner of my gallbladder surgeon, and he mostly kept saying that I needed to get the pain under control and out of the hospital. He also kept saying the pain must be from a fibroid on my uterus, but the gynecologist was pretty certain that wasn’t it. So that was alarming, that they were at odds about the problem.

I was going to have an MRI on Sunday, but then they couldn’t do it because there were too many emergencies, and then on Monday they said maybe it wouldn’t happen then, also. But my nurse said he’d call the MRI department and then the gynecologist called them, and lo and behold, they did the MRI.

Which found nothing.

The gynecologist called me on Monday, saying that I should go home, that there was nothing they could do for me, and then my gallbladder surgeon, Dr. High, showed up and asked if I wanted to go home. I didn’t want the pain to come back, and why wouldn’t it, but I agreed that I should leave.

All the doctors kept saying that you don’t want to be in the hospital and it’s important that you get out, and new, weird things started happening to my body and of course they were right. I was sent home with many drugs and when Kevin drove me home I was so relieved and exhausted.

I’m still pretty exhausted, but not so bad. The pain didn’t come back Monday night, and I didn’t even have to take the Norco. I slept for over eleven hours. Yesterday I mostly laid around, and took even fewer drugs last night. I had some trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep because it was the first night without the drugs.

I have high hopes for tonight.

Meanwhile…what happened to me? Will they ever figure it out? Will it come back? I feel that if it gets bad again I won’t go to the hospital, unless blood is squirting out of me from many places. Maybe my body is just very opposed to being operated on. Oh, and Dr. High told me that he wasn’t sure that there was really anything wrong with my gallbladder after all. It wasn’t working right, but maybe that wasn’t the thing which had caused pain before it was removed.

Whew.

Being in the hospital was such a surreal experience, like I was living in some alternate reality as life continued around me. I could see downtown from my window and kept thinking that I’d never get out again. I feel bad for my friend Toun, who has to be in the hospital several times a year. I now totally understand why she hates it and will do just about anything to not have to go. I called her after they said they were going to release me because I was freaking out about not getting lots of drugs when the pain came back, but she told me that every time she was in the hospital they always released her before she thought she should be and she ended up realizing it was the right thing.

Kevin got tickets for “Riverdance” in 2019 and they kept postponing it, and now the performance is tonight. We’re going, and hopefully I’ll be able to handle it, but as Amy says, we can always leave at intermission.

Whew. Again.

G.

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