2 Fevers and a Surgery Later…

I’ve been meaning to post an update since my MRI but I kept landing in the hospital.  Go grab a drink and snacks…this is going to be a long update.

My last post had me successfully undergoing an MRI.  I posted about how great it went and then took a nap.

Post nap, I didn’t feel very well and I had a fever.  I took some Tylenol and the fever never went away.  As my temp was at/above my call the doctor level, I called the doctor and spent the next three days inpatient at Norris.  They couldn’t find out a cause of the fever but someone mentioned that I might have had a reaction to the contrast media they shoot into you during the MRI.  They filled me up with tons of antibiotics, my fever broke and stayed away for 24+ hours, and so I got out that Sunday ( 4 days post MRI.)

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I didn’t feel great.  I assumed it was just a result of all the antibiotics from the weekend before and just slept a lot.  I was also super stressed because of the big surgery I was having the next week.

On Thursday, I woke up feeling like someone was running knives across the inside of my abdomen.  I started eating super bland but was doubled over in pain.  That night, I got a fever.  Now, I know that I should have called my doctor but I was SO NOT in the mood to be admitted.  I waited until the next morning, (Friday), still with a fever and my doctor wanted to admit me again, especially as I was still scheduled for surgery the next Tuesday.

They packed me full of antibiotics again that didn’t help my stomach pain at all.  On Saturday, I had a new attending for the weekend that actually saw past my blood results and prescribed me an antibiotic for diverticulitis.  Within two hours, I felt TONS better.  So they stopped the hard core antibiotics and I got sent home on Sunday with two weeks of oral antibiotics.

I spent Sunday resting up from my weekend inpatient.  Monday was the day before surgery and I spent the day doing all the chores I needed to have done while I was wasting time in the hospital over the weekend.

Tuesday, Day of Surgery.

I had to be at the hospital at 8am with surgery at 11am.  So I get up at the ass-crack of dawn to take a shower so that one hour later I could do the wipe down with those crazy hospital wipes.  I hate those things.  They left my skin sticky for hours.

We get to the hospital and my brother & sister-in-law were there.  I had about 15 minutes to chat before I got called to go back.  I grabbed my mom and went to pre-op.  I got a bed and they had me put on the purple gown and socks.  It was so hot back there and the gown had this thing where you could attach a hose that blew hot or cold air.  I tried that but it ended up being a pain.

I’m also not one to go commando, so I generally leave my pants/shorts on until they are about to wheel me back.  Everyone that came to check on me pointed out that I needed to take them off.  Like I’m some sort of idiot.  I stopped explaining after a while.

They got an IV in without a problem which was a relief.  That never happens.  Then they proceeded to infuse 2 units of platelets.  The plan was that I would be wheeled off to surgery a few minutes after the platelets were done.  After surgery, I would be taken to ICU, not because I would need to be there but because I would be getting a 24 drip of a medicine to boost my immune system and I needed supervision.

Best laid plans…

11:00 comes and goes.  By now, I’m starving, super nervous and my head hurts like someone is hammering on it.  My surgeon comes by and lets me know that the case before me is taking longer and it would be another hour.  It ended up that I didn’t get wheeled away until just after 1pm.  I was so frustrated.  I ended up panic attacking a few times in those two hours.  PLUS, my surgical team kept coming back to me and telling me more things they want to do to me that weren’t discussed prior to surgery.  Some of the highlights:

  1.  Putting me on a 24 hour insulin drip.  The thing is, they don’t have the insulin that I actually take.  The insulin that they would put me on would be what they normally use, that I have used before, that doesn’t work.  I finally had to put my foot down and let them know that that wasn’t going to happen.Why in the world would they bother putting me on a drip of a medicine that they know doesn’t work?  Grrr.
  2. I had been told that I wouldn’t be given any type of central line.  The second anesthesiologist came to talk to me and said that they would be putting in an arterial line so that they could monitor my vital signs during surgery and in the ICU.  Well, I went into a bit of a rage and informed them that that would NOT be happening.  If they needed an arterial line, they could put it in after I was unconscious and it would be GONE when I woke up.  I’m thinking that they aren’t used to patients flat out refusing them because he looked taken aback.  WTF?

Finally they came to get me and I remember going into the OR.  All of a sudden they are strapping me onto the table and about a thousand faces were staring at me.

So I go into a panic attack and start screaming.

And out.

I wake up being wheeled into recovery.  They had put some goop in my eyes during surgery so that nothing would get in them so everything was goopy and out of focus.  I saw a clock and it was 5pm.  So much for a 1 hour surgery!  I stayed in recovery for about 20 minutes and then got moved up into the ICU.

As soon as they got me in the ICU, I had to use the bathroom.  The nurses started going for the bed pan and I’m like “UH NO!”  So I got up and walked to the flushy toilet.  They couldn’t believe I was up.

So I’ve never been a patient in an ICU.

I failed the ICU.

I’m an independent person, especially in the hospital and I didn’t realize beforehand that they do not let you do ANYTHING without supervision.  I was also hooked up to a ton of machines.  The bed was a super expensive state of the art bed that automatically inflated and deflated different areas so as to avoid bed sores.  On top of that I had things on my legs that were inflating and deflating to increase circulation in my legs.

This would have all been fine if I was intubated and unconscious, but, I wasn’t.  I was fine.

There were issues with my prescriptions.  The hospital doesn’t carry some of them and things go best if I keep my medications next to me at bedside and administer them myself (both against hospital policy).  My doctor gave me permission to do so and wrote it in her orders.  That wasn’t good enough so the ICU staff kept putting me off telling me that it was all my doctor’s fault.  Meanwhile, I was starving and needed my insulin.  They gave me a sandwich around 8pm but told me I couldn’t eat it or take my insulin.  At 11:30pm, I had had enough and threw a temper tantrum that could rival any 3 year old.

I texted my doctor and told her that they weren’t letting me eat or take my medication.  I texted my mom and cried to her on the phone.  Then the bed was deflating and inflating and I had these stupid things on my legs.  I starting disconnecting all of the machines I was connected to, ripped off and threw the leg things across the room and had just jumped off the bed from hell when all the bells went off and the nurses came running into the room because I registered no pulse or blood pressure.

I grabbed my IV pole in front of them and started to walk out of the room when they basically held me back and said it was against policy for me to walk unattended.  I think the phrase I used after that was “FUCK YOUR POLICIES” and one of the attendants had to walk and catch up with me.

After two trips around the desk (this is 6 hours post surgery), I saw the doctor in charge of the ICU and basically told him off and wondered why I was still unable to take my meds and eat and why couldn’t HE put in my medications.  While I was yelling, the phone at the desk rings and it’s my doctor who rips him a new one.

Pharmacy magically appears and wants to take all my medicine with them and store it for me then bring it to me at the appropriate times.  I told them that I would not allow my medication to leave the room and if they needed to process it or enter it in to a computer, there was a computer there and they could do it in my room.

Which they did.

At 2:30am, I finally got my sandwich and insulin.  I tried to get into bed to get some sleep but the bed kept trying to have a relationship with me.  It felt like you were in one of those long blow up rafts that you use in a pool where you get in the middle and you get surrounded by plastic puffiness and you can’t get out.  So I got out of bed and sat in a chair with a pillow and blanket with my feet propped up on another chair.  Nurses didn’t like that so they had to go find a recliner and I slept in that.

The next day I was still frustrated but more zen with the ICU process.  My doctor came in and suggested that I stay the whole time in the ICU and I told her, No thank you!   My 24 hour medicine ended at 5:30ish and I was in a regular room on a surgical floor by 6:30pm.

Everything went fine after that.  I had fantastic care and was out of there on Friday.

That Tuesday though, between pre-op and my ICU/pharmacy trauma was a freaking nightmare.


OK… My left arm, shoulder and hand is numb.  More later, including what they actually did during surgery and how I’m doing now…

Fight On!


7 Comments on “2 Fevers and a Surgery Later…”

  1. mysew@cox.net says:

    That is crazy…. I am so sorry .. I hate hospitals also.. More about me later.. Hope your feeling better.. And are you now home in your own bed.. Love you Pam…


  2. elizabeth lamar says:

    Whew! So glad I saw you when you were back home!


  3. Steve Smith says:

    was that this week?


  4. Lori Lewis says:

    OMG what an ordeal!! I’m SO sorry you have to go through all that. Thought I think I might feel equally sorry for the hospital staff! 😉 You GO, girl. Not enough patients advocate for themselves properly, I am SO proud of you that you had the fortitude to stand up to their BS.

    And these:

    “I think the phrase I used after that was “FUCK YOUR POLICIES” and one of the attendants had to walk and catch up with me.”

    “I tried to get into bed to get some sleep but the bed kept trying to have a relationship with me.”

    CRACKED ME the F up! You are amazeballs. LOVE YOU!



    P.S. Hey, Cancer. In case you haven’t noticed you are NOT welcomed here – so FUCK OFF already!!!!!


  5. Carol Ann says:

    Good for you. You don’t need a patient advocate; you are a living advocate for patients Good for you


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