One More Complication

When I’d arrived at the hospital right after the surgeon’s office, I’d asked the nurse to put a catheter in.  One of my problems is that my bladder felt full.  I would squeeze a bit of urine out but I knew I wasn’t emptying my bladder.  The nurse, Treun, and I talked about it and we thought that seeing a full bladder on that first CT scan might help them see what was going on, but I couldn’t stand it anymore.

She inserted the catheter and that helped a tiny bit.  At least I no longer had to worry about moving to use the bathroom. My bowels had completely shut down because I’d had nothing to eat in days so I wasn’t going to the bathroom for that.  Over the next few days, as I consumed countless ice chips, the catheter came in handy.

The evening after my stent was put in, I was able to move around more, with considerably less pain.  I had good bowel sounds and we knew that things were going to start happening soon.  I asked the nurse to remove my catheter because I was eager to start healing and getting back to normal.  At least I could start using the toilet again like a normal person.

Tania was once again my nurse.  I had her for three nights in a row and I was so thankful.  She really is an amazing nurse.  Around 11:30 that night, I finally passed gas.  I was so excited that I hit the call button.  I had to share my news!  (This is a good thing considering she needed to document this and needed to know any way.)  When she walked in the room, I proclaimed, “I farted!!!”  She threw her hands up and whooped!  This made me laugh.  Here we were, bonding over flatulence.  I told her that I wasn’t sure that gas was going to be the only thing that came out and asked her for a pad just in case.  I didn’t want them to have more to clean up than necessary in case something yucky happened.  She actually thought that was very considerate of me.

I laid there for the next few hours and happily farted.  I would waddle into the bathroom to pee and hope that more than just gas would come out.  The ER doctor had said there was stool in there yet I hadn’t had a bowel movement in over a week.  Now it was just a waiting game, waiting for all those stool softeners and laxatives to finally be able to work now that the stent was in place and my body could start functioning again.

When the shift changed in the morning, the new nurse told me that the doctor wanted a stool sample when it happened.  Oh yippee!  She put a “hat” in the toilet and I had the job of walking around to get my bowels working again.  Treun and I walked the halls that morning.  It was exhausting but I know it was necessary.  We’d walk a few laps, then I’d rest.

I finally had a bowel movement mid-morning.  The nurse came in to collect her sample.  Treun and I continued to take our shorts walks and to talk and watch t.v.  He had to leave to go run some things to his daughter.  He planned to leave around 11:30 am and be gone around an hour.  Right before he left, the nurse came back and told me she had bad news.  The stool sample showed that I’d contracted c. diff.  It’s a nasty little gut bug.  I’d been on some heavy-duty antibiotics for my original gallbladder surgery and my stent.  I was in a hospital setting so it isn’t surprising that I contracted it.  Funny thing is that the treatment for this is another round of antibiotics – one specifically meant to kill c. diff.  For ten days, I’d be taking three pills a day to knock this out.

On the positive side, it causes diarrhea so I didn’t have to worry about constipation as I recovered!  I sometimes amaze myself with my ability to find the weirdest positive side to some situations.

Treun left to go spend time with his daughter and I decided to take a nap.  The nurse said that she would contact the doctor with my results and they’d get a new antibiotic started to wipe out this nasty little bug.  Of all the nurses I’d had up until now, they’d been wonderful, knowledgeable, caring people.  This new nurse was just plain flaky.  I think that is the nicest thing I can say about her.

I’d call and ask for pain meds and then wait an hour for her to show up.  I would not have survived with her as my nurse in the days prior to having my stent put in.  She seemed overwhelmed and way in over her head.  She would ask me what I needed, then disappear for an hour only to come back in and ask what she was supposed to be doing for me.  I was beyond frustrated by the time the shift changed that evening.  It was seven hours later and I was still waiting for my antibiotic.  I kept asking her about it and she kept telling me she was waiting for the pharmacy to bring it to me.

Treun was gone for a few hours and I napped while he was gone.  I’m glad he got to spend some quality time with his daughter because all I did was nap.  He was shocked when he came back and found that I’d been waiting an hour for pain meds and that my antibiotics still weren’t there.  He went out to talk to the nurse and came back to tell me that he wasn’t mean to her but he did get firm in that waiting an hour for pain meds was completely not okay with him.  He took such good care of me.

When the shift changed, the nurse came in with my antibiotics.  She apologized for being late but had walked down to the pharmacy herself to get my antibiotics. When she’d come on shift and seen my chart, she decided to take matters into her own hands so that I could still get two doses in before midnight.  I asked her about my IV, which had been hurting my hand for two days.  I told her that I’d asked the nurse the day before to change it and she’d tried but had failed to find a new vein.  I told her I was afraid of getting poked again to not have it work.

She was up to the challenge and assured me that she would find a good vein somewhere because I shouldn’t have to live with it hurting so badly and she could see how swollen my hand was.  She searched my left arm and didn’t find anything.  She searched my right arm and found a good vein underneath, right at the edge of the hairline.  It was an awkward angle and hard to hold my arm still while she put it in, but she got it right away and took the IV on my hand out.  The relief was overwhelming.  She encouraged me to keep my hand elevated and to use the hand as much as possible to work out the swelling.  The new IV was in place and I couldn’t even feel it.  It was a welcome reprieve.

Finally, I felt like I was on the road to recovery.

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