Mama needs the doctor too….

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Well, after a VERY long week, I am home. Turns out, when you have a fever for two weeks and antibiotics aren’t making a difference, you really should go to the doctor. I do so solemnly swear that in the future when I am sicker than seems normal, I will go to the doctor. Here’s the saga…. brace yourself. It’s long. 

It all started Monday, October 23. I started running a little fever. Just a tinsy 100.4, but I felt like my breasts were lumpier than normal…. I thought, “Hm. Maybe early mastitis? I’ll just keep an eye on it.” Fever got a little worse, so I called the OB and asked about it. She called in an antibiotic to the pharmacy, just in case it was mastitis, cos that’s nothing to joke about, and I should feel better in a couple of days, just give it the weekend to work. Well, Monday I wasn’t feeling any better – in fact I was feeling worse! My fever was even higher, peaking around the 102 mark. I tried to call the OB back, but their phone lines weren’t working. I was pretty sure I needed someone so I used the Dr. On Demand phone app and talked to a doctor who prescribed a different antibiotic, cos maybe this one just wasn’t working…. Then, a few days later, the fever was still so high, and there was no noticeable difference whatsoever. I called the OB and they suggested going to the urgent care clinic, so I did.  There, the doctor rushed through questioning me and they determined that I had a bladder infection and said that it just hadn’t been long enough to give the new antibiotics time to work. They sent me home and said to just keep taking them and see if it got better. Okay…..  This was Wednesday.  Fast forward to Sunday morning at 5am.  I woke up with a 104 fever, threw up, and even though I was sitting in front of a fan, drinking ice water, cold rag on my head, minimal clothing, I could not get cool. I felt so weak and like I was dying.  That was it. I decided I needed to go to the ER. What to do with the babies….??? Thank God we have an amazing Sunday School class who is available to help. They’d all said they could help if we needed anything all while I was recovering, but you never think you’ll actually need it.  We dropped our boys off at the Boyd’s house and they had a great time there!!

Enter, ER. We arrived and a gentleman asked us why we were there. He took us back to triage, and the process began.  Questions. Symptoms. Vital signs. Hospital gown. Heart monitor leads. And many many many many many attempts to get an IV started. Finally got one. And many many many many many many many many many many many many many many attempts to get blood samples. Finally got enough. Tests came back and basically any number that should be normal was NOT normal. I was low on blood too – normal should be 10-12…mine was 6. They did a chest X-ray, CT scan of my abdomen, we met with a doctor, and then took me to a hospital room as I’d be staying while they did more tests and got results. Then, after a few hours, they determined that it was something serious and I needed to go to the ICU for closer observation overnight, and Monday everything would happen. Meanwhile, I got a unit of blood and the doctor determined that because I’m such a “hard stick” (thanks Mom), we’d put in a “PICC line” so that they could give me the necessary medications and draw blood without having to stick me some more, or compromise the one good IV that I had. For those who don’t know – a PICC line is basically a deep vein IV catheter that goes from your elbow to your chest…… Then we’d do another CT scan and see what was going on.

Monday: The Day from Hell. Seriously – I’d rather go through labor 20 times in a row than do that day again. I have a very very high pain tolerance, but by that afternoon, it was gone. Fortunately it’s already starting to fade from memory exactly the order of events, but here’s all that happened. They saw something in my abdomen in the initial CT scan from Sunday so they determined to do an ultrasound. They did that, both on top and internal and found a mass in my uterus that they were calling a hematoma. They did another CT scan to get another view, now that they knew what they were looking for, and determined that that was the source of infection. They contacted the hospital OB to take a look. He decided we had two options: 1. try to get it vaginally (I’ll spare you the details), or 2. surgical option with the CT machine putting in an external drain. We decided to try option 1 first since it would be one and done. It was probably the most pain I’ve ever been in…. scale of 8/10. It didn’t work. He was SO close, but it just didn’t work. Option 2 it was. Meanwhile, I needed to get the PICC line – or maybe they did it before the other procedure, I can’t remember. It was a long blurry painful day.  Anyway, this PICC line is supposed to be a 30 minute procedure where they use an ultrasound machine to find the veins and thread a wire, then insert a port, then feed the catheter up… all with just a little numbing at the insertion point… Well. Of course me and my difficult tiny veins couldn’t just be a quick process. It took them 1.5 hrs and many many many attempts to get it inserted. They finally did it, though. But, now that I had that, they were able to give me all the medication and blood that I needed without risking ruining the regular IV. Anyway, I got the abdominal procedure sometime in there too. They took me down to radiology and put me in the machine then I got partial sedation while they did the surgery. Apparently they drained 250ccs of puss, flushed it, then got at least 50 more…..the drain is still working but it’s slowed down significantly. I got back to my room and spent the rest of the day in bed. I fought fever and chills all night.  God bless my two nurses during the day and night! Jessica and Kendra.  Jessica held my hands during the procedures, wiped my forehead, stroked my hair, and took care of me like a loving big sister would do. That night as I was in such pain, Kendra helped me get up when I needed to in the night, she was so gentle with me when she had to draw blood or change anything.

Tuesday: There wasn’t much to do on Tuesday, except tests, tests, tests. I had a different nurse, Sophia, and she seemed overly attentive at the time because I was so overly sensitive to everything after the excessive day before. All I wanted to do was rest. My blood pressure did funky things that evening, but Tuesday night (Wednesday morning technically) around 2am, my fever finally broke. I was so sweaty, my lovely nurse, Kendra, gave me a sponge bath and changed my gown… Let me tell you what, it’s pretty odd having someone else bathe you. But other than that, I don’t think much else happened… Oh, I also got a visit from the Chaplain sometime that day. She prayed with me and we had a nice conversation about Baylor since her son went there, which is why they were brought to Texas.

Wednesday: I woke up feeling much better, but my blood pressure was all over the place – mostly too low. They put me on IV meds to raise that, and also determined that I needed more blood. By the afternoon I was feeling much better, and everyone knew how much I was missing my babies, so they managed to get special permission for B to bring them up, even though children under 16 aren’t allowed in the ICU. They came up and Q and I took a couple laps around the unit looking at pictures and flirting with nurses. Everyone thought that they were the cutest things and were so happy they were able to come. That was a great morale booster for me. Jessica was my nurse that day and it was her last day on shift for a while. When she left she gave me a big hug and told me that I was her favorite patient and she usually doesn’t take work home, but she took me home every day and prayed for me, and told her friends to pray for me (obviously she couldn’t share details cos of HIPPA, but you know…). The night went well, and was completely uneventful. Normal waking up for blood draws and IV changes, but that was all.

Thursday: They got all the tests back! Everything was just how it should be, so they decided I was probably ready to go home, but they can’t discharge from the ICU, usually, so they transferred me to a regular room. I had a breakdown. Finally a wave of postpartum and adrenaline and something happened. I had Sophia as my nurse again. She is a Christian and reminded me that I was too. She held my hands and went into Mom-mode and gave me a talking to about how when she saw me on Sunday when I was admitted (apparently she was one of the nurses) compared to how I was now, she wouldn’t have believed it and I am a very strong lady and will be just fine. She also told me about how she doesn’t usually take work home, but she was genuinely concerned for my life and prayed for me all week and that I’m going home to take care of my babies. It’s okay to cry, but don’t forget how strong I am. She walked me to the regular room, and when we got there, she gave me a humongous bearhug and told the nurses there to take good care of her favorite patient. After I was all settled in, I got a visit from one of my Trooper Wife friends. She brought me some flowers and snacks, since hospital food was soooo gross. B also brought the boys to visit! By the time they left, I was exhausted and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and sleeping. I slept SO well that night, though because the ICU beds were air mattresses and auto-adjusted all night for patients who need to not develop bedsores… the regular mattresses are hard, but they were a welcome change.

Friday: I finally got permission to go home!!!! They took the PICC line out (I was so scared, but I didn’t even feel it!), and left the drain. I’ll go in on Monday and have it removed.

Sorry I didn’t share about it til now, but I just didn’t want to be bombarded with questions while I was trying to recover. The doctors said that the official diagnosis was “sepsis”, and if I had waited another day or two, I probably would have died. B did an amazing job holding down the fort while I was gone, and while I was home sick. He’s an amazing man!!!!!!!!!!

Please pray for continued recovery as I am waiting to have the drain removed, and have a couple weeks worth of antibiotics to take.  I’ll follow up with my OB in 2 weeks and we’ll see if everything is okay still!

Thank you for reading all of this! I know it’s long!

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4 responses »

  1. Dear Arielle, I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that, but thankful you made it through it all. I can’t imagine life on earth at this time without you. Thank God you made it through it all. Did Brandon go to Temple today with the other brothers? Love, Grandma.

  2. Praise Jesus you’re doing so much better. What a scary ordeal. Indeed, you are a very strong woman, great wife and mother. Welcome home, again!

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