Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why no podcasts -- OT discourse

OK, you may be wondering why there have been no podcasts for the past few days.  Of course, there may be no one reading this and there may be no one missing the podcasts.  But I decided to chronicle my life during the past week so I'll long remember how lucky I usually am.

Friday dawned bright with the promise of a gorgeous day. I was looking forward to the four day weekend after getting through the first few days of school.  I had a few projects I needed to finish up but I could take the laptop out to the back yard and enjoy the last of the summer days.  Until that old familiar pain started.  A migraine.  OK, I get them -- no big deal.  I just pop some OTC meds and take a nap and then I'm fine.  Not so,  I got through Friday and Saturday with just semi-mild pain.  By Sunday night, I knew I needed to get some prescription meds this time.  But being the stubborn kind that I am when it comes to medical care, I decided to go to bed and see what Monday brought.  Well, by Monday morning I could barely walk.  I was falling down and running into walls.  I woke my son up and asked him to take me to the ER.  It wasn't really crowded so I go in within 10 minutes.  This is going to be a piece of cake.  It took the doctor just a few minutes to stop into my cubicle and we started to have a nice chat.  Unfortunately, he had the wrong chart but he almost had me convinced that I had just been discharged a week ago.  When he returned with my chart, I told him I was having an awful migraine and needed some fiorinal.  Instead, he had the nurse give me an IV with Dilaudin.  Really great stuff.  I now had four identical doctors trying to get information from me.  But I still had the headache.   Now, I'll blame my lack of remembering the next few hours on the dilaudin.  I vaguely remember going for a cat scan.  I vaguely remember the chest xray.  I do remember the technician telling me I couldn't hang on to the machine so tightly.  When I let go, I fell down so she let me hold on.  Hmmm dilaudin.  I do remember getting very cold.  I think it was the vent above the bed but they wouldn't give me those nice heated blankets.  Now my son swears I had them on but I think he's fooling me.  I don't remember much more after that.  Apparently they did a lumbar puncture that I screamed through.  Boy I hope there were no kids around.  After about 7 hours, I was told I had a migraine, given a prescription for fiorinal and sent home.  The doctor also said I had a respiratory infection so take some cipro also.  They gave me another dose of dilaudin before I was discharged.  My son needed a wheel chair to get me to the car.

At home, the family suggested I just go to bed but I said I was fine and decided to eat a banana since I hadn't eaten anything for two days.  So I settled down in the recliner with my banana and put on the Red Sox game.  Picture a passed out woman with a half eaten banana in her mouth.  Or maybe you shouldn't.  The kids let me sleep for awhile and when I finally woke up, I went upstairs to bed.  I set the alarm because I was sure I'd be fine in the morning.

Tuesday morning.  The radio goes off. Hey, the migraine is gone.  Great!  Jump out of bed.  At this point, the Jolly Green Giant grabs the back of my head and squeezes as hard as he can.  I double over in pain.  Well, I'm not giving in to pain.  So I get up again.  But good old Jolly is squeezing my brain so hard I can't see.  I find that if I don't put my head up, I can walk so I go get a cup of coffee and the morning paper.  I try sitting in my chair but it hurts.  Maybe I'll just give the morning dose of fiorinal a chance to kick in.  So upstairs I go.  But, I lose my balance and spill coffee all over my bed and myself.  Too smooth.  What's a woman to do?  I lie on the floor wishing the pain away.  I tell the kids I won't be going to work today.  No, no, don't worry about me.  I'll just lie here til the meds kick in.

After two hours on the floor, I decide I need to call my doctor.  I crawl over to the phone.  I get the answering service.  Sure they'll call me back as soon as a nurse is available.  I'm noticing things about the floor I've never noticed before.  And the animals think I want to play with them.  Well, one cat curls up with me and falls asleep.  When I finally talk to the nurse, I'm told that I have the classic post lumbar puncture headache and that I need to go the ER for treatment,  AARGH!  I call my son.  I know his college class is over and he's at the bookstore, the library or just hanging out.  He comes home to spend another day with good old mom in the ER.  I do remind him of the hours I've spent there with him and the fact that I am paying for his college.  But, kidding aside, he is great. 

This time the ER is packed.  And ambulances are coming in from every town in the state -- and perhaps all the adjoining states.  And Canada.  Now mind you, I can't stand up straight.  I am hunched over and can't look at the nurses.  I do notice that the cleaning crew doesn't do a great job with cleaning under the seats.  So here I sit for several hours.  I am hunched over and can't sit up.  At one point I try throwing a magazine on the floor and reading from that angle.  I can't concentrate long enough to find out why Jamie Lynn Curtis is talking about her kids.  Fortunately, my son has his college books and homework.

After a couple of hours, I am finally led back into the same cubicle that I had occupied all day before.  But no dilaudin this time, darn it.  We waited a long time but at least I could lie down and suffered very little pain.  When the doctor arrived, I told him my sad story and he told me a few people experience this.  Gee I'm lucky.  I like being unique but this time is not one of them. There is a fix but it needs to be done by an anesthesiologist.  He'll call one.  OK, if you've read this far, you'll know that it took a long time for the doctor to arrive.  He talked to me and said he wanted a second opinion.  He said the fix was risky and they only did it on extreme cases.  And since I was joking with him, I obviously was not in that much pain.  OK, now I joked all the way through foot surgery so I don't think that is any indication.  I was also told that I joked through another surgery when I was under general.  Of course, no one ever said I was funny but...  So I promised I'd cry instead if he would make the pain go away.  Of course, he took that as a joke.  So we need to wait for another doctor to come in. 

Third doctor said he won't do the procedure because of the respiratory infection.  Just go home, drink plenty of coffee and water (huh?) and stay in bed.  Now not to be to indelicate, but have you ever drunk tons of coffee and then were able just to stay in bed?  Anyway, he said I'd be fine in 2-10 days.  What??  10 days?  Is he nuts?  The school year has just begun.  I've just missed my first college class of the semester.  Way to impress the students.

So here I sit -- actually lay -- using my voice dictation software to try to put sentences together.  Trust me, it's hard.  I am having trouble focusing for more than a few minutes at a time.  So I haven't been able to read or listen to books or work on projects or stay conscious for long.  And every time I get up, good old Jolly is right there to squeeze my brain for me.  The doctor said one day I'll just wake up and the pain will be gone.  Maybe tomorrow.  I know I shouldn't complain too much.  There are so many people worse off than I am. 

Now, one final comment (I promise).  I went downstairs a little while ago to see my grandsons before they went to bed.  Even though I can only look down, I lost my balance and tripped over a cord on the floor.  I think my foot is broken.  No, I'm not going to the ER.  I'm icing it tonight and we'll see how it feels tomorrow.  So now I can only walk bent over, can't keep my balance, and am limping. 

So, now you know why there have been no podcasts.  Maybe tomorrow I'll trying recording but it will definitely be from a prone position.

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angela said...

Oh goodness...what an experience. Here's hoping that you're back to normal soon. (Yep, I read your whole entry!) Give a gold star to your son for being such a good boy!

Booktalker said...

Thanks so much. Yes, my son is indeed a star. And today he took me to urgent care for my foot. I did indeed break two toes so now am wearing a lovely new shoe. This is a week I won't soon forget!