Sunday, May 18, 2014

Getting Better Acquainted with Hospital Staff

As I limped into the ER on Thursday night and then gratefully slumped into a wheelchair - brought over to me by a concerned nurse - I never thought that I wouldn't have been leaving that night.
I mean, I know I was sick.  I know I needed major help.  I know that I would not have gotten better at home had I just "waited it out."
I just didn't know how seriously sick I was till - after an hour or so of being there - a nurse came over and said to the doctor, "So, what's going on with her?"  (she's pointing at me)
The doc says, "She's not going anywhere except for upstairs to a room."

I am ahead of myself here.

I am sorry.

But, you must forgive me.

I've been -and this is putting it very mildly - under the weather.

Wednesday morning I woke up with a jolt.  My eyes got real big.  And I could tell that I didn't have much time between realizing it was going to happen and it actually happening.
I grabbed the slightly dusty "puke bucket"  from under the bed and prepared for some very painful vomiting. I tore my glasses from my face, pulled my hair from out from around my face, and started to throw up very violently.

I didn't go to bed feeling badly at all.  In fact, the next morning, my cousin had plans on coming over to my house to cut Olivia's hair (before I dropped her off to go to school)

But, there I was.  Crying, puking, crying, and puking some more.

Normally, I try to vomit as quietly and as calmly as possible.  When I was preggers with Olivia, I did my fair share of throwing up, but it quickly got to be annoying for all of those around me.  My cat would get scared and run away.  Well, excuse me Spot, but I am trying to grow a human here!My husband would quietly sit there, my hair in his hands and let me do my thing, only to ask me later (as nicely as possible - and he truly was very sweet about the whole thing) to try and not get so upset during those times in my life when the things inside of me desperately wanted to be on the outside of me.  His thought was that if I was a bit calmer that it wouldn't hurt so much.  And he was right.  The less of a spectacle I had made while throwing up, the easier the whole process was.

So, years ago I had mastered the art of stealth vomiting.
This time, though, there was zero stealth in my puking...
I had nothing to vomit, so all that was coming out was bile - or whatever lies in your stomach while your stomach awaits for it's next meal.

So, Wednesday was not a good day.

Thursday, I had started to feel much worse.  By Thursday, the vomiting had ceased, but I had developed a cough that was increasingly getting worse.

That's when I decided to pay a visit to my family doctor.

He had diagnosed me as having bronchitis.  By my appointment with him, I had started to run a fever and my energy level had started to plummet.  So, he threw some antibiotics and some cough medicine at me (ok, well, he didn't really throw anything at me, instead he gave me prescriptions)
By 5 pm, having skipped dinner and taken my first actual dose of antibiotics and cough medicine, I was off to bed.
I remember falling asleep too.  I can remember thinking that as far as bronchitis went, this time it wasn't too horrible.  I was in a very comfortable sleeping position.  I wasn't coughing that annoying cough that comes with having bronchitis.  My medicine must be working.  I thought to myself that I was going to kick this one very easily and very quickly....

But I was wrong...



So, I woke up at around 11 pm Thursday night.  I suddenly felt as though I was drowning.  Drowning is the only word I could come up with.  My chest felt as though there was a building sitting on top of it.  I couldn't catch my breath.  I was trying to catch my breath, like desperately trying to catch it, but with each breath I tried to take came a new level of panic that it is really indescribable.

I didn't yet feel feverish, but I knew that something was seriously wrong.  I couldn't breathe.  I just couldn't do it.  When I did breathe, my chest felt so heavy.  I said before that it felt like a building was on top of me.  (and for a fleeting moment, I thought this how some of the people must have felt back in the olden days of the Salem witch trials when people were put under the severe weight of rocks until they admitted to being witches or knowing of witchcraft)

So, with thoughts of buildings and the Salem witch trials I ended up in the ER department of our local hospital.

I - as urgently as possible - explained to them the chest pain I was having and the breath that kept evading me.

I was quickly handed a paper to sign, and a bracelet was put on my wrist and I was whisked away to the triage unit of the ER.
I was hooked up to an EKG machine and asked a barrage of questions and told within a relatively short amount of time that I was being admitted to the hospital.



Turns out that I had a fever of 103.5 Fahrenheit.  I had learned that while I was on the table hooked up to the EKG machine.
I can kind of remember some of the questions being asked of me.  But, I was so sick.  I mean, I never felt as sick as I did... I can't ever remember feeling this sick.
Lots of nurses and doctors and hospital personnel would ask me questions.  Simple questions that I - under normal situations  - could answer with ease and a smile on my face.  Thursday night, however, I couldn't form a thought, let alone an answer to a simple question.
I had zero strength as well.  Holding the pen in the entrance to the ER proved to be a slightly impossible task for me.

So, there I was.  No strength.  No clear thoughts.  Just the lack of breath, the high fever, the really high blood sugar and the fear that - despite being in a hospital - that I was surely going to die.

About 2 am or so, I was wheeled to my staying quarters.  A hospital room with enough space for two beds, although I was the only occupant at the time.  There was a large flat screen TV on the wall, a bathroom barely big enough for me plus a medical cart with IV's hanging from it and two closets in the back of the room.
I was given loads of steroids, loads more of antibiotics, and lots of different pills.

During my stay, I was poked - it seemed - hundred of times.  I was told by several nurses that I had "bad veins".  My veins were quickly dubbed as "rollers".  I had no idea that my veins were that much trouble.  As a type 1 diabetic, I had my fair share of blood work done, lots of lab work under my particular belt. Any of the phlebotomists I ever met never ever had trouble with my veins before.  But, here I sit, with dozens of holes in my hands and arms - each with it's own black and blue mark to prove that my veins are indeed rollers.

I had stayed hospitalized with pneumonia a total of three nights.  All of the docs I met thought for sure I was going to be there at least a week.  I was told that I was in the early stages of septicemia when I entered the ER, according to their lab work.  And as a type 1 diabetic that it certainly could have been alot worse.  But, I went in early enough, and it was caught in enough time.  And I responded very well to the antibiotics that was administered to me via the IV drip....

I am one lucky girl...

Or so one doctor had said.

So, there you have it...

I had my first (and hopefully my last) battle - although it felt more like a war - with pneumonia.

I still feel very weak.  I still feel as though I was hit by a truck.  But, slowly I am starting to feel like my old self.  Although I'd like to feel like a newer version of my old self, this will be just as good.  I will settle for this...

John and Olivia were both worried for me.  Quite frankly, I was worried for myself as well.

But, I am feeling better and on the road to recovery.
I will probably be taking a very short blogging break to give myself some time to heal even quicker.  So, I will say I am sorry now for my absence....

Oh, and one more thing before I hit "Publish" and scoot off to bed where I belong...
The hospital let me check and control my own blood sugar, thanks to me wearing the insulin pump.  Something I was very grateful for.  After my fevers had subsided and I was again thinking clearly, they said that pump wearers usually took very good care of their diabetes.  And they weren't wrong.  My numbers - after the steroids had stopped being given - were quite good during my hospital stay.

So, I guess that is it for now.
Thanks for reading, and take care!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lockets and Cards

Wow... What a day!  Not bad, but not great either.  I'd say, it was a good day, and if nothing else, it was an average day.

It started when I woke up to  Olivia standing right by the bed on my side, staring at me...
She smiled, and said "Happy Mother's Day.  Can I finally give you your present now?"  :)

I rolled out of bed and got the sweetest card and locket pendant - she even put a picture of herself inside of it.  Then, she whipped out the other one she had, one she was wearing herself, and had a picture of me inside of hers...
My heart just melted...  How could it not have?
There she is, the preemie baby that I gave birth to just 13 years ago, smiling about the fact that she got me something to honor me as her mom.  I fear (however) as we continue down this path of teenager-dom, that the moments I had the pleasure of  enjoying today will end up being fewer and fewer.  I sure hope not, but that thought is always in the back of my head.

Let's see... After some coffee and some rereading of my sweet Mother's Day card, I got an early phone call about somebody wanting my surplus insulin (Craigslist ad).
So I quickly (or as quickly as someone whose feet and legs hurt 24/7) got dressed and said goodbye to my daughter.  I ran down to the gas station to meet my early morning caller and sold him my insulin.

 After that, I came home and had the rest of my morning to myself.  I had a light breakfast and then I got a text from another buyer of surplus diabetic supplies.  I had some reservoir sets and some infusion sets for my insulin pump and decided that instead of them going to waste, I would sell to whomever may want them.
We had to drive to Pottsville (about a 50 mile trip, ugh)) to meet this guy though, because he lacked transportation.  But, he was offering to pay us handsomely and I seldom turn down an opportunity to make a little money.
The whole day, though, poor John had (and still has) a head cold and did nothing but cough and sneeze all day long...  He was so super sweet though, the entire day.  He held my hand in the car and told me how proud of me he is for being the mom I am to our daughter... (I can't help but think I may end up with a head cold in the near future, but it's gonna be worth it.. ;)   )

As sick as John was feeling, he did treat me to a nice little dinner in Hamburg on our way home from Pottsville.  That was a nice change of pace.  The last few nights, neither of us could muster up the strength to make any sort of dinner.  John's been feeling ill, and I have been in too much pain to do it.  The fanciest we have been getting is spaghetti from a can... sigh... Oh wait, no, that's not true.  The one night, we did have Caesar salad.   Ok, so there you have it.  We have been feeling too bad to make anything nicer than a bagged salad and some spaghetti from a can.  I'd say a nice little Mother's Day dinner was in order, don't you?

Well, that was how my Mother's Day was.  I told you.  Not bad, but not great either.  It was a good day.
And good days are getting harder and harder to come by.
So, in that respect, I would have to say today was a terrific day.  :)

I hope all of my fellow mom's out there had a nice Mother's Day as well.

Thanks for reading.
Till next time...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Being a Mom

Mother's Day is coming up this weekend.

I often reflect on my own life - as a mom, and as a wife, and as a daughter - when Mother's Day approaches.

I first like to think of my own wonderful mom.  That lovely woman had five children and still made the time to make sure I had clean sheets on my bed.  Heck, all of us had clean sheets on our beds.  I will never make another bed again (at least I haven't since) without thinking about my own  head touching the pillow case that was fresh and spotless on my childhood bed (complete with Sylvia June painted in orange on the headboard).
My mom also made sure we had dinner every single night.  I mean, every single night, there she was, in the kitchen making some sort of meal that would feed at least seven  hungry people.  That's an amazing feat.

So, when I tire from making only one meal, to feed just three people, what right do I have to complain?  I say none.  Who am I to make faces when Olivia asks that evening question "What's for dinner?"...

So, thanks to my mom for continuing to be a wonderfully (over) adequate, and terrific mom!

Anyway, I also ponder how many children I really should have - residing with John and me - if circumstances would have been different.

Not that I really regret doing the things I did in a certain way.  I often just wonder how my life would be if I would have made choice A instead of choice B.

Like, I bet alot of you don't know that I had suffered a miscarriage on my 23rd birthday.  And it was literally on my birthday.  The nurse who attended to me even said that after seeing it was my birthday, had to excuse herself for a few moments to cry because she felt so badly for me.
What a way to celebrate.
When just a few days before my 23rd birthday, I was calling the entire family to say we were expecting our second child. And when we got to the hospital to have a doctor explain why I was bleeding so badly, we never expected to be leaving (the hospital)  with a dead baby inside of my womb.  Well, to say we weren't "expecting" the news is untrue.  Of course, the awful thought of a miscarriage weighed heavily on me, but I couldn't bring myself to audibly admit the fear of losing that baby.
I did nothing wrong during that very short pregnancy that would point to why I would have a miscarriage.  And when I reentered the hospital with unspeakable pain a few days later, I had to say goodbye to the tiny baby that had already formed a head and hands in my uterus.  
That was a really tough night.  After I had seen the baby practically fall out of me in the hospital's restroom, I had fainted on the floor.  The nurses gave me smelling salts and woke me up just in time for me to see them take the fetus and put it into a container, marked "hazardous waste".  My baby was never intended to be labeled as waste of any kind. What a terrible evening that was.  An evening John nor I will ever get over or ever forget.
 Less than a year after that tragic loss, I had to part with the thought of ever having children again, for they had detected (and later found) cancer in my uterus and had to do a partial hysterectomy, leaving me with only one ovary and zero chances of ever being pregnant again.  In fact, I was so young, that the doctor performing the surgery had to get special permission to do such a permanent solution to my ever lasting female problems - which included unstoppable bleeding, pain, and later on anemia.  Needless to say, we were heart broken.  But, at that time, we had already had one child - Olivia - and that's the only reason the doctor was able to get permission to give me a hysterectomy.

We also put a baby up for adoption.  That was when I was 18, going on 19.  John and I spoke at length during that pregnancy about what we were "supposed" to do and what we should do and also to what we had to do.  We got advice from my parents, who at that time, were very supportive and very open to any decision we had to make.  It's a good thing they were there, and were surprisingly unbiased in their opinion. 

We (John and I) finally made the very difficult decision of signing our parental rights away in order to give that baby a
better shot at life than what two very young people could give him/her.  Had we gone on to marry because of a baby, and ultimately gave that child a job to do before ever being born, I fear that we would be talking about a much different marriage than what we currently have.  (and honestly, we did give him/her a great life)

I still think it highly wrong and maybe even amoral to marry because "she" happens to be carrying a child inside of her.  After all, who's to say that 15 minutes of passion (or for some, lack thereof) is the sole reason for an everlasting happily ever after.  Being pregnant should never be the (only) purpose for a wedding.  That is my opinion, take it or leave it.

Then, I think about the child we do have.  And the unthinkable love that we have for her.  There are literally not enough words in the dictionary to describe how we feel about our daughter.  She is the keeper of both our hearts.  She embodies her middle name in a way I never thought possible.  She is completely the reason for most of our joy.  Now, I'm not saying that if we never had her, we wouldn't be happy.  But, just having her in our lives, just knowing that she is there in the mornings to smile and say "Good Morning Mommy" is a good reason to have an outstanding and happy life.

I know I am a good mom to her.  There is nobody in this world that could make me question that  - well, of course except for myself.  I have asked myself the "Am I a good enough mom"  question more times than I would care to admit.  But, knowing that I would die for her, no inquisition needed, says to me that I am a great mom.  I have both given things up and added things to my life in order to make myself a mom that she needs me to be.  I don't regret anything that I have ever done in her honor.

So, with all of that said, I have mixed emotion in regards to Mother's Day.  Regardless of how I feel though, it doesn't change the fact that I have an awesome mom.  And that I have an unarguably terrific husband who gives me the strength I need to be an awesome mom to my own child.

I really admire and am astounded by my mom, for she too has been through much hardship to be the amazing woman she is today.  And she has always shown such grace through it all!  I cannot believe how incredibly lucky I am to have her as a mom.  I wouldn't be who I am today without her influence and guidance.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms reading this.  May you be blessed and may God keep you all!
As always, thanks for reading, and take care!


Olivia and me

My mom and me
Olivia and me
John and my mom