Saturday, September 22, 2007

The day I lost my belly button and all the other stuff that has been keeping me from blogging

Feel free to skip this post as it's a long rambling about my health (senior citizen style aka blow by blow) and is mostly just therapeutic for me.

It all started Thursday, August 9, 2007.

The day I lost my belly button started out quite unlike any other day. I was up at 4:20 AM in order to shower and shave one last time. I had to be at the hospital at 6 AM as surgery was scheduled for 8 AM. Kevin and my mom came with me. We got there in plenty of time and did the 'ole "hurry up and wait". I was getting pretty nervous. I finally got called back and got gowned up. I got a chance to say a quick goodbye to Kev and mom. The nurse said I would likely be in surgery for 4 hours. 4?! I got really nervous then. So they got me on the stretcher and got an IV started the first try. So far so good. I remember being wheeled into the OR and the next thing I remember is being in my hospital room. Apparently I had several hernias enmeshed with the old patch and my belly button. They couldn't save my belly button so now I am the local circus freak. I was pretty distressed to learn of this. The doctor's didn't warn me about the possibility and I rather LIKED my belly button. But all had gone well so I couldn't complain too much. So Friday I got out of bed for the first time. NOT an easy task. I even got washed up and was feeling pretty good with some sweet pain meds. I slept a lot, but was up and about, even going to the bathroom. I got moved to the surgical floor as apparently there was a miscommunication and I had been admitted to the Short Stay unit. My mom and Andrea visited that evening but I don't remember much of the visit thanks to the aforementioned drugs. Around 10pm I woke up and didn't feel well. I can't remember if someone came in to do my vitals or what but I remember saying over and over "I don't feel good." I was having chest pain and shortness of breath. Someone checked my pulse ox and it was 74. I heard something about a trach and all kinds of people started flooding my room. The crash cart was wheeled in. HUH?! They gave me some nitro and got me on oxygen. Sometime around midnight they took me for a chest CT scan. I knew something was up when the Nursing Supervisor introduced himself and stayed with me during the CT scan and the trip back to my room. I was put on a heart monitor and had an EKG as well. Sometime around 4:30 AM I was taken for a VQ Scan. The nurse had told me they were calling around to see if they could get someone to come in early to do the test. I had no idea what was going on and to say my anxiety level was a bit high was an understatement. Then I had a ultrasound of my legs to check for blood clots. Each time I was taken for a test, a nurse would walk with me with the heart monitor and the portable crash cart. Once the sun was up, different doctors started coming in to see me and I was told I likely had a Pulmonary Embolism aka a blood clot in my lung. There was some debate about whether or not I did as the CT scan did not show a clot but the VQ scan showed "high probability" for one. My EKGs and an Echo were normal. In the words of one of the cardiologists that saw me, "If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it's a duck." So they started me on Heparin and Lovenox shots. Blood thinners. Boy did those Lovenox shots hurt! I was getting two shots twice a day. I ended up being in the hospital for 8 days.

Finally I went home. Boy had I missed my family. My kids were beginning to wonder if I was ever coming home. It was a bit of an adjustment but everyone was happy that mommy was home. I had a visiting nurse out to see me for the next several weeks to check my INR (blood thinner level) and my incision. I had 70 staples from hip to hip. I started out with 2 drains but one got accidentally pulled out while in the hospital. I had follow up appts with the Plastic Surgeon, the General Surgeon, the Cardiologist, the Pulmonologist and my PCP. I was also getting my INR checked regularly. I am not an easy stick so they did finger pricks which was much easier.
The kids were really good about my not being able to pick them up. I showed them my "big boo boo" and they knew I couldn't lift them. My family and my MOMS Club friends were wonderfully supportive. We received over 21 meals from many members of the club. In addition, moms were coming to help out with the kids so Kevin could go back to work. My MOMS Club has been such an awesome support over the past 4+ years. I don't know how I'd have survived this journey called "life" with out all my buds. Pop Pop has even been changing stinky diapers since I've been out of commission. My mom has been my rock. Telling me over and over how much this sucks but giving me the faith and courage to know that "this too shall pass." Kevin has been Super Dad/Husband! He has been keeping the house clean, doing dishes, doing laundry, grocery shopping, grass cutting, bathing, dressing, hugging, disciplining, working and that's only some of what he's been up to. The boy deserves a medal!

So life was slowly getting back to normal. Ryan was calming down. (He got quite upset the first time I left the house for a doctor's appt. Apparently he thought I wasn't coming back.) The girls were getting used to various and assorted diaper changers and I was feeling better and stronger. I was showering everyday and had even shaved my legs with an electric shaver courtesy of BFF, Kelly. Then Ryan got Strep. And Molly got Strep. Then I started to feel poorly. I went to a Mothers of Multiples meeting on Sept 11th and when I came home, I really didn't feel good. I called my parents and they strongly suggested I go to the ER. So mom came and got me and off we went. I HATE the ER. I wasn't sure it was necessary. They took me right back, did an EKG and wanted to get an IV so I could get another Chest CT Scan. The IV was not so easy this time. Finally they got it and I had the scan. PNEUMONIA! Again! I had been treated for pneumonia right after my surgery too. At least it wasn't another PE which was a big concern. So I was admitted again. I spent the night in the ER on a most uncomfortable stretcher and finally got into a room at 10:30 AM. Not a fun night. So they were giving me 3 different IV antibiotics. They had the Pulmonologist come back to see me and an Infectious Disease doctor. Turns out I had pneumonia in the Right Lower Lobe. I spent 6 days, yes, 6 days in the hospital. By Monday I was begging to be sent home. When I was finally discharged, they called for a wheelchair to take me out. It took too long and I ended up walking out on my own because I couldn't stand to be there another minute. Oh and right before I left one of the doctor's told me I had some nodules on my thyroid. When I asked what the hell that could be, her answer, "Could be a cyst, could be cancer, could be nothing." Thanks! She obviously didn't realize she was telling this to woman who suffers major anxiety over medical stuff. So I have to follow up with a thyroid ultrasound and some blood work. More fun. So I am home now. Trying to get better and stay out of the hospital. I have been coughing like crazy and regularly peeing my pants. Thank god for Depends! (Yes, after three kids I have no bladder control but no thanks, I'll skip any surgery to fix it.) I saw the Pulmonologist and had a follow up Chest CT Scan. I have to have a sleep study to determine if I have sleep apnea. I need to see a Gastroenterologist to check out why I am having such horrible heart burn. But they don't want to do this while I am on blood thinners. And depending on my thyroid blood work I may need to see an Endocrinologist. Cha ching! I am sure my insurance company is hating me right about now. I feel like I am 76 instead of 36 and am marveling at the fact that up until this surgery, I was pretty healthy. I was a mom needing to lose the baby weight (and then some) but overall I was fine. Yep, so that's my life lately in a nutshell. All of my friends are amazed at all of the medical stuff this family has endured over the past several years. Apparently I need to write a book and profit from this shit.

Hmmm, this might be a good start.....

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