Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back To Our Story: January 18, 2007 cont.

During this time, while the nurse was coming back and forth and I was being hydrated, Tiff was not sitting idly by, and nor were the doctors. Tiff went back and forth to the waiting room to call the various parents to keep them updated. She was also keeping me company of course, but I doubt I was a very interesting conversationalist.

I remember waiting for quite some time to see a doctor, but eventually, not long after my blood was taken, a female doctor came in wearing a mask. She explained that she was wearing a mask because she was pregnant, and she was dealing with patients with various unknown ailments, and didn't want to risk anything. She did what I imagine to be the usual doctor routine, checking pulses, blood pressure, sticking the little light thingie into my mouth and ears, and all that sort of stuff. She also checked out my arm by picking it up and rubbing it up and down pretty hard.
"Does that hurt?"
"Umm...actually no, not while you're doing that."
"Or maybe you're just really tough?"
"Umm...actually no. Not really."
She was fine with continuing on the pain "regimen" the nurse had started, and said she'd come back when the blood results came in. She was of the opinion that I probably had some type of infection, and I'd need to be on antibiotics.

When she came back, she had my blood results and asked a bunch of questions about my behaviours, even miming sticking a needle in her arm while asking if I used drugs. I'm pretty sure the answer was "no" to just about all of her questions.
"Okay, so...I'm going to get an infectious diseases specialist to come in and see you, because you probably have some sort of infection."
Hmmmm...okay, that didn't sound too bad.
"The other thing is...and I'm not a specialist so this is probably way off base, but I'm going to have someone else look at your results, because, and I repeat, this is just a precaution, you may have Leukemia."
The nice doctor looked distressed when she said this, but it didn't bother me. I knew I didn't have Leukemia. I had an infection.
Tiff didn't seem to distressed either, or at least she didn't show it if she did. She went out and called around about the news, including the phony Leukemia suspicion.

Eventually the disease specialist came by to talk to us. He looked like a stereotypical doctor. Dark hair, nerdy glasses, all he needed was a white coat and a stethoscope...of which he had both of course. He asked me all the same questions the previous doctor asked, and he also did the needle in the arm motion. I guess they teach that in medical school. After all his questions were asked and answered, we were still at a loss as to how I might have contracted whatever this condition was. He then looked at me a little fearfully.
" I just have one more question...I'm sorry to have to ask this...I'm sure it'll come up negative, but we have to check everything," I'm pretty sure he was sweating at this point, he was so nervous, "so we'll probably end up doing an HIV test...again, just to be sure. Is that okay?" He looked embarrassed, and scared that I was going to freak out on him.
"Oh, that's fine." He seemed relieved that I didn't get indignant about his "assault on my character. I didn't bother pointing out that even if I did end up having HIV, it could have been all Tiffany's fault as opposed to mine, couldn't it?
He finally confirmed that I did, indeed, have some sort of infection, and he'd be starting me on some antibiotics. He didn't know the exact type of infection, but he would be back in the morning with more information. I asked him how long I'd have to be in the hospital.
"Oh...I'd say maybe a few days, but probably closer to a week."
I'm sure the look I gave him made him feel like he'd shot my dog.
"A whole week? Oh my god, this sucks."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Interlude: February 25, 2008

I had a shower this evening. That's not news in and of itself...but it was an interesting shower nonetheless.
Since I still have very little hair, it's not really practical for us to buy me my own shampoo, or to waste space in the shower with my own bottle, so I use whatever's there.
Tonight, I used a shampoo with a label that said "Hey 2-in-1 princess, get ready to protect your precious colour-treated hair."

Cancer takes away so much...including, apparently, manliness.

January 18, 2007, cont...

So I got all trussed up in my green and white gown, leaving my socks and boxers on of course, and crawled into the little stretcher thing set out in the centre of the room. Tiff plunked herself into the little plastic chair off in the corner. Like I mentioned, I’d never been myself admitted to the hospital, but I’d waited with Tiff and Gabby before in the ER when they were sick, so I knew a few things. One: despite our relatively quick admittance, we’d be waiting a long time to see a doctor; and two: Tiff’s butt was gonna be sore from that chair after about 15 minutes. It might have been unjustified, but I felt horribly guilty about both of these things. I didn’t want to cause anyone else discomfort.

A male nurse showed up pretty quickly though, and took my vitals again. Still, they meant nothing to me. I was pretty sure even if they were bad, it was just the flu doing its thing. He didn’t say much, but came back a short while later with an IV drip. Oh great. I hadn’t had a needle stuck in me since I was a kid, and now I was going to have a whole tube shoved into my arm. Luckily, he found a vein pretty quickly (more on my veins later), and hooked me up to the IV, which apparently only contained fluids, with as little whining and complaining from me as I could possibly manage. He reassured me that in a little while most people with my symptoms would start feeling better just from the hydration. I believed him, although my arm was still killing me and I didn’t think the fluids would help that. He left and came back with some kind of “super-acetominophen”, as he called it.

Somewhere during this time, a woman with a rolling cart holding all sorts of unpleasant looking tubes and syringes showed up to take my blood. I really hadn’t been looking forward to this, but since I’d seen Tiff have blood taken and give birth, I figured I should just suck it up and let the woman do her thing with as little fuss as possible. So, I stuck out my right arm, looked off to my left, and followed her instructions to flex/breathe/whistle/whatever. I’m pretty sure I didn’t fully cry, but a single drop might have found it’s way out and splashed on my new gown…but it also might have been a tear of joy…because I was so happy…

45 minutes after I was given the "super-acetompinohpen", (I know because I was timing it) my arm was still killing me. In fact, it was getting worse all the time. Luckily, the nurse came in around that time, and I was able to explain to him in the nicest way possible that I would really appreciate something that can actually help with pain. He almost looked like he didn't believe me, but came back with a syringe...and a syringe, I knew, meant business.
"This is morphine," he said. "Just a little bit, but it should take care of your pain, but it also might make you feel nauseous and drowsy."
He said this while I pushed it into my IV line. "Okay, you should be feeling drowsy now," he said almost immediately after he'd finished. Strangely enough, I'd been feeling sleepy all day, but I sure didn't at that moment. He then said it would take about 10 minutes for the morphine to fully work. I was definitely going to be counting down those minutes.

10 minutes later...and my arm was freaking killing me. 15 minutes...freaking killing me...20 get the picture. I can't remember if at this point I called the nurse or if he just happened to come, but I ended up getting another shot of morphine about an hour after the first...and my arm was still freaking killing me. Eventually I got a third morphine shot, after which the pain finally subsided, but this didn't happen until much later in the night.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Since the writers strike is over...

I figured I should maybe get back to my story. Sorry about the long time between posts...but I really have no excuse, so let's just move on, shall we? We continue on January 18, 2007:

The ER was pretty busy when we got there, and there was no way I could stand while waiting in the long line to check in. I shuffled off to an empty seat, got my arm as comfortable as possible, and Tiff went to line up. Diane had taken Gabby home. I sat and watched as a young man holding a bandage to his head checked in, and thought that my issues were nothing compared to that guy. I figured gaping headwounds would take precedence over fevers and sore arms when it comes time for the triage nurse to decide who needs to be seen first.

Tiff was at the front of the line within only a few minutes, so I hauled myself out of the chair and joined her at the desk. The nurse behind the desk asked some questions, and with each one she asked my head seemed to pound even more. It was the most I'd stood for a couple days, and I wasn't doing too well with it. I still tried to downplay my symptoms, thinking that most of the people around me probably had "real" problems, but Tiff, being the paranoid overprotective crazy that she is, she "upplayed" what I tried to downplay. At some point, the nurse asked me if I always looked so pale. I told her I did, since as a lot of you know, I'm the whitest man in the world, but Tiff pointed out (correctly) that I definitely didn't look this pale all the time.

We quickly were put through to another nurse who took my vitals. This was a new experience for me. I'd never had my vitals taken before. Blood pressure, temperature, and an O2 level were taken. Other than my temperature, I had no idea what any of my readings meant, or if they were good or bad....but within minutes we were ushered into a small private room ahead of a lot of people that were in line before us, including the guy with the head wound. I was given my very first hospital gown to change into for the very first time I'd ever been admitted to a hospital.