Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Traditions...in the ER

Well, let's hope this doesn't become a Christmas tradition, that's for sure! Eeesh. Also, this can be the great lengths I go to avoid cats. LOL! No, those are just jokes. Backstory...

We made a quick turnaround from our Colorado trip to head North to Kansas. Around 11PM, my MIL called us to let us know that she was pent up at home with either food poisoning or a stomach bug. We opted to not chance it and when we pulled into Salina around midnight, we checked into to The Candlewood Suites. Seriously, these guys were amazing. We spent $72, including taxes for a warm bed, free Internet, and a place that welcomed Guapo! They were so hospitable and friendly. Of course, we'd been traveling for most of the day and we were all flat out exhausted. We cuddled in and slept until she called the next morning at 9. She let us know that shortly after she last talked to us, she was fine. When she arrived at our room, I'd thrown on some clothes and headed out to run errands with her. We met up with Don and Mari, loaded up the car to go to her place. We unloaded all of our goodies, and headed out for breakfast, which was really breakfast for lunch, but I liked it fine. We had a couple of family and friends as visitors, and even made a Christmas craft. Then, we went to dinner and Don and I went out to buy the last minute Christmas gifts that still needed to be purchased. When we finally made it back, we passed out. The next day was going to be a big one!

We were up early wrapping gifts and planning out the day. I explained to Mari the importance of a good nap because we were going to have quite a long evening that night. Plus, Santa would be coming. I was kicking myself for forgetting the special Santa wrapping paper I had purchased just for the Santa gifts! Dangit! Fortunately, my MIL has loads of wrapping paper and gift tags and is equally generous with her supplies. I was tremendously grateful because I did NOT want to venture out for either. When we go to Kansas, we get to visit lots of Don's extended family. Christmas Eve, we spent time with both great-grandmothers. Here's a shot of Mari & Don with one of them:
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We'd seen great aunts & uncles, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, and indulged on yummy treats. Earlier that day, we had visited Santa, too. Anyway, it was then stated that one of the spouses of our cousins was at home with the stomach bug. Then, there were tales of it having gone around all through Kansas and through the immediate family. That specific family member also let us know that her son had had it twice! My heart sank and I rushed to the bathroom to wash my hands. But I knew it was too late. I'd already been exposed and it was just a matter of time for it to strike. I prayed and prayed and prayed for it to pass me by, but then I glanced over at Don and Mari and continued to pray that it would miss us all.

That night, when we were getting ready for bed, I had Mari sleep with Don and I slept on another bed. Actually, before I could even fall asleep, I headed upstairs closer to the bathroom just in case. Around 3:30, I woke up and ran over, thinking I would get sick, but instead I just had to pee. I fell back to sleep on the sofa with my stomach twisting in knots and cramping. I chalked it up to the egg nog I'd had earlier. Granted, I'd drank the egg nog at 7:30 the morning before, but 'eh, one could hope, right? An hour and a half later at 5, it began. I showered at 8, and mustered up enough strength to eat some cereal, knowing full well it wouldn't stay down. I ate two bites, handed the bowl to Don and excused myself. Afterwards, I cleaned and disinfected the bathroom as best as I could, and suggested we check out the tree. Don handed me some water to sip on and I tumbled into the living room and landed on the couch. Mari managed to open six gifts and she was done opening presents. I didn't even open one. Instead, when she took her break, I ran to the bathroom to excuse myself yet again. This was the worst of it. When I caught my breath, I broke down and lost it emotionally. I wept there in the bathroom out of embarrassment, anger, frustration, and desperation. I prayed that I wouldn't go into early labor. I willed the child inside of me to somehow cope with this illness, but I knew it was getting dangerous for me. I'd sip water, and less than 5 minutes later, it was back with some bile. We tried to finish opening gifts when I thought I was "empty." Somehow, we made it through.

And then it was time for lunch. Instead, I retreated to the bathroom and took a short nap on the floor, clutching the sick bucket and using a towel for a pillow. I got up after 30 minutes and proceeded to get sick again. Once again, I crawled into the shower and it seemed to help some, until I didn't have the strength to move. Don came in and helped me out. He swaddled me in towels and a borrowed robe and suggested we go to the ER, especially because I couldn't stand on my own. I agreed and we verified which hospital was in our network. (Isn't that sad that you have to check before hand, but man, it totally makes a big difference in final payment! Heck, I'm just glad we have insurance!!) I sipped a bit of water and managed to dress to go.

With tears in my eyes, I waved at Mari, fearing to hug her lest she get what I had, and was so very upset that our Christmas was going to be spent apart. I took comfort in seeing tiny flecks of snow fall down from above. That's the final thing Mari wanted for Christmas and there it was.We arrived to the ER. After doing the basic paperwork, I called my folks. We had a bad connection and I couldn't call them back because that little sip of water I had demanded a bathroom immediately. We went through the logistics of hospital check-in, and the directed us up to labor and delivery because I was past 20 weeks. This would help them keep a better eye on Tesla. As Don wheeled me to that floor, I was overcome with emotion and feared the worst. The last time I was sick like this, we were all sick. Since I was the only one sick, I was afraid I was in premature labor. I didn't feel any contractions and my water hadn't broken, but the lower back pain, the vomiting, the everything else...it was there. The kind nurse settled me and calmed my fears. We heard Tesla on the baby monitor and her heart rate was normal. As a matter of fact, she was flipping around in there having a party. I was afraid she was like a fish with too little water and was flopping around. It sounds absurd now, but at the time, all sorts of rational was out. My heart rate was normal and so was the fever. I was however dehydrated. They started me on 1 liter of IV fluid, which she said would take about an hour. Don snapped a photo of our view. You can barely make out the lining of snow on the rooftops.
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I lamented that we didn't bring Christmas goodies for the nurses. After all, they were away from their family too. Don chuckled and told me, even now, you're worried about others. He told me to calm down and let people take care of me.

After 45 minutes of the IV, I snapped a self portrait. Sexy shot right there, let me tell you. That's the latest in hospital wear too! That hair style courtesy of no conditioner and no products. But hey, look, there's color back in my lips and you can no longer see the veins popping out of my hands, face, and neck. Yaaay!
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My spirits were then lifted by technology when my Facebook friends sent many thoughtful comments, prayers, and well wishes. But then the blood results returned and my potassium levels were too low, so after that IV liter was finished, it was replaced with another one that was fortified with potassium. I was told that this one would take about two hours. An hour into it and I finally had to pee. Hooray!

Unfortunately, my body was not responding well to the Immodium and while not vomiting, I was still not up to par. By this time, the 1st nurse's shift had ended and I was now in the company of dear Erin. After peeing, she allowed me to sip on some water, but insisted I buzz her if I got sick. I sent Don away to grab some dinner for himself and I tried to sleep. I awoke about half an hour later when one of the monitors was beeping. Apparently my blood pressure was much too low and my temperature was nearing 100. Tesla was still ok. Erin prepared me for an overnight stay, just in case. She brought me some extra warm blankets and I called Don to ask him to bring me some socks and reading material. I needed to stop crying because it didn't help the dehydration.

The shift changed again, and so did my IV. I went to the bathroom again and success, just pee! My fever was kept at bay, and my blood pressure was improving. At 9PM, the nurse informed me that the doc said I could go home. By this time, I had taken in nearly 3 liters of fluid. When I later thought about it, 3 liters is what we buy in soda for a party. I had nearly the equivalent of one of those through the IV. It totally blew my mind! I successfully walked out of the hospital, which actually took me quite a long time with my short shuffle steps.

We made it home before midnight and Mari happily greeted me with a big, warm hug! I chugged down some broth and a small gatorade and passed out. The next day my body was totally sore, the previous day's events mere remnants in my mind. Two days later and my neck and stomach muscles are still strained from the heaving and retching and everything else. I'm TOTALLY and COMPLETELY spent.

Many friends ask me if I ever sleep because I'm always on the go. When I'm sick, I get sleep. I guess that's when I get the more "normal" amounts of sleep like everyone else. Regardless, I'm glad to be able to sit upright for an hour at a time. I'm grateful to not be dizzy. I'm especially grateful that Don, Mari, and Tesla are ok. And even more humbled by all of the prayers and well wishes sent out to me on Christmas day. I never felt alone and had the wings of angels wrapped around me. The moment I reached out for help, I got it and I was so uplifted. If you are reading this, thank you for that!

1 comment:

Helen said...

What a scary ordeal! Thank goodness it all passed & you guys are okay.

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