I’m jumping in.
These were my first thoughts upon waking up this morning. I’ve been trying to wake up every morning this year and immediately think of three things I’m grateful for. I realize even though we’re going through this nightmare I still have a lot that has broken right for me in 46 years. Sometimes it may even involve some of you reading this, even the sketchier folk. But today I woke up with one long obscenity.
Well shit. Then there were several f bombs, lords name in vain, various body part words used as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that I won’t go to in here as I may get kicked off this forum for how vile they actually were. I believe I even made up some new offensive words using combinations of the three that offended even me. Because you see, We’re taking the pump out today. I say the pump because we never even got a chance to name it some catchy name like Larry or Dwayne. So how did we arrive here? Let’s dig in shall we?
Thursday night our heroine could not sleep (and by proxy, me either). She was having terrible pain in her back where the incision was. It was ironic that the doctor who installed it called earlier that day to see how she was doing. The incision, in my humble, no medical training ever opinion was that it looked good. The last time we changed the dressing I thought it looked good. However I got home thursday to Elizabeth in pain and still having trouble with the bathroom. I’d get into the details but it was pretty icky and nobody wants to hear it. So Friday we had a meeting with pain “management”. I will now use quotes with pain “management” because besides just more pills, theres not a whole lot of management involved. So we went to pain “management” with Elizabeth still in pain. Upon arrival the PA lowered the amount of juice coming from the pump per the urologist (as he had seen the pump giving the bowels/everything that makes you pee, problems). They were puzzled as they had “never seen this have this bad a reaction before”. First time for everything right? You probably should document this somewhere right beside the Bigfoot I saw in the parking lot walking in. Never saw that before either but there it was in all its glory (full disclosure, it might have been a possum). So after leaving pain “management” where the answer was more pills, we went to neurosurgery as I called earlier basically demanding someone take a look at her back. The nurse walked in, undid the dressing and her look said a thousand words. Her reaction said more. “Go get doctor so and such” she said to the PA. “He’s in surgery” “Well get doctor whatshisname” “He’s doing (whatever)”. “Well just go get somebody”. She said if it were up to her Elizabeth would be admitted quick, fast, and in a hurry. To the right of the incision it resembled a swollen big toe. However the doctor that came in thought “differently”. It just looks like a hematoma he said. OK, wait. I went and looked and it didn’t look like that two days ago. Again let me stress, I have zero medical background except my watching Grays Anatomy with my bride. Can a hematoma develop three weeks after surgery? And still, I would get it hurting but not a 10 out of 10 pain to where she cant adjust herself in a wheelchair. That’s crazy. I as well as the nurse kept reiterating man, I don’t know, it seems pretty bad. But this guy just dug his heels in and he was right. He also wanted to argue with me about Elizabeth taking Tylenol v Ibuprofen. He was adamant in telling me that I had it wrong. That she should be taking Ibuprofen instead of Tylenol because of the liver or kidneys or something. After the third time I just said, take it up with Mody. That’s what he said. So thats that. He was also very concerned about the ink on his pants as well. So he ordered an MRI (keep in mind this was about 2:30 on a friday, that will come into play later). We went down for the prerequisite blood work. Then to the second floor for the mri where “they would try to squeeze us in”. Well, after several heated discussions with the schedulers (who I know, it wasn’t their fault) the lead guy came and talked to me. One, they couldn’t schedule until they had certification from the insurance. Completely understand but it’s almost 4pm on a Friday, pretty sure that ain’t happening. Two, last call for scans/mri is 3:30. Third the last MRI is 6pm. So we both came to the conclusion that it wasn’t happening today. He did suggest the ER and that I felt with chemo and everything (again, zero medical training) wasn’t an option. So we went home.
That’s right, still in terrible pain, nothing resolved, Going home. Awesome. Thanks for the help guys. I did speak with the nurse who had been trying to facilitate this (and shes one of the good ones) face to face and she looked like she wanted to say something but couldn’t. So home we went. Well, for at least four hours.
I had run Haley to her surprise birthday party then went to pick up meds and a small bite to eat. Elizabeth called and said she had a 103 degree temp. We made a call and off to the ER (where we didn’t want to be in the first place) and they looked at her. They gave her fentynal and doped her up pretty good. Well good enough to lower the pain from 10 to 8. Pretty much everyone was called in and at around 2:30 the doctor came in and said its a likely infection. Ok, so somebody is actually thinking hmmmm, I think with lowered blood pressure and really low white blood counts this might be something a little more serious than a hematoma. Again, let me stress, the only medical experience I have is watching Chicago Med but I’ve been on this ride before and had to call the ambulance. That was an infection/virus and I’m pretty sure this is the same. So we got into a room at 4am.
They decided to drain the back. I believe the medical term is “aspirate”. I say that stressing again I am no doctor but am now an amateur physician with all the names of all the drugs, old and new, stored in my head. The same doctor from the other day came in. “So no MRI?” I just said no. I didn’t feel like getting into it with him. I was way too tired and I figured, if there are only two doctors, two players on the bench this weekend, thats who you go with.
Well, that “not getting into it” lasted until they were about to drain her. He was still on the hematoma thing. “Oh it looks better” Seriously dude, and I’m thinking in my head (pardon my French) WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT HERE???!!!!! He then started to go on about some ste fluid or something. “What’s STE?” I asked in my best George Clooney on ER voice. He rambled on about something until I asked again, yeah, but what is STE? He then did it again until both I and my mom just yelled at him, what does STE mean? What do the initials mean? What are you talking about?! It’s a spinal fluid. OK, thanks for the info. Nonetheless, Elizabeth didn’t want him in there. Didn’t want him anywhere around. I really didn’t want him in the same zip code. So the other doctor extracted the fluid. She was really good but there wasn’t anything coming out. Pretty sure Dr Do-nothing would’ve bagged it after the third try but she kept working. Thankfully they extracted a good bit to get a bead on. Then the dope said no, lets hold off on the antibiotics. Why? Dont know, I design scaffold but he said this and I thought, dude. I think the nurse on call may have just ordered them anyway as they magically showed up. Or she realized how livid we were toward Do-nothing and got others involved. He left and still was sure that it was nothing.
Nothing until it came back a couple of hours later. The pump is getting taken out. There’s infection all in there. So its getting pulled as I write this. Do-nothing came in and I finally got him to say, yes, its an infection. I wanted to hear him say it twice so I asked him again. Just so he could know how wrong he was from the jump and the terrible disservice he gave us. But another surgery, followed by 6 weeks of antibiotics. The pump was a game changer it just changed it for the worse. The pain “management” doctor who sold us on it from the jump came in to read the pump. As he stood there with his machine I asked him “why would you do that? It’s infected and they’re taking it out?” He seemed a little dejected by the news as I glared at him. Look, I almost don’t blame him (except the fact he undersold a lot of the post op stuff). Those who know me know I’m a big sports fan. My love for my family and friends is really only a notch or two above my love for the Florida Gators. Whenever a coach goes for a big, unexpected play like an onside kick or something crazy, if it works, they’re a genius. If it doesn’t they’re a dope. It’s sometimes the right call but just poor execution. This is a case of that. I think even with hindsight being 20/20 we had to try this. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out. The execution was terrible. So I sit and wait. I’ll update everyone later on how its going. Until then love you guys, and blog at you later. #uphillbattle