Friday, August 13, 2010

2nd Hospital Trip, Part 2

Okay, so I was in the hospital for the 2nd time, yet again having doctors and nurses on the floor murmuring about "the patient who was up and talking with a BP of 40/12." Well, I don't know that for sure, but I am thinking that is what was going on outside my door.

***WARNING*** This post is not pretty. I try not to be graphic, but your mind will go there, so I appologize in advance.

While my blood pressure to finally got back to normal, I still had a fever, and had diarrhea. Now for any normal person, this could be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Add in a 22 year old female who didn't have the strength or agility to get out of bed quickly. This part of my hospital stay is the worst, and one of the main reasons I have not wanted to write or talk about my experiences. While nothing is embarrassing to doctors and nurses who have seen it all, there are some things that normal people just don't think about. It's not so much what happened to me (as you can all guess) because I am sure that everyone has had their own issues at one point in their life. My humiliation comes from the nurses idea to combat my problem. Adult diapers. There is nothing dignified about having to wear a diaper when you are 22 years old. Not that there is anything dignified about cancer, but up to that point, I thought I still had a shred of my dignity.

To add insult to injury, I still could not lift myself off the toilet. Every time I got up to go to the bathroom, a nurse had to be called in to, literally, pick me up. I really wish I had kept a better journal back then, or had a better memory, because the only nurse who's name I remember is Robby. (If you've ever watched Scrubs, Robby looked a lot like a younger version of the guy who played the janitor, he also plays the dad on The Middle now, too.) There were also two female night nurses, one big and strong, another little and strong, that were very helpful during that time.

A secondary horror to the diarrhea, was the shot injection they gave me to help combat it. Within minutes of getting the shot, I would puke bile. No matter if I had just eaten or not, it was BILE. Burned my throat, so very gross, bile. (Sorry to be explicit here.) After a few days of this I asked Dr. Guidice if I could PLEASE just take the Immodium pills. Luckily he said yes. (I should probably find out what that shot was, as I am apparently allergic to it.)

Along with the shot for diarrhea, I was also given Lovenox shots, to keep me from getting blood clots. My mom is very familiar with this shot as several times she had to have it 40 days in a row. She says that the injection has a square tip, and I would have to agree, as the stick is quite painful. Worse than the stick is the black bruises it leaves behind. Oh well, I never had a blood clot, so I should be thankful that the shot did its job.

Speaking of all the medications I was given, at this point, I was on A LOT of pills. In fact, if I did not become a drug addict while I was a chemo patient, I don't think I ever could (or would) become one. For pain, I had been taking Percocet, 2 pills, 4 times a day. Considering I already had a tumor on my liver, the doctors did not want me continuing to kill it, by taking that much Percocet, so they put me on Duragesic patches. This is medicine (Fentanyl to be exact) applied and absorbed directly through the skin. The patch was to be worn for 72 hours and then changed out. They started me on a dose of 400mg, or (2) 200mg patches, and slowly weaned me off the Percocet. The Duragesic patches worked pretty good for pain management; however, I have a Latex allergy, and the patches are plastic, so I started breaking out around the edges of the patch. You could actually see an outline of the patch because it had cut into my skin. This meant that I had to rotate the areas where we applied it. My back, my chest, my arms, the patch got old quickly, but it worked.

For entertainment while hospitalized, the nursing staff brought me in a TV with VCR, and my mom so lovingly found all my favorite VHS tapes. (Wow, that sounds so archaric now.) She also bought me Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, I was so excited! I love Harry Potter! Anyway, I spent my time watching movies, and hanging out with as many people as would come see me. As bad off as I was at this time, I thought my spirits were pretty high. This was also the hospitalization where  I got my Look Good...Feel Better make-over.

I found out a long time later from Marshall that this particular hospitalization scared everyone, and Dr. Guidice even told Marshall that my prognosis had gotten worse, and he then thought I had 2 months at the MOST. Boy am I glad I didn't know that at the time! There was a time when I considered giving up, but that was not at this point.

I do have to say that putting this certain aspect of my treatment down on "paper" was difficult, but not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Now I can move on, and finish telling my story. And while there are other aspects of my treatment that were hard for me to deal with (like losing my hair), none were as humbling and humiliating as this.

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