Emily M. DeArdo

writer

"Well, I'm Back"

transplantEmily DeArdoComment

the pertinent question then being from where, right? 

That breakfast tray should clue you in. :) 

For the first time in many moons, I spent a week at the resort, having things seen to. It's been since 2008, I think, that I've been in wth lung issues, and so I was totally over due, but it was a totally unexpected happening, as most things with me are. (Do I ever really expect anything when it comes to what my body does, anymore? Well, No. But.) 

Last week I had a col, which I really don't deign to write about, because everyone gets them, and even mine aren't all that interesting. I "finished" with the cold, meaning I was past needing cold meds, on Thursday, but I was steel feeling under the weather and was wondering if it was just really mean cold an I needed some more time to get things together, or if it was  a sort of virus that I really couldn't do anything about, other than ride it out. 

I had chosen the later and was re-watching Season Five of Downton at my place, thinking that I was definitely not going to be up for CCD the next morning. 

And somewhere around episode six, I noticed severe, brand-new chest pain--the sort that makes you think paying attention is a good idea. I sort of pondered for the next hour as the pain got worse, and then finally decided that the choices were calling my parents, or calling a squad, since I didn't think I was capable of driving myself anyway. Lady Edith and Marigold were just going to have to hang out in London for a bit. 

Describing pain is a difficult thing, but I refer you to this Magnificient Chart:. I have had pancreatitis eight times. That's a lot. It's very painful, sort of like knife-toothed gremlins eating away your abdominal muscles and drawing you tightly into a small ball of Awfulness.

This was worse than that. 

So that meant that we were going to have pain meds and, oh, Emily's heart rate was also around 135, when it should be about 90, since all I was doing was siting on a gurney while the end of Armageddon played out on TNT at the new Urgent Care Place (which was legitimately urgent. They had the goods, here.) 

The reason we went to New Urgent Care Place and Not The Resort (hereafter TR) is because I wasn't precisely sure what was happening and ought I'd should be somewhere, you know, close and emergency qualified, as opposed t0 12 miles down the road where the "emergency care" on Saturday night can be sort of scary. (TR does a good job. Won't say they don't. But sometimes you have to wait and when you feel like Death is at the Door, you are not feeling waiting, people.) 

So here we were, at NUCP, and they accessed my port (MIRACLE OF MIRACLES), and we did tests. We did a chest x-ray. We did a CT scan with contrast. We did lots of pain meds and I think we tried EKGs and stuff. My oxygen stauration, which should be somewhere between 95-100, was between 80-100, and supplemental oxygen was being called into use. So, yeah, stuff was Going Down that Wasn't What I Had Planned for My Weekend. 

(Some of the supplemental O2 stuff is from IV pain meds--it depresses respiration. It's a nasty cycle, it is.) 

 

So at some point it was decided that we'd transfer me to TR, which has all the lovely things I need, and I ended up there Sunday morning. My doctor popped in, and popped out, and other people popped in, and out, and we were sort of not getting the pain under control, which was making me unhappy, and was making my body unhappy, because it cannot stop freaking out if it is still in pain. 

I ended up on the transplant floor Sunday night. We played around with meds, but over all it was sort of a rough night, made rougher by a rough Monday morning, and by the time that by now, my heart rate and breathing had been labored and fast and not pleasant for 36 + hours. 

On top of all this, we were seeing things that looked like pneumonia on my chest x-rays, and I still couldn't take in a deep breath, which means I couldn't really do PFTs, which determine how well my lungs are functioning. However, I was made to do a crappy set, which basically indicated I was alive, but not much else. I was very lucky that I got to speak to the excellent resident, who decided we are going to get Pain Under Control (which we did, magically, without IV drugs yay!), and that there was a a lot of fluid sitting in my chest on the left side. We're going to get rid of that. 

Getting rid of that meant going down to see my Old Friends in Interventional Radiology (I do love them. When I say 'old friends', I mean it. They do good work.) A local anesthetic numbs the area an then a lot of gross, bright yellow fluid comes out. When I say a lot, we're talking liters. We're talking pounds, we're talking big amounts of fluid that should never been in your body, but yet is, and now is magically gone! A lot of it was whisked off for testing, to see what could be dwelling inside, but I was definitely a lot lighter. 

I had a lot of the textbook symptoms of pneumonia, including things I didn't think were textbook symptoms: dehydration, swollen throat, elevated heart rate, on top of things like chest pain, cough, and wheezing. 

I'd been doing IV antibiotics and steroids in case the problem turned out to be rejection (which it's not), and by the end of the week we'd gotten the pain under control, my HR was much more normal, I didn't need supplemental oxygen, and by Thursday my test results were already looking better, so that was a relief. Chest x-rays often take the longest to change, even after you feel better, so to already see changes was a big, positive sign, and my PFTs were rebounding (although that didn't really tell us much, in the long run, since the first set I'd done in house was so awful.) 

Yesterday I was thrown out--yay!--but I'll be back next Monday (not this coming on, the one after) for follow-up and not just from the hospitalization, but also to see how things are doing with the "generic" med I've just started. 

So I won't have much of an "update", I hope, until I'm back at much closer to baseline. Essentially, I've been reading, lusting after Emma Bridgewater's New Spring line, ,and I'm going to be playing with my watercolors and my Rosemary and Co. brushes (the brushes have arrived, and I almost have my palette filled!). 

New Rosemary and Co. brushes--a 2 and an 8. 

New Rosemary and Co. brushes--a 2 and an 8.