Hospital Bound | 2014

*Many have asked how I landed in the hospital this week,
so here's the lengthy low-down.  
And such a gorgeous hospital selfie. 
I'm not gonna lie -- 
it took me about 1/2 an hour to figure out how to actuallytake a selfie. 
A techy I am not.
Not sure how I've managed to live just shy of 45 years
and other than the birth of my two children,
 have never even been to the ER for a broken bone,
let alone stayed over-night in a big-girl hospital bed for two nights.

But as it would be -- this week changed all that!

Wait -- I lie -- I was in the ER one time right out of college,
when a bunch of us rolled over a huge van and landed myself,
Denise and Michelle in the ER, somewhere in Iowa.
But that's a story for a whole 'nother day.

Anyway, this Wednesday morning I went to the gym 
and while I often do weights,
I tried a new machine -- a glute machine.
You stand tall and then put your foot on this plate and 
extend it all the way back.
Repeat times a bunch.
Went well. Didn't seem to bother me.
Didn't give it another thought.

 Later that morning, walking up our front steps
I felt something weird happen in my right leg.
Bizarre. Just a little twinge of something,
but again, didn't give it another thought.

By Wednesday night, just sitting down doing computer work
my right side was bothering me.
Went to bed and could not, for the life of me, get comfortable.
I tossed and turned all night and really didn't sleep.
Was beginning to give it another thought.

Already on the calendar was a chiropractor appointment
Thursday morning, so I went and had him work on that side.
He did major adjusting and it was really painful.
He said my legs were completely out of alignment
so he fixed that, gave me extra stretching exercises to do to be able to 
stretch out that area.
By 3:00pm, in Jackson's class, visiting their baby chicks,
I was in significant pain just from sitting on the floor, something I do all the time.
SO weird. 


  And by 8:30pm Thursday night, it kicked in something fierce.
Writhed in pain all night long.
I mean, the pain I felt was right up there with child birth and broken femurs.
Jack - bless his heart -- stayed up with me all night, trying to help me
in my pain but I could find no relief.

Finally, at around 5:30am, when I simply could not stand the pain another minute,
Jack woke the kids, told them that he and I 
were going to the hospital and that he'd be back to get them to school on time,
with the help of our friend Jamie who lives not too far away.

I crawled intp the back of the van,
laid down, and wouldn't you know it,
no pain whatsoever on the 20 minute ride to the hospital.
That was a God-sized gift.
And the minute I got to the ER and took the first step out of the
van, the writing pain was back.
He gave me a bit of relief to let me know I wasn't alone.

I hobbled into the ER (excruciating pain to actually sit so easier to stand and walk)
and it was all I could do to not yell out to Jack
"I'll ask if they validate and I'll tell them I've been shot!"
It really is time that you watch Brian Regan's bit on the ER room.
Just google it now and come back and finish reading this later.
Promise it's worth the while.

First question the admitting nurse asked:
"On a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, how bad is the pain?"
I looked back and up at Jack, with about the only grin I could muster up
and said, 
"Oh, it's about an EIGHT." 

Our ER experience was surprisingly quick.
Got me back into the private room and as soon as 
they could, I was put on strong drugs and felt instantly groggy.
And within minutes, was puking my guts out.
Forgot about that thing called empty stomach on strong drugs.
That did a doozy.
Felt bad for all the people that heard me puking down the hall as they
wheeled me to the MRI station.
I suppose they've heard that sound before.

But still, 
you just lose all sorts of dignity 
when you put on the itchy gown
and throw caution to the wind, 
hoping that same wind doesn't blow your
gown to smithereens.

Before long the doc came back and said we're going to admit you
to the hospital and you'll be here overnight.

Hadn't planned for that.
I thought it was gonna be a quick 3-hour-tour to get fast-acting
drugs and get on with my formerly scheduled women's retreat up in Wisconsin.
And Jack was whisking the kids to Michigan for the weekend.

But I guess our plans were not to be.
We were planted firmly on Illinois soil.

Bottom line for all those of you that 
just want the bottom line (aka, men)
there was a big fancy title to my issue
but it boiled down to acute sciatica nerve flare up.

The doc had me on high doses of steroids to help with the severe inflammation.
Pain meds were intravenous, which brought immediate relief every two hours.
Which also brought immediate violent vomiting.
We finally made that connection.
Took awhile though.

After the first night, it was still rough to do any little bit of walking.
Had lots of tingling and numbness in my foot and lower calf
so I was hooked up to this blood clot thingy that pumped air and squeezed 
the tar out of my lower legs.
Still significant pain pretty consistently.
So the doc said, "Another night for you." 

And so, by Sunday afternoon they loaded me up 
with the necessary drugs and instructions
and here I sit.

At home.
Snuggled on our comfy couch.
Feeling remarkably better than 3 nights ago.
Feeling grateful that we have health insurance.
A luxury for sure.
Thankful for a world-class hospital with amazing physicians at my fingertips.
Another luxury most around the world know nothing of.
Grateful for a loving husband and kids who kept coming to visit,
once even smuggling little Coco in through the hospital front doors.
And they said it couldn't be done.
But they don't know JACK!

Excuse the terribly blurry iphone photos.

 What are we teaching our kids?
Break any rule possible?
All they can do is kick you out!
Oh well, it was worth it!
Jackson did keep saying, "I really don't want to go to jail over this."
(Or something like that -- it was a riot!
We assured him there would be no handcuffs,
just an escort to the front door if we got caught!)

Lutheran General was an AMAZING hospital experience.
Would totally go back if it didn't involve pain in order to get a ticket inside.
But if I do ever have pain again,
 it'll be worth the extra length of drive there,
for the care received.

So here's my skinny on hospital life:

I have like 4 new BFF's now.
Kristin, Carmel, Camy and Ha.
They all took such grand care of me.
I'd press a button on my up-and-down bed
(which was a groovy experience all unto its own)
and they'd appear in the doorway with ice water.
Or a warm blanket.
Or to turn off the light that I couldn't reach.
Or to grab my cell phone charger.
Or better yet, 
they'd inject happy drugs that induced 
sweet grogginess and zero pain.
 I think I can see why people could get hooked on pain meds.

They'd walk me to the potty, because apparently,
falling is not something they want happening on their watch.
Signs everywhere told me that.
 They wheeled me on gurneys to MRI scans and x-rays and managed to keep me 
on the table with my bum completely covered.
 Or so I hope they kept me covered.

And let's just talk a minute about these so-called hospital gowns.
They use the term gown like we're heading to a black-tie event.
Not gonna lie.
You feel really, really vulnerable with one of those things on.
My guess is a man invented them.
I mean, today, after day 3, 
I looked down and realized mine had a special hole in the FRONT, too.
I think a nursing gown from the 
maternity ward made its way
over to the Ortho floor.
Goodness gracious people.
Who knows how many people I flashed in my 3-day-stay 
and I wasn't even trying.

And comfort. Ya, not so much. 
The darn thing would get all twisted around and 
snug on my neck and just plain old irritating.
What ever happened to a good ole tank top and pj bottoms.
Seems like those would do the trick, but I guess they didn't ask my opinion
during the design stage of the outfit.

However ...
when you've just lived through some of the most severe pain
you could possibly imagine,
I really am okay with the paper gowns. 
The least of our worries, right?

 On hospital food: It's really hit or miss.
Fabulous omelettes made to order each morning.
And then, lunch would tank with some sort of mush 
served on a covered platter.
Good thing for saltine crackers and gingerale, 
albeit it not Canada Dry
it still served its purpose.
But again, not complaining -- 
it was brought to me on a platter, 
I didn't have to make it,
 and I didn't have to clean up after it.
A beautiful thing, really.

I will say, I loved having my iphone handy.
I didn't have  a chance to grab my Bible before we left home
but I had it on my phone, at the ready.
When I'm in pain, I want to read my Bible.

And I loved that I could instantly connect with the outside world on my phone.
By text.
And email.
And Facebook.

Just many things to be grateful for in today's modern world.

And so tonight,
with pain under control.
And hopes of a full recovery over the next two weeks,
I'm grateful for the little things in life.
Like this tulip the kids found on the ground and 
brought in and made all pretty-like
with a styrofoam cup vase.

I'm one fortunate girl with a family that loves me deeply
and so many friends that were praying and concerned and sending happy thoughts my way.
And a God who never left my side,
even in the writhing pain of Thursday night.

May I always see the tulips amidst the pain.
OH, and may THEY - whoever they is --
 somehow, between now and the next time I visit a hospital,
figure out how to design a hospital gown that truly covers.

A girl can only dream.


Tori Ruby said…
I can soooo relate to everything you wrote. Last April, I had a hospital stay. One colon less and a Crohn's diseases diagnosis later, I emerged from the longest two weeks of my life. We really should talk. Loved the blog!! So glad you're feeling better.
Anonymous said…
Carol and I send our best and pray you have a complete recovery. Watch out for those exercise machines for they can be meaner than a hungry bear. Get well.
Alysa said…
Yikes, Tori. A 2 week stay in the hospital - wowzers! Hugs to you and let's definitely talk soon!
Alysa said…
Dear Bill and Carol -- thanks for your sweet note. And I'm coming to agree - those exercise machines are meaner than a hungry bear! =) Love, Alysa

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