Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Kidney Saga part 49

On Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day, I woke to the news that my test had come back and I would probably get my first dose of cytoxan that day. Shortly after I was informed that no visitors were allowed into the hospital starting that day.

I spent the rest of the morning, into the afternoon, in a "will it happen or won't it?" state, as the nurse had no new information for a long time. I did some physical therapy, walking farther than I had before and using the step to practice for the stairs at home. I noticed a lot of empty rooms on the floor as I walked.

Finally the nurse came into the room at 2pm and said it was time to start my treatment. He brought in what looked like a full hazmat suit, and the doctor walked in to supervise. That was when I learned that cytoxan is technically a chemo drug, although the treatment I am getting is lower dose than for cancers.

The infusion went through an IV that had taken four attempts to get into my hand two nights previous. The IV they put in when I first got to the hospital had "gone bad" and was causing me a lot of pain, so they'd pulled it and because of all the blood draws and everything, and the fact that I have very shy veins, it took a lot of work to find a spot for it. The total infusion took roughly 45 minutes.

The head nurse stopped by, and asked if I was ready to leave. I explained that I really really needed to see someone about the diabetes protocol because I was not at all sure what I needed or needed to do. She said she'd get on it. But it wasn't until the hospitalist responsible for discharges talked to me a bit after the infusion that someone came to help me. The hospitalist was determined to get me out that night.

I have never in my life paid more attention to a lesson than the lesson the diabetes specialist explained to me. They gave me all the leftover diabetes stuff they had available, which was enough to last until the end of the week.

Literally the moment the lesson was finished, the hospitalist came in and authorized my discharge. I called Eric, the nurse went off to do the paperwork and I wandered around the room with the walker collecting what things I had left and anything I could make off with that would be thrown away anyway.

Once Eric arrived, I had a rapid trip in a wheelchair down to the entrance, and was loaded into our car. I want to say that at this point I was starting to really feel tired. Not just tired, but BONE-TIRED. I felt deflated. I felt like I wasn't a person any more, just a thing. While I was happy to be leaving the hospital, I felt rushed and panicked, and my stress was high, but I was so, so very tired. It occurred to me later that it was the chemo infusion, but at the time I was just confused and felt horrible.

Eric got me home in good time, but my judgment was awful. While he ran into the house to put the walker together for me, I decided, stupidly, to try to use my cane to walk into the house. When I got to the step from the garage to the utility room I thought, "Oh, I did this easily this morning, I should be able to do it fine now!" and took the step. And immediately my legs buckled out from under me and I fell.

I fell in such a way that I did not hurt myself, which was a great relief. But of course, I couldn't stand back up. So I said some naughty words and crawled into the house while Eric hovered over me in terror and worry.

I spent a very long time on the floor because I simply could not get up. And, honestly, I was so upset at myself for being foolish enough to try the stair without help that I stayed on the floor without attempting to get up longer than I needed to. Eric ran errands, including getting a blood glucose monitor, while I sat on the floor sorting my medications on the coffee table and trying to figure out what life was about to become.

Inkwell investigated me several times as I sat there. He seemed to recognize me at moments, then would pull back. I guess the hospital smells weren't good.

Eventually I did try to get up, and managed with a twist of my body that I'm not sure I could accomplish again to get onto the couch. At that point life was much more straightforward, as I could use the walker to stand and get to the bathroom, which I desperately needed at that point. But there was absolutely no way I could get up the stairs, so I spent the night on the couch. Inkwell spent a good part of the night watching me.

To be continued...

Full Kidney Saga --- Kidney Wish List --- GoFundMe


Dwight Williams said...

OUCH. *wince of empathy*