Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back in the Hospital

We have had a busy week!  Catherine was admitted to Egleston Hospital on Jan. 17.  This hospital is right next door to Emory University, so parking is always a big problem.  I drove around for an hour before I decided to just go to valet (which is $8 a day instead of $1 a day).  Then we rushed ourselves and all of our belongings to the registration desk. We were told to be there by 11:30 a.m.  I had not planned to spend an hour circling the parking decks, so we were a little late.

So, we registered.  About 3 hours later they finally found a room for us, even though this admission was planned several weeks ago. We got settled in our room, and Catherine promptly found the play room.  She got the "Fred Flintstone" car and started driving all over the floor with it.  She was feeling fine.

About 4 p.m. we started the "bowel prep."  Through a pump, they gave her ten ounces of a special fluid every hour from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m.  Ironically, this fluid is called "GoLitely."  It is anything but go lightly.  I would call it go tsunami.  Once it kicked in, about 6 p.m., she had enormous bowel accidents which were completely liquid.  The nurses and I had to change the bedding several times, mop the floor, and sponge bath her all night long.  It was yucky, but apparently necessary for this surgery.

So on January 18, we wheeled her down to the operating room.  She was still very energetic and talkative.  The surgeon came to speak with us.  When he asked her if she knew what she was getting she said "a tee-tee tube and a poo-poo tube."  He smiled because she so concisely and accurately described the procedures.

Her surgery was from about 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.  The surgeon came and talked with us in the middle of the surgery, telling us it was going well.  They brought her back to us about 4 p.m.  She slept the rest of the day.

She was sleepy most of Thursday and Friday, with a few complaints of pain.  On Thursday they gave her morphine for pain twice.  She reacted with what we called a "morphine stare," where she would sit up in bed and stare directly at you.  She wouldn't even blink if you waved your hand in front of her face.  She looked like she had had a lobotomy.  We hated that reaction and asked the doctors to see if she can do without the morphine.  They switched us to Tylenol, which seems less intense.

She seemed very uncomfortable, but not in pain.  There were no signs of problems, so they sent us home on Friday evening.  Of course it was awesome to be home.  I had spent 23 hours a day in that hospital room and was ready to go stir crazy.  I also got to hold and cuddle Sabrina for the first time in days.

At home Catherine was lethargic and very uncomfortable.  She did not want us to lift or carry her.  She kept trying to walk on her own, although she has to carry a catheter bag with her and she is very unsteady.  She played some, but slept a lot too. 

On Monday night we gave her a sponge bath on the kitchen counter.  I think she felt better after this.  She seemed to enjoy it, saying "it is raining on me!"

On Tuesday afternoon we sat on the couch and read a book together.  She was exhausted and all of a sudden (which is always how it happens with her) she spiked a fever.  Her skin was hot to the touch.  I used the temporal thermometer we have and got a range of readings: from 99.7 up to 101.5.  So I gave her some acetaminophin.

An hour later she was still hot to the touch and had a range of temperatures in the 100's.  She normally responds very well to acetaminophin.  I was concerned and told Robby I was going to take her to the ER.  On the way out of our neighborhood, I stopped at a neighbor's house and, with no notice, left Sabrina with them.  I honestly thought I would be back in 2, maybe 3, hours.

At the ER she no longer had a fever, but was very lethargic.  Because she had just had surgery, they took a urine culture, did a CBC, and did a c-reactive protein test (of her blood).  Apparently the third test will tell them if she is fighting an infection even if she is on antibiotics.  The urine culture had blood and proteins in it.  We do not have the final results on it yet.  The CBC showed elevated white blood cells.  The C-reactive test was very high (normal is 2 and she was over 25).

So, we started IV antibiotics and they admitted us.  She continues to spike fevers every few hours and is miserable.  When she has a fever spikes, she either moans in pain or has a blank stare on her face and looks like a statue.  When the ibuprofen kicks in, she'll feel a little better for awhile, then she'll feel bad again.  This morning we took abdomenal x-rays.  We have had three visits from the surgeon since we have been here. 

I think we will be here until at least Friday.  Grandpa came down on Tuesday night to take Sabrina back to Jasper with him for a few days.

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