You know, you’d think I’d know better that to call something “the conclusion.”
- Wednesday, 3/6:
- Laboring under the impression that I was all better, as the doctor had assured me, I went to the gym. Since it was the first time I’d been able to run in a month, I wore a heart monitor to make sure I wasn’t getting completely overtaxed, and my coach watched me like a hawk as I plodded through the slowest treadmill 5K I’ve done in years. She set the pace for me, and I did my level best not to even look at the time it took me to get through. It was tough. Then we did some core work, and I almost cried at the amount of fitness I’d lost over the month of lying in a hospital bed.
- I took the day off from the gym to recover. While walking the dog, though, I felt very tired. Later that evening, had some faintness. I wasn’t supposed to have a hemo draw until the morning, but I called the hematologist and arranged to come over for a check; since being discharged from the hospital, I had dropped from 9.2 to 8.2. (This was 5 PM.) The blood doc called the GI doc on call at St. Luke’s, who said it wasn’t a big deal; blood doc told me to make sure I called my GI doc in the morning. Went home, went to bed at 8 PM.
- 3/7, 9 PM:
- Woke up feeling off. Couldn’t immediately determine what was wrong – hunger, cold, faint…had Eric check my blood pressure. It was 60-something over 30-something. Began feeling diaphoretic, faint, awful. He called 911, and they took me to the local hospital. In the ER, they gave me two more units of blood. (Total units of transfusion to this point, inclusive: 13.) The GI doc on call for this hospital was called, and he and the ER doc got into a shouting match, because the GI refused to transfer me. His plan? Admit, transfuse, and discharge; treat outpatient. ER doc was livid. Then the GI got on the phone with me, and the ensuing conversation was easily one of the most patronizing experiences I’ve ever had. Included such gems as “I can tell you’re crying, but it won’t do you any good!” while chuckling. He refused to listen to my concerns that I wanted to be in a place where I could have a repeat capsule scan in the morning, that my GI at St. Luke’s had expressly told me to come back there if there were any issues.
Eric was incensed. He had the GI doc on call at Luke’s (yet another guy, whom I’d never met) paged and told him the story. This doc agreed, and he explained the procedure by which the ER doc could have me transferred without the local GI doc’s approval. I was at St. Luke’s a few hours later.
- I got my capsule. I waited.
- Interestingly, the capsule showed no more problems with the small bowel, but there were some “flecks” in my stomach that looked like possible blood. My colon also seemed to have some blood in it. The GI (my guy, the one who cauterized my intestine) decided to do a third endoscopy on me; he found two erosions in my stomach, hidden in an obscured spot, and he clipped them shut. He also ordered another colonoscopy for the morning; the pharmacy didn’t get the prep solution to me until late at night, which made for a drowsy sort of experience, and I actually fell asleep before I could finish.
- Did you know the typical colonoscopy is a fairly short procedure, sometimes even only a few minutes long? Did you know that the sedative they give is designed to last only for the length of a “typical” colonoscopy? Following that logic, did you know that when you have a very determined, very thorough doctor doing the procedure, and he takes a full hour to see all he wants to see, you’re likely to get the pleasure of waking up halfway through, and then getting to actually watch your own colonoscopy on the screen? That was an interesting experience. He found nothing, thankfully, even after searching in great, great detail.
- My hemo slipped to 7.3. Was given unit of blood number fourteen.
- Careful, regular monitoring. My hemo numbers stayed stable in the 9s. I was discharged and scheduled for daily blood draws.
- Hemo steady at 9. Iron noted to have dropped, so blood doc, though unworried, puts me on an iron pill.
Since then, after a slight wobble the next day (possibly an aberrant reading), my numbers have been steadily trending upward. That’s new; since the beginning of this whole mess, the best my hemo levels have done is stay level. As of today, I’m at 10.2!
An interesting thing: an ER doc at Luke’s mentioned that most people don’t faint at the hemo levels where I was faint. Put together with other things said by other docs, it seems as though, while the walking and other activity I would attempt after each discharge was not causing me to bleed, it was allowing me to more acutely feel the loss of blood. The heart needs more blood to be active; I was stressing the system, finding the flaw.
After my last discharge, the doctor told me to stay on more strict rest, not even walking the dog, so as not to push my heart with too little available blood. When I saw him Friday, he okayed me to walk and to do strength work, but to hold off on getting my heart pumping for another week. So far, so good, though the amount of fitness I’ve lost is breaking my heart. I’ll get it back, but…man.
Anyway, now the family is fighting off a stomach bug, one by one. I was “lucky” enough to get it and recover first, which means that I also get to be designated middle-of-the-night puke-mopper-upper. Yay! Gabe’s the only one left, so can we please pray he stays healthy? Even the freaking dog is off; he had a routine blood check this week come back with slightly wonky kidney levels, so I had to get a urine sample from him. And that, folks, is just the icing on the cake, isn’t it?