A few years ago what should've been routine hernia surgery turned into nearly a month in the hospital with a bowel obstruction and blood clot. It was shocking. My body generally cooperates so well I don't know how to handle when it doesn't. I've had the occasional infection or Crohn's hiccup, but I generally am able to power through.
Last week I wrote a blog about faking it, but I didn't really talk about my health. If I can be candid my health pisses me off. I don't want to be sick. I don't want to struggle. And I power through because it's the only way I can deal with it emotionally. Being sick is not okay.
For the last few weeks I've really been struggling. A month ago my son brought home Norovirus, and my husband and I were both fortunate enough to contract it. If you're a healthy person it's a nasty virus, and I've had a hard time getting past it. My level of fatigue has been extraordinary, and some of the stomach issues continue to linger.
Two weeks ago I had extreme abdominal pain on a Monday afternoon. It was a pain that made it hurt to breathe pain, and that is not the norm for me. It started while I was at work, and I went to a late meeting. By the time I was got home I was taking short breaths through gritted teeth. At the hospital you're always asked your pain level on a scale of 1-10. I have a high pain tolerance, and I was at about an eight. My husband wanted to take me to the ER, but I thought it would get better. This is one of the worst things about Crohn's: sometimes you're inextricably sick, and it runs it course. I try not to overreact. If I went to the doctor every time I didn't feel well, I'd be there a lot. I also just don't want it to be a thing. I don't want to have to tell people and explain it. Because it feels like it's always something, and I'm annoyed by it. Power. Through.
I struggled for two more days (still going to work) before calling the doctor. My doc ordered an abdominal x-ray and lab work. When I went to his office on Thursday (three days after this started) the pain was much better (I'd say 6 on a scale of 1-10). The physician's assistant looked me in the eye and said, "I honestly don't know what's causing this. Let's take some anti-spasm medicine and keep monitoring." I left frustrated because it was another doctor's appointment that was a waste of time. If I'd just powered through it would've gone away.
Last week I went to my family doctor. I've been so tired that I thought it might be anemia again. I had a great appointment where we talked a lot about adrenal fatigue. She called for more labs and recommended some over the counter supplements. The lab work required fasting, and I was having a hard time fitting it in last week. I waited until after our weekend visit to surprise my mom in West Virginia for Mother's Day.
On the drive back from WV I started having the agonizing abdominal pain again. We got home, and I was at the gritting my teeth pain level again. I didn't eat lunch or dinner and crawled into bed early. I woke up at 1:40 am to use the bathroom, and my first thought was "wow I'm in so much pain". When I got up Monday morning I felt sluggish but better. I was more uncomfortable than in pain. I walked my son to daycare, dropped my running clothes (because of course I was planning to run in the late afternoon) and computer off at work and walked around the corner around 7:45 am to the lab to finally get those labs drawn.
The first technician poked me and couldn't get blood. I'm a super easy blood draw, so that was unusual. She brought in another nurse who poked me three times to no avail. As I was sitting in the chair I began to see stars. I told the nurse I was struggling. I had loud ringing in my ears and couldn't hear anything. I passed out and woke up to ammonia under my nose. I insisted on lying down, and the nurse (who was seven months pregnant) insisted that I be okay before I stood up. I promised that I was, and the next thing I knew I woke up on the floor in the arms of the pregnant nurse asking her if she was okay. I was shaking and sweating and honestly terrified. It was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me. She then had the other nurse call an ambulance and told me it was protocol to call 9-1-1 in this instance. I asked her to call my husband who told her he'd meet me at the ER.
Downtown Lansing is a small town, and I was terrified I'd see someone I knew as I was getting into the ambulance. Thankfully I got into the vehicle without being spotted and headed to the ER. They immediately started running tests, and my equilibrium mostly returned to normal. I was in a room in the ER for 13 hours, an absurd amount of time. I was told I might have to have surgery based on a potential partial bowel obstruction, but thankfully I am dodging the surgery bullet.
They admitted me Monday night, and I'm here until at least Thursday. I am anemic again, and I have just settled into a Crohn's flare I can't get out of alone. I'm getting really strong steroid injections, and I'll keep the steroids going when I get home. I hate steroids, but they are better than surgery. I'm getting morphine every few hours, and I'm still really dizzy when I walk. I'm a fall risk and was told not to get out of my bed alone. So I may have done it anyway earlier and got caught by the nurse. I now have a bed alarm on so I can't get out without them knowing. Foiled.
Tomorrow I'll have some more tests, and this afternoon they took some tests to see if I have a viral infection (results pending). I'm on clear liquids only, but it turns out hot tea and chicken broth aren't the worst things ever. Everything I've been eating the last few weeks has made me sick, so I know my stomach needs this break. A few days of rest, steroids, pain meds and clear liquids is what the doctor is ordering (and maybe more things depending on tomorrow's tests).
|Beautiful flowers from my mom, sister and work plus a balloon from my little dude. So loved.|
|This hospital gown is super flattering.|