Monday, December 23, 2013

A Trip to the ER and Steroids Wreaking Havoc

Well, after experiencing a super hyped steroid induced state late on Friday (sorry if you received texts from me regarding dancing and taco bell!), I really wondered how I would pass the time on Saturday. Trying to recover with set limits (no bending, lifting, etc) and resting while completely high is difficult! 

However, the Lord, in his perfect timing (and humor!) made the day pass quickly. I woke up Saturday in a panicked state...experiencing a sudden severe headache, visual disturbances and sensitivity to light. Awesome. 

I did say "woke up"...which meant I had at least slept...3 hours is good, right!?! But what troubled me was that I woke up to this sweet face excited about what the tooth fairy had brought...but couldn't see her well.

All she wants for Christmas is...

Can you tell Daddy was in charge of the Tooth Fairy gift? A lollipop?!?

Poor thing...she has lost FOUR teeth in half as many months...I just wanted a picture!

Fumbling for my phone (camera) I realized I wasn't seeing straight. Spotty vision, etc. 

I checked my discharge paperwork and learned that I couldn't ignore these symptoms. They were on the "call 911 list". Well, crap! I messaged the neuro resident on call, thinking surely I would have laid eyes on him during one of Dr. Mickey's parades this past week. Nope. Name didn't ring a bell. All I could muster up was a, "Now who are you again?!? How do you spell that?!? And you *really* are one of Dr. Mickey's?" Impressive, I know. I am sure he loved me right then! 

Yes! I know, I know, I know...residents ARE doctors. Ahem. But, just my preference, after having two craniotomies this year, I would rather talk to the doc who is 6 years, rather than 6 months, down the path of his 7 year neurosurgery residency. Actually, I would rather just talk to DR. MICKEY himself! ;)

Realizing that I was being crass, I quickly prayed while on the phone with him that he would be decisive (little patience for an indecisive doctor!) and correct in his thinking. He asked if I had someone to drive me to the ER because I needed to come in. Well, that was a direct answer to prayer!

Now, what to do with the kids. No way in the world I was going to drag them to the ER during FLU season. By the Lord's provision, and a few texts later, they were set! What do people do without the body of Christ around them? I am completely dependent.

We get to the ER and they immediately want to start an IV. No. No. No. Both of my hands and arms were so poked and bruised and sore. My veins were revolting and not going to surface! I simply said, "Nope!" No IV for me! And "refusal of IV was noted in my chart".  Awful patient.

But they wanted to give me morphine and zofran and other drugs. blah, blah, blah. I didn't want drugs. I was just praying for a CT scan that didn't show swelling or bleeding. And "nameless neuro resident" promised over the phone that it could be done without contrast dye. Step away with the needles!!!

Alas, my veins still were not safe. Blood work to rule out infection, etc needed to be drawn. Okay, okay. The nurse surveyed my arms and asked me my preference. Really? Um, well, I have no clue...please pick the one that will only take one try, okay? Use my leg or neck if you have to. Just once and done, got it!?!

As she starts that poking process, a very kind ER doc walks in. He is asking me questions about my headache and vision changes...location, onset, severity...WHILE the nurse is DIGGING in my arm for blood. It was not good. I finally had to tell the doc that I could either answer his questions OR do the blood draw, but I simply could not handle both simultaneously.

Jerry took over answering questions while the nurse persisted.

I ended up screaming. Not as loud as during the tape-removal-likened-to-childbirth-incident, but definitely a scream. I am pretty sure I embarrassed Jerry. I can't leave those moments only to our children!

Why the scream? Because the stick was NO GOOD. No, no, no!!! Poor nurse. I did feel for her.

So I changed my tune and decided I DID want medicine. I was panicky and asked for some Xanax. I suffer from flight anxiety and MRI tube anxiety, so I am not a stranger to taking a little of this drug when needed. .25 mg always does the trick. Well, the now VERY kind ER doc ordered me a FULL 1 MG tablet! Maybe he had heard the scream? Regardless, I didn't turn it down.

Within half an hour, my CT scan was complete and I had 5 less vials of blood pumping through my body (courtesy of a different nurse). And I was very, very sleepy. And calm, and really just feeling pretty much amazing. Stroke? Seizure? No biggie! I was sure it would all be okay. Really, I was fine.

But, I still hadn't seen "nameless neuro". Hmm.

But then who should appear, but sweet Dr. Klinger!!! You may have prayed for him as he assisted Dr. Mickey with my surgery last week. Harvard grad, 5th year resident, had actually seen the inside of my brain and spoken to me. Such a sweet gift!  I guess he wasn't technically on call, but had run into the other neuro doc while rounding at Zale (which doesn't have an ER) and decided to come see me himself. Love. Love. Love.

He had already reviewed my scan, labs AND spoken with Dr. Mickey. Offered me a the last available bed at Zale for observation, but also said we could just go long as I TOOK MY MEDICINES AS SCHEDULED. Ooops. I guess I did value sleep over meds and had gotten way behind on the doses. They really are serious about taking these little steroids.

Hmm. What to do? A hospital admit would mean an IV, right? Nod. Well, lesson learned...see ya!!!

Filled with absolute praise and thanksgiving that I wasn't facing any sort of threatening complication, we were home bound. Praise HIM!

But man, I still had to take those stinkin' meds. I've asked, and apparently there isn't a term for when your throat forgets how to swallow. I am probably only on a third of the pills I came home on in February, but still...gag me! Why don't they coat the pills!?! Bitter yuck fest. I started to think IV meds actually did sound good. ;)

Meds taken and Xanax still wearing off, I woke up to this precious one.

"Mama, do you notice anything different about me?"  Me, in a stupor, "Um, that your teeth still haven't grown in yet?!?" "No, mama!", Jade says while blinking her eyes and puckering up.

Silly me! Lip gloss and eye shadow, folks. She had put on lip gloss and eye shadow. I forget that in the midst of brain tumors and surgeries, staples and stitches, sleepless nights and unexpected ER trips, that these little ones are going on about their lives and experiencing all of the fun of school vacations and Christmas wonders. THANK YOU LORD!

Tree climbing Lily
Thank you also for the meals that are being delivered daily to our porch. Mama is hungry on these meds! Jade was excited about eating some leftover spaghetti yesterday, but couldn't locate it in the fridge. I couldn't remember if I had polished it off during my 12, 2 or 5 AM binge, but was yummy and very much finished! Sorry, honey!

Jerry and the girls were bringing me lunch yesterday after church and when they arrived, a little later than I had anticipated, they found me in an actual state of tears.  The looks on their faces were beyond perplexed...was I really worried that I might go hungry? Apparently so. This is such a good "anti-drug campaign" for them! Definitely not myself.

Steroids are not for the faint of heart! I realize I am already tapering and barely taking much at all.  I know they are good drugs, and NO, I don't want my brain to swell.  I am thankful for them and feel badly for anyone who has to take them at high doses for lengthy times. YET, THEY TOTALLY ANNOY ME.

And man, am I annoying on them!?! You can pray for Jerry. I was on his laptop yesterday while he sat next to me. Every few minutes a man's name would pop up on his Skype notification saying that, "So and So is online!" "So and So is online!" "So and So is online!" And every time it did, I would tell Jerry about it. Every single time. "Hey, Jerry, So and So is online!"

I even texted him while he was at church to let him know again, that "So and So is online!"

Sadly, it was so funny to me.

And in his patience and love all he could say was, "Wow, you really are on steroids!"

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