The longer your stay in the hospital, the more like an animal you feel. Think about: you’re on an IV/Leash, you’re told when to eat, when to drink, when to go to sleep. Oh yeah—and you have to beg for everything.
BUZZ: Please can I have my medicine?
BUZZ: Please can I get another blanket?
BUZZ: Please can someone disconnect my IV just for a few minutes?
BUZZ: Please can I get an ice pack?
So by the end of the day you’re convinced the nurses all hate you for being such a hassle. But it’s not like you can do these things yourself. It’s like they specifically put the things you need out of your reach so you have to ask for permission to use them. Silly things!
And they’re so distrustful. They put sneaky little signs on the door that say “FALL RISK” just because you’re a little bit ungraceful on your feet.
And the longer you’re in bed: the worse you feel. Since my last stay I decided two things:
1) No matter how badly I feel or how drugged up I am, I’m going to take a few laps around the floor every day. You can’t just lay unmoving in a bed only getting up to pee a few times a day and think that’s not going to catch up with you. And it’s easy to just say: well, I’m tired and I’m sick so I don’t have to walk. But you do. So I did
2) Wear a bra for the majority of the day. Bras are a hassle in the hospital. They’re hard to put on and take off while attached to an IV, with an IV making your arm hard to bend. Then if you want to nap you have to buzz the nurse, have her disconnect you and then reconnect you when you get back up. However for me, it’s worth the annoyance. I’ve noticed that the last couple of times I was here for long periods—not wearing a bra ended up causing me serious back pain when I attempted to get back to my day-to-day activities.
I once was in the hospital for ten consecutive days. They were some of the worst of my life for many obvious reasons, but I distinctly remember that on day ten—the nurses finally let me do something that made me feel SO much better.
Not a drug. Not a treatment.
Sweet Jesus, can you imagine not showering for TEN DAYS? Grody!
Sometimes you just can’t shower while you’re in the hospital. Too weak, too dizzy, attached to too many contraptions—but if you just so happen to have the ability to do so: take advantage.
I’ve been so grateful to have the privilege to shower every day since I’ve been here and I’m so relieved. Tonight I was even able to get the wrap around my IV loose enough to reach up and wash my hair. It reminds me that I need to update my hospital kit next time I’m at Target. I had to have R.J bring me shampoo/conditioner/shaving cream and a razor.
Switching Gears Here for a Minute….
Just…choices….or the lack thereof…and judgment from everyone!
When it comes right down to it chronic sinusitis has two treatment options.
1) Antibiotics – On them. Been on them. For weeks. They’ve done jack-shit. And this infection has just elevated and elevated and here we are. Now I’m on IV antibiotics again for the second time in a month. I’ve been here five days and my face still feels like I’m trying to give birth out of my nasal cavities.
2) Surgery—Been there, had that cut open. I’ve had two sinus surgery. The last one ended with an immediate post-op staph infection. And keloid scarring inside my nose. How do you like that? So what do I think about going back for a third try? How about NO?!
And that’s literally it. Anybody know of anything else? Remember, I’m beyond the acupuncture, cranial sacral, antihistamine, nasal spray steroid options—those all come before antibiotics.
So I don’t know what to do. My doctor and the infectious disease consultant here both agree that I should stick out the full seven days of IV antibiotics and follow up with oral antibiotics for another seven days. I had an ENT consult who said I should find a good surgeon to go back in and drain my sinuses. But the fact that all three of them can agree on? Antibiotics and surgery don’t mean it’s over.
I’m also getting a lot of lip from people about why I shouldn’t be in the hospital right now—Period. And that I’m taking too much medicine and why don’t I try the holistic round. I had a bit of a break down about how all these comments were making me feel guilty and insecure, but I got a good reminder from my mom.
People may see me in the hospital and they might read my blog and they might think: what a weakling. What a wimp.
But nobody is in my body, nobody knows just how high my threshold for pain actually is and unless they’ve actually talked to me about it specifically—how could they know that my attempts at treating my sinusitis naturally have included:
- Herbs and teas
- Immune supplements
- Exercise and Cardiac Rehab
- Ice/heat therapy
- Sinus rinses (every brand, every kind, every night for two weeks before I came to the hospital)
- Facial Massage
I get this feeling like people think I get a runny nose and I immediately decide I have to have my face amputated. How stupid do they think I am? And more importantly—if I’ve had this problem for literally YEARS—don’t you think that I would try EVERYTHING possible before resulting to the most painful and bodily harmful options? Especially when I have POTS and GI problems? I mean—I’d like to think I come off as reasonably intelligent (most days) so why wouldn’t this be as obvious to everyone else as it is to me?
Maybe it’s because I spring into action quicker than most people would….
So this is what they need to understand: when it comes to infections and immunodeficiency disease there is no time to sit and mull it over. Infections are literally a ticking time-bomb in me. I’ve had infections spread from a teeny-tiny area to body-wide in a few hours. I learned pretty young that if I didn’t intervene early, I would always face a longer and more painful recovery.
And as far as pain relief? Let’s everyone try this—go ahead and pull your fingers all the way backwards. Hold it that way for about two weeks—and then let me know how badly it hurts. Understand that I could have a sinus headache for two weeks before intervening with pain killers. And going to the hospital for a sinus headache? That takes another two weeks of trying to handle it myself with pain killers (and antibiotics, and nasal sprays, and cranial sacral therapy, and adjustments and acupuncture…) I come to the hospital when I am spent.
Meanwhile I gave my own judgy thoughts to someone who I thought was handling their medical dilemma too holistically today. So maybe we’re all just jerks!
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