In looking back at my posts from last October, I found that I actually self-diagnosed myself. The subject of my first HNT of Oct. was based on that, even though I wouldn't actually see a doctor about it until the next afternoon. That's when I got the official confirmation. What no one planned on was that I was in such dire straights that I'd end up almost comatose on Friday.
Some things that were never talked about here from those four days in the hospital, some with observations from a year later:
- My kidneys basically threw up their hands and said "fuck it". And then shut down. Today, they're functioning just fine, thank you.
- There's only a couple of things from the ER that I remember. The lights were quite bright, so I kept my eyes shut the whole time. My mouth was SO dry that I actually cried, begging for just a sliver of ice. Didn't even get that until I was moved to ICU, about an hour later. And I remember the nurse telling me to get out of my clothes and into a gown. I was so weak by this time that I couldn't even lift my arms to take them off. BIL3 had to take them off for me. This was the first point where I knew things were just a bit on the serious side...
- During my first two days/nights there, I still had to pee far more than normal. I had a toilet to use, but to get to it, they had to unhook my monitors, and then roll the pole with the double lines of fluids they were pumping into me. Since I was a pain in the ass, they finally told me to pee into what looks like a modified gallon milk jug. At some time in the middle of the night, I peed into it just fine. Then promptly dropped it on the floor, spilling all over the place. Obviously I was still weak. The nursing staff did decide that perhaps unhooking me to use the toilet wasn't that bad of a thing...
- This might be TMI, but after being pumped with all sorts of unknown fluids for a couple of days, my normal bodily functions went to hell. My poop was a most disturbingly dark color, with a consistency of easy-to-spread spackling paste. The words "toxic" and "biohazard" keep coming to mind. Actually, things didn't get to "right" for about 6 weeks. Everything's coming out fine now, thank you.
- Medical people need to recognize that, regardless of how slowly or how well they're explaining things, there's no way that the patient is remembering any of it. Mom was up to see me one morning and listened in on one of the nurses telling me something relatively important. We talked about it later during the week. I don't even remember the conversation.
- The nurses all learned quickly that I was going to give them shit (that would be something my dad handed down to me), and they in turn gave it right back. I liked that! It was a good working relationship.
- I think I confused some of the other staff. The cheery, blood-sucking lab tech who came in every morning between 4:45 and 5:00 was taken aback by my smile at that time of day. And the poor social worker who came in the first morning to see how I was... She was probably in her early 60s, and you could just tell she baked chocolate chip cookies for her grandchildren before coming to work. She sat next to me at bed level so I could see her face, took my hand, and gently asked how I was doing. I replied, "I've got a large-screen plasma TV to watch football all day, a remote controlled bed, people at my beck and call, and meals are brought to me. What's not to like?" She looked me straight in the eye and said, "Honey, that's not what we generally hear, here in ICU..."
- Blood pressure - lower than it's ever been.
- Cholesterol - around 100. Lower than the normal 185-200 it was, and far lower than the 267 it was in the hospital.
- A1c test - been at 5.4% for six months. Non-diabetics are considered 'normal' at 4%-6%. I'd never heard of it a year ago.
- Kidneys and thyroid labs - both are normal, which is a good thing.
- Vision - shot to hell. The first couple weeks out of the hospital were the worst. Could not focus on anything, with or without glasses. Near, far, big, small...it didn't matter. It was like trying to focus while underwater without goggles. Since then, it's gotten far better, but I can't read without glasses. My eye doctor said that my eyes have come out of the ordeal unscathed, but the timing was bad. My vision is actually pretty good, "for someone of my age..." Damn.
- Brain function - my mind has always been full of holes like swiss cheese. I do find that hasn't improved at all. Not really worse, but now I have something I can blame it on!
- Weight - still about 35 lbs less than last summer. Still needs to come down though.
- Diet - eating 3 sensible meals/day, with an occasional snack. Much better than eating a pizza before bed.
- Beer - drinking on occasion, but limiting myself to two. Not the power drinking of the old days.
- Exercise - the good news, no worse than before. The bad news, that's not saying anything good. Gotta work on that.
Of course, none of that would be possible without the meds I'm taking. What you see below is one year's worth of it all. Novolog and Lantus (insulins), Lisinopril, Atenolol and Simvistatin. And low-dose aspirin. One year down and the rest of my life to go!
Come up and through the forest
And I do not mean out west
Walk between the trees
Catch me on my knees
Enjoy the scent of the season’s change
See the sights within your range
Move beyond until you stumble
(For I like to keep you humble)
Come to where some people lurk
Often times not suitable for work
Frequently my cynical humor kicks in
After all, what is life without the spin?
No matter my mood of the day
I am certain to have something odd to say
But never assume I am a just a mom, a fiancée, or a slave…
Until you have ventured in and still made it out of the cave
This week's MG is the cave-dweller Viemoira! Be sure to stop by her place to meet her if you haven't already!
There's plenty of people to check out over at "...the Other HNT" this week! Some followed the boobie idea. Others did not! Go check out your fellow HNTers, and leave a comment or two. NSFW, of course.
There's still one more day to be checking out this year's Boobie-Thon! If you haven't submitted pictures, I think they're still accepting them (you'd have to check the site to be sure). Many of your fellow HNTers can be found over there. Even one or two from HNT old-timers that you might not know!