Sunday, January 6, 2008

Back at Hotel Hope

When I talked to Celia, the nurse on duty at CoH's ETC, on Saturday, I was surprised when she told me to come in immediately. "No, no," I protested. "I was just in last night. I only phoned because my discharge instructions say to to call if my temp rises above 100.5. I just took two Tylenol so my temp will go down within the hour. I don't need to come in."

Celia still insisted. "Couldn't you please talk to the doctor on call to find out if this is really necessary?" I persisted. She spoke with the nurse practitioner and they both screamed out for me to get my butt to the ETC STAT. (Well, they didn't really say "butt," but they were SERIOUS.)

I apologized to George for having to chauffeur me once again to the ETC, but figured I'd be in and out in an hour. As it turned out, the fever was the least of my problems. My blood pressure (when standing) was as low as 65/40. Celia told me that these kind of numbers can land you in the ICU. My hemoglobin had plummeted to 7.5, from 9.0 on Wednesday. (This is the lowest that it's ever been.) I gave Celia (or "Mean Celia" as I teasingly call her) permission to gloat over her insistence that I come in ASAP.

I'm still experiencing shortness of breath, in spite of the red blood transfusion that raised my hemoglobin above 9. Standing up and taking three steps in my room leaves me gasping for air. The chest X-rays have been clean, but I've been scheduled for a CT scan on Monday. I'm also expecting a visit from the pulmonologist today.

The blood culture determined that I do have a bacterial, not a viral, infection. I'm now on the magic antibiotic that should get me back on the right track.

Like I said yesterday, I thought I was super-human, but the nurses tell me that this is what happens when post-transplant patients (even autos) catch a bug. Our bodies just don't have the natural defenses to fight it, resulting in higher temps, lower blood pressure, plummeting blood counts and hospital stays.

The good news is that there's been a reason for my shortness of breath - not that I was simply becoming a wimp as I'd feared.


Debbi said...

Hey darlin,
So glad you called and they insisted you go in. I'm sure you'd rather be home, but good to be under the right care. Sending you good thoughts and best wishes! Let me know if you need anything!

Paula L. Johnson said...

Take care, Smooks.

Susan Carrier said...

Now that I'm here, I'm not protesting too much because I really did feel LOUSY.

Nancy said...

Okay, listen to the docs and nurses and just concentrate on feeling better. Don't leave until you feel GREAT!! Hopefully, that'll happen this week You are definitely right where you need to be. Take it real easy! love, nancy

Mathews Family said...

Thinking of you. Glad you're on your way to feeling better. xo

Anonymous said...

I have an idea on how to raise your blood pressure.. ..a few visits from certain individuals should do the the trick! If it gets lower I'm bringing them for a long visit!!