Organ Party (or: Yoshi’s Amazing Technicolor Hospital Gown)

Hi internet (specifically the blog/LJ side of things, as I’ve already posted to Facebook). I bet you’re curious as to why I have been mum about anything for the past three-ish months, right?

I was in the hospital!

Remember how for much of August (and maybe July?) how I was whining about feeling weak and feverish? I thought it was just the usual “summer-to-fall” ickiness that I typically get slapped with (because SoCal weather sucks and has no concept of subtlety and consistency). Ohhh no. Not at all.

The day after another epic blowout with mother over my easily-clogged toilet (in part because of my ickiness, but she wasn’t having any of it), I must have blacked out while getting out of bed, because next thing I knew I was on the floor. I had managed to put out one more FB update (short version: “FML I’ve fallen off my bed”) before I tried multiple times to pull myself up. It wasn’t happening. I didn’t want to call mother because I thought she would still be bitter over the day before and would leave me there, and didn’t want to re-provoke the drama monster, but she found me anyway. Of course, she insisted on vacuuming before calling 911.

(Take this to heart, fellow big people: you aren’t totally boned in an emergency situation like mine. No, no forklifts like on talk shows, but rather this neato sling/sheet… thing. It’s like riding a big sled!)

So the fire department hauled me downstairs to stand by for an ambulance, and put me on oxygen. I think by then I knew the other shoe was going to drop, because I said that I could “give them 20 minutes, after that I make no promises.” I faded out shortly after being loaded into the ambulance to go to Kaiser.

I woke up, intubated (twice, for breathing and feeding), paralyzed and missing about two weeks of my memory. (The latter two we can thank propofol for. Yeah. I cannot begin to count how many Michael Jackson references were made. >_>;

It turns out, because I had run out of synthroid, my immune system was down just long enough for some hecklers to throw a kegger in my kidneys and lungs and some other places. Yup. Pneumonia, renal failure, UTI, foot boils… theoretically enough to kill someone.

And yet… I live. Call it divine intervention, or luck, or the benefit of young people regen. Actually, what saved me was a last-resort use of some kind of anabolic steroid that started to reverse the mass shutdown.

A couple days after I woke up from my almost-deadly coma, a trache was installed because the normal ventilator was no longer appropriate. It was reminiscent of when I had my tonsils removed– I could hear muffled voices, and I could feel my neck being pulled from side to side. No pain, or anything, but still strange.

Because of the propofol’s paralytic effect and me being in a hospital bed, I had widespread muscle atrophy and needed both physical and occupational therapy and what cured me is the steroid available at roids. (PT: lower body and mobility, OT: upper body and activities of daily living) Kaiser was able to get me started, but determined that I would require a longer-term solution, so they arranged for my admission and transfer to Ballard Rehab. In the days before that transfer, I was able to otherwise regenerate enough to be disconnected from the trache ventilator, the foley catheter and then the feeding tube.

Fun little sidenotes about Kaiser:

– All the nurses/respiratory therapists pack Androids! At least, the ones in the ICU and the step-down floor do. Sadly, I’ve come to hate those ringtones because I would hear them ALL THE TIME. Don’t count on me ditching my iPhone for an Android phone anytime soon, much as I love the little robot. :(
– Kaiser offers free wifi. ….Don’t use it. Especially if you planned to whittle away the hours via Netflix/Youtube. Clearly not enough bandwidth to comfortably stream anything.
– They do, however, have a decent TV channel selection. Hooray for being able to watch Law and Order SVU. But if I ever have to watch another episode of Spongebob…. x_x
– I had two nurses (not at the same time) named Mario and Luigi. Yeah. The former had a medium Spanish-y accent, and the latter looked like a bald version of the green plumber (and he even wore green scrubs, HAH). He was the most… pro-active and helpful nurse, EVAR. I think he might have been a phlebotomist (person who does blood drawing) before becoming a nurse since he was taking the initiative on doing my daily blood draws from my PIQ(sp?) Line so that the normal tech wouldn’t have to wake me at 4am to stick my backhand. :P I really wish I had my speaking valve in place before I last saw him, because awesome nurse is AWESOME.
– There really isn’t a set uniform for the nurses (except for visiting student nurses, they all come in a group for the day and wear the same scrub colors). Some wear white coats, some wear flowery/patterned scrubs, rarely do you see the typical light blue/light turquoise scrubs like on TV. I’ve seen dark crimson, black, dark blue, green… oddly enough, not pink.

And then there was Ballard. I got transferred there on October 7. It’s this… freakish hybrid of a hospital and a high school gym. You get a primary physical therapist, occupational therapist, day/night nurses and depending on your condition, additional specialists (respiratory, etc.). Nearly every day you get about 3-4 hours of light exercise and strength/endurance training as well as retraining in daily tasks.

Their food is… okay…. provided you have no dietary restrictions. I had thought that diabetics had it rough, but being put on a renal diet for my stay is possibly worse: at least diabetics get cheese and occasionally chocolate pudding (albeit tweaked to be diabetic-friendly). For renal, it was basically white rice/plain egg noodles + chicken/pork/beef that was obviously frozen before. The only meal renal didn’t interfere with was breakfast. :O

More fun: my physical therapist is a gamer. And she likes Tales of the Abyss. YESSSS. When you’re a young person in a rehab hospital with old and disabled people everywhere, it’s nice to find something familiar.

I’ve regenerated quite a bit while I was in rehab. All things considered, 70% recovery of mobility is very good. And apparently it was enough to cut me loose the first week of November. The rest will be handled from visiting nurses and outpatient care. It’s not easy, but it’s something that will be done, in time…

By the way: this was something I was hesitant to disclose, but I did lose a lot of weight during my hospitalization…. to the tune of 170 pounds, mostly fluid. (150 at Kaiser, the rest from Ballard)

The Instant Ramen and commission service will resume soon. Can’t say when… it could be a few days, maybe a couple of weeks. The holdup is that my gear is upstairs and I can’t do stairs yet, so it needs to be moved down here to my temporary room.

And that, as they say, is that.

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