Posts Tagged ‘broken yoshi’

Quit Your Belly-Aching… Oh Wait

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Three words: Incarcerated Ventral Hernia.

or, “why Yoshi kept having to go to the ER since late August”

I… think I was kind of aware that a hernia was forming since last year I noticed a small mass forming in my belly, but it wasn’t causing any problems then, and unless it’s acting up there isn’t much that can be done.

Except in June (and more intensely as of August) it DID. I’d gone in thinking a bunch of things, that it was a UTI, that it was my appendix, that it was a bowel obstruction, and while two of those three were true, they were influenced by a larger issue.

Earlier in October, the ER doctors were all “you should probably investigate elective surgery, have your doctor issue a referral to the surgery clinic.” Um, sure, that’s a good idea! I’d like to not have to keep going back because I ran out of hydrocodone (aka Norco aka the pill that keeps the pain away) and I imagine the ER and medical/surgical wing doods are sick to death of me bouncing back, so I did exactly as they said. My primary doctor, however, was very much “WTF are they thinking, making you wait? They should really do the emergency Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery!” he said that there had been way too many clinical negligence cases lately.

But we kinda have to work within the confines of the insurance. This is Medi-Cal after all. I don’t have to pay for any of it, and never properly paid into it by working. I struggle every day with the guilt, with feeling that I don’t deserve the help I have (Medi-Cal, SSI, disability status, etc.). So, I feel like I didn’t have room to really push the issue and go along with what was asked of me.

The Friday evening of the 23rd, though, the shit hit the fan (oh man that’s incredibly appropriate given what we’re dealing with). My medicine was no longer effective. I thought it was because I took it after eating dinner rather than before, so I tried to just tough it out while waiting for a delayed activation… except it wasn’t happening at all. I couldn’t sleep at all that night, despite trying different positions or even taking additional medicine, and eventually I started getting nauseous despite having anti-emetic medication in addition to the hydrocodone. Oh dear.

So after briefly telling my brother what was going on over’s IM/global tell thingy, I go back to the ER yet again. The surgeons are called to look me over and they’re all “oh shit, this hernia is incarcerated, we gotta open her up right away.” Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Was it scary, the thought of emergency surgery? …no, not really, since there wasn’t much time to think about it. Since it was Saturday, and surgery isn’t usually done on weekends, it’s not like I had to wait long, I basically had a full emergency surgical team ready to go. They wheel me into the OR, plop me on the table, push the anesthetics and I wink out within a couple minutes.

No, it was AFTER the surgery was done that’s hellish. I wink out and wake up in the ICU not only intubated (2 attempts, I’m told, and the roof of my mouth is kinda shredded and tender as a result for the time being) but also with that infernal NG tube and TWO IVs (one is a backup and said backup ended up failing) and EKG leads. Yeah, I’m wired up alright, like I’m on my last legs! And I’m in the big BariAir fat person bed, which I would later learn is not very comfortable at all despite everyone’s assertions, and not designed for free entry/exit like the standard beds.

The respiratory therapist doods had to give me a steroid to drop the swelling that had formed in my throat (as a result of intubation), and it took two days to get the tubes out. And let me tell you, the dreams I had while drifting in and out of consciousness post-surgery ranged from depressing to outright scary, and I couldn’t vocalize anything I felt until after I had been extubated. It all hit me with the force of a Mack Truck, and I really wish my mother hadn’t been so victim-blamey and dismissive and most definitely”poor-me” when I broke down that evening. Argh.

Oh and it gets so much better, you see, because that bed doesn’t let me get in and out so easily, and it was such a huge pain to get a bedpan in after they removed the foley catheter, so… yeah. I couldn’t exactly get up to use the bathroom and was frequently buzzing the nurses for cleanup. They were really nice and professional about it and never once complained to my face, but I get really anxious about that stuff and hate bothering people over it and it definitely did not help my post-surgery depression.

They also attempt to put a CPAP mask on me and, uh, I was just not having any of it. While we got the settings enough to be bearable, I was having some pretty bad claustrophobia and I was already extremely stressed out because of everything, so that was stopped and they decided keeping me on supplementary oxygen was good enough. I still have a sleep study booked, so we’ll try calibrating that again under better circumstances.

Eventually I got moved to the usual med/surgery floor for less-invasive monitoring. (In a private room, thankfully, because of the size of the bed.) I get put on a clear liquid diet, which I am okay with because I get lots of chicken broth, and on the last two days I get upgraded to regular solid food (not renal, not cardiac, not diabetic, but the “normal people” food with a notation about keeping pineapples the hell away from me). I am told I need to be cleared by Respiratory, Occupational and Physical Therapy before I can be discharged, and those happen rather quickly– despite having been in bed for almost a week, I didn’t weaken much and didn’t get dizzy or anything when I sat up and could walk just fine, so they let me go home Thursday evening.

Right now I have a JP (jejunum-placed) drainage tube connected to some kind of Fisher-Price-esque flask that’s supposed to collect whatever fluid-stuff that formed from my stitches. I have staples in my lower belly (ew) that are supposed to be taken out along with said JP flask in a couple days– tomorrow, potentially…? And we’re looking at least a month before I’m fully healed, so, uh, more pain pills! Woo!

But, yeah, that hernia bullshit (huh huh) is officially fixed. Yesterday I got a letter from the AlphaCare doods (the actual insurance underwriter) that said that the consultation for what would have been the elective surgery wasn’t until December. There is NO EFFING WAY I would have been able to hold out that long, even if I had unlimited hydrocodone and all the morphine I could guzzle. It’s true that if this had been done laproscopically it would not take as long to heal, but… them’s the breaks, I guess. At least the doctors fixed me, even if it was a less graceful method.

Uhm… aside from that, I don’t feel as lopsided in my belly, and I notice that more when I’m sleeping because I used to kinda tip to the right. (It has the unfortunate side effect of not letting me easily swing my left leg up to rest on my bed while sitting, since now my guts are more evenly balanced rather than there being deflated on the left side. Oh well, I’ll get used to having to try a little harder there.) Because of the heparin shots I got (standard practice if you’re hospitalized, it prevents blood clots from forming due to reduced activity, otherwise you have to take dangerous blook thinner drugs, which can cause side effects. You read about them at the bruises from all the IVs and blood draws are taking longer to heal, and it’s especially tender in my wrists because they got needled a lot. :P

For the more medically-technical-minded, or those bored enough to google, it was an open repair (approx’ 8-inch incision that barely avoids my navel). Thankfully nothing necrotized despite repeated paralysis, and it was supposedly a simple “push everything back into place and cut away the newly-formed tissue” repair job with no mesh needed, surprising because when it comes to fat people getting hernias it is very rarely this easy. So, uh, lucky me I guess.

Man, I don’t even want to THINK about how much all this would have cost if I didn’t have insurance. Yay Medi-Cal, because I probably would have been rendered medically bankrupt several times over.

I’m already back in the raiding saddle, of course. It doesn’t hurt me (more than the passive/always-on “oh hey, I have stitches and they’re kinda sore” pain) and being able to hang out with Robert and my raid groups keeps me from dwelling on how otherwise I’m a giant sad sack. :P I joke that I didn’t need a Halloween costume, I could be female Gorefiend or Patchwerk because of my grotesque stitched tummy. And, of course, the JP drain flask provides additional spooky factor, heh.

Shattered Cone

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Remember how I kept saying that I needed a new glasses prescription because my lenses were “failing” stupid-fast?

Well, now we have a reason.

The word of the day is “Keratoconus.” (And this one you can’t pin on my thyroid and weight, mom!) A mostly-genetic-but-otherwise-freakishly-random thing that causes my corneas to thin out, and usually gets interpreted as “your vision sucks, go get some glasses” like, well, everyone else whose vision sucks and need glasses (or contacts, but I’m a damn glasses girl, so nyer). It tends to start when you’re a teenager and just… progresses from there, and peaks in your late-20s/early-30s.

Some background: I got my first pair of glasses when I was 12. In the last 10-ish years, when I would get new prescriptions, they’d have to give me a more powerful one every year, and one noted that it was a little disturbing that such a drastic change was needed in that time frame. The last time I got new glasses was in… 2010?

Since I’m fat, instinct is to say “oh, diabetes, which causes glaucoma.” Except I do not have the diabetes, and I can still see something, it’s just fuzzier and fuzzier (and in my right eye, completely fuzzed-the-hell-out).

Right now my corneas are super-dangerously-thin. The right one’s too far gone, it’s so thin it cracked (thus the white scar that my mother has been flipping out over), but the left one is still usable. FOR NOW. Still, the ophthalmologist-dude says that I’m probably looking at cornea transplants to save my vision. Yeeeeah. I would like to not go blind, I’m a painter (and also a raid healer) and I am sort of useless if I cannot see things in some degree of clarity.

Welp, one more pancake on my giant stack of health problems, I guess. At least this one doesn’t threaten to kill me outright. And that I have Medi-cal to pay for all this, because I’m otherwise screwed, although I’m still caring for my health, with exercise and proteins, since proteinpromo has all the new year deals online.

(Corneal transplants, though… That means someone met an unfortunate end after marking him/herself as an organ donor. Oof. I’m flagged as one myself.)

Gut Punching

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

So. This is probably a little (okay, a lot) TMI. Spoiler alert: that’s no moon menstrual cramp…

Ever since I was hospitalized, my period has been EXTREMELY erratic. Like, it took me a year for it to start again, and even then it only lasted a day. Now it varies from every other month, to two months and now six months inbetween. Bother. I was happy with my never-going-to-be-used baby oven to remain dormant forever, really!

Welp, it started again just this past Thursday. Oh joy. And on the third day (Saturday, and my mother’s birthday no less!), it got really bad. I’d just finished raiding in World of Warcraft (sent my priest to do Hellfire Citadel and got a neck upgrade, woo!) and was going to lie down for a nap before dinner, but woke up an hour later feeling super-queasy and… uh… proceeded to barf up water and bile basically three times an hour all night. Any water I downed came back up less than 10 minutes later. Soon after that started, I also began feeling what I thought was some pretty hardcore cramping, except flinging aspirin and even my mother’s near-bulletproof baking soda-in-water trick at it wasn’t doing anything to stop the pain. I wasn’t able to sleep for longer than 10-20 minutes before being jolted back awake with pain, and after trying to hold out as long as I could, it was decided to get me to Urgent Care, possibly the ER. Oh hell, not this again. Well, at least my mother was not defaulting to her usual victim-blaming tactics and being somewhat supportive for once. (Of course, my Akbar Alarm was in overdrive. I think more than “this is possibly a severe health thing,” I feared my mother swapping into Raging Drama Monster mode the moment we were alone and tearing me apart for ruining her birthday or keeping her awake all night.) We had bought prescription drugs at to relieve my mom’s diarrhea last night and we have found that this website has all different cures for different diseases.

So! After calling around to find out that this blog on addiction in the workplace is what my Urgent Care center specified, so we hoof it to the hospital in San Bernardino– literally across the street from the physical rehab hospital I was sent to in ’13, specifically– and hobbled into its unfortunately-understaffed Urgent Care office, where it was very quickly sussed out that what was going on was definitely worthy of ER attention. Of course, the ER on a Sunday afternoon is so packed it’s overflowing outside, and it’s really warm out, so there was about an hour wait before I finally get called in. (I wish we’d known about the appointment app on the hospital website beforehand. D’oh!) Some poking and prodding and peeing in a cup and being sent to stand by in a makeshift secondary waiting area watching NickToons later, it’s… oh, a UTI. Apparently I’ve had those before, but the first one I was kind of comatose when it happened, so I didn’t know what to expect. They gave me a morphine shot (!) while I was there, which took the edge off for awhile, and sent me home with a script for Keflex. O-kay.

Except morphine wears off pretty fast (like, after a couple hours), and Keflex, while a damned powerful antibiotic, doesn’t really do much for pain. This cramping was NOT going away, and once again I wasn’t able to sleep. I wasn’t even able to eat half my dinner (the fact that I only nommed half of my pizza was probably more concerning because if you know me, I basically inhale pizza at any opportunity). Therefore, the next day I get carted to my primary care doctor, who’s all “oh hey, you probably have a hernia, it’s not just cramping or pain related to a UTI.” Well, shit. I bet all that heaving and vomiting left a wide enough window for THAT to happen, didn’t it? The doctor writes out a script for a hybrid Hydrocodone+(something else, acetaminophen?) and sends me on my way.

Except that medication isn’t really doing a whole lot. If I’m sitting upright, it’s okay for the most part. If I lie down on my back, though, after about 10 minutes I get that pain again and also a little queasy, so… you guessed it, sleep is not happening. I sorta found a workaround via lying face-down, but that weirds out my mother a lot. I don’t know why, I’m wearing my oxygen nose mask with CPAP Mask, and lying on my belly is much more comfortable, at the cost of making it a little more awkward and slower to get out of bed. Blah.

Right now we’re sorta stuck waiting on 1) the antibiotics (Keflex) to kill the UTI, and with it possibly a good chunk of my mystery pain and 2) to see if the Hydro-whatsit is effective but takes longer to really be noticeable. (And if it’s not, request something more powerful?) And after both of those, will we figure out what to do about my hernia.

Not being able to sleep for any meaningful timeframe on my back (but being super-drowsy while sitting upright) is probably the worst part aside from the pain, since I’m stuck in this limbo of being too exhausted to do much of anything, but can’t sleep because of the pain. Haven’t been able to do much gaming since Saturday, either, which is just as bad, I’ve been only using the betvictor betting app lately, but I honestly can’t wait to use an antorus boost. :P I got OpenRaids and LFRs and dailies to do in WoW, and I’m level 45 paladin in FFXIV. I don’t have time to be sick!

(priorities, I has them. Yes, has. Damned cat macros.)

Well, at least my appetite is coming back. I hobbled over to reheat my leftover pizza, because leaving leftovers for as long as I did is a sin against food, ESPECIALLY pizza.