First Hospital Stay - Part One

Your a real patient when your name's on the board

Friday 05 April 2013

Apart from being born in a hospital I've never actually been admitted as a patient.  I do come to work in this hospital 5 days a week but standing in the 'Admissions' line was a totally new experience .  I do now have a new appreciation of what patients have to go through filling out the paperwork, answering questions and signing different bits of paperwork.  After all of that was done and I was officially admitted a lovely volunteer appeared to help us find the ward.  

Walking, or should I say hobbling and limping in a zig zag fashion to the ward, my mind was running a million miles an hour, but all I really wanted to know was if I was getting a private room (priorities right?).  When we finally reached the ward I was met by a wonderfully bubbly woman who introduced herself as the ward manager and gave me a great big hug as she said "It's all going to be okay".  What a lovely warm welcome to receive.  She showed me to my room and was it was a 4 bed shared room...oh God...she must've seen the look on my face and said, "Don't worry it's only for an hour and then you'll be in a private room".  I will admit that I had a sigh of relief.   We all went into the room and the nurse pulled my blankets down and tells me to make myself comfortable as I will be getting a Cannula put in shortly so we can start the Intravenous Steroids.  She also told me that Dr Saines wanted me to get a lumbar puncture, now that didn't sound like very much fun or to be a painless procedure and that she had let Radiology know that I was in the ward.  As she left another nurse came in to insert my portal for medications.  She took a look at my hands and arms and decided on the most awkward spot imaginable.  She put the tourniquet on my right arm and palpates a vein, wipes the area with an alcohol wipe and says "Sharp scratch", and sharp it was!  Thankfully Luke was there holding my other hand while she manoeuvred the needle around to find the right spot.  After the Cannula was secured she wished me good luck and left.  I'd never had to have a Cannula before (seen and nursed people with them a thousand times before) it was weird to see one sitting there in my vein.  

Hooked up to my first infusion of Methylpred

By this time my private room was ready to move into and it wasn't long until I was hooked up to my first infusion of Methyleprednisolone.  Side effect wise so far was only the terrible metallic taste in my mouth.  About an hour after my infusion finished an orderly arrived to take me down to Radiology.  After I got changed into my very fashionable hospital gown I was wheeled down on my bed to get a huge needle stuck into my spine.  I was taken into the waiting area where there were a few others waiting to be taken back to their ward, checked in by a nurse and told that the doctor shouldn't be to long he was just finishing a procedure on someone else.  So a bit more thumb twiddling until the doctor was ready.  When it was my turn I was taken to a holding bay by a lovely radiographer and he explained what was going to happen and that it wouldn't be much longer.  Before being taken into the procedure room a lovely nurse introduced herself and told me that I could hold her hand as tight as I needed when the procedure was happening.  I was wheeled into the room and asked to sit on the edge of my bed with my feet on a stool and hunch over onto the table in front of me.  The doctor prepped by back with a freezing solution and started pushing on my vertebrae to find the right spot.  He never did anything without telling me what he was doing - so he put some local anaesthetic into my back before the bigger needle had to come into do its job in collecting 3 samples of my Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).  During the collection of my CSF I only felt pressure, that was until a nerve root was gotten a bit close too and a sharp shooting pain went down my left leg, luckily it only lasted a few moments and then went away.  When the procedure was finished I had to lie back down completely flat for 4 hours to help prevent getting a monster headache.  I was taken back to my room about half an hour after the Lumbar Puncture was done where my husband was waiting for me.  I wasn't in my room for long when I got my first influx of visitors, 4 wonderful ladies walked in wearing their scrubs and a concerned look on their faces.  After hugs and kisses from them all and a brief but very welcomed chat, they all left and I remained flat on my back for another 3 hours.  

While I was stuck on my back I got Luke to fill out my menu for dinner that night and tomorrow while I tried to eat some sandwiches for a late lunch and somehow drink some water.  Clock watching isn't fun, especially when all you can think of is how much you have to pee!  Finally when the 4 hours is up I'm free to be upright! Ever so slowly I get up and sit onto the side of the bed then rushed into the bathroom, so much for taking it slowly but my bladder had other plans.  Sitting up and being able to eat dinner was nice but saying goodbye to Luke was not so nice.  

Now I was all alone in my hospital room with only my thoughts to keep me company. With OB's being taken every now and then, supper and then time to sleep the time just dragged on.  The night duty staff came on and bedside handover was given 'This is Melissah, she's an RN down in theatres here' was the usual beginning of them so I found out from the other handovers throughout the day.  I didn't sleep very well that night - another side effect of the steroids - I felt so wide awake yet exhausted at the same time.  It didn't help that my legs felt like insects were crawling all over them the entire night (there wasn't of course).  

That night I only managed 2-3 hours sleep...hopefully tomorrow nights better.