Archive for February 2014
Got home Friday, but was really too tired to think to write.
The thing is, neither my primary care guy, nor I, wanted me home until the cellulitis was thoroughly licked. However, the infectious diseases guy decided to switch me from intravenous to oral meds. Once that happens, there is no need for a hospital bed. As my physician, my primary care guy wanted to keep me in; as a hospital administrator, he’s kind of bound to follow the hospital’s policies, rather than fighting them. So, I’m home, on two antibiotics, and in my own bed again. OTOH, the food at home is a hell of a lot better. Follow up appointment is in place already; so I just have to reschedule the dentist, and talk to him about his timetable for the needed dental work, so I can then schedule the open heart surgery.
Of course, given that things often don’t run smoothly for me, I was not surprised when I woke up this morning with all the symptoms of a cold. given the two antibiotics, I wasn’t sure if I could use my standard cold remedy (Coricidin HBP Cold & Flu) safely, but it being Sunday, I knew no one is at my doctor’s office. However, I had downloaded Doctor on Demand, the new mobile “connect with a doctor” service started by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son. While the normal co-pay for the service is $40 for a 15 minute visit, until the end of February, all calls to the service are free (you do have to give them your credit information, though). I called, was assigned to a doctor within about 20 seconds, and the doctor not only answered the questions I had about using the cold meds with all the other meds I’m taking, he was able to give me a little reassurance about where and with whom I am having the open heart surgery done. Again, I don’t expect to be using them often, because I do have excellent Real Life physicians, but I can see where this is a very useful backup for when those physicians are not available. It can be downloaded for both iPhone and Android devices, and – whether you like or hate Dr. Phil – is a useful thing.
Other than that, not much is happening this weekend. I am being kind to myself by trying not to overdo things.
To be specific, I’m in Beth Israel Kings Highway Hospital, Room 161, Bed 1.
I woke up Sunday and my left leg was bright red and very warm. Called Naomi Moslow, who came over and agreed with me that it was cellulitis. I was gonna wait until Monday and go see Dr. Bilik. However, by suset, the leg was also 3 times its normal size, so the roomie and I called a cab and headed to the hospital.
The infection seems to be fighting back this time, which sucks because I cannot have the open heart surgery until this is thoroughly kicked to the curb. The one good thing about this, so far, is that they finally figured out that I am mildly allergic to vancomycin, which is why my legs blister and peel every time they give it to me.
The bigger problem is that if I am an infection risk. Then I cannot have the surgery until that risk is eliminated. My other news, that I was planning to blog, but that got pre-empted by this mess, is that I met with the surgeon, we hit it off, and have tentatively planned the surgery for end of March/beginning of April, to allow for some dental work I need done to get handled first, since a post-operative infection could kill me. Fortunately for me, Dr. Bilik, my primary care guy, is as determined to get this handled as I am.
I am, therefore, guardedly hopeful. I am also not rushing to get out of here. I don’t love hospitals, but I will stay here until we have gotten this sucker licked. I have to. My life quite literally depends on it.
Calls, visits, and emails are welcome, of course. They are the thing keeping me from just curling up into a ball and giving up. That is the hardest thing for me – to not lose faith that this will all be resolved. There are good days, of course, but there are also days when it seems like I get one thing handled, and two more things pop up to replace them. I will get through this — those of you who know me in RL know how much of a defining trait stubborn is for me.
Anyway, the nurse needs me to help another patient get computer access (I must look like a techie geek), so I’ll cach up with everyone later.
This past week has been full of snow and medical appointments.
The snow, of course, makes it pretty much impossible to do anything via public transit for me. However, the surgical consult was set for Tuesday, and there was no way in hell I was putting that off given that snow was predicted for both Monday and Wednesday.
Made it to the consult and met Dr. Stelzer and his nurse practitioner Laurita, as well as his lovely receptionist, Cathy. We had a good talk, and I have convinced him that I should have the surgery. He thinks my attitude is great, and that I am something of a force of nature. Called the cardiologist on the way home, and he told me he thinks I’m brave. I don’t get that, honestly. I’m not stupid. I’m scared to death about having my chest cracked open. However, all I’m doing is what is necessary; I don’t see it as particularly brave.
One thing is that I may need some dental work done, so that has to be gotten out of the way before have the heart surgery. The reason for this is that if I have it done after the surgery, and I get an infection, it could kill me. I also now have to take an antibiotic an hour before I go to the dentist to prevent infections from happening. We are looking at doing the heart surgery at the end of March/beginning of April, in order for me to get the dental work out of the way.
This is all a whole new world to me, having to take precautions for everything, but if it will maximize my chances of pulling through it, it’s what I have to do.
In order for the dentist to do his thing, however, I had to get a clearance in writing from my primary care guy. So, when I got home Tuesday, I called my primary care and got them to squeeze me in for Wednesday, so I could get the clearance, and also a referral in writing for the neurologist I need to see about the possible development of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in my hands, and of a non-diabetic neuropathy in my legs and feet. Made it home before the snow, but think I may have picked up a cold in his waiting room. Such is life.
Other than that, I’m still hanging in. I ordered and received a hula hoop, which I plan to use to do some low impact exercising with. My outlook is reasonably good, all things considered, and I’m trying not to overthink things, lest I eat myself alive with worry.
So that’s where things are at right now. It feels kind of like hurry up and wait at some levels, but there is forward movement, and it’s real forward movement, so I am grateful.