Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is it Thursday yet?

This is day four of five without wine.
That's how I'm marking my days on antibiotics.
Days without wine.
One would think that I'm a troubled alcoholic who simply can't get through a day without wine.
But one would be wrong.
Remember when I went six weeks without, just because?  Silly, for sure, but I did it.
I just like having fun with these countdowns.
And truth be known, I do miss my evening glass of wine.
But I can go without.
I just prefer not to.
So now I need only get through today and tomorrow.
Then finally on Thursday, I can again sit down at 4:00 pm and enjoy a glass (or two) or wine.
And enjoy I will!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Infection Update

Had an interesting visit with my family doctor on Wednesday.
Ooops, first I have to tell you how impressed my physiotherapist is with my new flat tummy.  We had a great time comparing notes on Tuesday.  (She had hers done about five or so years ago.)
Back to my family doc visit.
After she got through teasing me about being a "trouble maker" (for the ER visit), she asked to see my incision so she could assess the status of the infection.  She too was suitably impressed with my new flat tummy.  She declared the infection cleared up and asked when I finished the antibiotic.
"I take the last one at 2:00 pm today," I declared.  "And I can finally have a glass of wine tomorrow!"
She cautioned me to watch the area carefully for the first 24-48 hours after I finished the antibiotic.  Could be rebound flare-up.  If I experienced any pain, I was to get back to her pronto because I would need another round of antibiotics.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed my glass(es) of wine yesterday!
Good thing too.
By the time I was making my way into the city today to see the surgeon for my follow-up appointment, I anticipated that I would be going back on antibiotics.
Why, you ask?
Because yesterday, the site of origin had become sensitive to touch again.  (That was the first indicator that something was wrong before, I just hadn't recognized the sign.)
I explained to the surgeon that the area was more painful today than it was yesterday, so I was a tad concerned that it was the very rebound effect about which my family doctor had warned me.
He checked the area very carefully and he had to agree.  It is inflamed again, and beyond just the site of original entry.  So it's already starting to spread again.
Another round of antibiotics it is.
At least this time it's only five days without wine!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The crisis is over

All right, the crisis is over.
Infection is under control and I am officially "better."
I saw my surgeon last week (Wednesday) and he was quite intrigued to hear about my little excursion to the hospital ER.  He was very interested to hear that I hadn't really realized how sick I was until I felt somewhat improved.  But of even more interest to him was how fast the antibiotic took effect and had me feeling better.
And because of that hiccup in my recovery, I have to see him again this week so he can make sure that everything is healing as it should.  (I see him again on Friday morning.)
I am soooooo delighted with my new flat tummy.  I would have preferred not to have had to go over that rough patch with the infection, but now that that's over, I am really looking forward to completing the healing process.  I mean really, it looks so good now, and I'm told it will improve with time.
To be sure, I don't regret spending that money!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's not always fibro!

I've had a time of it since my last post.
I might have been coming along remarkably well in that first week of recovery, but it was downhill from that point.
The day after that follow-up visit with the surgeon, I had a fibro flare-up, presumably because the trip into the city was too much for me.  So I spent the Wednesday on enforced R&R while my body recovered.
On Thursday -- my massage day -- I was feeling much better although I had started having some lightheadedness.  Enough to mention it to my husband who suggested I check my blood pressure.  It was 95/64, which is abnormally low for me but not outside the "normal" range for an adult.  I wasn't too concerned, but I cut my BP med in half, figuring I didn't need to take something to lower my BP if it was already that low!
On Friday, I again woke feeling like I was in a fibro flare-up.  Now, it's very unusual for me to have a flare-up on top of a flare-up but there's a first time for everything.  I spent another day on enforced R&R.
Saturday morning I just had to get cleaned up because I simply couldn't bear myself any longer.  I washed my hair by leaning over the bathtub and using the spray arm (I had done this earlier in the week with no consequence).  When I finished, the dizziness was so bad I had to call John to help me back to the bedroom.
There was no way I could then take the bath that I had been planning to take.  And I had to cancel the planned visit from my little chickadee and family.  I had so been looking forward to seeing them!
A blood pressure check revealed it to be 96/58 and John banished me to my bed for the day.  I made sure I ingested salt throughout the day and eventually got my BP up to 104/61 by 5:00 pm.
That BP held through to Sunday morning but by 10:45 am it had plunged to 72/52 and I was really not feeling well.  I continued to ingest salt but the best I could get my BP up to was 88/52.  Finally, around 4:00 pm I called TeleHealth Ontario, outlined what had been going on and they insisted on calling an Ambulance to take me to hospital.
The attending physician thought we were dealing with a cellulitis (skin infection) so she immediately started me on an antibiotic and she drew an outline of where the infection was evident.  She sent me home with a prescription for 10 days of antibiotic treatment, a requisition to have bloodwork done in the morning, and instructions to see her at the clinic the following morning so she could track the infection's progress.
I woke at 2:00 am Monday morning and knew that I was already feeling better.  The difference was amazing.  I had expected to need antibiotics for a little while longer before seeing much change.
By the time I saw the doctor in her office I was markedly improved.  When she checked her ink outline, she was amazed to see how far it had subsided in such a short time.  That meant she had "guessed right" and she was very pleased to have done so.  She explained that if these infections are caught early enough, antibiotics work very quickly.  Otherwise, they take a little longer to take effect.  But, had I waited until my scheduled appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday, I'd have ended up on IV (if I had made it at all!).
I truly had no idea how ill I was until I felt better.
Now, I have to wonder if that second fibro flare-up on Friday was in fact a flare-up at all or if it was the early stages of the cellulitis?  I know I am always getting angry at doctors for blaming fibro for everything that is wrong with me, always.  And yet, I may have been guilty of having done just that myself!
Scary business that.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My 'One Week Follow Up' Appointment

Today I went to see the doctor for my one week follow up appointment.  My surgeon is away this week so I was seeing one of his colleagues.
The purpose of the visit was to remove the drainage tubes (I call them blood buckets).
He came into the room and was familiarizing himself with the file when he said, "You had your surgery a month ago?"
"Um, no," I replied.  "A week yesterday."
He couldn't believe it.  He said I was doing remarkably well for just one week out.
Then we got down to the business at hand.  He reviewed my record of drainage from each tube and quickly informed me that tube #1 would not be coming out.  (That had been my fear.  I knew that there had to be 20cc or less for two consecutive days for the tube to come out.  Tube #2 met that criteria handily, but #1 had output 30cc last night.)
So he removed tube #2.  And OMG it hurt! It stung big time.  But that area had been very sensitive anyway so I wasn't surprised that it hurt.
The pain didn't last long, thank God.
Then he changed the tape on my incision and changed the dressing on the other tube, which bucket I had to empty there because all of a sudden it was full.  He explained that now there's only one tube, it will likely drain more, doing the work of two.  So I'm starting over to reach that two consecutive days of 20cc or less output!
When I got up from the table and put my boots on, he commented again about how well I'm doing.  He was genuinely impressed with my progress. He said that most patients, one week after surgery, are still walking very hunched over.  I am almost walking normally.
Suffice to say, I left there feeling pretty damned pleased with myself!

Monday, February 3, 2014

One week post-op

Here I am, one week later, and the progress is amazing.
Day by day, I'm feeling much stronger but I'm still having excruciating pain in my lower back.  I don't know how much longer to expect this pain to continue but I sure hope it stops soon.
I expect that the pain is a result of my not being able to stand upright.  (Imagine having to do everything with your body bent ever so slightly forward.)  I'm almost straight now, but my back is screaming to be stretched out -- something I'm sure I won't be able to do for quite some time to come.
Tomorrow, I go to have my drainage tubes (I call them my blood buckets) removed.  My surgeon's colleague will do the honours in his absence.  I have no idea what to expect, other than I think it will be painful.  My research of the topic indicated that it is anywhere from totally no pain to extremely painful.  I guess I'll find out for myself tomorrow.
Once these blood buckets are removed, I'll finally be able to take a shower.  I've had to make do with "whore's baths" for the past seven days so I'm really looking forward to being able to get properly cleaned.
In any event, it's almost drinky poo time in the Fowler household so I must sign off and get ready to accept my first glass of wine in two weeks.  (OK, I had that celebratory glass of wine for our Anniversary on the 25th of January but who's counting?)