Do you remember in the last post I spoke about our whirlwind trips to Seattle and Houston right after finding out I had cancer? It was exhausting and I didn’t get much sleep, so I wasn’t surprised when Monday rolled around and I started feeling tired that afternoon. Dan had flown to Colorado that morning for work, so that evening when I felt an illness coming on, I made some soup and went to bed early.
I tossed and turned Monday night, waking up shaking and sweating. I pushed both our dog and cat off me because I was so hot. I woke up Tuesday morning with a 101 degree temperature. I emailed my boss letting her know I was going to try and sleep it off and texted my best friend who said I should call the doctor. I tried to sleep for another couple of hours and I woke up and took my temperature again. 103. Yikes. I emailed my boss, texted my best friend again, who both told me to call the doctor, which I did. My doctor was out, and they passed me to the nurse of the doctor who had given me my exam in August. Her nurse said to drink fluid and take Tylenol. I texted a couple of friends and asked if they would mind running by the store and picking me up Tylenol, Sprite, and apples during lunch.
The doctor’s nurse called back and said I needed to come in now. I was so tired and my body hurt, so I asked if I could just come in tomorrow. She said it was either coming into the office now, or going to the ER. I texted the same friends and asked if one of them could drive me to the doctor because there was no way I was getting there on my own.
I put on some sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and my heavy winter coat and made my way to the doctor’s office. When I got there I tried to stay seated in the chair and not fall on the floor. Once I got the exam room I asked if I could lay on the exam chair instead of sitting on the normal chair. My temperature was down to 101, but my heart rate and the baby’s heart rate were at dangerous levels.
“I’m admitting you to the hospital right now.”
“Right now? But I don’t have anything.”
I wasn’t lying. I had my phone and my wallet and that was it. It didn’t matter. I was put in a wheelchair and sent down the hall to a hospital room. The nurse was so sweet though and bought me a Sprite out of the machine so I could sip on it.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I live in a very small town. The population is about 4,000; 6,000 in the summer when the snowbirds come back. While a lot of it is very frustrating, lack of food, shopping, culture, etc.; it’s pretty nice for when you want to go to the doctor. Or need to be admitted to a hospital immediately. No waiting for someone to be discharged and the room to be cleaned, they just had rooms available. When my friend gave birth, she was the only one in the birthing ward for days. I was looking forward to all that attention when it was my turn.
I had all the normal hospital admitting procedures done, IV, hooked up to monitors, but they also wanted to test me for a UTI. Which meant putting a mini catheter in to get what they needed. Probably one of the most painful things I’ve been through in awhile.
I went to the bathroom afterwards and saw blood. I thought the catheter had caused the blood, but it hadn’t. I thought I was having a miscarriage. The doctor wasn’t sure. I had hourly doppler checks on the baby which helped alleviate my fear.
Every few hours my chills came back. My body was shaking so violently and my teeth were chattering so hard that I was worried I was going to crack them. The chills lasted anywhere between 15-45 minutes. The nurses would bring heated blankets and warm water bottle for my feet. This would help keep me warm until the chills subsided and my fever broke.
The hospital couldn’t find out where my infection was coming from, and I was still bleeding. By this time I told Dan what was going on and that he should stay in Colorado until his flight in the morning. There was no point in paying a few hundred dollars just to have him come home right when I was going to sleep.
The first night I woke up at 2am with another case of the shakes and they called the OB doctor in. She examined me to make sure that something hadn’t been left inside me during all my recent office visits. She was going to consult the infectious disease doctor in Missoula as well. She said if they couldn’t figure it out, they might just send me to Seattle.
Wednesday and Thursday were the same as Tuesday. A couple hours of feeling ok, then the chills would come on again. There was one point I just wanted to die. I had a conversation with God and said I was ready. I’d never been in so much pain in my life. The only thing helping were visits, texts, and flowers from friends. And the bleeding still hadn’t stopped.
They had discovered I had an e.coli infection, but still didn’t know where it was coming from and why the antibiotics weren’t working. On Thursday afternoon they told me they were sending me to Seattle. They finally figured out the antibiotics they were giving me weren’t meant for my strain of e.coli and they didn’t have the correct antibiotics or means to help me. It had just snowed and a new front was coming through, so instead of a normal helicopter, they were going to send me on a fixed-wing plane coming from Great Falls.
Part 2 of the hospitalization coming soon.