Pandemic Weeks 79, 80 & 81

The numbers these last few weeks have been steady and declining just a little. Much better than increasing a bunch. As of last week, we now need to show proof of vaccine to do anything non-essential and the mask mandates are still in place.

If you’re not on my Facebook, you won’t know why I’ve been so quiet these last few weeks. I ended up falling ill and was in the hospital for basically 5 days and then continuing to heal at home another 5 days. Here’s the rundown of what happened (this is going to be a long one). Thursday September 16, I woke feeling bloated and my lower stomach in pain from what felt like gas pains. However, even after using the bathroom, the pain didn’t subside at all. I went into work like normal and again used the bathroom with no relief still. After a few hours, it was too much to handle so I left work early and went home. Just the act of leaving work early is something completely uncharacteristic of me. I took some Tylenol and Advil when I got home and tried to sleep. I couldn’t find a comfortable position and the pain meds were doing nothing to touch the pain I was feeling. I actually woke in the afternoon feeling super nauseous from the pain and threw up, but it was only water because I hadn’t eaten yet that day. Around 6 I decided I needed to talk to a doctor, so I looked up virtual walk-in clinics and connected with a doctor online. Based on how I was describing the pain, he thought I may have diverticulitis and said I would need a CT scan to check and to go to the hospital.

My brother called my dad and asked if he’d take me over and he did. I ended up checking into the ER (this is a first-time experience for me – I’ve never gone to the hospital for anything before, apart from giving birth to my kiddo 24 years ago). With COVID restrictions, no visitors accompanying unless necessary, so my dad waited in the car. After over an hour of still sitting in triage, I just told him to go home and not wait to bring me back. I’m glad I did because I ended up being there for over 7 hours. Triage asked my pain level and at that time it was around an 8. After a few hours, I was called back and they took blood as well as inserted an IV so it was ready if anything was needed. When I saw the doctor, he agreed with the walk-in virtual doctor with the possibility of diverticulitis and sent me for a CT scan. While waiting on the results, they gave me some hydromorphone through the IV and that finally helped bring the pain down to about a 5, which was tolerable. It made me a little drowsy and I kept half dozing in the chair in the waiting room. After midnight, the CT results were in and were inconclusive to what it was, but it wasn’t diverticulitis. The next best guess was a cyst on my ovary and they wanted me to have an ultrasound for a better look at what was happening. Unfortunately, ultrasound didn’t open until 8am. So they sent me home and said to make an appointment with the ER requisition in the morning. They also said to come back to the ER if it gets worse or I get nauseous. On my way home in the Uber, the ER doctor called me to say he forgot to mention that in my bloodwork, he also noticed that my iron levels were very low and I should make an appointment with my doctor about it. I let him know that I didn’t have a family doctor since just before COVID because the doctor I’d found was suddenly not there when I went to make an appointment and when I googled her, her license was revoked. He set me up with the clinic at the hospital with a phone appointment for September 30th.

At home, I passed out for a few hours and woke at 6am in even more pain – I’d say it was a 9.5 at this point. I was in sweats and felt nauseous from the pain so I didn’t bother waiting until 8 to make the ultrasound appointment and just went back to the ER. I’m glad I went that early because just after I arrived, it got really busy. Once through triage, the nurse took the ultrasound requisition from the night before and got me booked in quickly and I had the ultrasound around 10. It was so painful as the technician was getting the images. When I was done, I had to wait in ultrasound for so long before a porter was available to bring me back to the ER – I even got a phone call on my cell phone from a ER nurse wondering where I’d went as they were looking for me and she got me picked up and sent back soon after that. It was only a few minutes before the ER doctor got me and said that the ultrasound showed my ovaries ok but there was a tubular mass in the area that was 4cm x 7cm and he was going to call OBGYN for a consult. While we waited for the consult, they inserted an IV again and during it (the nurse was having trouble this time finding a vein to insert it and had to call a different nurse), the OBGYN resident arrived. She asked a whole bunch of questions and did an exam including a pap test with extra swabs to test for STI’s, in case that was the cause. I did mention that I have an IUD and would love to have it removed while she’s there doing the tests but she wouldn’t do it, saying that’s not something that’s typically done in the ER and to make a clinic appointment for it. She needed to bring the notes about my case to the doctor above her and wait on the swab results to form a plan. In the meantime while I waited, they hooked my IV up to the hydromorphone again, which I was grateful for and I dozed off a little again as I waited. After another while, another OBGYN resident came down to talk with me and felt my stomach externally and went over the reports better with me. She explained that the tubular mass was my fallopian tube that was very inflamed and abscessed. Again, needing to speak with the OBGYN doctor above her to discuss treatment and would be back.

A while later the resident came to see me and said that their treatment is to admit me to the hospital until at least Monday to administer antibiotics by IV so they take effect better and to monitor my fever from the infection. Now I just needed to wait for a bed to be available, so back to the waiting room. A little while later, a nurse came to me and said that she needed to do my prep for surgery and I questioned her on it because I was told only antibiotics, so now I’m feeling anxious because the doctor didn’t say anything about surgery! She brought me into one of the rooms and had me change into a gown and did a COVID test on me. Just after I changed, the resident and OBGYN doctor came into the room and said no – wrong patient. Turns out there were 2 of us in the ER with issues needing OBGYN and it was the OTHER patient who was getting surgery. But it’s a good thing that I had the COVID test, because I needed to be negative to be admitted to the area I was going to anyways. The doctor talked to me more about the treatment and I asked the cause of it and she didn’t have a definitive answer but said it’s possible it had to do with the IUD. I mentioned again that I would love to have it removed and EUREKA! She got a huge smile on her face and was happy that I wanted it removed because she said that it could only help with healing by removing it and did it right then and there for me! She said because I’m not having surgery, I’m ok to eat and drink now – which was great, because I hadn’t actually eaten since Wednesday dinner. I was in way too much pain on Thursday and Friday to even think about eating. After that I got changed back into my clothes, waiting for a bed to be available. A short while later I got set up with more IV pain meds and my first dose of IV antibiotics while sitting in the waiting room. After that, they brought me to a different area to wait for a bed to be available. This was a room that had a bed, chair, sink and curtain. Here’s where I finally got some water to drink – I couldn’t believe how thirsty I was. They said I could be in this room anywhere from an hour to a full day – thankfully it was only about 90 minutes before they said they had a bed for me and a porter would be coming to bring me to my room soon. It was around 11pm when I finally got there.

When I got into the room, there was no one else in it and one other bed that was empty – so maybe I’ll get a roommate at some point. The nurse that came to introduce himself was really nice. I told him it was my first time in the hospital and he gave me a quick little rundown on moving the bed positions, the call button, the light switches and bathroom. He checked my vitals, gave me pain meds and brought me a bunch of ice water. The pain meds helped me fall asleep and I slept really well for the first time in a few days. The next morning, I was woken early to check my vitals, more pain meds and the next dose of IV antibiotics. I found out that I’d be getting them twice a day at 6am/6pm. The pain meds are now by mouth. This means that other when the antibiotics are in, they could unhook me from the IV pole. That was great – so I could easily use the bathroom and walk around the room with ease. All the days were pretty much the same. Resting in bed, walking around the room every so often to both help my bowels move and prevent blood clots, getting pain meds which caused me to nap and eating. I didn’t have a whole bunch of energy to be on my phone and didn’t even feel to be watching Netflix or anything.

Various times throughout the day, different nurses and doctors would come by and check on me. One of the doctors wanted me to take a laxative and suggested the walking around. On Saturday I felt a few heart flutters and they did an EKG and said everything looked ok and then started giving me potassium. On Sunday, they said that they wanted to keep me an extra day because of a fever I’d spiked on Saturday night and they wanted me fever free for 48 hours. Monday they brought up my low iron levels and added a bag of iron to my IV. When Monday night came, they said that because my fevers were under control (if my temperature started going up at all, they’d give me Tylenol and it would bring it down), that after the evening dose of IV antibiotics, they were going to release me that night instead of making me stay until Tuesday. So I was released with a ton of prescriptions (antibiotics, laxative and 3 different pain meds to stagger as needed – but instructions to take the Tylenol every 6 hours with the other ones as needed). My dad came and got me from the hospital to bring me home, with a stop at the pharmacy on the way to get the prescriptions. They told me it would be about a 30 minute wait for them to fill it, but when I went back in, they said it would be longer because they’re waiting to hear back from the prescribing doctor. They were concerned with the prescription for the antibiotic. He said if he gives it to me as prescribed, I’d be back in the ER so fast from way too high a dose. I’m so glad that pharmacist double checked because the doctor changed it. We ended up leaving and the pharmacist said he’d call when he heard back. About an hour later I got the call that it was ready and my brother walked over and picked it up for me.

I ended up calling into work sick for the rest of the week. The pain was still there and I was just needing all kinds of rest and felt tired all the time, even more so when I took pain meds. I just kept napping so my body could keep healing and set alarms for all the different meds I was prescribed. After being off 10 days from work, I went back the following Monday. Now here we are, 2 weeks later and I’m feeling so much better. I do still feel a little more tired by the end of the work day and I still have some discomfort when there’s any pressure in the area (my time of the month arrived too, but also if my bladder is full or I have gas). I’ve been able to slowly take less and less pain meds though, so I know I am getting better. I only needed the hydromorphone the first night home. The next few days I used just the Tylenol and Naproxen. I’m now down to only the Tylenol but on a reduced schedule as needed and not every 6 hours anymore.

On September 30, I had the phone appointment with the clinic doctor about my iron levels. He was really surprised that I don’t feel serious symptoms of low iron as he said my count was at 67 (normal is over 120) and that most times a level like mine would need a transfusion as most people are super tired/dizzy/weak/pale/short of breath. He wants to send me for more bloodwork to make sure it’s nothing more serious and is prescribing me iron pills to take once I get the bloodwork done. I’m glad they worked with me and are mailing me the requisition to get the blood drawn at a clinic near my work and are faxing the prescription to the pharmacy so I don’t have to take more time off work to go to the hospital clinic. I have a follow-up phone appointment October 14 for the bloodwork results and also a follow-up in person appointment on October 15 with the OBGYN doctor from the ER at her clinic.

In this time, we had a houseguest for 2 weeks. The kiddo’s dad was here visiting from BC but I barely saw him with being in the hospital for the first 5 days then resting in my room the next 5 and then back to work for the other 4 – so it was very little time hanging out with him. Other than all the illness, it’s been a very quiet couple of weeks. I was barely online working the side biz because I just didn’t have the energy. I’m glad I kicked butt there the first few weeks and had hit my goals early.

I’m slowly building up my step count again as I feel ready and slowly increasing my food again.  After those few days of not eating and the pain, I didn’t have a big appetite – so getting back to normal portions has taken some time.  I haven’t yet started the yoga back into the routine, but I’m feeling like I’m almost ready to add that back in soon too. 

Thanks everyone for the messages of support and thinking of me these last few weeks when I went quiet. I’m finally getting back in the groove of things – just taking it all slow and listening to my body.

Until next time, xoxo