Friday, October 31, 2008

So where have I been?


I figure I'd take some time to go over the last couple of weeks with everyone. After all I'm sure people were waiting for my take on the election and for me to crow about how accurate I was in calling a Harper victory, like no one saw that happening, or the fact I said there is now two regional parties in the House of Commons, the Bloc Quebecois and the Bloc Toronto. As for the latter, I promise you the Liberals could run the rat pictured in the front window of the Chinese Food Restaurant, and it would be the next MP of Trinity-Spadina. Well, actually it couldn't, that's Olivia Chow's Riding, and a very fine MP she is. I think you get the idea.

Okay, my adventure started on October 14th when I went to the Doctor, for a follow up appointment. While discussing the result of a physical I mentioned about this miserable cough that I had been experiencing off and on. He checked me over, listened to the lungs and suggested I get an X-Ray. As I hadn't had one in a while, I went down to the X-Ray department and waited. The X-ray tech took some photos and asked if the Doctor wanted to see them right away or what. I wasn't sure so she told me to have a seat and relax. I was still coughing and to be honest was having a little trouble catching my breath.

After a few minutes, my Doctor came to examine the x-rays, I sort of thought that was not a good sign. He looked it over, looked at me and suggested I follow him for a bit. He found a machine that would register Blood gases. He hooked me up and I think I was about 88. He then told me to meet him at the hospital emergency department at 5:30 because he was going to have me admitted. He said I had pneumonia and he wanted to get an understanding how far the condition was and it was therefore best to have me in the hospital so tests and treatment could be started. I drove home, threw some things into a gym bag and met Jo-Anne.

There was a few minutes wait and I was told his plan was to get me in the hospital for a CT Scan that would show everything. So I was admitted and given a room in the ER department. I was to spend the next couple of nights waiting for a bed to be open. This was not the best place to be, since the ER is a busy place. I did have a 'room', but it was right beside an examination room, so I got to hear everything at all hours of the time of day. Mind you it was interesting, one person came in after getting hit in the head with a baseball bat, some sort of disagreement. Oh by the way, a tetnus shot is good for ten years, and if you can't remember the last time, it doesn't matter.

By Thursday night I was moved to a zone and then to a room. The first question I asked when at the room had to do with a shower. There was a shower right across the hallway. I couldn't wait, since I was sitting in that room in ER without access to a shower. I was smelling like the Ventolin. So Friday, the next morning, I had a shower and it felt so good. Also they got me ready for the CT scan, which meant drinking two large glasses of apple juice and stuff. Then I waited. I was always scheduled for the scan, but kept getting bumped. The problem with hospitals is there are always emergencies. But they got me into a wheelchair and I was down there. I got an IV and then put on table. It was quite an experience, although what bothered me was when the message came "take a breath, hold it.......", which is quite a challenge with the whole pneumonia thing happening. But I managed and went back to the room and I was tired. I should say something about information; I know everyone was wondering and the reason we weren't giving any information was we simply didn't have any. While in ER, they were seeing to my immediate needs, such as the ventolin and keeping me on oxygen, but that was it.

The result of the CT scan was that I had pneumonia plus and the plus was a mystery. There was nodules and the various doctors were not sure what they were or how they got there. The next plan of action was for me to have a Bronchoscopy, which would involve looking into the lungs and taking a sample of whatever was down there. To do that, it was suggested I move into the Critical Care Unit, so the equipment would be ready and they could do the test on Monday, rather then wait for an opening in the day surgery department. Also I meant the Infection Control physician who also tried to figure out what I had. There was a lot of things I could have had, such as TB or other things, but I didn't have enough of other symptons.

My folks came up for a visit on the Saturday and even though I was quite tired that day I did appreciate it. After not sleeping for the past three nights or so, just having a bed was a great experience. The grapes and rice krispies squares were much appreciated.

Sunday came and after they put me on 100% oxygen, with masks and rubber hoses, I was moved up to the CCU. I was fussed after and made comfortable. I also think I had my best night sleep. I was hooked up to all the monitors so I had wires, hoses, oxygen, all over me. I did win one minor concession, they strung a long hose so I didn't have to use a commode. Hey, got to have my dignity where I can find it.

Monday came and I was prepped for the bronchoscopy. I was hooked up with IV, given a very nice sedative, morphine I think and then had my throat frozen, after having a respirator put on me. The procedure started and I was able to look at the screen and see something, the doctor later told Jo-Anne I was the first patient to look at the screen. They did whatever and I relaxed. At that point I put on my ipod and listened to music. By the way, morphine and ipod brings about some interesting multi-media effects, I was watching 'television' on the door to the bathroom, but for some reason the soundtrack did not make sense with what I was watching, go figure. I also thought there was other people in the room with me. It was also that day they started hitting me with the big guns, I was taking something for fungus, I was taking a large amount of antibiotics, all in the hope of treating whatever I had. Later that week, another doctor came by and informed me I was a 'medical mystery'. Then they added some steriods to the mix, intraveneously at first. As well, I was still on oxygen. I was also hearing from a lot of family and friends and they were telling me they were praying for me, which I so appreciated.

I should stop and tell about the care I receieved at Brant General Hospital. The care was fantastic. The nurses and staff were tremendous and did all they could to keep me comfortable. I especially enjoyed the warm sheets at night. I honestly can't say enough good for them. Even though they got busy, they always reminded me I was a patient to and I shouldn't hestitate to call them for anything. The food was good as well, I enjoyed the meals. Even though I thought the combination of peas with Mac and Cheese to be a bit odd, it was all good. The room also had a flat screen TV, so a lot of games were watched, plus the news.

I think when my folks came again on Tuesday I was getting better.

Things were improving, the next course of action was to do a 'CT guided lung biopsy'. So I went down there again, but there was less prep. The doctor who was going to do the biopsy had a talk and suggested that the treatment was working since the nodules were shrinking. He was not willing to try the biopsy because the risk of complications and since things were working he decided to let things continue.

This was good news and from then I was getting better, my oxygen started to be decreased over the next few days and I was encouraged to get up and walk. Which I slowly started to do. By Sunday I went off the oxygen and while I was still getting the blood gases monitored, I was finally holding about 90, in fact the average was about 94. The whole week I felt I was getting better.

I think for me the second Saturday was a day of being down, but that was because everyone was going to Kyle and Jennifer's wedding except me.

Monday came, I was on the oral steroids, I was taken off the antibiotic and told I was being discharged. That was wonderful news. I was going home after nearly two weeks. I got to admit I was excited. It was great to get back.

Before I left I was told to make an appointment to see the specialist and have an x-ray. Which I gladly did.

So now I'm home and its just a matter of getting stronger. I'm taking the Prednisone and feel I'm getting better.

I have got to conclude with appreciation for Jo-Anne. She went through a lot and she was always there. Even though she had to keep working at the Centre, her visits were always a good part of the day.

So, that's my experience.

1 comment:

AsKatKnits said...

Paul, I am glad you are home and are getting better!! You were in my thoughts and yes my prayers. I thought of you often, especially when listening to Michigan Radio!! Don't push to much, I'd hate for you to have a relapse!!