This is a little lengthy, but I need to get it all down in one place to process everything that's happened. I'm kind of sad. I'm kind of angry. And after slowly becoming more confident in the type of care I'd receive if something went wrong, I'm kind of back where I was in August 2011. Or October 2011.
I'll also start by saying that throughout all this baby has been doing good and moving lots! I'm incredibly thankful for that!
I called my doctor's office and found that if I'd called first thing in the morning they could have gotten me in, but it was 1 pm and Clinicals were over and there wasn't a doctor in the office, but they could pencil me in for tomorrow afternoon. Fighting back tears I said I'd try urgent care because I didn't think it could wait.
Before I could walk upstairs to grab my purse the back pain hit hard. And it gave me pause. I called back, this time crying because the pain level had gone from high to very, very high, and was sent straight over to Labor and Delivery at Sparrow Hospital.
They took me straight back to a room, and I made about fifty trips back and forth between my triage room and the bathroom before the conclusion was reached that I had a UTI. I still hadn't taken anything more than Tylenol at this point, and the pain level was still excruciating.
Still when they pounded on my back the pain didn't get worse, and so, I was told, it probably wasn't a kidney infection and I was sent on my way with a five day supply of Keflex and a checklist of reasons to come back. The resident I saw stressed the importance of coming back. "I had a woman with pyelo in the ICU last week." He said. "I don't think you have a kidney infection yet, but if it gets worse, come back."
The pain had begun to ease up by the next morning, but by Saturday I was really sick. I was on day three of a horrible headache that had begun around the same time as the UTI, and sometimes when I laid back tiny fireflies would dart across my vision for up to five minutes, which isn't one of my normal migraine symptoms.
I headed back to the hospital.
The only thing I hate more than going in to Labor and Delivery when I'm not in labor is going to the ER for any reason whatsoever, but it was Sunday and it was getting harder and harder to breath and everything hurt.
I explained why I was there to a resident with plenty of attitude who repeatedly asked "why'd you come in today?" in a tone that made it clear that she didn't think I should be there and patiently explained that they had given me a checklist with five reasons to come back, and that upon looking at it I had realized I had three of those five reasons, and so I'd returned.
Finally the resident from the first day came in. He was far more worried. He ordered tests. He listened to my lungs and said he couldn't hear any air moving through my right lung. And he ordered a flu test.
Within a few hours I had been admitted and was shuffled up to a large room at the top of the hospital for observation, because I was only 21 weeks and 6 days and I'd need to be 24 weeks to be admitted to the Special OB unit. By midnight the nurse had come in to tell me that I did in fact have Influenza A and that every person who came in my room would need to have their faces covered in a mask and their clothes draped in gauzy yellow paper.
Monday dawned and I felt worse. A resident came up and listened to the baby. Another came up and did an exam and told me I'd need to stay for at least another day so that they could continue to watch my lungs.
I asked if someone could tell my OB's office that I was there and the resident responded: "If you get sick enough that we need to bother an attending and let them know what's going on, then we will."
This, I would later come to realize, was a mistake.
A few hours later another OB came up and listened to my lungs. My oxygen levels were fine, but breathing was hard. I'd asked for an inhaler (my asthma is super mild when I'm not pregnant and has been mild during this pregnancy) and was told that because I'd been tachycardic the whole time I'd been there that they couldn't let me use an inhaler. "You're going to need to stay overnight so we can keep an eye on your lungs," she repeated before she left the room.
In the afternoon another person in a white coat walked into my room. She told me she'd come from my doctor's office and wasn't I feeling better? A little, I said, mostly out of politeness. I mean if the pain level had been at 9 when I'd come in it was hovering around 8 now. After 20 hours the codeine cough syrup had finally arrived. That was something.
She listened to my lungs. I needed to work on taking better breaths or I'd have pneumonia soon.
But didn't I want to be back in my bed at home?
Of course I did. I mean, who wants to be in the hospital unless they have to be? I wasn't having fun hauling that IV pole around to go to the bathroom every half hour.
I'll be getting your paper work together and discharging you, she said as she turned and walked out.
I was stunned. I still.hurt. Everything still hurt. Breathing hurt. I felt panicked at the idea of going home in that much pain. I've felt that way one other time. And I ended up being really, really sick.
It took a second to commute. Certified Nurse Midwife. Two OBs had examined me and said I needed to stay. A midwife had come in and was readying my discharge papers.
When she came back I explained that while I wanted to go home I really, really felt like I shouldn't be going home. The pain was excruciating. I'd be up running around taking care of four kids with the flu.
That wouldn't really be so bad, she told me. Go home and snuggle with your kids in bed. I started to cry. She gave me a look of absolute pity and stood up and walked out the room.
I pleaded with the nurses. They thought I could stay, but couldn't do anything. Two OBs had said I needed to stay. Could I see one of them? Could I see anyone?
They were apologetic, but I'd been discharged.
After wheezing across the parking garage and sobbing in the car for ten minutes I drove myself home.
When I got there I laid in bed, burning up, despite the many medications I'd been given before I left. I took my temperature. 100.5. I called my doctor's office where a sympathetic nurse told me she'd tell my doctor right away and call me back.
I took my temperature again. 101.1.
She called, but it was immediately clear that her entire manner had changed. "I talked to the doctor and to B (the CNM) and so I've heard what's going on. You just need to get through this. There's nothing we can do."
"We've made our decision and you just need to get through this. I'll call you tomorrow and check in."
That night was long. I was burning up, but so were the kids. While Paul was up with Patch, I stayed up with James.
The next day she called back. "How are you feeling?" She asked. "Terrible." I said. "Any better?" She replied. "Not at all." I wheezed. "Well you sound better. So that's what I'll be telling the doctor. I'll call to check on you tomorrow." "Ask him when I should worry that I haven't been able to keep down food in five days." "You haven't been able to keep down food in that long?" "I told you that yesterday." "Well, you just need to get through this. I'll call tomorrow."
She didn't call. An amazing pediatrician from the kids' office did, because Paul had taken the girls in after a week of the flu, and she was extremely worried that I'd been sent home. But my OB's office never picked up the phone.
Paul wanted me to go back to the hospital. He told me I needed to go in every day. "But what would that do?" I'd sob. "They'll just send me home. My doctor's office sent me home. I'll get some obnoxious brand new resident who'll let me know I'm wasting their time coming in like last time. They say I just need to toughen up and get through it."
I asked him not to call the office. It wouldn't do any good. No one was listening.
The next day, midway through the day, the pain was through the roof. And this time it was unmistakable. I'd completed the antibiotics but the UTI was back. I couldn't keep food down. I'd been sick four times and knew I was getting dehydrated, but I had an OB's appointment in the morning. If I could just get in and see my doctor, who had up until this week been an amazing doctor, things would be okay.
That afternoon the nurse called back. She was much, much nicer and was almost apologetic. "You're seeing the doctor tomorrow?" she asked. I wondered how much that played into her new tone. I told her the UTI was back, that I was throwing up more than ever, but I thought I would be okay until morning.
I was wrong.
Limping down the hallway to my doctor's office I fought back tears. At the front desk I sobbed that I was there early, but it just hurt so much, I couldn't wait.
They immediately brought me back and within ten minutes my OB was telling me that I was going to go straight to triage to be checked into the Special OB unit. It seemed that the UTI had turned into a kidney infection and I'd need IV antibiotics for at least a couple of days. He also thought that in addition to the flu, I had a gastro virus that was going around town.
I limped across the Sky Walk and got lost trying to find my way to Labor and Delivery from the different entrance. A woman in scrubs saw me and rushed over and asked if I needed a wheel chair and then guided me to L&D triage, where I passed on the message that I was supposed to be admitted.
And I waited. And waited. A tough looking young man pacing the halls stopped and asked if I was sure I was okay. A very pregnant woman asked how far along I was, and admitted that she'd thought I was in labor because I was obviously in so much pain. A timely coughing fit brought the receptionist out and she brought me to the Special OB unit room herself, since they hadn't made their way over yet to get me, and an amazing nurse took over.
I should not be in that much pain, she said. We need to get it under control. After eight days of Tylenol and agony it was nice to hear.
|The photo I snapped while FaceTiming with them.|
I was extremely relieved when a different man appeared to transport me back to my room once the sonogram was over.
Back in the room the IV was started. Dilaudid began to numb the pain. When it came roaring back within an hour Norco was thrown in. In between restless naps I began to wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been admitted when I was. If I was in this much pain as the Norco and Dilaudid wore off, what would I have felt like without it?
Rocephin arrived in a little bag. The tiny bag of antibiotic would battle the infection.
A woman arrived to draw blood. "How many children do you have?" She asked. "This is number five? Why? Why? Why? Why?"
I was getting tired of that question. Extremely tired.
In the morning I could finally refuse the Dilaudid. By the second day of antibiotics the painkillers were no longer necessary.
|Still down about 5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight...|
hoping that changes soon.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
This time I was ready to go home. The panic that deep down something was still wrong was gone.
Once I was discharged it quickly became clear that being up and about wasn't quite the same as being in a hospital bed. I couldn't stand up for more than three minutes without feeling like someone was punching me in the kidneys. And driving anywhere, with the many, many potholes in Michigan roads, was pretty unpleasant.
But now, on Thursday, I'm starting to feel more like myself. We went to the park yesterday. I have an alarm set to tell me to take the antibiotic every six hours.
But I have to admit I have considerably less faith in both my doctor's office and Sparrow Hospital than I did two weeks ago. And I'm just praying we get through the rest of this pregnancy as uneventfully as possible. Because I have no faith that anyone will listen to me if something goes wrong.