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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What A Month (part 4)

Day 7, Friday

I'd never had Lasix before. It worked really well. Within a couple of hours I was able to breath easier. The fluid build up around my gut had started to abate. This was a good thing. But then my labs came back.

My nurse came in and said that because I had been retaining fluid I my body had diluted its potassium. I'm not sure I believe that explanation. If that were true wouldn't all my electrolytes be diluted? Not that it mattered. They wanted to get my numbers up so I was given IV potassium. Another problem was that the Lasix was causing me to pee off the potassium in my body.

Because I was going to need labs drawn quite a bit my RN suggested a PICC line. This is basically an IV started in the upper arm (under the bicep) but the catheter is inserted to just before the right atrium. There are 3 different lumens allowing multiple fluids or medications to be administered and one line allows for blood draws. This kept me from having to be stuck every time labs were needed.

A specially trained RN came in for the procedure. She explained what she was going to do and then started preparing. Because of where the catheter is placed it is a sterile procedure. She draped me with a sterile sheet and prepped the area. During the insertion I wasn't allowed to look at the area. When I asked why I wasn't she informed me it was because I might breath germs onto the wound. So I asked if I could watch as long as I held my breath. She let me. Within a few minutes I had the PICC line in place. An x-ray tech came buy and confirmed that the placement was good. Every day after that the PICC RN would visit me and check on her line.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur, mostly because there wasn't much to distinguish it from other days. They just kind of meld together. I still wasn't sleeping well. Every night I was getting a fever and then breaking it causing me to sweat everywhere. Mostly I hurt and was miserable. I couldn't get comfortable.

The biggest thing was the ability to breath easier.

That night my wife left my side and went up to labor and delivery. The baby had been having moments where his heart rate would drop so they wanted her to stay the night. I told her that if she had the kid I'd hobble my way up there.

Day 8, Saturday

I was still being treated with the Lasix and the Potassium. My nurse, frustrated with my continuing low lab levels, asked if I'd be willing take some Potassium by mouth. It comes in about an ounce of fluid. It's super salty and nasty. At first they were going to dilute it in orange juice but I decided that was a bad idea. That would make it so I had to drink several ounces of bad tasting medicine. Instead I slammed the medication and then used the orange juice as a chaser.

All day we alternated between checking my blood for potassium and me drinking it. Talk about a bad day.

That evening, just after shift change, my RN looked in before making a lot of noise and noticed I was asleep. She let me sleep and came back 2 hours later. Such a great nurse! That night I was feeling better than I had for a week but that's not saying much. I decided to take myself off of the oxygen to see if I would de-sat. I didn't. I also stopped taking my pain medication. Not because I wasn't in pain but because I don't like the way it makes me feel. At that point I'd rather deal with the pain than the side effects.

Day 9, Sunday

By this point I was tired of being in the hospital. Sunday was much like Saturday with the RN constantly checking my potassium levels and giving more of the stuff. I was also to the point where I would try to stay off of the telemetry as much as possible. It's a real pain to have all those cables, cannula, and IV tubing connected to you all the time.

That afternoon the doc came by. He asked me how I was doing so I told him I wanted to go home. I listed the ways in which I had improved. He agreed that me wanting to go home was a good sign but he still had some concerns. We talked about the fact that I had a kid on the way....soon. Finally he agreed. He told me that since I knew what complications to keep an eye out for that he was willing to send me home but that I had to come back immediately if something was amiss. I reassured him with a joke that I was just going to be upstairs in L&D.

By 1930 I was home. It had taken them more than an hour to finish all of the paperwork and get everything else ready to send me home. Once at home I realized that my bed was not comfortable at all in my current condition. Still, it was good to be home.

Day 10, Monday

Monday morning my wife and I went back to the hospital. This time for her. She had a non stress test done to check on the baby. All was relatively well so they sent us home. The rest of the day was spent napping, at least by me.

Day 11, Tuesday

Again we packed up and headed to the hospital. Instead of a test they were going to induce labor. You can read more about the entire experience and see some cute pictures of the baby on my wife's blog.

Needles to say we were thrilled that that month is over.

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