Wednesday, October 17

Home from the Hospital, Hurray!

For those of you not in my world on a daily basis, I thought I'd better update and let you know what I've been up to. My last update stated I'd be starting my Romiplostim shots to treat ITP later that week.
Well, things got worse a little too early in the week to wait. We were on the phone off and on with my hematologist all day Tuesday, discussing the treatment and if I really had any option to wait or go with something other than Romiplostim, because I really didn't want to have to stop breastfeeding just cold turkey and without tapering down Victory's feeding schedule, or without either of us being ready, frankly! Once I'd worked through all of my questions, concerns and frustrations (have I mentioned I have a really patient, kind doctor? because it needs to be mentioned) I decided, ok, I will go ahead with that plan. During the last conversation with my doctor, it was my husband on the phone with him. I asked him to ask my doctor if he could put in a lab order to check my platelets. I was really not feeling well - just exhausted, weak, and like things were just not right in my body. He put in the order, we drove the fifteen minutes to the lab, I got my blood drawn (and received much more concern from the phlebotomist than the day before, apparently I looked a lot worse!), and we left the clinic and started driving the long way home down backroads, because the traffic for the Justin Beiber concert that night was making the freeway look like a mess and a long wait.
Within ten minutes of leaving the clinic, my doctor calls - my platelets are down to 3,000, critical in the medical world. Criticial meaning, you're not just looking out for bruises or even nosebleeds, but your brain could just start hemorrhaging at any point. Not great news. Doctors orders, I had to get to the hospital right away and be admitted through the ER, and start some treatment.

I was amazed thinking about how I almost didn't get my lab drawn. I'd made such a fuss that day that my doctor had said we could wait until Thursday to draw any more labs. Definitely a God thing that I felt funny and spoke up!

So we got home as fast as possible (which felt like it took FOREVER!), threw some things into bags, I grabbed the ripe bananas on the counter to take with us because I figured they'd be black and very scary by the time we got home - not knowing when that would be, and we drove away. Dropping Victory at the grandparents' house (by the way, I am so grateful for amazing parents that I can trust to keep my baby safe and well taken care of, and the fact that they live in the same area. Thanks Mom and Dad, you are a blessing!) we continued on to the hospital. Driving there, I got a headache, and when we were waiting in the ER for my room to become available, it got worse and worse. When they tell you that your brain could hemorrhage any time, a migraine out of the blue makes you a bit nervous. It stuck around actually for the next four days, and finally went away when a resident thought to give me something called Imitrex (not sure on the spelling of that) which is for treating migraines. That was quite a week of pain I never want to repeat!!

I am too tired still to get into all the details of my hospital stays (yep that's plural-part of the long story), but I'll do a quick bullet point list, leaving out a bunch of the medical details I'll try to share later:

  • Admitted to the hospital Tuesday night
  • Given oxycodone (on an empty stomach - blech) for the headache, Tues late evening - didn't help
  • Given tramadol for headache early morning Wednesday - didn't work
  • Had to wait for Zofran too long, and threw up from oxycodone and tramadol - headache still there
  • Nurses were so helpful and gathered sterile specimen containers and zipper top bags so I could pump milk, and they put it in the refrigerator so we could keep if for Victory. My doctor agreed to put off my shot one day so I could have more time to pump. That was really nice of them and meant a lot to me.
  • Two infusions of IVIG Privigen (intravenous immune globulin) Wednesday 3 am and 8 pm
  • Visit from my parents and sweet Victory Wednesday afternoon :)
  • Visit and dinner and magazines to read from wonderful friends Wednesday evening :)
  • Woke up and got sick, felt terrible, got everybody worried and wanting to keep me there more days - then felt much improved in the afternoon
  • First Romiplostim shot Thursday 1 pm
  • Convinced the doctors I was feeling better (I really was for a time) and got discharged Thursday around 4 pm
  • Driving home, that night, next day, next evening - resting and fighting the horrible headache and feeling miserable
  • Fever of 101 Thursday night and early Sat morning - went up to 102 point something then, and :sigh: I had to go back to the ER. Threw up at home as we were leaving - good thing I had a collection of pink buckets from the hospital stay 18 hours earlier!
  • Arrived at ER, amazing husband told them I'd just been there thru Thursday for low platelets, I am a liver transplant patient (always a big deal when you have a fever and are in the ER - they take it very seriously), and had a high fever and horrible migraine type headache. They took my temp and it was up to 103. 
  • I got an IV, they gave me a pain med called "Delottid" (spelling?), it helped headache, it wore off, they gave me more Delottid. In the meantime someone drew some blood for labs, I was taken for a head CT to look for brain bleeds, they put a mask on me because the doctor thought there was a very small chance I could have infectious meningitis, they gave me Tylenol in an untraditional manner to get the fever to go down, and they put in a catheter to get urine to test... and all I remember besides that is waking up every few hours, looking to my right and seeing Hubs leaning over the bed rail trying to sleep - or praying - I haven't asked him what he was doing. I just remember waking up, looking over, seeing that, and crashing again. Like something out of a movie I tell you! I have quite a colorful medical record, but I am not usually the girl creating a hectic scene in the ER. Interesting experience for me!
  • Turns out we were there waiting to be admitted, for 11 and a half hours. Have I mentioned that my husband is a saint? He is the most incredible man I know, dealing with all of my nonsense health issues, and all the ramifications of those - financial and otherwise - and the guy never complains. He is a saint, and I am blessed.
  • Somewhere around 4 pm I was taken to my room - woke up enough to walk from the ER stretcher to the bed (four steps or so). Went back to sleep, woke up at dusk. Fell back asleep. Turns out that the anti-nausea med they were giving me with the Delottid is very sedating, creating that 24+ hour blur I have. All that sleeping + high fever = a crazy damp bed, let me tell you!
  • Saturday around 7:30 pm a neurologist came in to my room and said they wanted to get some spinal fluid to look for meningitis - because of the ongoing headache, high fever, and nausea. Translation: spinal tap! Another one for the medical bucket list! It wasn't that bad.
  • I think it was Sunday morning, a resident suggested I get that migraine med, and I tried it and PTL, my headache left, finally!!! I got another dose of that when it tried to sneak back, and it worked and kept it away - and it hasn't been back since!
  • Sunday I don't remember a whole lot, except kicking my hubs out to go to church and get some encouragement, which he did. Turned out he got a LOT of encouragement, hugs, prayers, LOVE! We have an amazing church!
  • Sunday afternoon friends came to visit after church - more friends came - family and sweet Victory came - then everyone was gone.
  • Sometime in there they came back with a report from my spinal tap that there were white blood cells in the fluid, which is called "aseptic meningitis - inflammation of the meninges." Also, we learned that the IVIG I got infusions of the previous stay can cause something called "chemical meningitis." 
  • They had started IV antibiotics late Saturday night I think, and continued them late Sunday night/Monday morning.
  • Monday all the doctors that had been following me came through and gave their OK that I could go home, as my fever was gone, headache was gone, nothing was coming back on my spinal tap, and I was feeling much better in general.
  • The doctors concluded that my symptoms that brought me back to the hospital were either a reaction to the IVIG or Romiplostim, just a severe reaction not usually seen especially when only 5% of people react at all (agh, why do I always have to be the small percentage on the negative side of things? LoL), the chemical meningitis from one of those, or an enterovirus (stomach bug/flu). No real answer, they said, but those are their guesses. The spinal fluid cultures are still cooking, and they told me they will call if something shows up, and I need to come back in the get IV antibiotics. So far so good :)
  • We left about 6 pm Monday, and I was feeling so good! Since then I've probably done more than I should (I have a difficult time sitting still, I want to DO things always!) which is probably why I feel weak and tired often. But I am feeling good, my platelets were at 32,000 Monday morning, the only bad thing is that my white blood cell count is now at a point where they get really concerned, and I have to be extra cautious of sick people and going out because an infection would be a bad thing to get right now. They have no idea why my white cell count is so low, so if you like, pray with us that they can figure that one out and find a simple solution.

Five nights and six days, and my husband hardly left my side. I am thankful that his employer and managers are understanding and concerned, and never make him feel pressure to be at work when he simply cannot because of my health issues.
I pray that God provides the resource that we won't have because of this last week of missing work, and provides for the bills that are on their way. Only He knows how we'll get this paid for. I even pray that somehow we'll still be able to take a family trip this year. We had just started planning a road trip to the old west, Yellowstone Park, Mt Rushmore, and many other fun and historical places, and I hope we can still do it. Six years and one vacation is not enough, especially for a family that lives with the kind of pressure we that is there, from my ongoing challenges.

Thank you to my church family, friends, relatives, and blogging pals near and far that have been praying and cooking meals, doing laundry, offering to babysit, and some have even sent cards and given resources to us that are so helpful in this time. It means the world to my little family that we aren't alone in this fight, and so many others are believing for my total healing. Thank you! I can't wait until that happens and we can all celebrate together! Xoxo