Latest Hospital Update

First, a picture of a sweet puppy

For those who don’t want to see PICC lines and such.

If you aren’t up to date, check out these posts first, in order.

Views From the Hospital
More Views From the Hospital
You Know You’re a Geek When…
The Strangeness of Being Half-connected to the Internet
Latest Hospital Update
Drug Users Pay For This?

Saturday Aug 18

Got my PICC line put in.

It’s connected to my upper arm and is a mid-point step between an IV and port (like Susan has) and can be kept in for months if needed.  It goes directly into an artery with a catheter that goes up my arm and into my chest.  I haven’t seen the x-rays that were taken after the tech put it in so can’t say exactly where it stops. Hopefully the line will only need to be kept in for a week or two.  We’ll see.  More details if I have to keep it much longer.

The pad on the right contains anti-bacterial agents which means the dressing only needs to be changed once a week.

That white tube going into the pad?  Yep, that’s going into my arm.

Sunday Aug 19

This is a view of the area where my 2nd IV was.  The tech wanted to make sure the gauze over the hole stayed in place but didn’t want to use tape. My night tech took out the wrist IV and I felt bad since she had to hurt me a fair amount to get the tape off my arm hair.  I ended up sweating from the pain and now have a few bare spots on my wrist.  It was my fault since I’d added extra tape to make sure the line didn’t get pulled out while I slept.  I knew what the consequences would be.

I consoled myself with a cupcake for dessert before bedtime.

Monday Aug 20

There’s this thing in the ceiling which appears to have a lens and does have an LED that blinks sometimes.  I’m told it’s a sensor that sets off a light showing when a nurse is in the room.  Still looks like a camera.

Got cat scanned early in the day so the doctor could see if there had been any improvement.  Didn’t find out the results until this evening.

Went for a short walk and went across the 2nd floor hallway that connects the two buildings.

Hallway was kind of picturesque but the view wasn’t all that great today.

Found out from my ID doctor (I have three doctors watching my case now, Ear Nose & Throat, Infectious Diseases and Neurology.) that I’ll go to another office after I get out of the hospital, to get trained on how to use the PICC and load up the antibiotic balls.  I won’t have a pump like I have in hospital but will rather have pressurized balls that contain the antibiotics.  Apparently you just hook them up an they deflate, pushing the liquid into be artery.  I’ll have to see if Susan can quickly knit a parrot that I can put the balls in and put them on my shoulder.

My ENT/surgeon came by in the early evening to let me know how the scan looked and what the plan would be.  Unfortunately he didn’t see any real improvement so surgery became the next step with the plan to continue the antibiotics for several days, clean the ear out externally on Wednesday and open me up on Friday.

Why Friday?  As the doctor puts it, he wants the area as calm as possible before he goes in so that his job is easier.  This is a sensitive operation (there are major facial nerves in the area where he’ll be working) so he wants as few complications as possible going in.  This means a continuing regimen of IV antibiotics before then and an external cleaning mid-week.  Recovery of at least the weekend but I’m not going to plan on that minimum.  There’s a veritable flowchart of possibilities for what he’ll need to do once he opens me up so how long the surgery and recovery will last is a complete unknown

I felt good enough in the evening to do a bit of work so broke out the work laptop and tested VPN.  It kind of works here but getting connected is difficult.  Once that’s done things work OK most of the time.

Ran through and replied to email before deciding dinner was in order. Since I was feeling somewhat better I decided to try the fajitas.  They were much better than I expected.  This was to be my last solid meal for a couple of days.

Tuesday Aug 21

Most of this day was a complete loss.  I couldn’t move my head without a large wave of dizziness overcoming me and spent most of the day in bed.  Thought a breakfast of balance bar and banana was in order but ended up losing that after lunchtime.  The rest of the day I spent in bed sipping broth every once in a while.

By the evening I was feeling a little better but only just enough to send out a few emails letting people know how I was doing before very gently falling back into bed.

Wednesday Aug 22

This day was a little better.  I was still on a mostly brothy diet but Susan managed to get some grape juice into me and some mashed potatoes stayed down.  Susan also got me up and about, walking around the floor a few times.  I did OK holding onto her hand on one side, the Trans-Pal on the other and looking only at the floor as I shuffled around like a 100 year-old man.  Any fast head or eye movements sent the world spinning.

I was better late afternoon as long as I continued to limit head and eye motion.  I spent a few hours curled up in a chair in the sun.  Felt good.

I had a better dinner of grilled chicken and mashed potatoes.  Ate about half of it and kept it down.  Slept well except when the nurse and tech came by in the night to change drugs and take my vitals.

Thursday Aug 23

Still dizzy but managed to take a shower without using the chair.  Shower, gooood.

Also ordered a larger breakfast since I felt better.  Breakfast burrito containing egg, cheese and flank steak with a side of toast an low-sodium V8.  Yum.

Add in a heaping of Bill Cosby and I’m feeling much better.  Still have to be careful about head and eye movement making me dizzy but I can use a computer as long as I don’t have to think too hard.

Today should be fairly quiet with a few visits.  I’m supposed to be undisturbed after midnight so I’ll be better rested for the surgery tomorrow morning.

I don’t expect to feel up to posting anything tomorrow so don’t expect anything from me unless it’s a short text or Facebook status.

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Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

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