Friday, December 21, 2012

Downward Spiral: Part 3


escalator at the end of a tunnel
Picture Credit

(During the Fall, my health was going in a downward spiral.  Start reading with Part 1 and Part 2.)

Thankfully, we got to the ER at the perfect time.  There was absolutely no one in the waiting room.  That never happens!  Within 25 minutes of being there I was in a room with an IV in my arm.  Rehydration!  Hallelujah!

But...I was still nauseous.  When they first put in the IV, they added Phenergen, which is a great anti-nausea drug.  But I was still nauseous.  So we tried Zofran, another ani-nausea drug.  But I was still nauseous.  So they gave me Phenergen again, then they tried Adivan.  And nothing was working.  By that time it was around noon.  I had been in the ER for 6 hours and had been sick for about 30 hours.  When you are sick for that long, it starts to feel like it will never stop.  I really thought I might be nauseous for the rest of my life.

At that point, the doctor decided that they needed to admit me for the night just to make sure that the nausea would go away.  Our fear (the doctor's and mine) was that if they discharged me, I would go home and this would just start again.

I got to my room around 3 PM and within 30 minutes, I knew that the pain medicine had finally left my body.  I was suddenly no longer nauseous and I was starting to be in a lot of pain.

In a hospital, you really only get to see the doctor about once a day and only when the doctor feels like coming.  The doctor had visited me in the ER at noon and was gone for the day.  And since nurses can't write prescriptions, there were no pain meds for me.  I had to rely on my best friend - ice.  And lots of it.

It was a very uneventful night in the hospital.  I got lot of fluids and a liquid diet.  My biggest issue was that I had an IV in the bend of my left arm and my right shoulder hurt so much I couldn't move it.  So getting a spoon to my mouth was interesting.  But I made it work.

Thankfully, I got to home after only one night in the hospital.

After my hospital stay, I found that I really had to take it easy.  I hadn't eaten for almost 3 days and had lost 6 pounds.  Tim and the kids took turns "babysitting" me.  He was not comfortable leaving me by myself for long.  I loved the thoughtfulness and attention they gave me.

That whole horrible week was followed by good news.  The MRI did not show a tear in my rotator cuff, so I did not need surgery.  While I was very happy about that, it's very hard to have someone say "We still don't know why you are in pain."

I took my diagnosis of "rotator cuff syndrome" to my physical therapist.  Found out that diagnosis really just means, "Your rotator cuff is inflamed and we don't know why but we'll give you some anti-inflammatory drugs and send you to PT and hope it gets better."  So kind of a non-diagnosis.

Throughout Oct, I worked with my PT and she did a great job of getting my arm moving again.  She recruited Tim and taught him how to stretch out my shoulder (he's a natural, by the way).  As of right now, my shoulder is not pain free, but it is so much better than it was.  I still take some anti-inflammatory meds but I am weaning off of them.  I also do stretches and strengthening exercises every day.  I feel like I'm improving all the time and have high hopes that my shoulder will be pain free soon.

Now comes the bad news.  The downward spiral was not done.

(More to continue later...)

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