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Last but not yeast

I was looking forward to my first full work week without doctor appointments, adjusted schedules or implanted medical devices. Well, I’m never looking forward to work, but if I have to go, I want to be able to just deal with work on my normal schedule without all the other bells and whistles.

The phrase wishful thinking comes to mind.

As I was pulling into the parking garage adjacent to my work building, yesterday morning, around 6:40 am, a man was standing there with jumper cables and practically blocked my car from moving to ask me if I would please give him a jump. I blurted out "Sure" before I allowed my logical brain to suss out the logic and risk of the situation.
(Take note: my default answer is "yes" when I speak before I think.)
His car was parked on the third level and he would meet me up there.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve fantasized many a time about men in dark, deserted garages asking me to follow them to a deserted area and "jump" them but, in reality, it’s kind of an awkward and possibly scary scenario: meeting a stranger on the third level of an empty parking garage at 6:40am in the morning, with no one else around. My "Good Samaritan" voice was battling it out with my "Everyone’s a psycho killer" voice as I slowly drove up to the third level. He was there, car door and hood ajar, jumper cables in hand. I considered driving away, but I just couldn’t imagine leaving this poor guy stranded there, despite my apprehension.

Fortunately, he knew what to do (because, to be honest, I have no freakin’ idea how to do the whole car jump thing, beyond a vague understanding that it involves connecting the cables to our batteries) and got right to it. I stayed in my car, popped the hood, and let him connect the cables. Then he got in his car, I started my car and he attempted to start his. No luck. I got a little nervous as the paranoid part of me thought "This is not working and I’ll get stuck here, late for work while he refuses to give up trying; or, he’ll ask me to give him a ride somewhere or want to borrow money to get somewhere;or, he’ll kill me and steal my backpack with my favorite chap stick and thoughtfully packed lunch."

Fortunately, before I lost my nerve and sped away or started crying and begging him not to gut me like a fish, he got out and adjusted the cables, gave it another try and his car started right up. He removed the cables, closed my hood, gave me a wave, a smile and a "Thanks bud" and drove away. Not even a good-bye kiss or a hand job. What an ungrateful user. *Smirk* I was relieved he was on the up and up, and that I was able to help him.

Once I was parked, in the building and safely in my worker bee cubby, the next adventure of the day started: a call to my doctor’s office to arrange an appointment to get some…symptoms… checked out. Symptoms I could only assume were side effects from the intense antibiotics I was on for almost 2 weeks, but which had not abated at all over the weekend, almost 72 hours antibiotic free, and had, in fact, gotten a bit worse. As luck would have it, he could see me at 12:30 yesterday, so I sacrificed yet another lunch break to head to yet another appointment, to have yet another health issue evaluated and treated. (Actually, I was quite grateful to be seen so quickly, so yay for that!)

Once I was in the exam room, my Doc in front of me, my symptoms related to him, and my pants around my knees, Doc immediately informed me what my latest ailment was: a yeast infection. Yep! My mouth was dry and soar and my man bits were red as strawberries (and itchy as hell) because the antibiotics left me susceptible to an imbalance of the naturally occurring fungus that normally lays dormant in our bodies when all things are balanced. As you may have come to realize, my body chemistry and internal workings, on the best of days, hardly resembles "balanced" as it is, so anything that impacts it negatively is sure to impact it in the worst possible way.

Like my earlier scenario, I have also fantasized about dropping my pants to show my handsome gay doctor my good stuff and discovering just how familiar he truly is with the human body, but it was far less sexy when I looked like a baboon’s ass between my legs.
I had considered asking him to remind me what a healthy groin area looks like, for comparison, by showing me his fun bits, but I decided against it.

I guess I just have a thing for handsome doctors (*wink wink nudge nudge – you know who you are!*)

Doc gave me a bunch of probiotics to take to get my system back on track, then prescribed me two more meds and a medicated cream to use to banish the overactive fungus. Hubby picked it all up for me on his way home (our pharmacy is practically next door to his workplace) and we had a good laugh at the fact that one of the meds is covered with images of women and states it is used for the treatment of yeast infections in women with several references to the vagina. (Is my doctor trying to tell me something?) If I actually had an uncomfortable vagina, I would be WAY more concerned than I already was.

Anyhoo, this morning there was a marked improvement already and I am relieved to be treating this latest assault on my anatomy. I am looking forward to my first full day of work, with a lunch break that involves trolling the Internet on my iPad while sipping low sodium V-8 as opposed to heading off to deal with another medical issue.

It’s the little things in life, my friends.

It’s beginning to look a lot like summer

Still reveling in my newfound freedom from medical devices and procedures, we took advantage of the nice weather to start putting our porch and patio together for the summer. Furniture was cleaned and put out, patio was swept, grill was moved…all is ready for things to get green and cocktails to start flowing.

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Hubby making sure the furniture still works….

 

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Back to life

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It was great to get up and not start the day with an infusion. Instead, I had coffee, read comics, and snuggled with the canine kids.

I’m pretty tired, still, but managed to spray paint a stand I bought from a friend, and do a little housework before crashing and napping.

After my nap, we headed out to do some errands and grocery/pet supply shopping.

We’re having dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant (Panchos) and enjoying some Sangria before heading home to watch a movie and get to bed early.

It’s nice to have my relatively normal life back.

PICC-ed last

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I started my last antibiotic infusion this morning at 5:00am and finished at 6:00am.

As of 10:00am this morning, I was stent free.

As of 1:55pm this afternoon, I was PICC free.

There will be much reveling at Breen Acres this weekend!

Beats the health out of me

The end appears to be near. The end of my current predicament, that is.

The original “end date” for my infusions and PICC line was today. In order for the infusions to stop and the PICC line to come out, my urological surgeon had to remove the stent he placed in me after surgery. The last time I had this surgery, in February, my follow-up appointment for removing my stent was scheduled before I even left the hospital and it was out the next week. This time around, it was not.

After three calls to my surgeons office, over the last 5 days, my surgeon’s nurse finally called me back this morning and gave me some shocking news: she hadn’t called me back to set my appointment because my surgeon was on vacation this week, unbeknownst to me, and could not remove my stent until next week.

I was flabbergasted. I was never told that my surgeon would be on vacation the week after my surgery. Had I known that, I would not have had surgery last week. Given my medical history, I prefer my doctors be around after my procedures. The surgery I am having in June I could have had in May, but for the fact that my surgeon would have been out of town the week after my surgery…no way. Doctors have every right to go on vacation. But I think it was very poor form for me not to have been informed about my surgeon’s vacation plans before my surgery was scheduled, knowing I would need a follow-up appointment and stint removal the week after.

In and of itself, having the stint an extra week would have been no big deal; however, because of my past infection, the Infectious Disease Doctor would not give the order for me to stop the intravenous antibiotics infusions while the stent was still in. And as long as I have to continue my infusions, the PICC line stays in. (Which, by the way, is not pain free and non-movement restrictive as I was originally told it would be)

Another 7 days of 1 hour infusions, thrice a day. Another 7 days of wrapping my arm in saran wrap to shower. Another 7 days of staying up 3 hours later than my normal bed time and getting up a half hour earlier every morning to meet my infusion schedule (translation: another 7 days of exhaustion). Another 7 days of asking for special accommodations at work to make it home in time for my infusions. Another couple of visits from strangers in my home to check up on my supplies and take my vitals. All because I couldn’t get the stent removed. Not because I have a current infection. Not because I need another 7 days of antibiotics. Not because there is any medical necessity for me to wait another week. Simply put: my surgeon is away and can’t remove the stent until he returns.

So I explained all of this to the nurse and pleaded with her to arrange for another doctor in the practice to remove my stint or give me more options. I told her it was unacceptable that I had to wait another week, and go through all of this, and that I was never informed of my surgeon’s vacation plans. She basically gave me the official “tough luck fella” speech and scheduled my stint removal for the first available appointment: next Thursday.

I am not a fan of confrontation. I try to cooperate with my health care providers and accept that there are limitations with schedules, that there are other patients in need, and sometimes there are more pressing concerns than mine. But I have been a continuous chronically-ill patient for over 15 years, and endured my fair share of procedures, surgeries, medicines, treatments, appointments and all that goes with that. I am currently in-between surgeries, and I need every ounce of treatment-free time I can get to prepare for the next procedure. I was not OK with having to go another whole week with all of this in me. So I started making calls. I called my PCP and explained to his nurse what was going on and asked for help. I called the Home Infusion Nurse I was working with and explained to her what was going on and asked for her help. I called the Infectious Disease doctor and explained to her nurse what was going on.  I made it clear I was desperate to have this resolved asap, that the PICC line and Infusions were having a negative impact on me physically, emotionally and professionally, and I did not want to be forced to endure it another week for no legitimate medical reason.  I have never so aggressively fought for something like this before,  but enough is enough. I’m a  good patient. I play along and I try to always be polite, understanding and compliant, no matter how miserable or depressed I get during whatever health issue I’m enduring. But I just could not accept this.

Apparently, I got through to someone somewhere somehow. This afternoon, I was contacted by my surgeons office, and I now have an appointment for tomorrow at 9:30 AM to have the stent removed. As soon as I got off the phone with the surgeon’s office, I contacted the Infectious Disease Specialist and the Visiting Nurse to arrange my PICC line removal tomorrow afternoon.

So, one more late night infusion tonight, one more early morning infusion tomorrow, one more saran wrap shower, then stint removal in the morning, and PICC line removal in the afternoon, and I will finally be free from this latest health debacle.

I am reservedly relieved and excited, but won’t really be able to celebrate until all is said and done and all goes as scheduled tomorrow.

And by celebrate, I mean take a long hot, saran wrap free shower and sleep the entire weekend.

And maybe have a Cosmo or two.

The Winter of our Discontent

After several days of sunny and warm temps in the 70s, we got hit with rain, hail, sleet and snow last night and this is what I woke up to this morning:

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I was informed yesterday that I may be on the PICC line and thrice a day antibiotics for another week until my Urological Surgeon can schedule a time to remove the stint from my urethra, (placed, post surgery, to ensure proper drainage) which has to be done before my Infectious Disease specialist will take me off the antibiotics. This weather may well be an outward expression of my emotional state.

Infusion Buddies

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Every morning, the “kids” settle into my lap while I get my hour infusion. This is us this morning. I may look miserable in this picture (unintentional…I’m just really tired) but they clearly love the extra lap time.

It’s a small silver lining, but I’ll take what I can get.

Zombie Jamboree

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After not getting any quality sleep in the hospital for 4 days, I started an infusion schedule that has robbed me of about 3-4 hours of sleep a day. This is having a cumulative effect on me, and I am sleepwalking my way through the day and night. Unfortunately, I’m just going to have to deal until all of this comes to an end at the end of the week…if I survive that long.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Catsup

If you remember, I came home Thursday from the hospital with my PICC line intact and directions to continue infusions 3 times a day. This has required us to stay up way later than normal, and get up even earlier than ususal, which is really adding to my ongoing exhaustion. I attempted to go to work Friday, but after an hour and a half there, it was apparent that was a mistake and my boss and co-workers adamantly insisted I return home, which I did. I asked my Mom to come help me with my afternoon infusion, so Jeffrey could get a full day in at work, which she did; unfortunately, she let Harvey out the front door when she was leaving so, in a panic, I managed to get my infusion line detached so i could chase him. I managed to get him back inside, heart pounding in both of us, and Mom hooked me back up to the IV before leaving, but it wouldn’t flow, so I had to call Jeffrey and ask him to come home early, anyway, and help me get things flowing. Never a dull moment….

Anyhoo, Saturday was a good day. I got myself showered and purdied up (I have to wrap my arm in Saran Wrap when I shower, too keep it dry) then headed out with Jeffrey to run some errands. (Lowes, Target & my Comic Shop) It was a beautiful day and it was great to be out in the sun and fresh air, but, by the time we got home, I was totally spent. Ragardless, I still managed to help Jeffrey with a few chores when we got home before crashing for the evening.

Today, I felt the cumulative effects of yesterday and spent the day resting and catching up on blogs and comic book reading. We also watched “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

My mood is generally better, although I am totally over the PICC line and Infusions and schedule I have to keep. Allegedly, my last infusions are, and my PICC comes out on, Thursday. I hope that happens. I’d like full use of my arm again, and I really want to be able to go to bed at a decent hour again.

And, Zeus knows, I could use a cocktail.

I wanted to give a special shout out to Ann Marie and Java & Superman for the thoughtful cards, as well as the texts, e-mails and comments from all of you wishing me a speedy recovery and reminding me I have a wealth of support and love out there in bloggerland. It means a lot. I saw this comic and thought of all the great people in my life, so I share it with you as a “Thanks” for being my “cheerup”

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Please release me, let me go

I finally got discharged from the hospital today just after noon…2 days later than planned. Although the surgery went well, I immediately experienced a fever, low blood pressure and elevated heart rate that lasted through Monday into Tuesday am, so they kept me Tuesday into Wednesday to give everything a chance to return to normal, which they did by Tuesday night. Why they kept me all day Wednesday and overnight again into Thursday was never clearly explained, although a few different reasons were volleyed at me from several of the umpteen people “involved” with my treatment and care. It was a very unpleasant and frustrating experience and really soured me to the hospital I had heretofore praised.

Unfortunately, I still have an infection so the PICC line stays in at least until the 17th, and I have gone from one 30 minute infusion a day to three 60 minute infusions a day, which must be done every 8 hours. It’ll be fun trying to work that around an 8 hour work day with a 50 minute drive both ways.

Also, I hoped for at least one if not two full days at home to rest and recover, but because I was kept in the hospital two extra days, I only get tonight at home and I’m back to work tomorrow, since I have now used up every minute of time I had left and can’t take one more day. Fun.

My last gay nerve has been shredded. I’m bitter, I’m incensed, I’m still em-PICC-ted, and I’m seriously questioning where I’m going to find the will-power to go back in the hospital in June for my third and final surgery after this latest experience.

But I’m also relieved to be home again, even if only for a little while.

And so it goes…