If you're just tuning in, check out Part I and Part II before reading this.
After 17 hours in the ED, at around 8:30pm, I finally got assigned a room on the transplant floor, 7800.
By morning on Feb 1st, I was actually feeling a bit better after fluids and my first doses of antibiotics and Tamiflu in the ED. I had a fever that morning but then it let up for most of the rest of the day. I was still having intermittent nausea but they give me meds to help with that. I still had a fever. The pain in my lung is a little better, but I feel like I'm wheezing and have a productive cough. Back pain is still an issue.
I'm anxious to hear about any results from my bronch when the doctor rounds. Fortunately there isn't much to report. The bronch went smoothly and there wasn't much remarkable to see. My right bronchus has a narrowing in it - this is just the way this pair of lungs came to me - and the pneumonia has settled in my middle lobe comfortably underneath that. It's also infiltrated the plural lining of my lungs though we don't know the extent. We will have to wait a few days to get back any results from the bronch.
In the meantime, my original sputum sample has come back with an overgrowth of staph. With that information, we continue on with the antibiotics I was already on. I spend the first part of the day sleeping on and off. I wasn't hungry but forced myself to eat at each meal - protein, if possible, and fruits and vegetables. (My first tray contained an honest-to-god unidentifiable meat source that I forced myself to eat, along with green beans and potatoes.)
Todd came to visit in the afternoon and I changed from PJs to pants and walked down to Starbucks and the cafeteria for coffee and a snack. I didn't realize it at the time, but these heroics of making myself walk and eat were the result of something inside of me that saw dormancy as the enemy: A belief that to be still, to become passive, to do nothing would lead only to the ground floor, not the exit door.
That night, I again did not sleep well. My fever came on in the evening and worsened over night. My back hurts up and down, not just the usual low back pain, and is not at all helped by the amount of time I'm spending in bed. Along with my head hurting, my neck was sore and my lung pain bothered me more and less - worse when I slept on my right side or when I coughed a lot. Or when I haven't been coughing and then I need to, as when I first wake up.
In addition to fevered sleep, pain, and overall feeling awfulness that first night in my room, I also had an episode of phantom itching on my upper chest. This is old transplant nerve pain that happens from time to time. I was a sweaty mess, tossing and turning in pain trying to get comfortable and on top of that my chest was itching almost to the point of making me insane.
When the itching happens at home, I have a pill that I take. But since this happened in the middle of the night at the hospital and the once-in-a-while medicine I use was not on my med list, all the night doctor was willing to do was prescribe me strong hydro-cortisone ointment - showing a complete lack of understanding about the cause of the issue - which the nurse then spread on generously. It didn't do a bit of good as a medicine, but it was so gross and goopy that it did eventually get me to stop physically itching, which did probably help.
The night nurse I had my second night, and then again my third, was an angel. Never before have I rang my call bell so many times during the night with so many continuing and new problems. Is it time for this? Can I have some of THAT?? She brought me heat for my back when the pain meds weren't working, cool packs for my head when my fever was raging, she paged the docs to see what more we could do when options seemed exhausted. I've never had a more caring, sympathetic nurse willing to keep trying things to help. She was amazing and I made sure every body knew it.
On my second full day in the hospital, I had a Hickman line placed. A Hickman is a type of central catheter similar to a PICC line except that instead of being placed in the arm, it is placed in a large vein near the heart. This was my first time having a Hickman, which overall seems to carry fewer risks and restrictions than a PICC line. (Actually, they are kind of amazing and I've become a big fan.) The Hickman was placed in preparation for going home on IVs. It was Friday and I'd hoped that I would be able to go home sometime that weekend.
But Saturday and Sunday had other plans in store for me.