It was dark outside when I was finally wheeled up to my hospital room. After a whirlwind day, I felt like I could finally exhale. My mom brought my littlest baby over to the hospital so I could nurse her. Having an exclusively breastfed child while being in the hospital was going to be difficult for all of us. My husband left and had returned after midnight with clothes, toiletries, and pumping supplies. One of my nurses brought me a cold turkey sandwich and some snacks (I hadn’t eaten all day.)
At this time I was given antibiotics intravenously. It was assumed by the doctor that this inflammation was likely caused by an infection. “Okay.” I thought, “Let’s kick this thing.” Fortunately, I was familiar with this particular antibiotic after being prescribed it for mastitis 2 years prior and knew it was nursing safe.
Through tears I did my best to settle into the unfamiliar bed for the night. Alone and nervous, missing my babies, I wanted nothing more than to be home where I belonged. This place was hopeful to offer me answers, but did little to ease an aching heart. Each of my nurses were also mothers themselves and understood. Though my girls and I were well taken care of, our necessary separation was difficult.
The following day I was surprised and confused when I was pulled off of the antibiotics. Further bloodwork ruled out an infection. Priority number one for that day was to get me ready for a colonoscopy and endoscopy.
Let me tell you how thrilled I was to be able to scratch that off my bucket list. Not.
Sometime that day I met with a gastroenterologist. We’ll call him Dr. A. Dr. A was calm. He told me the procedure would be scheduled for the following day as soon as possible, and after that I could go home. I spent the rest of the day pumping milk for my 3 month old and fasting/preparing for the procedure.
In the morning, I was exhausted. I was eager to get things underway so I could finally go home. Unfortunately, the unpredictability of the hospital schedule delayed my procedure until late afternoon when I was finally wheeled downstairs for the procedure. The nurse taking care of me was peppy and positive. I suppose she’d have to be considering she worked with patients getting ready to have their insides scoped. She chattered on and on about how all the nurses call Dr. A “Mr. Tall, dark, & handsome.” I did not care if he were plump, pale, & homely. Dr. A was a gut doctor, and I just needed mine fixed.
The nurse stretched a flimsy cap over my head and wrapped me in warm blankets before I was wheeled into a large sterile room. Everyone there was also clad in similar flimsy hair caps, in addition to their stiff protective clothing and plastic safety glasses. I hardly recognized Dr. A off in the corner sitting at a computer screen. As I laid under the bright lights, a nurse strapped a mask over my nose and mouth. She began counting “1…2…3…4…5…6…” and everything went black.
When I came to some level of consciousness, everything was fuzzy. I could hardly open my eyes, let alone focus on anything. I am certain I asked questions, but I don’t remember anything except for apologizing to the nurses who were helping get me back upstairs to my room because of the “after effects” of having a scope done.
If that wasn’t humbling, I didn’t know what was. I figured if the worst thing I remember about having a colonoscopy is passing gas afterward, then I’d take that.
Now when I say I don’t remember anything but these few details I mean it. During this time I got dressed, was discharged, wheeled down to the lobby, put in a car with my husband, and he drove me back to his parents house where he and the girls had been staying. The only thing I remember out of all of that is leaning my forehead against the cool window as we drove down the expressway in the darkness. Apparently, after getting inside my in-laws house I made my way back to their guest bedroom and slept until noon the following day.
While we were still at my in-laws house, Brian went shopping for the specific type of food I had to start eating, and picked up the prescriptions my doctor discharged me with. I quickly regained my strength and started to pick up where we left off with life. We eventually moved ourselves out of my in-laws house and made it back to ours.
I was ordered to eat a low-fat diet. Foods like low-fat soups and lunch-meat made their way into our home. Low-fat graham crackers and the fruit I could tolerate. I also was given 40mg of prednisone to take daily. Prednisone is a steroid that reduces inflammation in the body. It began to work quickly for me. I was also instructed to take an acid reducer because Dr. A. thought that high stomach acid was contributing to some of the pain I was experiencing. I was beginning to believe that all I needed was this medication to calm the inflammation, and some diet changes to allow my body to heal and get things back to normal.
A couple of days after my discharge, I was laying in bed nursing my baby. I noticed an extremely painful spot on my left upper-arm. I examined it in the light and saw a large red splotch, hot to the touch. Exasperated, I located my discharge papers and called the nurses line. I was instructed to draw a line around the red splotch and head back to the emergency room. “Here we go again” I thought.