This morning, as I watched the nurse push a large dose of pain medication into my IV, I turned my head away and closed my eyes. I had reached my limit. The last two days were pure torture. I spent the day holding onto that hospital blue bucket - vomiting air and bile. My abdominal pain increasing with every heave. I have been here for seven long days. I have been away from my husband and my children. I miss my boys and my bed and my health. The doctor told me yesterday there is no end in sight at the moment - I could be better in a day or I could be better in a week. With this disease, there are no predictions. Unfortunately, this bug ravaged through my body and I was, as he put it, in bad shape.
For the first few days (was it? It's all a fog.) I was able to write my blog from my phone's key pad. I wasn't able to access Blogger from either my laptop or my iPad. Of course I wasn't. Why make something easy for me during a terribly difficult time, right? But two days ago - I couldn't even focus my eyes to do much at all. I spent most of the day with my head in that blue bucket - or with a wet hospital rag covering my face. Not even the pull of readers reaching out to me could get me to type on those miniscule little keys. I'm glad that so many of you found me on Facebook to get updates - but I apologize that even there there weren't many.
This morning, with my eyes closed, I decided to give in. To do everything it took to get home to my children. I slept until I heard a voice calling my name. My eyes focused on the clock - it was close to noon. I had been dreaming drug induced dreams - Alice in Wonderland dreams - I was happy to be down the rabbit hole for that time because it meant I wasn't feeling the abdominal pain. I turned my head and saw the face attached to the voice. It was the wonderful Indian born doctor that has been carefully and thoroughly taking care of me since I arrived. We went through the usual conversation we had each day - "How are you feeling? Is the pain any better? You have lost about 9 pounds to date, I have been told. Can I examine your belly?"
Except today was a little different. When he pressed on my belly to see how much pain he could evoke, I burst into tears. He pulled his hands back in shock - "Are you okay? Did the pain get worse?" He was used to me wincing and sometimes crying out in pain... and we had just gotten over my instinctive sucker punch that one day (just kidding)... but this was different. I was done. I just sobbed and he put his hand on my knee and waited.
"I want to go home. I need to go home. I have been away from my children for far too long. Doctor, please. I need to go home to my children."
And then... after seven days... I heard: "You can go home."
I looked back at the clock. I wanted to be sure it had moved since I checked it last. To be sure I wasn't still in that rabbit hole. I looked back at the doctor and said "How? Really? Are you sure?"
He told me I am no longer contagious really. The way someone in my house would get it is to come in contact with my stool and then ingest it. I'm pretty confident that won't be happening. He did say, however, that I have a ways to go. I would need to rest a lot and take my medication. I am still on the pain medication, nausea medication and a protonix. The protonix medication will be used to hopefully heal esophageal erosion. Of course it will. Good God. Moving on...
If it had been up the good doctor, I would have stayed probably through the weekend and then let go reluctantly. But I guess he's a sucker for a mother in distress. I promised him that I had a husband who will take good care of me. I'm very grateful to Miss Sara who has taken exceptional care of the boys in my absence. And Ed took charge once she left and was wonderful.
When I walked in the door at 4:00 this afternoon, I was never so happy to see these two faces (captured so poorly with my phone and my foggy eyes and shaky hands).
Gavin smiled and clapped. Brian wanted to "show me" everything (including a very obvious Christmas present that had arrived and was sitting in the living room). He was also fascinated with the neck pillow I used in the hospital. That was a Godsend - thanks to Ed for that.
Gavin stared at me a lot - Buddha style. He looked happy and healthy and free and clear of his RSV illness. Nursed back to health by the village at home, thank God. And Brian was super excited and ran circles around me. When Ed was about to load them in the car to head to the pharmacy for my medication - Brian looked back at me very concerned that I wasn't going with them. It broke my heart. I feel at this moment (and I know I'll change my mind) that I'll never want to leave them again.
Which leads me to what you're all probably wondering. How in the hell did I get Campylobacter?? Well, I spoke with the head of Infectious Disease at the hospital before I left today. He explained that I most likely got it from food. I took out my calendar and told him that before Gavin got sick that Sunday night, Ed and I had taken a little getaway to Atlantic City. We stayed at the Borgata. I enjoyed some spa treatments, spent time in my room doing nothing (which was quite blissful) and we ate in their restaurants. Then, we got home and soon I was headed to DuPont with a very sick Gavin. I was awake for two days with him and fell ill with a fever the evening of his discharge on Tuesday. He said - based on the timing of my fever and the incubation time for the Campylobacter - I got it from something I ate at the Borgata and not from the hospital. It has been reported by the lab to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They will be contacting me for more information of my whereabouts and what I ate. Then they will trace it back to the Borgata. It will be interesting to see if there were other people affected by this. I hope there wasn't - I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
So, let's recap. Home from a mini-getaway to a sick Gavin who gets hospitalized with RSV. Awake for two days in the hospital with him and threatened by an obnoxious roomate's father. Home not even 4 hours before I start to get the shivers and shakes. In the ER on the eve of Thanksgiving with suspected appendicitis - and sent home with pain meds and orders to rest. It is only an ovarian cyst about to burst, prepare yourself. Thanksgiving day in bed - feeling like I was going to die. Fevers up to 102.4. The worst pain I've ever felt. I've never had real "labor" but I suspect it felt like that. It's Thanksgiving so I don't call a soul to say, "Hey - can you come sit with my two sick and highly contagious children so my husband can take me to the hospital?" and my pride (and fear of traumatizing Brian) kept me from calling the ambulance. Back in the ER, I was taken very, very seriously. They were extremely concerned about me and quickly had an IV in each arm. Turned out my ovarian cyst had ruptured and I had - after many tests and blood draws and finger exams - Campylobacter... which, by the way, can cause Arthritis and Guillan-Barre syndrome. Beat ya on one of them! I spent seven days alone on isolation in bed. A girl with terrible arthritis that is intensified when she stays still for too long. Yeah... that.
Really - there's only so much a chick can take.
If you need me, I'll be in bed for a while. I'm not sure what, if anything, I'll be blogging about. I may not blog at all some days... confident that you don't want to know about my bathroom trips. So find me on Facebook. We'll make it fun there for a while.
Thank you so much for your love and support. I was insanely lonely in that hospital room on isolation. Even in my rabbit hole, I somehow got your comments and messages. Every single one helped me through this nightmare. I love all of you.