Friday, April 24, 2009

And God said "Pay Close Attention, I'm only going to say this once"...

On the Sunday before Easter Mac and I sat on the patio with our dear friends and neighbors, Craig and Joanne. Mac and Craig were talking about something, I was not really paying attention. Joanne was looking at me with such concern on her face that I asked her..."what?" She shook her head and said, "I don't know but you are awfully pale. You really don't look well at all." I agreed that I didn't particularly feel well, either. I had taken my temperature earlier in the day at it hovered around 101. When we went inside, I lay down on the sofa with a heating pad at my back. It helped not a bit. The next day, on Monday Mac was due to take his stress test. We drove into Hartsville to the HeartCare Center. While Mac was having his stress test, I went over to the Walmart Shopping Center and had my haircut and my eyebrows waxed. I wasn't feeling terrible, just a bit awful. As soon as my "do" was done, I went back to join Mac. He finished up about 2 pm, saw Dr. Grainger and was pronounced good to go for another year.

Mac wanted to go back over to WalMart to pick up some gardening supplies. When we got out of the truck, suddenly my back felt as if I couldn't walk another step. After about five minutes inside the massive store, I begged off shopping for a trip home. Mac raised his eyebrows, but said nothing. We went home soon after and I called my doctor. I had to leave a message and sat and waited for his return call. Then, as though I heard His voice in my head, it was like God told me, don't wait. Go now. The strains of the old song "Go Now" (The Moody Blues were an intregal part of my life) played in my head and I knew I shouldn't ignore it. "Can you get my suitcase out of the shed and bring it in here?" I asked Mac. He looked at me and never questioned why. When he brought it in, I proceeded to pack for the hospital. I told him that I knew there was something really wrong and that when we went to the hospital they wouldn't be letting me come home anytime soon. He took me at my word. I've never been wrong in these matters before.

We arrived at the Emergency Room at Carolina Pines and it seemed like merely minutes and I was being seen by the ER Doctor, Dr. Kohn. I told her where the pain was and that I had no idea what was wrong. I think I mentioned that I suspicioned trouble with my pancreas. perhaps brought on by the Byetta. She soon ruled that out. They came in and took blood...a lot of blood. I was so out of it by this time that I couldn't say who did what, but I do remember when they came in and told me that they needed to do a Cat Scan. I had to drink two 16 ounce cups of crystal light with dye contrast in it. It tasted like nasty Tang...I've never been fond of Tang. I only kept about half of it down. After the Cat Scan, a surgeon came in. I remember thinking "why is Rodney Carrington in scrubs and in my cubicle?" Rodney Carrington is a comedienne-singer that I had just seen the night before on YouTube singing his new song, If you Loved seemed odd, to say the least. He told me that I was very sick, that my white blood count was 29, 766 and that I had an abscess on my colon. He told me that they were going to admit me and start antibiotics right away. So, this is how my first day went. Drink nasty tasting stuff, take pictures. Talk to Doctor...well, Mac talked to Doctor, I was just oblivious to everything and everyone around me. Tuesday morning, drink more nasty stuff, do another cat scan. Dr. Rodney came in and told me that they were going to try to put in a drain and if they couldn't it would mean surgery and a temporary colostomy (temporary like 6 to 9 months). If you can call that temporary...I dreaded the thought of surgery, but smiled widely (a habit of mine) and told them I understood. I was on clear liquids and IV, but really didn't want anything. I just wanted to sleep.

So, they had made plans to move me out of the Pediatrics Wing (yes, I was the oldest kid on the block up there...but they put me where there were few patients and three nurses per shift to see to my every want and need. Luckily, I didn't want or need a lot. I just talked to anyone who entered the room, asked questions and waited to go to surgery. On Wednesday I had another Cat Scan. This was Cat Scan number three and by now when the lights went out in the room I made a passable reading lamp. Dr. Dameron (who I had learned by now was not Rodney Carrington, just a strong resemblance) came in with what he termed "really good news". "The abscess is much larger!" he said. I believe I asked him point blank, this is good news how? "It means we can guide the draining tube to where it needs to be and hopefully won't have to do major surgery!" Oh yes, this was really good news! So guess who gets to drink another 32 ounces of CrystalLight+ and go down to the Cat Scan department for this minor surgery? Right first time.

They have this "sleepy time" medicine that I received the first time after my heart attack for them to do the's called Versed...probably not spelled correctly, but there you go. I remember going down to the Cat Scan Lab and them telling me that I would probably feel very warm all over and then nothing after that. When I came to, I was back in my room,a drain tube now beneath my belly button and Mac sitting next to the head of my bed. "It went well they said, " he told me. "How do you feel?" I told him I felt fine and didn't remember a thing about the procedure they'd done. They had had to replace the IV line to another arm, the Antibiotics were apparently playing havoc with my veins. So far the area had to be changed four times. This last one lasted till my discharge, I'm glad to say.

The flowers that started arriving in my room were beautiful. Daisies and Foxglove, Tulips, Roses and baby's breath with huge Lily heads poking out into the room. I was still on a liquid diet, and was now looking forward to my broth three times a day. Their jello, not so much. I believe the jello may have been provided by Good Year could stick a spoon in it and thump the spoon to set it rocking back and forth. Retreads, that's what they were feeding me. Mac went to the Grocery and brought back lots of Jello brand sugar free jello to keep in the fridge at the Nurse's station. Yummy. And it wouldn't bounce off the wall should I decide to pitch a fit.

On day nine my temperature was normal. Joanne and Craig came in to visit and Joanne told me that my color was better. She told me that I had looked like "death warmed over" and was really afraid I was about to die. She said she'd been concerned about me for over a week before she said anything. When my Doctor came in, I told him (and laughed when I said it) my neighbor says I looked like I was about to die, she's amazed at how much better I look!" Dr. Mitchell (the Hospitalist) looked at me like I'd grown another head. "Well, you were about to die, Mrs. McBride. We had you on the Critical list till last night. Your White Blood count is still a bit above normal, we won't let you go home till it's been normal for a day or two." Now, that was news to me. I told Lee (who called me every night) "it's a good thing I didn't know how sick I was, I might not have recovered!"

Diverticulitis. A long name for a potentially devastating illness. Mac wants to know why I can't ever get anything that's easy to spell. He also wants to know (as do the doctors) why it is that I can keep on going (like the energizer bunny) right up to the point that I'm near death and/or facing total collapse. Or total paralysis. I don't know, I think that I've thought of myself as "Superwoman" for so long that I'm beginning to believe my own hype. But I have learned that when God whispers in my ear not to second guess Him. And I thank Him for sending me to all His best Doctors and Nurses...and for surrounding me with the love of my friends and family. I couldn't have done it alone. On Saturday, day 12 of my stay, Drs. Mitchell and Dameron came in to tell me that they were going to let me go home that afternoon. "What have we learned from all this, Mrs. McBride?" Dr. Dameron asked me. I thought about it for a bit.
"Well, I've learned that if I'm to sick to shop in WalMart, to come straight to the Emergency room...because there is definitely a problem!" They took me at my word.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Home again!

After two weeks, I am so happy to tell you all that I am finally home from Carolina Pines Hospital. I find that after two weeks in bed I am surprisingly tired and yes, a bit weak. But I know that this will pass. I was so touched by all of the concern from you, my friends, that it was a bit overwhelming. Wallace printed out the comments and my nurses were all suitably impressed that I had so many loving friends who were worried about me. This will not be a long post, but there will be a complete explanation that may prove to be a cautionary tale that I myself will be paying heed to! Again, thank you all so much. Your love and support helped me immensely. How can anyone give in to fear when there are so many hands and hearts pulling you along. I want to say a special thank you to my dear Lee at Chrysalis Dreams for the daily phone calls that I grew to look forward to each day. More tomorrow, for I am sure I'll be feeling much better!
My love to all of you

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Vanishing

Hey, all. This is Sandi's oldest son, Wallace. You might have been wondering where your author's been for the last week. On Monday evening she was admitted to a hospital with an infection, one that looked to be extremely serious by Wednesday morning. The good news is that — at the moment — things look good, and she's expected home by next Tuesday. She ought to be able to leave the hospital with all the body parts she came in with, too.

Until then, don't expect a lot of activity on this blog. I considered bringing in my laptop and checking to see if the hospital had a wireless connection, but it seemed rude to surf the Internet when the Grim Reaper was hanging around. He's a stickler for etiquette and decorum and I decided it was best to stay on his good side.

I'll let my mother tell you the whole story when she's comes home. Until then, if you wanted to post any comments for her, I'll print them out and see that she gets them.

— Wallace

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An April Fool

So today the WWW is on tenterhooks. We're all (or most of us) terrified to even check our e-mail accounts, much less open them! I've received those "you've received a card from a friend" but unless the friend's name is clearly spelled out (and correctly) I have never opened them, simply sent them into the e-mail hell known as Deletion World. Or, the the meantime, I intend to enjoy the witticisms that you send me, and if I see my sisters' names and they don't include a last name, well, you know where they're going. Okay, so much for the conficker, that's not a misspelling, it's the closest they could come and still rate it as G for General Audiences.

Now, as for my Giveaway...I'm happy to say that Brenda, of Country Romance from the Heart was my draw winner. I'll be sending her an E-mail (that I hope she won't misconstrue as the Conficker Worm) to let her know and have her send me her address. I'm so happy for Brenda!

Yesterday Mac and I went to do some Spring shopping at Lowe's and WalMart's. We shop in Hartsville (which is in Darlington County, SC) because they're the closest to us and we're never disappointed when we get there. We're in the market for a Chipper/Shredder. We have so many trees that have to be thinned and we need so much mulch that it seems wasteful to burn our limbs yet buy chipped up limbs for our gardens. We didn't find one yesterday, but are hopeful that when we order online, it will come to our store. In the meantime, I picked up a couple of Collumbines and African Daisies to add to the front beds. I can only hope that more frost doesn't hit. But if it does, I've been saving gallon sized milk jugs to use to protect any tender plants. I can put them safely over the plants, caps on, then remove them easily when the threat is past. If it's still a bit dicey when the sun comes out, just pop off the cap and let the jug vent and not build up to much heat to harm the plant. Today we'll be planting out and watching over our shoulders for the rain that's moving in.

We've had some major illness in our family this past week, my Brother-in-Law Jack has had open heart surgery and that is just the beginning of his ordeal for next few months. My cousin Jerry has been in a bad way for several weeks, had pneumonia, coded (actually died) and is now just coming out of something called "ICU Psychosis" in that he has been in ICU so long that his mind simply shut down, memories and all. He's doing much better this week and his memory has pretty much returned. So, while I ask that you include my family in your prayers, I also ask that you petition God for all in our nation who are undergoing trials and tribulations that are beyond their kin. What with bank failures and floods, home losses and job woes, we need that prayer more than ever!

So again, Brenda congratulations on being my winner...I'll be e-mailing you pal, so don't send me off into WorldWideWebDeletionHell! I'll need that address!!! I think you, above all, are going to be one happy girl!