Sunday, February 24, 2013

MRI Madness & Hospital Hell

Hopefully I am writing far enough out from events not to sob at the retelling, not so far out that I've forgotten all the details.

In our last episode, I was scheduled to see the orthopedic surgeon and have an MRI on Monday, two weeks ago tomorrow, if I can believe it. The surgeon was personable enough, leaning toward charismatic. At the office I had an X-ray of the left leg. 

FYI, fat shows in X-rays. The rolls looked to be those of the Michelin Man. Not exaggerating.

The bone looked innocuous enough, as cancer cells on an X-ray don't sport devil horns, but he pointed out the area that was cancer and said it had "moth-eaten" properties. Definitely a candidate for The Rod. The surgery coordinator would set things in motion and call me.

Off to the MRI. I am walking gingerly with the walker, trying to keep as much weight as possible off the leg, as per instruction, and tired already after the exam room at the surgeon's office turned out to be the furthest from the front door possible, down a long hallway.The walk at the imaging center was too far as well. And apparently, regular walkers are not allowed in the MRI room. I guess they might fly through the air and stick to the machine. They actually had me try to walk from the door to the table, with support from two techs.I was stressed about fitting, and about whether or not my port would be used for the contrast. Although I was told by the scheduler that the RN would indeed be available, when I arrived the techs told me that another procedure had been added in and called the RN away from me. They didn't know if she would be done in time there to access my port mid-MRI. 

I did fit, barely, though more smoothly than I recalled from my last MRI. I had to go head-first and be completely squashed/immobilized. I did pretty well though, and thanks to Ativan, did not freak out. My arms were pinned to my body in a way that cut off all circulation to my hands and they were rendered completely numb and useless. There was also a spot where my fat thigh was against the wall containing the hot magnet, and I was sure it was going to leave a burn mark. It was like a game of chicken to see who could hold their hand over a candle the longest. I made it to to the Add Contrast portion of the recipe, and was thrilled to see the familiar face of Maria, the RN, as I emerged from my electromagnetic cocoon, ready to bypass the drama of the vein search and access that port!

MRI finished, hobbled out door, down the long hallway with my walker, and sat to rest from that in the lobby. As I rested, the tech came rushing out, looking for me frantically. The final scan 2 sections had not been properly aligned and they needed me back in the tube. Wholly Freakin' Crap. It was a good thing I was still medicated. Back down the long friggin' hallway, back across the No-Walker Zone and back into the tube for more thigh burning and extremity numbing. This time, as I'm carefully getting ready to dismount, the brilliant idea sparks in the tech's cerebral processor to get the MRI-safe Wheelchair and BRING IT INTO THE ROOM...MRI-SAFE...WHEEL CHAIR...and wheel me out of the room, and back down the long hall, and now that they realize how stupid it was to have me hobbling and hopping about, wheel me all the way out to the car.

I'm so exhausted by the retelling of this,  I need a break.


Chatting up senior citizens in the hall was exhausting too! Back to the computer...

The surgeon wanted me in the hospital a day early for "testing". Now that it's over I still don't understand his reasoning. The hospital called when I bed was available on Tuesday. We rushed on down, having been assured that they had all my info by the surgical coordinator, and felt like no one in admitting had access to any of that illusive info. This was a theme that would carry throughout the day and into the next.

The room they took me to was quite nice, and I was encouraged by the height of toilet. It was apparently one of the rooms that had been re-done. So we sat. Sat in that room all day. No info showed up in the computer at all...nothing on me from the past stays, nothing. This new "everything is accessible in the computer" thing is bull crap. When I'm feeling better, I will gripe to the hospital more about that. My profile had to be built from the bottom up, and I was not happy about that. 

And we waited. No testing. Vitals. That doesn't count as testing. When I saw the surgeon, I asked why I was here. Must have chest X-ray. That never happened. In fact, I don't think the blood work even happened until the morning of the surgery. I don't really remember sleeping there that night. I remember the next day the bumbling attempts of two RNs to access my port. They got it in but not well; poor blood return for two days until another RN did a Draino flush on it.

Still no chest X-ray. Apparently it wasn't so critical that we couldn't do surgery without it. I don't think I remember the pre-op drugs or anything. Probably this retro-active memory loss is from waking up in such 


Wholly Mother of Pearl Fracking Son of a Mother PAIN! SHIT! (had to be said)

I don't even know how to explain the next five days without swear words. And crying. And yelling. And screaming. I guess this is the worst pain I've ever had over the course of days. No bedpans...they want you up. I wanted to just pee myself. It was horrible. I wish I couldn't remember this part either. It took three people to get me out of the bed and onto the bedside commode, and it took about an hour and a half, round trip. Some of the nurses and aides were great. Patient, compassionate, helpful. Some made me wonder how they managed to graduate with a degree at all. 

Oh did I mention that I did not go back to the same nice room after surgery? Nope, general surgery, crappy small old room with a miniature toilet. I was not happy about that. Why did I come a day early and do nothing and not at least hold the room?

I have four incisions, three of them pretty small and some serious bruising. And apparently there was a fracture as the surgeon placed the rod. I envision it crumbling in his hand. I'll get more info when I see him again in a week with a clearer mind.

On Friday, I think it was, a Physical Therapist came and tortured me to the point of screaming at the top of my lungs. He rushed me, was arrogant and he hurt me needlessly. I was so pissed off. The next day, the nurse told me PT was in the hall and I was probably next. I asked if it was the guy from the previous day, and described him. It was. I told the nurse I did not want that man ever touching me again, that he had hurt me needlessly, told me "we didn't have time for this" when I objected to being rushed. The nurse told a PT supervisor. I never saw PT again. I hope that guy got in trouble. He was an ASS. I might address him again with the hospital, depending on how faded my memory is when I get out of here.

I was in there five days. Six if you count the stupid pre-op day of purposelessness. Five days and still in horrible pain and not able to do anything.

It was pain and long toileting events and yelling and crying and more and more pain. On the weekend, they told me I might need to transfer to a rehab facility if I wasn't well enough to go home. By Sunday, the toileting ordeal was down to about 45 minutes from the hour and a half, but there was no way in hell I could go home. Sunday night I said goodbye to IV pain drugs and was whisked out of there on a transport gurney and brought to the rehab place. 

It doesn't get much better for a few days. I think the theme to remember here is PAIN. Helplessness and PAIN. Yelling in PAIN. Crying in frustration and PAIN. 

NEXT TIME...The Rehab place in which I am the youngest patient by about 30 yrs.


Anonymous said...

Poor Darling! I'm so sorry you had to go through such an ordeal. It's amazing how callus people in the "care industry" are.

Love you sweetie, Acacia

tccomments2013 said...

oh, my poor shelli, i am so sorry for you having to endure such a hellacious experience. i am sending you gentle hugs and keeping you close to my heart.

love, XOXO,

karen, TC

Kristan said...

Do you want me to go beat up the PT before I leave?

Nancy's Point said...

Oh, Shelli, it all sounds like torture, pure torture. And the worst part is that some of your pain/anguish was avoidable and unnecessary had you been treated better. I'm sorry. I hope that PT got into trouble too. Mostly, I hope by now you are doing better. Thinking of you and hoping that's the case. xoxo