My Fascia Sling Surgery Part Fourteen
My new philosophy of the day; “For every bad doctor there are ten good nurses waiting in the wings to help you.” I also know it takes a lot to find a good doctor but when you find one, he/she can be invaluable.
My last post was just three days ago but because many women follow this blog and have sent me well wishes and concerns I knew I had to write what has been going on over the past two days. Frankly it has been scary and full of information I had to learn and digest, but like everything scary I can’t do anything but learn and get on with it.
Monday morning before 9 am I was at the ER (Emergency Room) to have the first treatment of IV gentamicin. I had woken up very early thinking about it and was praying I was doing the right thing. However, I know I didn’t really have much choice or this infection will take over and cause me major health problems that may not be solvable. I know pseudomonas is a very serious infection and can’t be played with and as it is, it has been a big struggle to get proper help this past seven weeks. Yes, it is seven weeks today since I had the fascia sling surgery. So I took a book with me and prepared for a fair time to sit and wait and then more time for the IV drip to finish. I felt resigned but anxious.
When I arrived it was not long before I was taken to a room and then was told that the ER doctor was unsure about this treatment because he had never given such a large dose and did not want to be responsible for me. Anxiety rose because I wondered exactly what was going to happen. I was in fight or flight mode and was not sure at that point which one would win out. A nurse told me he would come in soon and talk to me so I tried to read and get into the story to ease my mind. A nurse came in did general prep work for the IV and she chatted and was nice. She then told me that because my new PCP did not have admitting privileges they were trying to find a doctor who would do this so that they could watch me. I had no clue how the US medical system worked because until March of 2010 I had never had a surgery in my life before this awful surgery, nor been in the ER. So I had no clue that if you show up at the ER, regardless of your insurance or ability to pay, if they think you are some kind of liability then no one wants to take you on. So today I decided to look it up and see why.
http://medical-malpractice.lawyers.com/The-Doctor-is-In-How-Doctors-Work-with-Hospitals.html Before this I had always thought that if you have a medical issue and went to the ER, you would be completely cared for. How wrong was I?
The ER doctor came in to talk to me and told me that he had never administered such a large dose of gentamicin and he was afraid to do it on the word of a doctor who was elsewhere. He meant Dr. Kim at UCLA of course and this was on the orders of her and my PCP who had decided to try to help me get well. It was then that I then found out that my PCP was fairly new in town and that she had no admitting privileges to that hospital at this point so they were trying to find a doctor who would admit me and care for me. Wow, who knew it was this hard in a country that boasts the best medical care in the world. I certainly would not have thought it. He then told me something that raised my BP and anxiety levels and scared the hell out of me. He said it could damage my kidneys and blow my eardrums. Oh My God, what had I got myself into! I lay there in horror of what he had told me. I knew I had no choice but to fight this infection with something and so far remained in my body and in fact it had worsened.
I lay there thinking about it and thought to myself “Talk about being put against a wall and being asked which do you want as your weapon of choice, a gun or a knife? But don’t worry; we will try to do the least amount of damage to your body.” I was just plain scared by the time he left the room.
No more could I concentrate on my book after he left the room. An administrator then came in to talk to me and she explained they had to find someone to admit me to do this IV and asked about the local urologist I saw. I told her I had been to three in the last four weeks and I knew not one of them would do this and I explained that I had even called others only to be told they did not want to help me because I was a liability. I told her the local urologist that I saw first had never examined me and had never done a culture after treatment and only did exactly what he had to do. That to me was not good quality health care of anyone who calls himself a doctor. So no, he nor the others were going to help me in any way. I left the ball in her court.
Later she came back in to tell me that they had someone who would admit me and they were moving me over into the hospital. I had called my daughter to warn her this may happen because she had gone to the stores to pick up things she needed, thinking she would take me straight home once I was done. She came back immediately to see what was going on. By that time I was ready to be moved and it was getting on for noon time so they wheeled me over to the hospital. Soon after she decided to go home and pick up some personal items from home for me and let the dog out and said she would be back in a couple of hours.
The admitting person turned out to be a wonderful and caring man who is a nurse practitioner. Hooray for nurses because once again my rescuer turned out to be a nurse. Not only was he a kind and caring nurse, but he also took responsibility to help me and admit me just because he was that kind of man. Yes he took his oath seriously. When he spoke to me, he had a calm exterior about him and he explained what he was going to do in the kind of calm way that tends to put me at ease. He said he had experience at doing these IV treatments and after he examined me and found out I did not have any underlying illnesses, he said the IV would begin soon. I decided to put myself into this man’s capable hands because I had to do something to get well and he was my knight in shining armor.
I was served a lunch that frankly was not my kind of food, so I pecked at it and then waited for the treatment to begin. It began at 1.30 pm and took a couple of hours to drip into my veins. I truly was worried about it, but I had to take a chance that this was going to be my lifeline to a better future. Soon after my daughter came back with a bag of my things and some snacks that would give me something safe to eat. Cheese squares, crackers and fresh juicy peaches and a container with some scones she had gone home and baked with nuts and dried cranberries. They were still warm and I soon demolished one because I felt so hungry. Thank God I have a daughter who cares.
They told me they would be taking blood at 3 am to check levels of remaining gentamicin left in my body so they woke me up with bright lights in my face and that was the end of any sleep. I had slept less than four hours. By the time it was over I was wide awake and stayed awake until six thirty. I finally fell asleep for an hour until a student nurse woke me up to examine me. That was the end of any sleep or chance of it. Hospitals are revolving doors of volunteers, housekeeping and nurses and not a place to rest. All I could think of was I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed but they had other ideas for me first.
That morning the NP told me that the IV’s they put into you in the ER’s are not safe for long term IV treatments. He said that they are too close to the skin surface and antibiotics when leaked under the skin is not a good thing, so to do this treatment, they wanted to put a PICC line IV in. He explained about it and I was in horror. I had no clue what it was and managed to get onto the Internet to read about it and reach out to other women like me with mesh complications, to let them know what was happening. Everyone knew I had gone to the ER that morning. I was quite shocked at the women’s response. Many of these women had had a PICC line put into them after mesh was put into them because of severe infections that they could not get rid of. Some had had one for many months. It made me wonder and shudder at this and how all this goes on and yet no one tells the truth about mesh complications. It truly is an outrage that women’s lives can be destroyed by a small piece of mesh with giant devastating consequences. It may be small but it does giant never ending damage. If you have never seen a picc line or know nothing about it, you can go to this link.
By nine in the morning on the second day in the hospital a pleasant man stood before me explaining how he was going to do this with procedure and what it was all about. I of course was worried as he read a long list of complications that could happen because of this procedure. Oh yeah, I really needed to wind up with more complications from an implant. Yes, that is exactly what it is and the very word implant sends mesh women’s BP to the roof. We hate the word because we never understood what mesh implants could do to us. But what choice did I have no? I was back to the gun or knife question. So I agreed to do it and signed the papers. More never ending stress.
The Picc tech along with a young woman was back at twelve thirty to set the room up to be sterile. He had said that took a lot out of the two hours they expected it would take them to start and finish. He was right. They worked at a team, explaining as they went along, telling me they would take every precaution for everything to remain sterile due to possibility of infection. I like to hear it because I had one serious one and did not need any more. The ‘tent’ they put over me was done just before the procedure began. That was a little eerie because it covered my entire body including my head but left a puffed up area over my face which formed a tent like area so I could breathe. The man and woman technicians were covered head to toe themselves and the room looked like an operating theatre. They worked in unison and obviously like their jobs and took it very seriously.
They were actually done in just over two hours and I was so relieved. Laying flat and holding out my right arm all that time was not easy and when I went to move my arm again it felt like a ton weight. Now I was hoping for the best that all would remain well. Again, early that evening a new dose of gentamicin was flowing through the 46 centimeters of tiny catheter, that ran from my upper right arm, across my shoulder and down towards my heart. I could not feel it in there, but the area where it was put in, felt sore. I was so tired and all I wanted to do was go home, sleep in my own bed and rest. It was nine pm when we were told I could go.
I could have stayed another night of course, but all I could think of was being home and being as ‘normal’ as I could get. Hospital life is a place for sick people and I did not want to be sick. I was home thirty minutes later and thirty minutes after that I was sound asleep.
Those two days of my life had been very scary and tiring. At one time during an examination I said to the NP “How could they take normal healthy women and do this to them?” He looked at me and said nothing. Of course what was there to say? Nothing………………
The mesh journey never seems to end. It is a journey of pain, stress and debilitating life changes. I have had to endure this new fight to clear a very bad super bug. All I can do now is wait, hope and see…………….