Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home, At Last - Five Impatient, Inpatient Days!! - June 14, 2011

I did not realize, when I arrived at Seton Medical Center last Thurday afternoon, I
would not be discharged until a full five days later.  I had akready received IV
antbiotics Sunday night in the emergency room and began Bactrim and  Keflex,
oral antibiotics, the following day.  When I saw my doctor Thursday and had
showed only minimal improvement in the redness and swelling in my left lower
ankle and foot, she felt that I had to be hospitalized to receive "big gun" antibiotic

I pretty much opted not to tell folks that I was in the hospital since I really didn't
feel very well or social.  My last night, Phil Zaragoza, my dear social worker friend
and fellow traveling companion of yore, stopped by and that cheered me up a great
deal.  After sharing a cruise cabin and hotel rooms with him, in the past, I felt no
need to put on makeup and could just enjoy the support of having him there.  I
had not been in touch with how really lonely I was feeling.  My thoughts had often
gone to the disease process I had - cellulitis - which Mayo Clinic defines as:
" a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a
swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly.
Skin on lower legs is most commonly affected, though cellulitis can occur any
where on your body or face. Cellulitis may affect only your skin's surface —
or, cellulitis may also affect tissues underlying your skin and can spread to your
lymph nodes and bloodstream.  Left untreated, the spreading infection may rapidly
turn  life-threatening. That's why it's important to seek immediate medical attention
if cellulitis symptoms occur."

In addition to the redness and swelling of my left ankle and foot, I could barely
weight bear on my left foot or bend  my ankle.  I related it to the excess swelling. 
An MRI in the hospital showed marked denerative changes in that ankle and, since I
had an elevated uric acid, I might also be developing gout!  I do know the resident
kidney stones I have are uric acid stones so they may be the culprit for the
elevated uric acid in my blood..  My physicians will have to follow up with me for
that!!  With my usual bad karma, medications for gout are not good at all with my
gastric ulcer!!!  Nor are the ones that would help with the arthritis in my
shoulders and knees.  Why does a sweet old lady like me have such bad luck!!!

So, now I am home, both arms full of bruises ( I've counted 17 ) - one day the lab
came and drew blood three times.  As if that weren't enough, on two occasions,
my IV infiltrated and had to be restarted.  It took three needle sticks to get it
going the last time - kudos to Tess C., the evening charge nurse who seems to
have an incredible skill at finding an elusive vein.  She got my antibiotics
going again when the other two sweet nurses could not.  They were unwilling
to make another try!

I never felt well enough to get online to do my blog or respond to comments.  One
night, about 11P, as I was reaching for my little Acer notebook, I somehow,
managed to knock over the whole bedside table, sending it crashing to the floor.  I
think it woke every patient in the entire wing and, boy, did it send the nurses
running!  My computer is now out of commission and my desk top went to
computer heaven over three months ago.

My doctor, Alice Yan, is wonderful.  I've been seeing her over ten years and she really
does take the best care of me.  Also, as she did exactly one year ago, she had Dr.
Shefali Talwar consult, the most beautiful young Indian woman who is the area's
specialist in infectious diseases.  While cellulitis is not a communicable disease,
her knowledge of antibiotic treatment was important in my case.

It's amazing how exhausting being a patient is!  Once I got home, I took my
evening medications, set the clock for 10PM and took my nighttime meds and
one sleeping pill.  For the first time in months, I actually slept straight through
for EIGHT hours.  I do believe I'm on the road to recovery!  I must confess that,
as you lie there in a hospital for hours on end, listening to the bleeps of
biomedical equipment, realizing you are sixty-six-years of age, you are definitely
confronted with your mortality. 

Thanks, dear friends and family, for all the good wishes and support.  Hopefully,
by the end of the week, I'll be back to my normal abnormal!!!


  1. Carmen, I am so happy you are finally home. I think seeing Dos Hollands and the gang this week will definitely help your spirits.

    I'm not surprised with the bruising whatsoever. I don't want to bash them but Seton is known for their inability to find veins the first time out. I've witnessed it too many times.

    Anyway, get some rest and I'll see you tomorrow. It will be a nice outing with everyone.

  2. This is quite an account of your frightening experience. I am so glad you are on the mend. Confronting our mortality is not fun.

  3. So sorry that you have been through so much and that you've had to face hospital & needles and things.
    Hope you are well on the side of recovery now & that you can put it all behind you.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  4. Wow, no fun at all! Glad you are finally back at home.

  5. so sorry to know what you have been through Carmen, I am praying you continue to do well and feeling better. hugs.

  6. You've got to quit scaring us like this! Just kidding. I'm really glad you are improving, and that your online absence was due to lack of a computer and not something worse.

  7. I pray for your prompt recovery.
    Take care of yourself. . .


  8. Dear Carmen,

    Sorry to hear of your spider bite. You did express the feeling well in your poem! I do hope your luck changes soon, you have had a terrible run of bad.

    Take care
    Glynis x

  9. It's so nice to read that you're back at home and recovering. You have had to face so much and yet you make us smile and laugh with your accounts.

  10. Oh wow, so glad you're back Carmen! Yayy! Well, good to hear about Phil's visit. He's such a sweet friend! Still praying for your comfortable and quick recovery. But, reading this account I'd say, you're almost (if not quite) back to your normal abnormal self, friend! Mwa! *hugs*

  11. I'm very glad you're home and slept. Hospital is not a place to get rested, and I wish for your full speedy recovery. Blogging and commenting can wait..Just take it easy, and shake off that string of bad luck.

  12. Not happy at all reading this account, hope your problems get over fast! Do get well soon!

  13. Hello Carmen.

    It's such a relief to hear that you're on your way to recovery.

    It's good to know that you've been well taken cared of. A sweet lady like you deserves all the care she needs in this world.

    You take care and hope that everything goes well for you. Hugs!

  14. Gees, no doubt. Sorry you're having so much trouble with your health. Well, we better find a day to get together soon. When you're up to it.

  15. I'm so, so, sorry you've had such a dreadful time. I hope you're feeling much better and back on line. It's bad enough having health problems without having your computer problems on top.

  16. When I had my MRSA infection, I developed cellulitis and I understand just what you are going through, how scary it is and how difficult a journey. My prayers and thoughts are with you for your continued recovery.