Sleepless in Sick Town

I slept really well the night before last but last night…nope. My newest roomie is an elderly woman in a lot of pain, so she was hollering most of the night. Poor thing. She couldn’t help it. But it made for a restless night, so when she slept today, I got a good nap in too.

I got the two rounds of Solu-Medrol, the steroid-by-infusion, over the past two days, and now I’m on a semi-rapid taper off of the oral steroids…30 mg for 5 days, then dropping by 10 mg every 5 days. I will be on 10 mg for an undetermined time, but I think I can function on that.

The Solu-Medrol spiked my blood sugar (as expected), up to as high as 367 at one point, so now I get a small dose of insulin at times. This is temporary; it was 109 this morning so that was clearly much better. One thing leads to another.

I’m getting IV Lasix, a diuretic, twice a day, and it’s doing the job. In the first day I lost five pounds of fluid, but only one pound yesterday, which was a bit disappointing. But they say it can just take time for everything to catch up. Hopefully that’s the case.

My nephrologist wants my urine output at about 4000 ml a day, and I’m meeting that goal, so that’s good.

I feel slightly better, not significantly so. Getting up and moving around is easier but not easy. It still takes much out of me. I had planned to take a shower today (I’m sure the nurses would have appreciated it) but after no sleep, I’m just very shaky today and not quite up to it.

They discussed starting the chemotherapy while I am here but opted against it. The hematologist wants to make sure I’m stable and past this crisis before adding more to the mix. I’m 100% on board with that. My body has been through a trauma this past month. It needs a break.

The swelling around my eyes has improved although the conjunctivae is still swollen. My face has completely changed. I literally do not look like myself anymore. It is disturbing to look in the mirror and see a different face looking back. I mean, it’s not like I was in love with my face or anything, but I was certainly used to it, you know? Supposedly this is temporary, but good lord, it’s been months.

Just because people always want to know…the food here is hit or miss. Breakfast is so-so. The eggs taste kinda powdery. The French toast is bland. The pancakes are pretty okay. I had some incredible beef and barley soup one day, and the turkey last night was far better than I expected. Any chicken I’ve had has just been tasteless.

Because I’m a kidney patient, I’m on a low sodium diet, but I’m not much of a salt person anyway so no great loss. I am amazed at the amount of food they will give if you want it. Who could eat all that? I guess they want to provide a variety so that people will eat but I’m not kidding, they’ll give you a five course meal three times a day if you want it.

My advice: skip the chicken.

I wonder how vegetarians and vegans fare in the hospital.

But things could be worse. My first roomie was a standard old Bitty

I slept really well the night before last but last night…nope. My newest roomie is an elderly woman in a lot of pain, so she was hollering most of the night. Poor thing. She couldn’t help it. But it made for a restless night, so when she slept today, I got a good nap in too.

I got the two rounds of Solu-Medrol, the steroid-by-infusion, over the past two days, and now I’m on a semi-rapid taper off of the oral steroids…30 mg for 5 days, then dropping by 10 mg every 5 days. I will be on 10 mg for an undetermined time, but I think I can function on that.

The Solu-Medrol spiked my blood sugar (as expected), up to as high as 367 at one point, so now I get a small dose of insulin at times. This is temporary; it was 109 this morning so that was clearly much better. One thing leads to another.

I’m getting IV Lasix, a diuretic, twice a day, and it’s doing the job. In the first day I lost five pounds of fluid, but only one pound yesterday, which was a bit disappointing. But they say it can just take time for everything to catch up. Hopefully that’s the case.

My nephrologist wants my urine output at about 4000 ml a day, and I’m meeting that goal, so that’s good.

I feel slightly better, not significantly so. Getting up and moving around is easier but not easy. It still takes much out of me. I had planned to take a shower today (I’m sure the nurses would have appreciated it) but after no sleep, I’m just very shaky today and not quite up to it.

They discussed starting the chemotherapy while I am here but opted against it. The hematologist wants to make sure I’m stable and past this crisis before adding more to the mix. I’m 100% on board with that. My body has been through a trauma this past month. It needs a break.

The swelling around my eyes has improved although the conjunctivae is still swollen. My face has completely changed. I literally do not look like myself anymore. It is disturbing to look in the mirror and see a different face looking back. I mean, it’s not like I was in love with my face or anything, but I was certainly used to it, you know? Supposedly this is temporary, but good lord, it’s been months.

Just because people always want to know…the food here is hit or miss. Breakfast is so-so. The eggs taste kinda powdery. The French toast is bland. The pancakes are pretty okay. I had some incredible beef and barley soup one day, and the turkey last night was far better than I expected. Any chicken I’ve had has just been tasteless.

Because I’m a kidney patient, I’m on a low sodium diet, but I’m not much of a salt person anyway so no great loss. I am amazed at the amount of food they will give if you want it. Who could eat all that? I guess they want to provide a variety so that people will eat but I’m not kidding, they’ll give you a five course meal three times a day if you want it.

My advice: skip the chicken.

I wonder how vegetarians and vegans fare in the hospital.

But things could be worse.

My first roomie was a standard old Bitty who complained about everything and didn’t quite understand the nurses were not exclusively at her disposal. She was discharged the day I was admitted.

My second roomie was a teenager with mental illness who was in four-point restraints in her bed. She was from a group home and was completely out of it. Not drug-related either. (I mean you can’t help but hear everything about your roommate, trust me.) I was happy to hear her family knew she was here. So young to be dealing with that. Dang.

My newest roommate is an elderly woman suffering from neglect who is covered in bedsores, one of which made both nurses gasp when they were tending to them last night. They literally took pictures of them today. Terribly sad, and I can’t imagine how painful that must be. I’m so grateful not to be in pain.

And … I’ve heard four code blues from the seventh floor since I’ve been here. The nurse said it’s the COVID ICU area. God.

So I’m where I’m supposed to be, just doing what I’m supposed to do. The timing is bad. I feel bad that I’m pushing all the holiday prep onto Kyle and my mom. I mean it’s not much, just a meal for the three of us (socially distanced, of course), but still. And I always cook Thanksgiving dinner for a very dear and deserving friend, but they’ll help with that too. It’s just really hard knowing I can’t do these things right now.

What a turn things have taken. Man. It’s been a head-spinner.

But I have lots of people checking in on me, lots of good thoughts coming my way (thank you friends, seriously), and I’m in good hands getting excellent care. I hope this bump will be behind me soon so I can move on to the next hurdle.

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