Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quite the Cliffhanger...

I’m still in the hospital and alas, I have no internet access. I’ve been here for the past four days. On Saturday, my hand wound seemed to take a turn for the worse. I won’t go into details because some people might be a little put off. Suffice it to say that several doctors have taken pictures of my hand growth and have commented how they have never seen anything quite like it in real life. Truth is, I haven’t either and I am not thrilled that it is growing (and keeps growing, seemingly without abatement) from my palm.

My official diagnosis: I have a pyogenic granular with a MRSA infection. The granular is a wound that is overgrown: To put it simply (as some of the doctors explained to me), basically my body keeps resending the “heal me here” signal, so my body is paying way too much attention to this one little area. As a result, the skin keeps building in a tumor-like way. So what I have now is something that looks like a pinky tip growing out of my palm. On top of that, there is a staph infection in it. This staph infection is resistant to most antibiotics, so I need to get IV antibiotics. And that is how I ended up here.

Back to Saturday…. even though it is only a few blocks away, we took a cab to the hospital. We went up to the labor and delivery floor, but was quickly escorted out and told that I won’t be staying on that floor, near all the pregnant moms and newborn babies, since I had an infectious disease. Instead, I was set up in a room on a regular floor, next to other infectious patients.

The good news is, because of the MRSA, I was given my own plague room. There are two doors: You open the main door and enter a little vestibule, where you can don your haz-mat suits, gloves and masks. Through another door is my area. I feel so lucky not to have a roommate.

In the beginning, I was treated as if I was a threat to society. The first nurse who came in to take my vitals was dressed in full-on haz-mat gear: Gloves on her hands; a plastic suit; a mouth mask. It seems strange, since Nicole is sitting right next to me without a stitch of protective covering, and she is fine. And they let my brother and SIL and niece and nephew visit later without blinking an eye. My infected hand is completely covered, and unless I unwrap it and rub said wound on other people’s open cuts or sores, then most people will be alright. But still, I understand the precautions. MRSA is considered a “superbug” and it can be dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, aka everyone in a hospital. Now that it is being treated, it is not infectious anymore.

There is an endless parade of doctors and specialists coming in here. Nurses come in to check my vitals. Different nurses come in check the babies’ heartbeats (even in the middle of the night, when I am soundly sleeping). Techs come in to do non-tress tests. Nurses come in to hook up the IV drips to the line in my arm. Someone comes in with a tray of food, which I keep telling them not to do, since Nicole is picking meals up for us. Someone else comes in to change the sheets. People randomly show up with ice or pillowcases. They come in at all hours of the night. Like last night, when my temperature was checked at 1:30 in the morning. There is no resting in a hospital, which seems a bit ironic. The good news is, I am under the care of six doctors: Three hand surgeons; one infectious disease doctor; an ob/gyn resident and my ob/gyn. I feel very well taken care of.

I was given an amb.ien on that first night to help me sleep, and it was the best sleep I have had in a long time. Nicole slept over, contorted in a chair with her head resting on the windowsill. I felt awful and kept trying to get her to go home, but she refused. In the long run, I am grateful, since I am not a fan of spending nights without her and I have never spent a night in a hospital before. We spend up to a week apart when she is away on business, but that seems different: She is in some hotel somewhere and I am home in our bed. Now, she is alone in our bed and I am alone in a sterile hospital room. Not fun.

So this is the basic run-down of my infection: pyogenic granulars occur during pregnancies when hormones are running amuck. They usually resolve on their own after birth. If they don’t, they can be surgically removed, but they won’t do that while a woman is pregnant because it will just grow back. The best part is that these growths usually appear on your face (75 percent of the time), so I am lucky indeed that it is on my palm. One doctor, who looks like Anderso.n Coo.per, asked permission to photograph it (my hand wound is gonna be famous!). Another doctor was so excited to see it and commented how it was the largest and best specimen she has even seen. Most doctors marvel at it, filled with wonder and glee. It is that impressive.

Meanwhile, the IV drip is taking care (hopefully) of the staph infection, but the doctors agree I need a full-course of antibiotics, which means six days. And that means I will be here until Thursday. I have friends visiting every day and am racking up cell phone minutes with others, so I am far from bored. Nicole comes after work and stays till the sun goes down. And so many people have had much longer hospital stays for much worse reasons, so I really can’t complain. And, as my friend Jen reminds me, the goal is healthy babies. I am so grateful that this all has turned out to be a giant pain in the ass (hand), but the babies and I will be fine. Still, some good vibes can’t hurt, right?

Some random, fun moments so far:

• One nurse looked at my hand wound and asked if I was sure I wasn’t stung by an animal, possibly a lobster? (Um, yeah…pretty sure it didn’t have a run-in with a lobster).

• A nurse’s aide brought me a jug of water and 28 plastic cups. 28. Does she think I am having a party in here or something? Who needs 28 cups?

• The appetizer on last night’s dinner was “cranberry juice.” Today’s breakfast included a corn muffin that tasted like fish. Tonight’s appetizer was pineapple juice. Thank goodness good food is a block away!

• Hand surgeons are apparently quite good-looking. As I mentioned, one looked like Ander.son Coo.per and the other looks like a soap opera star. I was actually a bit embarrassed by the Pop-Tart crumbs on my tank top when he came in!

• One nurse asked if it was okay to pray for me and the babies. I said “of course,” and she came around the side of the bed, grabbed my hand and launched into prayer. I had no idea that it was going to happen right then and there. When she paused for more than four seconds, I took that as a signal that it was over and said an “amen?” I am not particularly religious in any conventional way so I was definitely a fish out of water with that whole thing. It was very sweet though, of the nurse. She also prayed for the doctors to have wisdom in treating me. I like how she covered all the bases.

• Nicole and the window: We have a lovely western view from the hospital window, overlooking the Hudson and lots of apartment buildings, and Nicole can spend hours staring out it and making comments like “I wonder why that flag is a half-staff” and “The lights are coming on” or “Those people still have their Christmas decorations up.” All of these comments are delivered in a very serious and contemplative way. I’m not surprised about her window fascination: It reminds me of our apartment: I put a stool in front of the window in the kitchen and every day, which she is brushing her teeth she goes and sits on the stool and stares out the window. She will sit in that stool at other times during the day and night, staring at the street below. She is like a cat with a new carpeted cat castle or whatever those things are called.

• A nurse WOKE ME UP last night at 12:30 a.m. and asked if I wanted a sleeping pill. I was asleep….logic dictates that I do not need a sleeping pill. Or, at the very least, I managed to get to sleep already so maybe the pill isn’t necessary.

• There are beautiful sunsets over the Hudson from my window.

So I will be out of the loop till Thursday! I am having Nicole read me baby Riley updates, and I am so happy that everything seems to be going so well! I can’t wait to catch up on everyone else’s lives/news/updates. I am officially going through Other People’s Blogs’ withdrawal!

14 comments:

K J and the kids said...

I have to say 2 things.
THANK YOU FOR BLOGGING. I've been worried about you guys.

2. I agree about the hospital bed rest. When they put me in with the twins, I HATED IT. Yes there were tons of people overseeing me, but they wouldn't leave me the HELL alone. I couldn't sleep either...and I chose not to take the ambien because I was worried about taking meds while pregnant....I know, I was a HUGE FREAK !
I remember that at like 2 am a show would come on about how to care for your infant. All about abuse and other things. It was quite interesting. :)

I hope your hand takes to the antibiotics. You don't have THAT much longer.

whatthef*ck said...

holy shit that is unbelievable. all of it really. a pinky tip growing out of your pal. haz-mat suits. staph infection. your comment about the lobster comment made me laugh out loud. unfrigginbelievable. so glad your sense of humor is intact and thriving with all that great material. waking you up to inquire about a sleeping pill. that is retarded. so glad you posted. i was getting worried. hang in there. i'll be on the edge of my seat, checking in to see that how and when this crazy journey winds down. thank god those babies will be perfectly fine if they need to make an early entrance. hang in there.

bri said...

Wow! This is some good drama! Good and gross! I love me some grossness. So thanks for that pinky tip image. Wow. I am so glad to hear from you and to know you are OK and being cared for and the babies are fine. Hopefully you will get out in a couple of days with no more infection, just a growth, yes? Heh. That makes it sound like it is a mole or something rather than the MOST impressive whatchamacallit those medical folks have ever seen. Way to go on the over achiever status - even your growth is spectacular!

calliope said...

ooooh! you are going to be FAMOUS!!!
That was a brilliant post: funny, nasty, educational, sweet, and witty.
I love Nicole is a cat with a new castle imagery.
So glad that you have a team of people on board to get you through this. ugh!
House would LOVE you.
xo

gypsygrrl said...

wow - you have just contributed to my store of knowledge as a future nurse...i have already googled "pyogenic granuloma" and gotten ad wealth of information AND photos! pretty wild.

i must say my favourite line in the googled articles was: "pyogenic granulomas are always (ALWAYS!!!) benign" :)

and you are correct - the hospital is no place to get any rest... in a typical stay, you will see upwards of 200 different staff people! enjoy ;) i bet your apartment will never look so good!

thinking "susceptible" thoughts for the MRSA and antibiotics :) [that means the MRSA will be vulnerable to the meds]

thanks for updating us...we've all been a bunch of nervous nellies pacing the blogosphere waiting news that all was well!

hugs to you and nicole and healthy babies!

Eva said...

Thanks for the updates. I'm glad that you and the babes are okay. And I see on your ticker, 36 weeks. 36 weeks! Congratulations!

I was in and out of hospitals and didn't get to meet attractive hand surgeons, but had many of the same experiences. They're always waking you for NST's and temps and blood pressures and then telling you to rest. Maybe the babes and I would have been less stressed if we were left alone! I'm also jealous that you're in NYC because I was ambulanced to a hospital in the middle of nowhere, so had no choice but hospital food or McD.

Who knew all along you should be worrying about your hand???

Shelli said...

OK, if anyone (Bri?) wants to see and read ALL about it?

http://www.thesahara.net/mrsa.htm

ALL about MRSA. COOL.

I, like Cali, LOVE the imagry of Nicole as cat. Beautiful.

Glad you're getting the help you need, and that things should be less chaotic soon...

infertilepediatrician said...

Thank god that you posted and that you are doing ok (and I don't mean that in the same way as your praying nurse). It's never a good thing to be the fascination of a group of doctors - we're a sick bunch and get exctied over gross stuff. The grosser and more bizzare the better. As a patient, it's better to be the boring one and not the super duper exciting or cool patient.

Only 1 more sleep until Thursday and hopefully you get to go home!

Motel Manager said...

I'm glad you're being well taken care of! I hope things improve soon and your hand returns to normal.

SJayneI said...

Hello! I am so glad to hear that your are doing well (as well as you can within your current environment, anyway). Good Luck to you and hope to see you back in blogland real soon.

Jams Wife said...

Well if you have to have an infection and be in the hospital at least you are lucky: private room, growth out of hand and not face, and good looking doctors. Hopefully these sorts of things will make your stay more tolerable.

utRus said...

how crazy!! i mean seriously. you get this far with your cervix of steel, etc, only to wind up in hospital with this weird hand issue. you sure have a sense of humor though - that thing about waking you up to offer you a sleeping pill. oy. as someone who's been (as you know) in hospital for about 35 days, i know the drill. they're pretty good at leaving me alone here, though. hang in there with your famous hand! big hug.

nycphoenix said...

So close so close!!!

And I'm a weirdoo! I want to see pics of the hand. Maybe a cutaway for people to choose whether to click or not!

Now just stop mud wrestling with lobsters and have those babies!

nycphoenix said...

I just googled pyogenic granular and your blog is fourth in the results!