03 July 2007

The Hospital Stay

Well, I'm finally back home after an 80 hour long stay at the hospital, and all I can say is that I am SO glad to be back home. I decided to post this so that you can get an idea of why I ended up in the hospital and why I ended up staying as long as I did. So here is my story:
Early Wednesday morning when I woke up to get ready for work, I noticed that I had a dull pain in my upper abdomen on my right side just below my rib cage. I didn't think much of it as it felt sort of like a very minor muscle cramp. I continued about my day going to work and finally coming home. It was still there at that time, so I began to think that the cramp was much more stubborn than I originally thought, but still didn't think much of it.
Well, Thursday morning comes along, and the pain has increased, but is still manageable (much like the amount of pain I currently am going through now). However, every move I made, change in position, and any other stiffening of my abdominal muscles near the affected area resulted in a moderately high amount of pain. However, long periods of time in a certain position (such as when I was at work at my desk) the pain subsided and was almost unnoticable. On the way into work, there was some pain, but not much, and on the drive back home from work, the pain reappeared. However, when I got home, the pain was noticeably more pronounced, but I continued to be stubborn and disregarded it. While washing my car, I noticed that the pain was quite taxing on me and resolved to go to Kaiser's Urgent Care center in Riverside. After waiting several hours (and a messy blood sample later), the doctor believed it was a problem with my gall bladder and tentatively scheduled an ultrasound, prescribing me Vicodin to help ease the pain. We headed back around 1:30 and I was thoroughly exhausted.
When my alarm went off on Friday morning, I tried to walk over to shut it off and discovered that the pain had become ever worse. Stubbornly, I attempted to get ready for work, though at nearly a snail's pace. I walked like a zombie and had a grimace on my face since now the pain was persistent regardless of whether I moved or not. I eventually got to work, and everybody saw that I was in really horrible pain, but trying to use the Vicodin to ease the pain. Unfortunately, it barely did a thing, and I think it only worked the first time I took it. By the end of the day, I had called my mom to pick me up and both her and my grandfather came to pick me and my car up and bring me home. My mom and I went to the hospital from there and I was admitted into the emergency room at 6pm.
Let me tell you, it is horrible being in pain in a way that is indicative of many other conditions but but tests are all inconclusive. My first tests were urine samples and blood tests, as well as normal vital signs, probably to check for appendicitis. After discovering that I did not exhibit any signs other than the pain in that area indicative of it, they moved on to an ultrasound. Now, why in the world would doctors force you to do a test which require using pressure in the affected area when pressure makes it worse? Oh well. So after practically crying in pain for an hour during the ultrasound (oh yeah, I forgot to tell you - when I was admitted, they put my on an IV and injected morphine into me twice before the ultrasound - when I first got there and about 30 minutes before the ultrasound), I returned to my holding area until the results came back. Well, apparently they did because a surgeon came in to talk about the results and told me that he did not see anything on it. Great. So, using his hands to probe around for the pain, he eventually pressed on the spot that hurt and I winced in pain. Heck, with how hard he pressed on it and how long, I actually had tears streaming down my face. He decided to try to use a CT scan, hoping it would reveal what was going on. And so I had to drink 4 250ml bottles of contrast that was supposedly flavored like vanilla (it didn't, and it was like thin milk shake) within 40 minutes. I drank the first within 2 minutes, and eventually got them all down within 30. Off I went to the CT scan.
This was pretty inconclusive as well, but it didn't hurt as much as the ultrasound. Already having pain when I breathed in deeply, but I stuck it out, still wincing from the extreme pain I was going through. Afterwards, I was returned back to my area on my gurney and was given yet another dose of morphine. A few hours later, my surgeon returned, stating that I was to be hospitalized since they did not know for sure what was going on unless I went into exploritory surgery. However, he had his hunch, based on the tests that were given, that I had a form of infarction (a sudden and inexplicable death of tissue) that affected the fat lining in my abdomen. Since the fat lining had died, it affected the other organs in the area by causing pain and inflammation, so an anti-inflammatory called Tordal (I think that is how it is spelt). Finally, I was given relief from the pain as it felt so much better not being as inflamed as before.
After about an hour of waiting, I was finally transferred to my hospital room and stayed until Monday at about 2 in the afternoon when I was released on home rest until I can return to work (or at least try to). As for what happened during my stay in the hospital, well that can pretty much be summed up thus: I had nothing to do but stare at the wall. No TV (well, I had a TV, but nothing was on). No cell phone. No company. Nothing. It was ridiculously boring. As for the times I did do something, well, it wasn't much and half of it I couldn't remember because the 2 antibiotics and the Tordal that they gave me made me kinda loopy.
Well, that's my story (to the best of my remaining knowledge) and I'm sticking to it. Hopefully I never have to go back there again and be hospitalized.

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