Pancreatitis

It feels so good to be home! We took a little ‘trip’ to a rather fancy new place in town, and boy does it feel good to be back in my own bed. Where it is quiet. And I can be alone and rest. 😛

I wonder if there is a ‘RateMyHospital.com’, because the new wards at RJH in Victoria are super super nice. The care would have been top quality if I wasn’t one of those Lyme Lepers. Rats! Sometimes it sucks to be the crazy patient who is mysteriously ill. Oh wait, just kidding, it sucks ALL the time, but especially when you are trapped in a hospital and have to do everything they say.

Something has been not quite right in my belly for awhile. I’ve had the strangest feeling of wild hunger followed by periods where I feel ‘full’ and don’t want anything and couldn’t even look at a bowl of my favorite orange soup (not made from oranges guys, but orange veggies! Jeez!!). The pain started a little way into last week. It was an urgent and rough pain, a squeezing-compressing-swollen-pushing-pressing-tender pain, the kind that makes you feel as through you’d be fine parting with your internal organs just so long as that would make it go away. I usually can breathe and meditate myself out of any kind of pain, but this was beyond me, which I feel is saying something. I had zero tolerance for the pain, and basically laid around all day, complaining (which despite how long I’ve been sick for and the severity of illness, I actually don’t do that much of. this is confirmed by my family :P). The pain built. I had Mum phone doctors, which usually isn’t something that we do, unless we can’t figure out why or how to stop it. I’m on some strong oral meds, which we figured was just causing stomach pain. I kept saying it was my stomach hurting, partly because all those squishy bits in my tummy are all so close together, and usually it is my stomach that is the culprit.

The next day I knew something was seriously wrong, and wanted very much to go to the hospital. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d taken me by ambulance, which usually isn’t an idea I’m down with, even in life threatening conditions. I wasn’t quite ready to voice this idea out loud. It hurt so much to sit up or move, so I laid still, trying to find a position that was more comfy. I should have been a little suspicious of the fact that all positions hurt, and nothing made the pain any better. And that it kept getting worse. I didn’t eat all that day. I just couldn’t bear the thought of eating. No pills either. By early the next morning, the pain reached such a pitch that I was desperate to get to the ER. We left very early in the morning, which for me is unheard of, even for the most important things. I hadn’t slept all night or day. The pain was all I could focus on. I felt like I was going crazy with it nagging at my insides.

Thank goodness hardly anyone else was crazy enough to get going to the hospital while it was still dark outside, because we got in and were seen by a physician very quickly. Blood work confirmed acute pancreatitis, or the inflammation of the pancreas. My amylase and lipase (enzymes secreted by the pancreas) levels were extremely high. By this time I was utterly ruled by my pain, an animal in distress, and the only thing I had the patience to pay attention to was “when were they going to bring in the painkillers”? They did. A sub-q injection of the same drug and at the same dosage as I was getting orally. I was already over-medicated by their standards, so goodness, we wouldn’t want her getting to comfortable, right? Sigh.

The treatment for pancreatitis is basic. No food or drink by mouth. Period. For a couple of days. And see if things calm down. Darn. I had to stay at the hospital until I was well again, which of course meant no sleep on top of no calories. Bad combo. I had a room to myself in the ER with doors on it, which was amazing and rare. We we waiting for a bed in a ward to open up where I could stay, but in the meantime I could get a whole bunch of audio-book listening done, and relax. No knitting, so you know I was pretty sick and uncomfy.

I am already a little bit manic about my water. If my bottle gets empty, or it is out of reach, I go a little bit crazy and am very demanding when it comes to water. I feel crazed when I can’t have water, like it’s my drug of choice and I just can’t get enough of a fix. I was getting hysterical about not having any water. Which makes me even more unusal than they already thought…lucky me.

After a night in ER, I spent 2 days in the hospital, sitting very still, being poked and scanned ever now and again. Luckily, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything the first few days, so I didn’t have to taste RJH’s legendarily disgusting food. Yay! Although when I was allowed to eat, it was just white rice and sad faded green beans for me. Seriously…what hope is there for a medical system which feeds crappy processed foods to people who come to them to get well? But I digress…

I was too sick to knit. This has never happened! Moving even a little bit hurt my pancreas, and sent a wave of pain through my whole core. I get pretty exhausted and have trouble moving if my blood sugar drops, which it does if I don’t eat every few hours. So the nurses were all surprised with my extremely low blood sugar levels. I probably seemed even crazier when I refused the ‘sugar water’ IV’s, because that kind of sugar just makes me feel even worse and more lethargic. The ‘pasties’ of glucose to boost you sugar taste really awful; powdery sweetness, but not in a good way like sweet-tarts, although they are colored, and just as ‘cold’ on the tongue as those candies. I did talk them into just giving me a spoonful of honey when my blood-pressure dropped subsequently which was much more enjoyable :). I’m exhausted from the whole ordeal and am resting and eating (sparingly) a pancreas-friendly diet of carbs. Yum. Apparently veggies are kind of hard to eat at this point, which is breaking my little vegan heart. But don’t worry leafy greens, I’ll be back soon! ~

IMjections

Needles. Actually typing that word makes me feel a little nauseous. A nurse is here, going over some simple diagrams with my mom about how to do an IM injection, while I sit idly by, trying not to listen, but its very difficult. When my ‘vastus lateralis’ and a syringe appear in the same sentence, I can feel my fear coursing through my neck, making my arteries bulge with the quickening heart-rate. There is a lot of vocabulary being discussed right now that is so not cool for a parlor chat.

Apparently, putting a needle into your thigh is simple; the needle is so sharp it will cut through flesh like butter.
->As an aside, obsidian makes the sharpest possible blade, and it is even used as a scalpel blade. Unlike its metal counterpart, the obsidian blade will actually cut between cells, rather than ripping through. Isn’t that nice? Wikipedia has such wonderful and terrifying powers.

Anyways, the basics of how to do an IM injection into your thigh (notes approved by the lovely nurse who visited) is this:

  1. Pick the site, by choosing the middle third of your leg, from somewhere above the knee to below the thigh.
  2. Clean the site w/ the lovely perfume-smelling rubbing alcohol pad (jkjk). Put another pad between the pinky and ring fingers of your non-dominant hand for later.
  3. Pinch the muscle in your leg, and pick your spot.
  4. Put it in on a 90 degree angle into the pinched muscle spot, and then release.
  5. Suck back on the syringe to check for blood- hitting a vessel of some sort.
  6. Inject. Depress syringe.
  7. Use the pad between your other fingers to press down on the skin near where the needle is, and then pull the needle out. This stops ripping of your delicate tissues (I don’t like the sound of that).

And tada. You’ve just shot up. Tres cool and chic *rolls eyes. I wouldn’t use that info without first learning from a physician/nurse – and a prescription.

I have all the information I need, and still I am terrified. I think I’ll go back to flipping through this vegan cookbook I got out of the library. Ciao, and wish we luck.