Monday, November 9, 2009

My First ER Visit, EVER!

The ability to swallow my own saliva was a short lived ability.

I got up Sunday feeling okay, but tired and weak and a smidge dizzy. My poor brain was jonesing for some Lexapro. Well, maybe I could take one after some warm beverage. I nearly got stuck taking one Saturday before the trip to the vet's office. So I wasn't looking forward to it.

Because I hadn't had much of anything in days and I was down 10 pounds since Wednesday afternoon's weigh in, I thought I would do hot cocoa again. Yeah. Not a good idea. Two small sips was enough to wake the Slime Monster.

This attack started about 9:15. By 11:30 I was still sliming and it showed no signs of stopping. I was anxious, jittery and worried. Enough was enough. I had to go to the hospital.

Here's a word to the wise: make sure you have an emergency contact number for off-hours for your surgical clinic. I assumed I had one, but I didn't. I emailed my nutritionist, Jessica, and my surgeon, but wasn't sure if they checked work email on the weekends. Lord knows I don't! I tried calling the hospital but got nowhere, there. I asked the guy who answered the phone if I came in, could they page the on call surgeon? "Ma'am, that's hearsay. If you need to come in, come in."

WTF? Hearsay? I asked you a question dude, I didn't tell you a rumor. I just want to know if the ER can get me my doc!

I gave up and decided to go in, spit cup in hand.

The time to go to the ER is 11:45 on Sunday. I was called back in less than a minute and in a room within 5. I curled up on the gurney and the emotional relief of being seen by medical staff helped me calm down and the sliming finally stopped. I slept for a few hours while they were paging the on-call doc, periodically interrupted by ER docs.

I had to laugh--one of them compared me to Goldilocks. This fill's too loose. This fill's too tight! My bandy is not very easy going. Very picky. Not enough, not enough, not enough--OVER THE TOP!

I'd say why me, but hell, why not me? Nothing in life has been smooth sailing, so why should this be an exception? I believe things happen for a reason. Obviously there's some lesson I'm supposed to be learning. I just have to figure it out. And make the most of it. Shit happens, and I'm not immune. I can either whine, or I can learn.

I was giddy to be awoken by Dr. Foster! Have I mentioned yet how much I adore her? She reminds me of the pediatrician Arizona on Grey's Anatomy. Like when Arizona gets in there with her patients and relates to them (last week where she had the kid with the bowel problem go on rounds with her and practice his algebra by calculating meds). So I was excited when she came in and 100% confident she'd take good care of me.

Dr. Sexton helped her out and he was great, too. Whew. I was terrified they were gonna just send me some ER doc who knew nothing about Lap Band ports that would make things worse. But my great team came to the rescue.

Unfortunately, though fortunately for my ER bill, they were not able to get me to a fluoroscopy suite. So they numbed me up with some lidocane and went on the hunt for my port.

I'm the Atypical Bandster for many reasons. One of which is my challenging port. Twisted 20-odd degrees (in spite of being anchored to my abdominal wall on a piece of surgical grade screen door fabric!) and covered in scar tissue. It's not easy to access for an experienced surgeon with visual access (x-ray). But Dr. Foster did a great job of getting in there blindly. It took awhile and involved sit-ups on my part. But she did it.

She pulled off the 1.5 ml she added earlier in the week and I felt immediate relief. They brought me a cup of ice with a dash of water and the first sip went down perfectly. Ahhhh, the best water on earth! I was able to drink 1/4 cup over a few minutes with no adverse effects. That was the most fluid I'd had in awhile! Glorious! Then I had a cup of apple juice! JOY!

While I drank, we chatted and she said she was hoping this wouldn't happen! Me too! But at least it was fixed. And she's amazing. The normal protocol after a problem like this is a complete unfill. But she only took off that 1.5 ml because she knew how frustrating my band has been. It took 7 months and 6 fills to get me just overshot. The first 6 months, NO restriction.

I told her I had a trip coming up to Chicago and a hectic week at work prior to that. So to be on the safe side, she took off another 0.5 ml before removing the needle. So I was up 1.5 ml and now I'm down 2. Which is okay. I can drink fluids again!

Long story short, the bandster existence is not always straightforward. For a vast majority of patients, they have surgery and a few fills and viola! They're at restriction and life is good with the steady pound or so a week weight loss.

Then there are the complicated people like me. It can be very frustrating at times. But I am losing and at least the docs are learning how to deal with challenging ports. And I had a really nice 2 hour nap, too. No barking dogs or anything!

Like I always say, it could be worse. Of course try asking me that after I get the bill. I'm sure I won't be so chipper then!

1 comment:

Debra Kay said...

I am so glad that they didn't take it all. I've been there and done that and as soon as you get that blessed water down the frustration immediately follows.

Getting close is probably the most frustrating time and I'm right there with you. This new band position is nothing like the old one-which is probably a good thing since the old one almost killed me. STILL, I'm alive and my pants are tight.

I'm just never satisfied.....