Good morning world! Its sunny, bright and warm in the room at the end of the hall, on the 5th floor of Rutland Regional Medical Center.
The IV was moved again – my hand couldn’t take the amount of substances injected, especially after the spine-arching painful dye for the CT scan traveled through. The IV is now on my left forearm (4th location!) and my right hand is free again for writing. Yay.
Yesterday, I had 2 CT scans (for a total of 3), 4 more blood cultures, 2 more blood tests of other kinds and 1 stool culture. I now have 3 doctors working on the case, including the general surgeon (because if the antibiotics fail, I’m going under his knife) and a newly hired specialist in infectious diseases, in case I have something of the sort.
The CT scan shows a large inflammation in the lower right corner of the abdomen. “The kind that would cause massive pain” the doc said – why yes, that would be the kind. Behind that, a bit of the appendix pokes into view and it looks fine. Usually, with appendicitis, the whole thing would be inflamed, so it doesn’t look like appendicitis, but they can’t rule it out either, because they can’t see it. If it were an inflammation of the colon (forgot the name), the antibiotics should have cleared it by now, so it might not be that, but they can’t rule it out. If it was cancerous, an abscess or tumor, the sides of the inflamed area would have a definite line, and they don’t see that, but they can’t rule them out either. I could just have an atypical one of any of those.
The blood cultures show nothing yet, but they’ve only been brewing some for a day, some for two, so nothing in there yet, or at all. Same with the stool culture.
My blood count is normal, vital signs of a healthy person, still no other symptoms except for a bit of diarrhea – but then my last solid meal was roasted corn on the cob, cooked over a fire in a lookout cabin on the AT, 5 days ago.
If it’s Giardia or another water-borne diseases, I’ve got none of the symptoms. It’d be a very atypical one, but again, they don’t rule any of them out.
So, that’s that. Until they know, they feel the best course of action is to keep the drip of antibiotics going and keep looking.
Meanwhile, I am actually doing much better. I can sit up by myself, move around, and no longer need help to the bathroom. Talk about an exercise in vulnerability and trust. Nothing like a bit of pain to drop all “I can do it myself” pride.
The nurses and nurses aid have all been exceptional angels of love, respect and patience. Each comes with a precise unique mix of qualities they all possess. All are professional, efficient, caring, comforting, etc. but draw on these qualities in various ways. In short bursts of visits to change IV bags or take vital signs, I get glimpses into their world. Here, it’s all about the patients, but outside, they are mothers, wifes, girlfriends, mountain hikers, motorcycle riders, maple syrup fudge recipe inventors, travelers, with a whole spectrum of adventure dreams and plans. My surgeon is a mountaineer and climber, waiting for his kids to be old enough to become his rope guns. I imagine not everyone gets to find out all these juicy bits, but I’m curious, and my backpack with all my gear (brought to me from the Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel by Trail Angel Tom yesterday – thank you!!!) sits on the chair reserved for visitors, first in view when you come in the room. It’s a great conversation starter, that’s why I leave it there.
I see the nurses the most, but really, everybody that has come into my sphere has been absolute top-notch personel, from the transport-technicians who gives me bed rides down to the CT scan room, to the cleaning ladies, to the handsome green-eyed maintenance man who came to unclog my toilet – right, because I totally want to meet handsome men while wrapped in a saggy hospital gown, with dreadful fever bed hair! Luckily, he was also very efficient, and out of here in two flushes.
I’ve also had the visit of the hospital dietician – how cool is that? This hospital has a dietician! She came to enquire why my tray of mostly sugar and high fructose corn syrup water was returning to the kitchen intact. I told her that it seemed to me the last thing my body needed right now, it the midst of this epic fight to heal itself, was nutritionally empty substances I don’t trust or usually consume. Now my tray comes with hot water, herbal tea, wedges of fresh lemon and chicken broth.
So, overall, I’d say life is good and getting better!
Thanks again for the deluge of love and support. I am sure it’s helping, in one way or the other.
The last solid supper – the night before I got off trail.