Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. The last 2 weeks have been rough…… to say the least. As you guys know, I have been on a low-fat diet the past little while to avoid getting sick at night-time. It had been working pretty well and the painful night-time attacks had been coming less often. Well, 2 weeks ago this Wednesday K and I were out eating at one of our favourite restaurants close to home. I was in the middle of my “Wine Country” salad (apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, leafy greens and balsamic dressing) when I started to feel VERY ill. I began to get pain in my stomach that radiated to my back. I was sure it was one of the attacks, but couldn’t figure out why it was coming this early in the evening. I got up and told K I was going to the car with Lachlan. It was around 6pm – just the beginning of Lach’s “fussy time” before bed. He was crying and I was trying to make my way to our vehicle to rock him. The pain was intensifying to the point that I thought I would vomit or pass out. I could see Karli inside the restaurant, trying to get the check. I clung to Lachlan tightly as I began shaking with pain. I was worried I could pass out holding him. It hurt so badly to stand up – I couldn’t believe it. What was going on in my body!? K was looking at me from in the restaurant…panic definitely evident on her face. She came out as quickly as she could. I was just trying to breathe deeply and sort of crunched over standing up, all the while still holding my son.
She came out and helped me get in the car. The pain just kept getting worse, when I didn’t think it could. Every breath was a struggle and I felt like I couldn’t get enough air. I told her to just get me to the closest hospital. We arrived at the ER what seemed like hours later, but in reality was only 10 minutes or so. I explained that I thought this was my gall bladder and had to been seen right away. Of course the ER was full. Despite this, they got me back there pretty quickly. K’s mom and one of our closest friends came to the hospital that night and helped with Lachlan. I was freaking out because I had never given Lachlan a bottle – he has only been breastfed. We had some stored breastmilk in the freezer – but it wasn’t much. They did bloodwork and took me right back for an ultrasound. The scan came back showing I was having a bad gall bladder attack and I definitely had gall stones – 8 to be exact. I was told that my gall bladder had to be removed quickly, as the tests were showing that my liver was very inflamed. I was a wreck, worried sick about giving Lach a bottle and whether or not we’d have enough breastmilk. I didn’t want him to be on formula – it’s just a very emotion thing for me. But, I was assured that I’d only have to be in the hospital overnight, so tried not to worry. Gall bladder surgery is pretty common nowadays. Surely it wouldn’t be so bad. Boy was I wrong.
I refused any pain medication, and breastfed Lachlan up until they took me away for surgery. It was painful, but I wanted the best thing for my boy. K and her mom had frozen breastmilk and tried to get me to not worry about what would be Lachlan’s first bottle experience while I was in surgery. I was taken down to the “holding area” to wait and get prepped for surgery at 7:45pm. The surgeon came to see me while I was waiting in the bed in the holding area and told me that I would have the procedure under general anesthesia and that the surgery would be done with 4 small incisions (often referred to as stab cuts). Three below my right breast, and a larger one in my belly button. The procedure is actually called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. He informed me that if they could not get the gall bladder out laparoscopically, that he would have to make a large incision connected the three small cuts below my right breast. This is rare though, so I wasn’t worried. I waited for quite some time…surgery was supposed to be at 8pm, however, the OR wasn’t ready, and then they were missing an anesthesiologist. I remember meeting the anesthesiologist, who had quite a sense of humour. He asked me where I wanted to go on vacation and told me that at first I’d feel like I had 4 or 5 martinis. All I could think about was K up there with Lach. But, I soon started feeling lightheaded and they wheeled me into the OR. I remember the bright lights and voices. Shortly after, they put more stuff in my IV and everything went black. I ended up going into surgery at 10pm and the surgery lasted an hour or so. After surgery I was groggy and in a little pain. My mouth was so dry even my teeth felt weird. After an hour or so “coming to” in the recovery room, they wheeled me back up to my hospital room. The surgery was successful was able to be done laparoscopically (he didn’t need to make the large incision). I was pretty out-of-it, but happy it was all over. I vaguely remember K saying that Lach did so well with his first bottle, and there were no issues. I was so relieved, and just happy that it was all over – or so I thought.
Around 1am, my mild pain turned into severe unmanageable pain. I felt something going wrong in my body and didn’t know what to do. I was still groggy, but now the pain was out of this world. I was crying and shaking and my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. K and my mother-in-law called the nurse….if you can even call her that. Thus begins the horror of the next few days. The nurse could care less about my pain and not only failed to tell the surgeon about the agony I was in, but she also demeaned and belittled me in front of my partner and mother-in-law. Looking back, Karli is sure that it was our relationship that she didn’t like, so therefore decided she would treat me like shit. I can’t even begin to describe how many awful comments and remarks were made. The lack of care and utter distrespect was unfathomable. The pain I was in was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life….even after giving birth to my son naturally! K had to go to the nurse’s station SIX times to get the nurse to even come to the room. K knew something was wrong with me and was trying to get the nurse to get my pain under control and call the surgeon. She told her that I wasn’t a wuss when it came to pain….I gave birth to a big boy naturally. A few of the things the nurse did….word for word.
1. Instead of introducing herself as my nurse, the first words out of her mouth were, “I have 10 other patients to deal with tonight”.
2. Yanked out my oxygen and said “You’re 25, breathe on your own.”
3. Said, “Well, she may have been tough in labour, but this is obviously a different story.”
4. Looked at my feet (all of this while I’m screaming in pain) and said to Karli, “WOW, she must go barefoot a lot.”
5. After Karli went down to the nurses station yet again and said “WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET YOU TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY??? SOMETHING IS WRONG! SHE NEEDS HELP!” The “nurse” replied, “Oh is she doing THIS (mimicked rapid breathing)?? She likes to hyperventilate.”
6. I was crying and felt like I was being stabbed to death. Karli was trying to help me and said, “It’s okay baby, you get more morphine in 5 minutes….it’s okay.” The nurse replied, “NO SHE DOESN’T. SHE GETS IT IN AN HOUR!” Karli replied, “Well what time is she SUPPOSED to get it?” The nurse said, “2:40” . Karli replied, “Well look at the clock! It’s 2:33 – SORRY – She gets it in SEVEN minutes!”
I kid you not. That is just a FEW of the things this nurse did. Finally Karli said, “Do I have to call 911 and get her taken to the ER to get the proper care!?” Another nurse stepped in after telling the awful nurse that she was failing to do her job. They ran more tests. The new nurse helped get my pain under control. I was on a PCA machine so I could administer my own morphine, was getting EXTRA pushes of morphine ever 2 hours, and was on P.ercocet. We later found out that the pain I was in was a very serious thing. What had happened was gall stones were stuck in my bile duct, obstructing the duct and affected the function of my liver and pancreas….which caused issues in my kidneys as well. My liver levels were elevated for days and the inflammation hadn’t gone down. The pain I was in was caused because I was passing the stones through the duct. My surgeon even admitted that the nurse failed to do her job. Since then we have had several nurses on that floor come to us and tell us how hateful this one nurse is. We have given a full report to Patient Advocacy and are hoping she gets fired. We can’t imagine another person being treated that way.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough. A simple gall bladder surgery…..one day in the hospital, led to SIX long days. I developed an infection, fever, etc. The doctor started saying words like “Hepatitis.” Lucky, I didn’t end up having that “H” word…. thank God. So, just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. I thought the nightmare was over. On day 4, I stopped being able to pee on my own. My kidneys had been affected by the infection and I no longer sensed that I needed to go. I could sometimes pee a little bit, but they would bladder scan me and see up to a liter and a half of urine remaining in my bladder. It had gotten so overstretched and I was having major issues. I had a catheter put in for a day by a very kind nurse. It didn’t hurt. The following day, they decided to do a quick “straight cath”…. drain the pee, then take the catheter out. No problem. Nice nurse, no pain. The third straight cath was different. I had a new nurse. She came in with another nurse that was just watching. She had no clue what she was doing. She turned to the other nurse and said “Is this the right place??” I was so doped up, I didn’t even say anything. The nurse responded, “Yes”. She jabbed at me and I felt nothing but pain in between my legs. I winced and tears started coming down my face. She tried again and didn’t get it. I cried outloud this time and moaned in pain. She mumbled some “I’m sorry” and turned to the nurse watching and said, “This is just so much easier on guys”. WHAT? I couldn’t even talk. I was crying in pain now…and bleeding. The other nurse said, “Move that paper and just get the catheter in.” I felt violated and sick to my stomach. The nurse couldn’t even look me in the eyes. She left the room. The nurse who had been watching re-entered the room alone and I said, “I need to speak to you, NOW.” I burst out in tears and said, “How in the hell could that happen?” What in the world!!! She avoided my eyes and looked embarassed. She DID NOT want to talk about what just had happened. I said, “How could she say ‘This is just so much easier to do on guys!?’. How could she ask you if it was ‘the right place’?? She sort of hung her head and said, “Oh, she has anxiety.” And “She doesn’t work that often”. “Pardon me?? So I’m some guinea pig to be experimented on!?” This experience was like something you’d see in a movie. This couldn’t possibly be my life. This all couldn’t be happening to me. I was unconsolable and lost it. I told her that nurse was not coming back in my room and that I did NOT want to even SEE her again. I requested a new nurse. I told her that something WOULD be done about what just happened to me. I bled for 4 days after her botched-up job on me. I didn’t want another person touching me and refused to be catheterized again. I still couldn’t empty my bladder. I was traumatized now and didn’t know what to do.
A Urologist came to meet with me on Monday and brought even worse news. He told me that I had to learn to “straight cath” myself every time I went to the bathroom, or they would have to have a permanent catheter put in for a few weeks, to see if my bladder could recover and we would go from there. As if I couldn’t lose it any more. Tears streamed down my face. No. No no no no no. I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown. I didn’t want them touching me or even coming near me. I was bleeding and sore and just kept thinking, “No no no no”. I asked for a few minutes alone. He told me I needed to make a decision now. I said “I need a few minutes.” A minute later, 2 nurses come marching in all military-like and proclaim that they are going to TEACH me to straight cath myself every time I go pee. No. No no no no no. I told them to leave. I cried and bawled and lost it for awhile. I said again that I didn’t want them touching me. K called our midwife, who is so loving and wise. She advised us to leave the hospital. She told K that if we had to, she could teach me how to do it. We packed up so quickly and cleared out of there, refusing treatment.
My midwife has been amazing. She has me “Peeing on the clock” every two hours to shrink my bladder down. She thinks I’m out of the clear now. We’ve pushed tons of fluids and are trying to re-train my bladder how to work. It’s been an unbelievably horrible and long 2 weeks, but I’m finally now feeling like I’m getting back to myself. I haven’t had to have a catheter in, and hope that I won’t need to. We’re pursuing several avenues about the lack of care I received. I can’t imagine even an animal being treated the way I was. We are all appalled – still – and are just trying to speak with the right people about what happened. I’m still emotional about it all…I can’t believe that this happened. You trust the hospitals with your life. And the lack of care was so scary…I could have lost my life with that nurse’s incompetence. It’s unbelievable. I was in there so long that we ran out of breastmilk. I had to pump and dump. Lachlan had to go on formula. My breastmilk supply dwindled down. Our midwife has been helping me the past few days. My milk supply has increased. Lachlan is back exclusively breastfeeding now. He’s been such a trooper and K has been amazing every step of the way. I think, I hope, I’m out of the clear now. It’s been a long couple weeks, but I think I’m finally starting to recover – in every way.