Wow! What a fun-filled weekend! We are currently waiting at the airport, as our flight plans didn’t work out as they were set to. But that’s okay! I’ve been wanting to have some spare minutes to get on here and post the next part! So here we go!
I left you with the exciting news that I was starting on clear liquids. In this post, I have to begin by telling you that 3 days later, suction had to be hooked up again. While my gut was moving some, my stomach was not emptying. Things were so backed up that nausea got the best of me and I had to go back to nothing by mouth. I was bummed. This was not how things had ever gone. In a typical hospital visit, I would have been on to mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak! But this time, I could only dream of eating those things.
I had lots of visitors – at least this made time go by quickly. Aunt Judy and I continued to play our board games. We had a rotation of Yahtzee, Rummikub, a game called Fast Track, Scattergories and a couple of others. We’d find fun places to sit and play outside. If it was dark or too cold, we’d go find a nice place outside of my room with a big table to play at. This made time go by faster through all the waiting.
I received lots of mail and fun packages from friends and family back in Texas. It always meant so much when Judy would come up in the morning with something fun to open! One of my great friends sent some PICC line covers she had made! I’d never thought to have a cute cover on it! I even decorated my room with cards and things I’d made. Since I wasn’t allowed to eat, I used my food tray as an art desk!
After going back on suction, they did an endoscopy (just like the one from the Spaghetti Belly post) and tried to clear some junk out from the top of my intestine and get a look around. A couple of days later, they did a colonoscopy (which is the same thing, but from the other end) because they saw something in a CT scan indicating I might have an actual obstruction. This ended up not being the case, thank goodness!
Days went by with me being stuck to the wall on suction, nothing exciting – which was good! I was so ready to get out but there was no end in sight to this stay. I also had a scary conversation with the surgeon who had been on my case since the get go. This is pretty typical of my hospital stays. The moment an ER doctor sees my initial X-ray or CT scan, they instantly get a surgeon involved, just in case! Sometimes surgeons say things before they know exactly what is happening, which turns into some frightening things like them telling me they might want to perform exploratory surgery. This always gets a huge NOPE from me.
I spent a couple of days really worried about the talks I’d had with her, but ultimately learned that she’d only told me these things as possible options in case of emergency. They absolutely did not want to operate on me. Thank goodness!
My belly was getting flatter – which was great news! My NG tube output had decreased significantly, which was also great news. My favorite doctor came in to talk to me about how I’d had a significant increase in output from about 250 ccs a day to 850 ccs a day… He asked if I was feeling any worse or if anything had happened. I was super scared to tell him, but I confessed my obsession with Halls Fruit Breezers, which was PROBABLY a big contributor to the huge jump in the amount of output (keep in mind, I wasn’t supposed to be having anything by mouth at this time. I’m a rebel, I know.)
He walked over, picked up the bag and asked, “Is there any sugar in these? OH! 15 calories a piece! Keep eating them girl!” That was the best reaction I could have ever hoped for! He even said I could eat as much hard candy as I wanted! You better believe Aunt Judy and I went down to the gift shop and got an assortment! Lemon drops, Jolly Ranchers, Werther’s Originals, LifeSavers – everything we could find!
After another seven days connected to suction, they decided to see how I did with it disconnected. The next day, I was eating clears again! Third times a charm, right? You’d think! The very next day, they pulled my NG tube (well actually, I’ve never let anyone take my NG tubes out, I’ve always done it. I’m not sure why, but there’s something about the control and pressure I can apply to my nose that makes it way less traumatic!)
Getting a tube out of your nose is pretty much the best thing ever and the shower you get to take after. I don’t think there are many things better! You can wash your whole face! You can brush your teeth like a proper human being! It’s glorious and that might be an understatement. Not only did I get my tube out, I got to move up to full liquid diet! This means I was able to have blended soups, cream of wheat and even pudding! Oh boy, I was beyond thrilled! And there was talk of getting me out of there! It was a huge day. I was feeling extra hopeful.
The very next day, I buckled up my brand new red shoes my friend Lukaza sent me, and they sent me home to Aunt Judy’s house! Just a tiny recap, I was admitted to Scripps, Encinitas on July 23rd, and was released from UCSD, La Jolla on August 21st. I was so beyond ready to break out of that place. We made the beautiful drive up the coast and stopped at the grocery store for some snacks. I’m not completely sure, but I believe I went home on basically a soft food diet.
Shortly, my new home health nurse arrived with all of my TPN goodies. Boy, was it surreal going through this whole process again! I showed her my mean TPN skills, she changed my PICC line dressing and there I was again, a home TPNer.
As you can imagine, the first sleep outside of a hospital bed was absolutely glorious. I slept until noon and needed it! Hospitals have always been a rough place when it comes to sleeping conditions.
It was time to get back to normal life! I wasn’t connected to an IV pole, so I could take normal showers! And I could walk around as long as I pleased and not worry about the pump beeping after two hours of being unplugged! There were so many great changes.
Judy helped me find foods that fit my new diet (I went back to my tried and true soft sugary and carb-filled foods) and things seemed to be going really well. I loved lounging in the backyard in the California sun. We’d visit beautiful nurseries and get some flowers and I got some really cute succulents for my room at Judy’s house. I snuggled with Judy’s puppy, Pebbles, a lot and she always watched out for me.
We also spent some really fun times at Judy’s friend, Mary’s house. She had two super sweet pups and they loved to play with Pebbles. It was so fun to be in their backyard with all three dogs running around having fun! And the humans who were there were always great company! I was very careful with what I ate and took my own meals to these get-togethers though!
Things were looking so bright, I needed sunglasses! I was thrilled to finally be able to enjoy my California vacation. Good thing I hadn’t purchased the ticket for my return flight, huh? A month in the hospital will make your vacation last a bit longer than originally planned! See you guys here again soon! I promise you’ll be surprised at what happens next (got to keep that cliff-hanger ending alive!)