Friday, September 23, 2005

Where Oh Where I Have Been

As I write this, I am amongst the offline world, but not because I forgot to pay the electric bill or got washed up in Hurricane Katrina, though the cable company is expected to be out today to reactivate my account and stuff (I had my cable account suspended since I was in the hospital and didn't see the need to pay for service I couldn't receive because of my obvious physical location). :-)

This time it's because I contracted a case of cellulitis in the left leg which resulted in my getting sick to the point where I came within HOURS (if not sooner!) of DEATH. I came down with a fever so high that it amazed doctors that I was still conscious. The temp was 106.7 (No I'm not kidding either!). I will lead off Episode 22 of Pat's Podcast with this, but if podcasts aren't your cup of tea as it were, lemme briefly summarize what all happened (if that's possible).

It was August 9th. I had just jumped in the shower. As the water hit me, I started getting the chills. Thinking it was just a fluky thing, I continued with my shower. After my shower, I was REALLY shivering. So when I stepped out into the living area, I turned on the HEATER portion of my Heater/AC unit. I think the latter turned out to be my biggest mistake as you see later on.

Convinced I had some type of flu bug, I called my mom on the phone (she lives in the same building as I do, just different apartment :-) ) to see if she had anything I could take, but she said she didn't and reminded me to not be afraid to call the paramedics and get my butt to the hospital to get some antibiotics. Things eventually REALLY got bad as I went to the bathroom and while I was in there and on the way back, it felt as though I was about to collapse. I had this funny feeling of a corkscrew trying to work its way inside my head or (perhaps more accurate) a helicopter blade spinning around inside my head (If you know how a helicopter blade spins around while the thing is on the ground, you have a pretty good idea of what I was feeling). I was also (sic) puking my guts out (dry heaves mostly).

As for the consciousness thing....The simplest way to describe it would be like watching an old home movie (My eyes were batting open and shut rapidly). But instead of the movie, the action was 100% LIVE & VERY REAL.

Suffice to say, I wound up calling the paramedics who ultimately (and almost immediately) took me to the hospital where my primary care provider works out of. After a battery of tests to determine what it was that I had, doctors came to the conclusion that the problem was the cellulitis in my left leg (it was red and swollen. My right leg was swollen as well, but not as much as my left leg nor was it as red). Everyone in the ER was also telling me that I was BURNING UP and that my skin was somewhat warm to the touch even though I was shivering.

Problem was the doctors eventually had to perform a Biopsy on my left leg to confirm what they already suspected. This was because, for whatever reason, they seemingly couldn't find the right antibiotics that seemed to work. Just yesterday (9/22), I was told that I would have a dimple for a "scar" when the would finally heals (it still hasn't as I type this).

They later determined that I had diabetes.

Trust me, there's NO other feeling like being asked if you have ever been diagnosed with diabetes (or other serious and deadly disease), you telling the doc that you haven't, only to be told that you have been now. Surreal and shocking to say the very least.

As a result of all this, I was ultimately admitted to the MICU section of the hospital As anyone who has ever been in hospitals can imagine, I was placed in a private room. I spent roughly ten days there. I was then moved to a regular hospital room. My only problem with that was that the room *wasn't* a private room. As a result, not only was I at the mercy of MY doctors, nurses and their assistants and other people treating me, but also those of the person next to me. What a drag that was. :-(

After about two weeks of this, I finally got my own room (My guess is that the sooner you show signs of getting well, the sooner you get your own room. Really strange). During this stage, there was another problem. This time, it was a complication with the interaction between Phenobarbital (the medication I took for my Epilepsy) and the Anastesia (sp?) they used for my Biopsy. As a result, there was a lot of distention in my stomach and they had to perform a colonoscopy (sp?) to correct this. They also switched me from Phenobarbital to Depakote.

Anyway, enough with the gross stuff. Eventually, after more than three weeks at the hospital (and after the Radiology Department, who was getting to klnow me on a first name basis with my my near-daily visits to them even though I didn't know them from a freakin' hole in the ground was supposedly starting a betting pool as to when I finally might leave :-) *LOL!*), I was transferred to an LTAC center for rehabilitation. Suffice to say, this is a hospital run on the cheap side - IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY. I spent almost another three weeks there before finally coming home.

Now since I'm a guy, my overall assessment on the nurses is kinda bland. There weren't any real cuties (I wasn't *that* lucky), but I didn't exactly end up with a bunch of old hags armed with big square needles either (though there *were* a *few* times where this did happen, but fortunately this wasn't very often :-) ). I did however stumble across some GUYS who were nurses though (Is it just me or is the number of male nurses rising along with the number of female doctors?). Also had a couple guys for therapists too.

Anyhow, even though I'm now cured of my cellulitis, it was finally discovered that I have a diabetic condition. Not neccessarily Diabetes itself though as I don't need Insulin. But I do need to watch my sugar intake. I also need to try to lose some weight (I lost some 75-80 lbs. going from 370 to about 290-295 before rebounding back to 310). Also, because of my Cerebral Palsy, my doctor is also prescribing a motorized scooter for me so I can get around (I can walk with the assistance of a walker and have most of my leg strength back now, but that won't be of much help when I'm out in public even after I'm able to put the walker aside). I'm also getting a bunch of other things as well (including a special bed for my sleep apnea, which I also now have).

Hopefully I'll land myself an iRiver with my Rent Rebates soon so I can do some podcasts as I go scooting around town. That'd be REALLY cool. :-) (Don't get me wrong. My Olympus VNC240PC is great, but compared to an iRiver, it's a backup :-) ).

I'm hoping some good will come out of all this in the end. One of which is my biological clock being returned to normal so then this way I get up in the morning as opposed to in the afternoon like before. As it is now, it's now 6:00 AM and I'm wide awake after only about five hours of sleep (Before all thechanges, I would normally be going to bed by this hour. Also, ideally I'd like to push it up to a full eight, but alas....Baby steps....Baby steps. Recovery Road is a long one and I'm only in the middle of it. *sigh* ).

Anyway....That's where I've been for the last six weeks. Time for me to save this for posting later on today when I get my cable and access to the Internet back (I get it via Comcast) but if I think of anything else, I'll be sure to somehow slip it in. :-)