Sunday, 4 January 2015

Please sir, may I please have one more unit of blood?

I had a post started last night about how I hope I didn't give people the wrong impression that things weren't going well. They are moving steadily upward. I was all set to ramble on about why I was/am so  frustrated about this infection when everything else is moving along swimmingly.

But then I thought it would be more fun to tell you about last night adventures. For some reason my 'quiet weekends' end up not being so quiet.

During the day, my vac dressing was finally changed (it didn't get done on Friday due to 'orders' not being in) which was much less painful than the previous time. All was well and quiet until midnight when I noticed that there was some bloody leaking happening from my site at one side. I told the night nurse who reinforced the spot with another bandage. I assumed it was because the day nurses went a little overboard with the saline rinse and weren't super careful about getting it all out.

Woke up 20 min later for it to have soaked through that as well as my gown.

On and off for the next hour or so she tried to contain the leak by adding progressively different and more types of tapes and gauzes. On and off went underpads and gowns. She declared victory at one point and I was able to sleep for awhile.

I was woken to the sound of a loud beeping a few hours later, glanced down at my chest, only to realize I had been shot.

Or, you know, the vac dressing had started leaking through yet another gown but this time ine a perfect circle on my chest.

The nurse, by then, had already arrived on the scene due to the high pitch screech coming from the machine. [Sidenote: somehow my roommate slept through all of this, the entire night. I'm not sure what medication they give her but I heard her say this morning "I had the best sleep ever!"]

The nurse decided she, along with a back up nurse, would have to change the entire dressing. However, once they started removing the dressing, they realized the bleeding was out of their control and called in reinforcement. Reinforcement (head nurse), took off the upper taping and decided to call in the resident. The resident glaced at it and the amount of blood I had lost and decided to call the surgeon. And the blood bank.

That is exactly what I wanted to hear last night, that the surgeon was being called due to the giant wound in my chest. At that point I started to think this was more than just using too much saline.

In the meantime of all this referring me to people, other nurses were running around like mad, emptying my room of any unnecessary furniture (there was none), taking massive amounts of bloodwork, cleaning up the blood that was all over me and the bed, and then retaking more blood work when they thought of something else that should be tested.

Then I was told that the surgeon decided to come in to see what was happening and make a formal assessment. That is when the worst case scenarios began to play out in my mind. Would I go back to OR? Would I need a skin graft? Do I have a wound full of blood (no one would remove the black foam to see what was happening underneath)? How long will this new thing set me back for?

My night nurse reassured me by saying that it's not unusual for people to have to go back to the OR for a second 'washing' of the wound. Thanks nurse.

I must have dozed off a little as I woke to the surgeon arriving and it was all hands on deck. He had no qualms about poking into the black foam and then subsequently taking it out. I was not filled with blood but there was bleeding happening. The chaos resumed with people rushing in and out of my room getting various equipment. It was all a bit much.

Part of the reason of why everything seemed so chaotic is because I'm in such a small place. Picture a hospital bed, and then a upright chair, a sink, and place them side-by-side, and thats about the amount of space in my room. When you have more than one person in my room at a time it seems cramped. Add in a surgeon, resident, head nurse, night nurse, and float nurse, and I started to feel slightly overwhelmed.

So they gave me some Ativan.

The surgeon continued to poke around the wound to find the cause of all the blood. It was not uber pleasant so the head nurse declared that I needed more pain medication (no complaints from me) and I was swiftly connected to another IV and had some Dilaudad (even stronger pain meds) pushed through my system.

Thankfully, the source of the bleed was just an irritated blood vessel that stopped bleeding once some pressure was applied (and not, as the surgeon kept saying, a busted artery as apparently they are exposed). I did not have to go back to the OR for a second wash and there was no need for anything else to happen. The surgeon put regular gauze in the site and decided it would all be reassessed in the morning.

Everyone cleared out, a unit of blood arrived from the blood bank to replenish all that I had lost, and I started drifting off into a very stoned sleep. But then I woke up because I kept thinking people were in my room to do more stuff in my wound. I would open my eyes and clearly no one was there but the second I closed them, I was positive that people were in my room. I was very much out of it.

At one point I pressed the call bell for no reason I can explain other than I wanted to tell someone about the people in my room. A nurse came in and I told him I was seeing people when I closed my eyes and he asked "do you see them now?" I responded indignantly "of course not, my eyes are open, they're only there when I close my eyes."

He slowly backed out of the room...

I eventually passed out for a few hours. I woke up when a nurse came in to change my feeds and they noticed that there was once again blood everywhere. This time it was way darker and way less terrifying looking. I would have panicked except I was still half knocked out. Turns out this bloody mess was due to someone, no one would admit responsibility, not reconnecting me to the blood unit and it had bled all over my bed. The charge nurse was not pleased.

I did eventually get the unit of blood and the vac dressing was reconnected in the afternoon once it was determined that the entire episode was caused by the one little blood vessel.


LittleM said...

if they ever need to write a manual on how to create long-term anxiety in a person, i think your recovery experience should suffice as the formal directions. sheesh.

helen soucoup said...

Oh my! What a night! What a roller coaster ride! Not one bit surprised you are a little anxious at time!.... I think a long holiday in the sun the only thing that could make all this fade into the past.

Sue said...

Hawaii sounds like a nice place to recoop!