That day I was almost booted from the hospital…

The last two days in the hospital have been quite eventful. They removed my catheter, epidural, and NG tube (tube running from nose to stomach to suck out all the liquid). These are all huge milestones that I am very proud of though some come with a price. I had no idea just how much the epidural was managing my pain (my happy button). Once that came out I started taking all of my pain meds through an IV. One is scheduled every 6 hours and the other is as needed so I need to stay on top of it. Nothing I am taking compares to how amazing the epidural was. Today I’ll start taking Percocet (and no I won’t sell any to you- that means you Mom!)

Now that the catheter is out I need to get up more. Moving and twisting to get out of bed is incredibly painful and when they’re pumping a liter of fluids into you every hour the bathroom trips become more frequent. So although I’m getting up more I’m also experiencing more pain. Luckily my nurses are very good at ensuring that the pain is under control as soon as it flares up. Although I oddly enjoyed the laziness that a catheter allowed (weird right?) at least I’m slowly gaining back my independence to a small degree.

The best part of my week was when the tube came out of my nose. My sore throat went away and it allowed for me to move to a clear liquid diet and now a regular diet. Please remember that until yesterday, I hadn’t had solid food since Sunday. Tuesday I wasn’t even allowed ice chips and Wednesday until Saturday was only ice chips. I’m convinced that line “TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!” from the movie 300 was written to describe my dietary restrictions this week.

Since going on a regular diet I’m slowly reintroducing soft foods to my delicate belly. Yesterday I was able to enjoy oatmeal, soup, toast, yogurt and some pretty impressive Mac n’ cheese. Yale has a “room service” approach where you have an actual (extensive) menu and order whatever you like between 7am and 7pm. It’s amazing and the food is delicious. Well done Smilow Cancer Center!

So for those of you that are still reading (I know I tend to word vomit in these updates) I have a bone to pick with health insurance companies. So basically the hospital administration wanted me to be discharged today. Dispite still having no feeling in my left leg, not having a full day on a new oral pain medication, not yet seeing a physical therapist, having both legs swollen with fluid (Adema) and experiencing immense pain every time I merely get up to walk 5 feet to the bathroom disconnected people in suits think that I’m ready to do backflips out of this place. I honestly need another day. One of my nurses was kind enough to sit down with me and help me write down all of my arguments to stay an additional day. When a doctor that I have never worked with before came in to deliver the news I gave him all of the compelling reasons why I need to stay. He was so cold and had no regard for my feelings- just the bottom line. He might have well have just said “tough shit” to me and left. I was devastated. You have no idea how important one more day of care is for someone in my position. Luckily my nurses rallied and pulled every string they could. Ultimately a physical therapist examined me and made sure this doctor knew that it was unsafe for me to go home today. My dead leg saved the day! I will likely be going home tomorrow but at least I’ll have more time to get the support that I need in place.

I am certain if a health insurance executive was gutted, sewn back up, medicated and sent home abruptly like me they would be singing a different tune. Until that happens I don’t think anyone high up in those positions will ever see me as more than a dollar sign. It was a disheartening realization. Thank goodness those that work close to patients give their hearts and souls to us because those are the true healers, NOT the people that pay for it.

I am glad my family and I spoke up for what was right.