On Monday, after spending the day trying to run all those annoying errands before this baby makes her debut, I went to soak in the bathtub (why yes, I do like hygiene!). When I got to the part in which I typically huff and puff and moan and groan shamefully to pull off my shoes and socks I noticed something terrifying.
In the space between that morning and that late afternoon, my feet had ballooned into a ridiculous caricature of themselves. I’d call them “clown feet” but it wouldn’t do them justice. They were a freak show, plain and simple.
So after my brief soak in the tub, I reluctantly put a call into my OB’s office to let them know. To me, as a nurse, sudden swelling = bad news, especially since I didn’t swell with my last pregnancy (I did turn into the Michelin Man during my pregnancy with Ben, but in my defense, it was a ridiculously hot August and now, well, it’s one of the coldest January’s on record).
The nurse, in typical “It’s about to be my time to leave and I don’t particularly want to deal with you” fashion, told me to drink fluids, lay on my left side and rest as much as possible. Fine advice that I readily took. I also had a BP cuff in hand, so I knew my BP was fine, so I let her go.
The following day, after following her orders as best as a person with small kids and needy dogs can do, I realized something fierce: not only had my swelling not decreased, it had gotten worse. My injured foot ached and I could no longer wear the shoes I’d put on the day before.
So I called the nurse back, reluctantly, and by some stroke of luck got one of the smart ones on the line. After explaining the situation, she agreed that this was cause for concern and went off to consult the doctor.
Who insisted I head to the hospital for monitoring. No big deal, right? They’ll do a HELLP panel, check my pee, give me an NST and let me go the hell home. Awesome. I called The Daver to head home so that he could bring me as there was no way in hell I was going to sit and stare at hospital walls alone. Misery does love company, right?
By the time we got to the hospital, they–of course–had no record of me coming in, so I was hooked up to the monitor while we waited and waited for the MD to call back with orders. This was a foreboding omen of The Ghosts Of Christmas Future.
Amelia looked excellent and my HELLP panel was passable–low platelets are apparently something I’ve been suffering from since the beginning–with my liver enzymes nice and low.
My pee, however, had ketones a-plenty. And this is where I made my fatal error.
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it….
When the nurse, whom I loved and wanted to make out with because she was so damn competent, presented this to me, I said this and regretted it almost immediately: “Oh, yeah, well, my Crohn’s is flaring up and I literally cannot digest food right now. It comes right back out.”
So she, being diligent as ever, reports this to my doctor (one of about 4,000 OB’s in my practice. Consider this my second bout of foreshadowing into Mistakes I’ve Loved And Lost) who then, assuming I have a virus, wants to keep me overnight for fluids.
Fuck. If there’s any place I’d rather not be, it’s in a hospital bed, chained to an IV.
(also: why he thought “virus” I’m not sure. Last I checked, viruses don’t last for years. At least, not gastroenteritis)
But fine, I said, being the Model of Compliant Patient that I so obviously am. I’ll stay the night, get some fluids and get discharged first thing in the morning.
The floor is bumping with people who’d been bumping uglies about 9 months ago, so I’m moved to this pathetic armpit of a room typically used for outpatient testing. I’m horrified to note that there’s a second bed in this wee room, but am relieved for the moment that it’s empty.
Bribed with the promise of an Ambien in my future, I lay down in bed to wait for my IV. Over the next 12 hours, I get bag after bag after bag of fluids, when I finally realize that I haven’t peed hardly at all. I look down at my feet, the initial reason for my arrival on the unit, and am horrified to see that they’ve gotten somehow bigger. BECAUSE I AM NOW THIRD SPACING EVERY SINGLE DROP OF FLUID PUSHED INTO ME.
While this concerned me because now I had stumps where my legs had once been, fairly useless ones at that, no one else seemed to care. Everyone was far, far more concerned about my guts. This amused me to no end since this is slightly worse than normal, but still well within the realm of Everyday Annoyances for me.
My amusement, the following morning after sleeping for approximately 6 minutes of the night, is quickly dampened by the fact that my OB (again, one I haven’t met) wanted me to have a GI consult come in and take a peek at me. While I have no issues with GI MD’s in general, I’ve grown pretty damn tired of hearing other doctors tell me these two things:
1) We’re not sure it’s Crohn’s
2) There’s nothing we can do for you right now.
Fucking sweet. I haven’t been hearing that since I was 4 minutes pregnant and in the ER after falling down my stairs or anything.
But again, in the name of being somewhat compliant, I agreed to this. The nurse tells me that the GI should be in around noonish. Fine. Daver was lovingly back by my side and we sat together, staring at the clock for the next 3-4 hours.
We still had only heard through nurses what my OB wants to do and are starting to wonder if this all isn’t turning into a gigantic game of telephone. I’m starting to wonder if I might, instead of a GI, be consulted by a doctor to give me both a sex change and a boob job. The boob job I’d handle, but I’m not certain how much I want a penis, hilarious antics aside.
All that I do know is that the hours are ticking by at a snails pace, I’m not being monitored for much at all, and my feet are ballooning to comical proportions. The dayside nurse who has been assigned to me is easily one of the duller crayons in the box and she has made it completely apparent that she not only has no idea WHAT to do with me as I’m not in labor, she also doesn’t care. She’s the kind of nurse that gives other nurses a bad name.
Sometime after 3 PM, the GI MD gives me a call to chat with me as to what’s going on with me, as he’s on the way to some medical emergency somewhere else. In his favor, he has an incredibly charming accent (I’m a huge sucker for accents). Counting against him is the fact that he’s not going to be available for quite awhile longer.
Some of that fluid accumulating in me is now released in the form of tears. Under the best of circumstances, I’m an ugly crier, and under these, I’m snotting all over myself, Daver and my sad hospital pillow. I’ve not slept, I still can’t keep a damn thing in my body, so my blood sugar is plummeting, and I’m frustrated beyond belief.
The sitting around and waiting I could just as easily do at home and as far as dealing with PinHead, RN, I could call my MD’s office and try to talk to one of the nurses there (I need to clarify that not ALL of the nurses are idiots, lest you think I’m being bigoty). But I made the fatal assumption that the MD would be there around 5 PM, so a couple of extra hours? We could handle it.
But by 5PM, he meant closer to 7:30 PM and by this time I was nearly out of my mind with exhaustion and frustration. No one even attempts to give me a straight answer and I seem to have fallen off the radar of the staff who are dealing with laboring patients. While I want to be all Goodly and stuff and be all “well, they’re busy” the attention I wasn’t getting was absurd. I’ve worked L and D, and I’ve never seen anything so devoid of patient care.
But, at about 7:30, the GI MD rolled in and one of the first things out of his mouth after making the obligatory introductions was this:
“I’m not convinced you have Crohn’s.” Suddenly, his accent is stunningly less charming than mere moments before.
Now, I’m aware of this, Patient Reader, and have done the tests that I am able to do while pregnant to ascertain what it is that I do have (hint: it’s not a virus). I’m still waiting on the results of the insane tests that I had drawn a couple of months ago (damn you holiday schedules!) and other than calling it Crohn’s, I’m not sure what else TO call it.
Trust me, I’d be thrilled if it weren’t Crohn’s, providing that there was SOMETHING to be done about it. I won’t be even remotely depressed to learn that it’s NOT.
If I hadn’t been so obviously in distress, I would have found it funny, the ways in which pretty much every member of the hospital staff then had to come in and remind me that I might not have Crohn’s. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a chorus line of male doctors come in with their penises dancing to “We’re Not Sure It’s Crohn’s” in the tune of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
Everyone from Laundry Services to the Candy Stripers had to come in and “break” this to me. Eventually, rather than trying to explain myself, I remained mute when confronted with this. Like the whole thing with my mother and my mother-in-law who constantly remind me that their husbands never did any baby care, I became at somewhat of a loss as to what to say.
Really, how do you respond to this? What response did they want from me? Because I’m pretty sure I didn’t give the proper one, lest someone actually care about what medically IS going on with me rather than focusing on what might not be. And if it’s bad enough to make me stay overnight, why doesn’t someone look for a cure instead of pointing out something that cannot be currently proved or disproved?
And for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus, why doesn’t anyone talk to me instead of making me feel like a naughty child who has been caught in a lie?
I caught one of my nurses patently lying to my OB, telling him that I was “feeling better” and had “eaten well,” after she’d berated me for not eating. She, of course, got the tail end of my Bitch Stick and was promptly informed of the error of her ways.
The following day after another night of minimal sleep, my amnio loomed large and began to make me quiver with fear. I have an intense fear of the unknown, and while my pain tolerance is pretty amazing, I had nothing with which to compare this to. Was it as bad as a spinal tap? A colonoscopy? Having to listen to the Facts Of Life Song on repeat?
When I was finally summoned and laying on the table, my belly slathered in iodine, I learned one thing about having an amnio: it feels just like you think it would. Honestly, it’s totally like what you’d think one would feel like. Unpleasant, creepy, slightly painful, and not over remotely soon enough.
But one must do what one must do, so back to our closet–now with bonus roommate!–we waited for the results. And when we learned that they were positive for well developed wee lungs, we began to talk of inductions with the OB, whom we have now seen in the flesh for the first time in 3 days.
We learn quickly that he no longer wants to keep us there for now, that we can go! home! as my cervix hasn’t been briefed on anything (oh, and by the way, you might not have Crohn’s!). Rather than stay and fight for a section, we get the hell outta Dodge with vague promises of coming back for RhoGam (in the hospital, even if you are COMPLETELY aware of your Rh- status, you must be type crossed and matched before they’ll give you the shot. That’s your insurance dollars hard at work, people) that evening.
Never, ever has a hospital parking lot looked so beautiful as it did that night on our way home.
I’m going back to the MD tomorrow at 1, and I’m planning to insist on getting this baby out and safe and then getting back to feeling like a human being again. I have my serious doubts as to whether or not it will work, but I’m planning on kicking and screaming and generally making a scene until I get booted from the office by security.