Friday, February 29, 2008

Allright already - Part III

Well, I guess this is gonna take longer than I originally had thought. Better call mom. I get ahold of them in time to tell Darren goodbye and to have a great time on his Winter Camp trip. Mondo is taking his Junior High Youth Group up to the Young Life Retreat, which he says is just an awesome place. Mom and dad say they will pick up some stuff for me at the house and then come bye. I want them to come and take my car home too since I don't want to pay for parking for three days :o)

By this time I have also called Mario and Karen and a few others. Not gonna make it to dinner Sue. (Later, after I am released from the hospital, I find out that I didn't tell nearly enough. oops). Yeah, actually while I was waiting in my ER exam room I took a camera pic of myself and sent it to Mondo & Lisa with the caption "Guess where I'm at". Sometimes I think I'm so funny.

I had even text Sammi the picture and telling her, "1 of my dr's is Hot! Nice eyes!" She called me back right away and was ready to come over right then (I think it was after 10pm) but I told her I would be out soon and I was okay. I was just texting 'cause I thought she would appreciate the "hot doctor" comment. My small group talks about setting me up quite often and I said "Man, we would be perfect or each other, I mean, if I can talk to him about my large intestine, specifically about my colon, I can talk to him about anything (dreamily)." Hahaha! I am funny.

The hospital stay lasted from Friday through Sunday. Mario & Karen visited a few times, and brought the kids too. That was awesome. And John & Lisa & the boys came with a gift which was a framed photograph from my baptism. I placed it on my table and it brought lots of people to look at it - and I don't mean just glance, they squinted their eyes and stared like they were trying to figure out one of those pictures that you have to go cross-eyed for it to come into focus. It's a photo from my baptism. Yes, that's a hot tub.

The only bad thing was that I had some problems with my IV's. One of them got infiltrated? I think that's what the nurse said happened. They stopped it and changed it right away. And then one of the others burnt alot, ALOT - when a certain kind of medication was being administered. That was about the worst of it. Mario asked what it felt like. It feels like I have a gash in my hand and someone is pulling it open and it feel like my skin is being separated from my flesh underneath. Hahaha! You should have seen the look on his face. He said "I thought you were going to say it burns or something like that, but geez Tom!". Thank goodness for Nurse Roxi. When she came onto shift, she told me that I wasn't out of my mind and slowed the drip down so that it was bearable.

When I went in that morning, it was supposed to get to 70 degrees. I had on capris and sandals. When I left on Sunday evening, it had snowed all morning (a wicked snowstorm) and I wore my slippers into Walgreens where we stopped to pick up some over the counter stuff. I love Colorado.

Next step. Dr Vaughn's office will call you to schedule an appointment.

Allright already - Part II

So I call into work and let my boss know that this is going to take more than a couple of hours. I was referred to the ER and I might not be back in. But everything is okay - just a financial consideration here. Did I say that more to ease her mind... or mine?

As I'm driving around Saint Joseph's looking for ER parking, I start to think to myself that isn't it kind of strange to be driving yourself to the Emergency Room? Something about that doesn't seem right. I found parking though, and it was pretty convenient.

When I'm seen by the triage nurse, I tell her about my morning at Kaiser and how my doctor had referred me over for a CT scan. She isn't the warmest person and proceeds to tell me that my symptoms would indicate a UTI or maybe an ovarian cyst, in which case they wouldn't do anything about it.

NO!!! In that case, let me make up some symptoms. Anything to be seen by a real doctor who will take the time to figure out what is going on. I don't care if it's OB. I don't care if it's GI. I just want to know!

Either way, I'm sent out to wait until there is an exam room for me. Thank God that when I am called back, the nurse I get is really nice and seems to ask me questions that pertain to my hurt, rather than to something else I don't have. The doctor comes in and lets me know that they are going to send me up for an ultrasound. And I get an IV and some pain meds. Thank you!

The ultrasound technician (also very nice) says "yes, there is definitely something there. I can see why you are in pain. Twenty years and I've never seen anything like it. I don't know what it is." Umm, are you really supposed to say those kinds of things out loud? But I look at the screen as she points out "This is your ovary, and right here - this is a mass, that is probably what is causing your pain. And on this side, your other ovary." She'll need to do another - really in depth and really uncomfortable ultrasound. Lot's of photos later, she says she will go and review with the doctor and see if they want to come in and give me an exam as well.

I call my mom. I was thinking, Darren was supposed to be going to winter camp this weekend and I might not even be able to say goodbye cause I am tied up in here. I thought I would get the fasting lab done today, I didn't expect all this. And, Bethany had organized a birthday dinner for me at Hibachi Grill! I wasn't even sure I would make that. Well, I tell my mom where I am at and that they found something. Not sure what it is yet. And I start to cry a little bit. I don't know why. It wasn't because I was scared. But I think mostly because I was so relieved that they finally found something! I was emotional about it, but it was such a relief. She asked if I wanted her to come meet me since I was alone, but I didn't want her to. I just asked her if she would make sure to get Darren off to camp, pick up a few things I had forgotten and tell him I said goodbye if I wasn't able to call in time. And I told her I would keep her updated on what was going on with me.

After my ultrasound, I'm told I will be sent for a CT scan. Awesome, that's what I'm here for. The pain meds are wonderful, but I am unable to eat or drink anything and I am soooooo thirsty. After the CT scan, I wait for the doctor to come back in. And I wait. And wait. When she finally does, she tells me I have diverticulitis and the pain is from an infection in my large intestine - an abscess to be exact. Surgery is recommended to remove that part of my guts. Okay, those weren't her exact words, but you know.. More waiting, I thought to find out when I am going to have the surgery. She made it sound like it would happen that day. Definitely no food or drink. What time is it? 2pm or so? Then a surgeon comes in. Dr Vaughn. He again explains the disease (diverticulosis) and the complication of the disease that I am experiencing (diverticulitis). Oh yeah, the CT scan also shows that I have gall stones, so they would like to remove my gallbladder while they're in there. Okay. So I thought that I was waiting to go into surgery, but I think we were waiting for the surgeon to get the blood work results back. He wants to admit me to the hospital for a few days to give me antibiotics intravenously. The surgery shouldn't be done until the infection and inflammation has healed up. Oh man! No Hibachi Grill tonight.

But, I can have a 7up.

Allright already - Part I

Okay, so about this time I am upset. I am in pain. And I am going to go get something started, even if Kaiser can't decide what to do with me.

I figure I will go in on my way to work for the fasting lab that my PCP ordered on 2/15. But when I get there, the lab tech tells me that she can't find the order. And her tone tells me that she's not going to look for it any further. I am frustrated to no end and let the tech know that I did not make it up. I'm already going to miss two hours of work just for stopping by to complete this. I've already used almost all my sick time for the year and I am not leaving until I complete the lab. The order was placed by Dr. Budee on February 15th. I think something in my tone told her how upset I was. She checks her records again and then offers that sometimes the orders are not sent through by the doctors and refers me back to the Family Practice Desk (across the hall) to have them resend it.

So I go over there and ask the desk attendant to check my records. She responds that she found the order, but that she will need to have a nurse send it over. I was so angry and frustrated by this time, I was seriously considering demanding to speak to the person in charge, manager on duty, owner - whoever, but someone ranking 'cause I had issues with this - and I had a severe stomach ache to boot! When the desk attendant came back, she told me that Dr Budee's nurse wanted to speak to me if I could wait a minute before I went back to the lab....

I can't remember the nurses name, but she brought me back to one of the exam rooms. I'm sure I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe how hard it was for me to get this done. I'm not an easy person to get to the doctor in the first place, and here I am - practically knocking down doors because I know something is wrong - and I can't get anyone to respond. Anyway, she asks me what is going on and I just let go. Tell her everything as fast as I can and leave off with - "and after all that, I was told someone from Family Practice would call me back, and they never did.". She told me that she was actually the nurse that was going to call me back, but she only got the note that morning at 8:30am. She was extremely apologetic and told me to go over and complete my labs and that she would fit me into Dr Budee's schedule somehow.

Dr Budee saw me, I don't know, maybe by about 10am. I had been in the office since 8am. She didn't know what it could be. Intestinal? An ovarian cyst? A UTI? She told me she wanted to order a CT Scan and I waited. When she came back into the exam room, she said "I can order a CT scan for you here, but it will cost $200. Or, you can go to Saint Joseph's ER and it might cost $100.". She said she would call the hospital and let them know about my history and her recommendation.

Before I left, she wrote me a couple of prescriptions. One was for pain medication. The other was for an antibiotic for a UTI. She told me that my blood test didn't "scream UTI" (she even used the air-quotes when she said it) and that if the ER found something in my CT scan, to go with their advise. But if they didn't find anything, to fill the scripts.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


September 2007: Stomach ache and other symptoms. Told not to worry about it at my age.

Week of January 20th, 2008: Abdominal pains. Feel like contractions. Doctor's appointment set for 1/25.

January 23rd, 2008: Abdominal pains cease after three days. Cancel appointment scheduled for 1/25 and reschedule with my own Primary Care Physician (PCP) for 2/15.

February 15th, 2008: Keep appointment. Still haven't had recurrence of pain in abdomen. Discuss history with PCP. She writes me a referral to GI at the Franklin Clinic and for a Fasting Blood Work. Not urgent to complete as the pain is gone.

February 26th, 2008: Start to feel abdominal pain in the evening.

February 27th, 2008: Abdominal pain severity increases. Still feels like contractions - lasting for a few minutes, causing me to double over in pain. Cannot walk or stand through pain. Occur every hour or so. Call Kaiser after-hours for referral. After waiting for several minutes to speak to a nurse, get disconnected. Frustrated, do not call back.

February 28th, 2008: Call Kaiser during business hours. Speak to OB nurse for over an hour when finally told I would be referred back to my PCP in Family Practice. Told I would receive a call back. Never did, that afternoon or evening at least.