she that riseth

Well. It has been too long... I don't know if I will have any readers left who will trust me to write and keep up the blog, after this disharmonious lapse.

I left on a breathless note, accumulating fluid around my lung as I scurried across the USA, trying in the brief lulls between travel to get the aforementioned (cerebrospinal) fluid at least temporarily stayed, and myself able to breathe properly..
When I finally did get a thoracentesis [think large needle between the ribs], the ultrasound found lots of scar tissue, which had formed all sorts of little "pockets" of fluid around my lung. The thoracentesis removed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/2 gallon of fluid from the space surrounding my lung (called the pleural space.. The lungs sit in the pleural cavity, normally surrounded by a very small amount of viscous fluid, said fluid helping lubricate the membranes around the lung so we can breathe smoothly- The normal amount of fluid could be measured in teaspoons. -- After taking off 1/2 gallon, there was still more fluid in there, but the catheter clogged with scar tissue, so I was left short of breath still.

I'm not sure how many weeks, total, I spent not being able to breathe properly and in awful pain from all this- I was traveling, as said above, while all this was going on. When I finally got to my neurosurgeon, I told him that the pockets (or loculations) of scar tissue around my lung indicated the possibility of infection- Every fluid sample that had been cultured for infection had been taken from the reservoir in my skull, and I figured infection could be hanging out down in some pocket and not showing up in my skull- NOBODY would listen to me.. They told me I was fine, that my elevated sed rate and CRP meant nothing, that I would have a fever if I were infected, blahblahblah.. And dammit, I just *knew* I was infected, but not even my (beloved, wonderful, obnoxious, annoying, talented, amazing, ARGH!) neurosurgeon was listening to me this time..

So, come time for surgery, they tell me they will drain my pleural cavity of excess fluid while I'm out. They got in there, didn't drain anything.. Then they took the silicone tubing that was my shunt out of the space next to my lung, freeing it from scar tissue, and then placed that same tubing through my internal jugular vein and into my heart.

I was right about the infection.

For the entire time I'd been trying to tell them so, there'd been an infection hanging out in one of those little pockets of scar tissue by my lung... Stick an infected piece of plastic into the heart and what do you get? MORE infection!
Pleural cavity infection + removal of shunt to R atrium of heart= septic patient. (sepsis meaning an infection in the blood- something system-wide)

So that meant another surgery, with about a zillion incisions, to remove every piece of hardware from my body.. And loads of antibiotics and chest tubes and then a lung surgery, then more chest tubes and antibiotics.. Declared free from infection- Put a shunt back in, the exact same strain of bacteria pops up almost immediately.. More surgery to take stuff out..

7 surgeries in 8 weeks.

That was the bad part for me.. The bad part for everyone else was what came later, that defied logic and explanation.. It was bad for me, too, but not in the same way. I wasn't always there for it.. But the coma and the events surrounding it are another story, for another entry..
The words "nearly dead" were very accurately used to describe me.. For the medical types out there.. I presented to the ER w/ a Glasgow score of 4.

But that comes when next I write.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds gruesome. Respiratory infections are bad enough, but what happened to you--gah, why won't doctors listen to the patient about what parts need to be checked?

So what happened next?

11:00 PM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

OH my goodness!!!! Welcome back!!!! I think ... I hope!

Are you there?

I have thought of you and I have checked you periodically to see if you're back yet!

I've not lost hope or faith ...


4:16 PM  
Blogger imfunnytoo said...

So glad to see you back :)

We *know* how our bodies work, and sometimes they don't....It's the times we can't convince them that turn out difficult

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Garden seating said...

I agree, we know how they function and the results of an action taken but sometimes it seems there is no sense to what a body decides to do or not, you can do everthing right and expect that the result is a foregone conclusion then one day it is not the body something completely unexpected and against everything you have been taught.

5:53 AM  

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