Friday, September 20, 2013

Personal Post: My First Hospitalization

The LAC+USC Medical Center Hospital where I stayed.

        This past summer as everyone was out having fun in the beach, going out at night, taking road trips and having fun, I was spending it at a hospital bed. As a child I was always healthy thanks to the great care of my mother so I never had any reason to go the hospital or see a doctor unless it was a check up. Earlier this year around my grandmothers birthday (May 10) I began getting sharp pains in my lower right side. The pain would come for a week and the pain would slowly go away on it's own and only come back if triggered by something such as spicy food. Eventually the pain would come back on it's own and it would stay with me for more than a week, the pain would subside but I would still feel the pain. I never had any fever, vomiting, or diarrhea or any unusual symptoms other than pain. For the first half of the summer I was uncomfortable and in pain most of the time. Because of my pain I would get easily irritable and became extremly grouchy, especially with my parents. On Sunday July 21st I decided I could no longer take it. I knew there was something wrong with my body and felt it was time to do something about it. Around 10:30PM I was taken to the emergency room where for the next 5 hours I was getting all kinds of medical test done. Around 3:00AM I was taken to a bed in the emergency room where I was told I had acute appendicitis. Part of was relieved that they found what it was and could fix it, after all my appendix had not ruptured so the surgery would be a easy one and it would quick be over . . . little did I know that it was far from over.

       After getting more lab work done and being in observation for a day I was taken into surgery at 12:00AM on July 23rd. What was suppose to be a 2-3 hour surgery done laparoscopically (small 1 inch incisions on my abdomen) turned into a 8 hour open surgery. What was meant to be the removal of my appendix turned into the removal of part of my small intestine and colon. When my surgical team saw that they could not remove my appendix the easy way and had to open my stomach up they were met with a extremely swollen and infected appendix that was causing a blockage on my small intestine and colon. Being the biggest appendix they had ever seen, my team had to put my surgery on hold and had to call a pathologist from their home to come and observe my appendix to make sure it was safe for them to move on. Once the pathologist gave my team the signal that it was okay to continue with the surgery they carefully removed it and send it to get tested for cancerous cells. I was taken back to my room around 8:15AM and I vaguely remember seeing my mother and older sister in the room waiting for me. As expected I was in uncomfortable pain when I was fully awake. When my doctors came in to explain to me why my surgery took longer I was surprised to find out that my small intestine has a hole on it's wall that leaked bacteria onto my appendix causing it to swell. A week later after going on antibiotics and although I was still in pain the doctor let me go home, but not before one last blood lab to be done. I was thrilled to be home even though I was in pain and had to take 2 different medications. However the following morning around 10:00 am as my mother was giving me breakfast my doctor called my house letting me know that they needed me to go back to the hospital that my blood work showed a high infection in my system.

     It is no surprise I was scared that there was something more serious wrong with me, I was still in pain and had to take pain killers which I was resisting but I had no choice. For the following 3 weeks I would get blood work, CT Scans, X-rays, and went on 3 different antibiotic treatments because my doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. Until finally my diagnosis came in, the reason why my blood still showed a infection was because I have Crohns disease. Once my diagnosis was in they were able to give me the proper medication, and finally after a month I was able to go home. I was still on strict orders to keep rested, don't over do it with activities, and was prescribe with 3 different medication that I took 5 times a day, in total I would swallow 10 pills a day. But at least I was home and I was glad to go on with my normal life.

     But it was not easy to adjust to my old life once I was out of the hospital. I would feel lonely, depressed, anxious, and had bad nightmares. I did not feel like myself. I had no desire to do anything other than sleep and feel the summer air. Once I got back to school and began my fashion courses all over again I felt feeling like myself again. I am excited and looking forward to the projects, speakers, new friends, and new experiences I have made and done. I still feel a little down every know and then. I also realized I will have to go to a specialist to get the proper treatment for my Crohns disease and until then I will have to deal with being tired a lot more frequently and tried to stay away from things that trigger stomach pains such as stress, pork, greasy and overly spicy food.

     Overall, It was a experience I wont ever forget. Yes I am alive and I am grateful for that. I am also grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses that took care of me. They were all very sweet and nice to me and my family, I could of not have asked for a better team. I also am grateful for my mother who stood by me 24/7 and the rest of my family and friends as well. I truly felt loved from everyone around me.As for me, my life is going on and I am gaining my strength back and with that some of hopefulness in my future.

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