Thursday, November 20, 2008

Top 5 things to take with you to the Hospital

Hospital stay can be very boring. Yes, you're suppose to rest but sometimes even that gets dull and lets face it there is only so much rest you can do in a day. Not to forget the lovely gowns they give and the oh so pretty socks. I never expect to be at a Day Spa but having something that makes your stay comfortable will go a long way in your recovery. It will make you feel better and relaxed. It worked for me.

Now everyone brings a change of clothing and of course your insurance cards. But I think you could also bring a few more things.

Here are my top 5 things to take with you to make your Hospital stay more enjoyable:

1) Robe/PJS- That little hospital gown does not keep you warm at all. Bring a Robe and some PJs to help keep you warm and secure.

2) Entertainment- By that I mean MP3 player, Game Boy, PSP even a portable DVD player. But make sure your Hospital has a safe in the room to store these goodies in. Even in hospitals things go missing. Most rooms have TVs but there can be a cost to activate it. Also grab your favorite Novel or puzzle book. This will help the time go by and keep your mind active.

3) Toiletries- Tooth brush, tooth paste, feminine products, razors, hair brush... you get the idea.

4) Cell phone- If you have one bring it. Great for texting friends on how you're doing and making calls. If you have web access you can check your email. Rooms are all equipped with phones but there is a cost to turn them on.

5) Sneakers/Walking shoes- This should be a given since you are not going to the hospital in heels or dress shoes, unless its in the ER. The socks the Hospital gives to you are fine but don't offer any support. If you want to take a walk around the floor in comfort bring your sneakers.

It really all depends how long your hospital stay may be. Now don't bring a giant suite case, just what you need to get by. The doctors may go over with you what you can or can not bring. They are days when you don't want to or feel good enough to do anything but for the other days some of this stuff can help. Also it helps if you have your own room. Both of my experience have been in a room by myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am Free!

Today I was let go. Nurse came in very early in the afternoon stating I could go home. Which I was glad because I was worried my cats would die of starvation. Well not really as I left two big bowls of food and water. But I get worried for them. They gave me two different types of antibiotics to take. Guess they are covering there basis to make sure I don’t get another infection.

Mom and I went back to the hotel she was staying at. We decided to stay the night as it was well passed check out time. We would leave for home early in the morning. Mom would be driving for the first time back. Usually I would drive but not after this. She did well for a three hours drive. It’s nice to be home.

Oh and my cats were fine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can I go home?

It’s Monday and the regular staff working today. Today my new nurse is actually new. It’s her first full day in the hospital after schooling. She had a more experience nurse train her. She was very nice and very hard-working. Makes we wish that all nurses regardless of their years in service would keep that spark. Not to say the nurses here so far were mean or inattentive, on the contrary. But it makes me smile to see her eagerness and sincerity shine.

Moms bored. I am bored. TV is boring. I do have my Sookie Stackhouse Novel to entertain me. I have been texting my friends too. But I am still bored. At least my pain is gone. Its sad when food is my highlight of the day.

I would see Dr B today as he was off during the weekend. I am still swollen but not as bad. I am sure they will see if they can drain any more fluid. Still chatter of taking out the plate. When I did finally see my favorite Doctor he did look puzzled. He is coming to the conclusion that this plate need to come out. I asked when the procedure would be. Today? Tomorrow? No, it will not be till after all this infection is done and I am healed. February? March? Well at least I will have my sick time back since I used it all in the beginning of the year.

Well that tomorrows issued I guess. I just hope I get to go home soon to feed my cats.

Weinberg "Suites"

Home Sweet Home. Ok not quite, but at least I was familiar with my surroundings. Spent my first night at the hospital. As usually the nurses came in and took my blood pressure and temperature. Hooked me up to an IV with fluid and antibiotics. Its weird to try to sleep with an IV sticking out of one arm. I am always afraid I will yank it off some how.

The team of doctors came in around 8am that Sunday. Mom was already here. Poor thing, probably only got a few hours sleep at the hotel. There were murmurs about my issue and about the plate and the infection/swelling that I kept getting. But they went on there way but would be back this after noon to evaluate the pressure. In other words they would be draining the collection of fluid in there. I just hope with a needle and not a knife.

The nurse gave me this thing I needed to blow into to help my breathing or clear up my lungs. I never did understand it the first time I was here. I could never get it above 2000. Oh well.

The good thing this time around is that I was Mobile. I did not have to worry about trying to walk again. So I felt good considering. Plus the drugs did help alleviate any pain that I had. I walked around the entire floor with this giant machine for exercise. Not as easy as you would think as I keep hitting my leg on it. Had to remember to keep it at arms length.

Doctors came back that afternoon and drained my chin. Thankfully with a needle. They took 3 vials of pus out which helped take away the pressure. I almost felt better instantly. Almost. Mom was not there for this event that they did right at my bed. Surprisingly it did not hurt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back at Johns Hopkins again

After we checked into a local hotel in Baltimore my mom and I took a taxi to the hospital. I must say I have no idea where the ER is at Johns Hopkins. We got dropped off at the main entrance and walked over to the ER, which was down is some basement level of the hospital. I was really fearful that we would be waiting 6 hours. You hear horror stories about wait time and by the lack of empty seats in the waiting area I worried the my fear would be a realty. I must say getting through the first two triage stations were quick. It was the wait after that was not.

I was so tired from the drive and the stress of it all I almost fell asleep. I would have too except for the fact that two patients that were waiting to be seen almost gotten into a fight. I am not kidding. Security had to come and separate the two like school children. I remember asking the nurse that night what was up with that. She said it happens more then you would think. A lot of people use the ER as their main doctor.

I finally did get called back about 2 1/2 hours of waiting. The nurse took me back, way back under the grounds or basement of the hospital. I felt like I was in this secret area you were not suppose to see. Through different tunnels and doors and one short elevator ride I arrived in a different part of the ER unit. It was a floor of the Olser Building of the hospital where they kept patient most likely to be admitted. Yeah me! It had a specific name but I forget what it was. Not important I guess.

After I got into my hospital gown they gave me some fluid as I was dehydrated, took some blood (which they had a very hard time finding my veins) I knew I would have to get yet another CAT Scan, my 7th in a little over a year, but they wanted me to be well hydrate before they start.

The ENT on call was was same Doctor I talked to on the phone. He examined me and said he was glad I came in. They took a marker and circled around my swelling. This was done to gauge to see if my swelling would get worse. I have a picture here. My poor chin.

I had a roommate. Poor thing keeps saying she was tired and praised Jesus. Though I thought it was interesting that she was cursing up a storm just after the Jesus part. So I keep asking the doctor when I would get my own room. He told me he would be transferring me to the Weinberg Building where I stayed last time when they officially admit me. These rooms are all "suites" so just one bed per room. GOOD!

I was not in ER Unit long. After two full bags of fluid and a trip to the basement to get my Cat Scan my mom and I were taken to the Weinberg Building and my "suite" for the next few days. Felt like coming home. Weird I know.

Mom, I think I need to go to the ER

They say each person knows their body. What feels right. What does not. Well today I woke up not feeling right at all. I did not get any sleep. I am in more pain then I should be IN after surgery this many days out. And my chin is the size of Mt Kilimanjaro not to mention that it is red hot to the touch. I called the ENT on call and told him what happened. He stated that he would call Dr B to see what he wants to do. OK, let me know.

When he returned the call he stated that I need to go to an ER. Preferably Johns Hopkins sine they are familiar with my case. I asked if I could wait till tomorrow. He said it's just going to get worse. OK I will do my best since I live 3 hours away. Sometimes I wished I choose a hospital that was a little closer. When my mom got home I told her. We packed in record time and were on our way by 3:00pm. This should be interesting. My poor chin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Big Fat Italian Chin

Went to see the doctor today for the swelling that I had underneath my chin. It seemed to get more red over night. Dr B saw it and was mildly concern since I have a great track record of infections. I told him that I was not given a prescription for antibiotic and just have been rinsing my mouth with saline solution and a medical rinse given my Dr Sinada's office for the implants. He advised me to stated taken antibiotics which he prescribed and to see him in 10 days. He also said if the swelling increased to give him a call ASAP. Don't worry Doc, your on the top of my list.

I also had a appointment to see Dr Sinada for my implants. He was very pleased by the way they looked and took an X-ray of them.
He showed me and I took a quick picture of it. The game plan from here is to let the implants screws settle. In about 3 to 4 months he can then proceed with the next step which is either permanent teeth or a denture like prosthetic that I would be able to remove at night. I asked him for the cost of both as I did not think my insured would cover this. He states this billing department would keep me informed so I can make an educated decision. At this point all bills have been processed under medical.

I went home wearing the temporary prosthetic he gave me last week. He just smoothed them down to help make the fit better. I can start chewing on the right side now but he recommended soft food for now. The only issued I had was swallowing. Ever time I swallowed I would get a sharp pain under my chin. I was not sure if it was the prosthetic acting as a suction and causing the pain or if it was the swelling or both. When I got home I took them out and did not wear them since.
One step at a time. I have to take care of this stupid swelling first. Then I can think about my new fake teeth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I knew it,

Its been 5 days since my surgery and you guessed it I got an infection. My face is fine one both sides but right under my chin I swelled. You can see the redness on the right side just above where the stitches are. Good thing I am going to the doctors tomorrow. I just hope that he does not have to reopen the stitches. I would hate to have it happen everytime my face swells up. But I know this was going to happen. Heck I got an infection like a million times. I just hope its only because of the surgery and not the plate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am out of Surgery

Today I had surgery. Wished I could say it went smooth but... My mom and I got to the hospital around 5:00 am. We went to the Weinberg building where I had my first surgery and the letter I got from Doctor B's office stated that is where I needed to be. To my dismay I was not scheduled there. I was to be at the Outpatient building. I was a little miffed. It's stressful enough the day of surgery I don't need more aggravation. Regardless the nurse was very nice and she apologized 10 times for the mixed up. I told her it was not her fault. But I will let the office know.

When I got called back to the pre-op room I went through the usually bought of questions the the nurse asks: Are you pregnant? What are you allergic to? When did you last eat? etc... I must have been confused as I kept thinking this is not a very private area where they are going to perform the surgery. DUH LAURA its pre op. Dr B came back and told me what he was goig to do: Close the fistula and re buff so to speak my scar around my neck. I did not see Dr S for the implants and wondered if he was even going to be there but I saw this resident Dr R and he reasured me Dr S would be present. Any way they walked me back to the operating room where they stuck this and that to be. Then I was out. I work up about 2 hours later in the recovery room felling awful. I was so out of it and cold. They gave me drugs ease my pain and then took me to station two to get ready to discharge. I was so cold at this point that when my brought my mom back I busted into tears. My mom was like what happened? I told her I was cold and the nurse brought over three warm blanket. Much better.

The nurse went over discharge instructions very quickly? I had to ask her to repeat that like 10 times. She was not very friendly and my mom agreed. Wished I smacked her. But Dr B came back and verbally went over everything as well and Dr R. Now they did not give me any antibiotic since I was about allergic to almost of them and the ones that I am not give me c-diff. I don't think this was a wise choice based on my based record but they did give me an oral rinse. We will see what happens. I am staying at a local hotel in Baltimore before I head back to NJ just in case.

I have two weeks of rest and recover to go through and then back to work. Here is hoping this is all over with.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Its almost time

This week is my surgery date. But I am worried because when I went to Disney last week I got sick. Very sick. Not for Amelo but the common cold. Either I got it on the plane down or by some random kid. The people who worked at Disney said it was going around. Not what I needed one week out before surgery. I was worried the Doctor would cancel my date. Well I would find that out tomorrow.

Doctor looked at me and was pleased the swelling did not come back. Looks like the glue worked and the hole inside my mouth has closed. I could not even tell there was a hole. It healed nicely. He could tell I was sick and was pleased that I came down anyway since to see him. He reassured me that as long as I did not have a fever it was ok. I did not. Just to advised the anesthesiologist that I was sick.

The plate would remain. If this did not work then they would have no other choice. Here is hoping.

I called my Oral surgeon to confirm my appointment for Friday for the Doctor to start the implant process. To my horror I was told the doctor was not in and is out till next week. I was very very very very upset on the phone when I was told of this. Let just say some not so nice words were said. I should know better but hey, I have surgery. My nerves are already raw. His office said they would call and get back to me to see what happened. Long story short the doctor would be in on Friday for just for my surgery. But he was indeed out of the office to everyone else. Don't I feel special. Just wished they said that from the get go before I got mental... oh I mean disheartening.

So there you have it. In a few days I will be back on the surgical table at JH. My third surgery. I know I will just be starting the implant process but I hope that it will be the end of my reconstruction end.