After the Ultrasound

As I mentioned in a post on Saturday, I had to go for blood tests that day and go for an ultrasound yesterday after seeing my family doctor earlier in the week because the bleeding never stopped after losing Lily.

Yesterday morning I woke up, had a shower, dressed in comfy clothes, drank a tonne of water and left for the hospital with David. The ultrasound was scheduled for 11 and we were there just after 10 because I am bad at scheduling… Better early than late I suppose. While waiting we decided we’d go out for brunch after the ultrasound and before going on our paint date with Cocktails’n’canvas at 2.

The ultrasound tech was fairly young, and she was quite gentle. Before we started she told me that she wouldn’t be able to tell me any results, but my family doctor would have the results in 2-3 business days. Pretty standard. She kept apologizing for having to push on my full bladder. I had to have both an external and internal ultrasound done and when it was finished she left the room while I got changed. When I was ready to leave she stopped me and asked that I wait in the waiting room for a moment while she spoke with the radiologist.

It felt like an eternity before she came back to talk to me. She said that I needed to go to the ER, to talk to a doctor and that they’d be expecting me. That had me starting to worry, but I told myself everything was going to be okay, and that they just wanted to talk to me then they’d send me on my way. It wasn’t even noon yet, we could still have a quick brunch and get to the Cocktails’n’canvas event on time and our tickets wouldn’t go to waste. I texted family to let them know what was up, and a friend who has walked a similar path to mine for advice and a sense of what to expect. And generally, I tried not to freak out as my brain conjured up all the worst case scenarios I could think of…

Time ticked by in the ER, the TV was on the news channel with all the different windows on it showing the weather, time, and little blends about murders and war and politics. And one window with people talking about all the terrible stuff happening in the world today. I tried not to watch it as it cycled through shootings, a trial for a police officer who killed someone on a streetcar, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump giving speeches that leaders of nations shouldn’t give, the racist Oscars, the blizzard in the US… The problem was, we didn’t bring enough entertainment of our own, and when there’s a big screen lit up inferring of you, you watch it. I think that channel is the WORST for a hospital waiting room.

By the time we saw the nurse practitioner it was around 1pm. He said that they found some material in my uterus on the ultrasound and he was calling the on call obgyn to take a look and discuss removal. In the meantime they had to run some blood work. I had kind of figured when we were sent to the ER that they’d found something on the ultrasound. But hearing it just made it a little more scary. And the fact that he said “material” what an ambiguous word! In the logical part of my brain, the part that was actively engaged in messages with my nurse-sister and my friend said that he meant placenta. The illogical part of my brain said things like Lily was a twin, it’s cancer, there was a new pregnancy that didn’t take… Things like that.

It was now clear that we wouldn’t be making it to Cocktails’n’canvas, and we tried finding someone to take the tickets. No luck. I really wanted to walk out, go do a painting and maybe come back. I felt fine! That was the hardest part, I felt fine and they’re talking about surgery. Surgery is for sick people. I wasn’t sick. Bleeding a bit, but that made me annoyed, not sick!

The nurse took four vials of blood. Repeating tests that had been done 24 hours before… Blood tests when your bleeding… Feels stupid to me, blood is supposed to stay on the inside. Then we had to sit more. I tried to distract myself with my phone, lamented not bringing a book, and I started getting a headache. I realized I hadn’t had a coffee or anything to eat all day. And now they were talking me I couldn’t have anything (not even a Tylenol or advil for my head) in case I had to have surgery that day.

It was almost 4pm when the obgyn finally was able to talk to us after reviewing the ultrasound and results of the blood tests. He said there was “conception debris” in my uterus and it had to be removed because it could make me very sick. They were going to knock me out, and do a D&C. I asked if we could go home and do it another day, among other reasons I wanted to be at work today because I knew it would be a bad one for me to be away for. He said no. I was going to stay in the hospital ’til it was done. Hopefully they could have it done that day. Then he left us. A couple minutes later he walked past us and casually said “we’re doing it today.”

Not long after that I was filling out paperwork, and getting an IV. They gave me an antibiotic through the IV and once that was done draining they escorted me up to “my room”.  Note I was worried about how long my stay would be! I was reminded of my prolonged stay at the hospital years ago waiting for my wrist surgery. Day after day of waiting, only eating between 11pm and midnight, because I needed an empty stomach for surgery, multiple IVs because my veins kept collapsing. I remembered waiting in the hospital for Lily. Yeah, in my experience having “a room” at the hospital isn’t a good thing. I laid down in the bed at about 5:30, the nurse checked my vials, asked me how I was doing, told me she couldn’t give me anything for my headache and said I’d be heading for surgery at about 6.

Around 9 my head was pounding! It hurt to have my eyes closed, it hurt to have my eyes open. It hurt to hear David talking, but at least it offered a distraction. Everything seemed worse when it was quiet. David’s phone was dead, mine was closer to dead. It was finally time to be taken down to surgery. I was scared of waking up from surgery screaming and puking, aspirating on puke, not waking up on my own and/or having audio and visual hallucinations… All outcomes I had experienced before. The anesthesiologist over and discussed all this with me, asked me questions about my previous experiences. He explained that they change anaesthetics over time to ones that are gentler, and that they would be using a very small amount for this procedure and I wouldn’t be out long enough or deep enough for it to likely cause any problems, but that they would monitor me closely for complications. I tried to take comfort in that but I was still quite nervous. They wheeled me into the OR, there bright lights only magnified my headache. I transferred to the operating table and repeated in my head that it was going to be okay.

One of the nurses took my left arm and strapped it to a board… Immediately my fight out flight response kicked into overdrive! I couldn’t breathe! I needed to get out of that room! My heart was pounding and tears streamed from my eyes. Another nurse came over and talked to me in a calm and soothing tone. She put an oxygen mask over my face and told me it was going to be okay. She reminded me to take deep breaths. It didn’t make me feel less scared, but I did my best to breathe deeply while the tears streamed down the sides of my face into my ears.

I woke up in recovery, my head pounding, my body aching. It hurt to open my eyes. The nurse was talking about her impending trip to Cuba. She’s going before the Americans ruin it. Someone else laughed. I whispered to the nurse about my headache. She said she’d call to find out of she could give me anything. She returned with Tylenol, a tiny cup of water, and a cold compress for my head. That water was the best thing I have ever tasted! I put the compress over my eyes and it took a bit of the edge off. There nurse also gave me a warm blanket for my abdomen.

David met us as they wheeled me back up to “my room”. He held my hand, told me he loved me, and his presence soothed me.

“My room” had a roommate when we got in there, so it was a bit more of a tight squeeze than it had been, but they managed to squeeze us in. The nurse took my vitals and told me that once I have three sets of good readings and used the toilet once I’d be good to go home. David managed to get me water and crackers and eventually apple juice.

My headache started to clear, and I became more aware of hurting elsewhere. It actually made it hard to tell if I needed to use the washroom. But I managed to fill all of the nurse’s criteria before 10:30 and we were finally set free! David wheeled me down to the doors, and I walked to the car. After a brief stop at Walmart to buy heating pads (I waited in the car), and a late night trip to McDonald’s (don’t judge) we were home. And aside from seeing a cockroach in my chip bag, there were no hallucinations!

What a day!

Today I feel a little rough, but not as bad as I was expecting. The heating pads on my back and my belly help a lot. Before I got out of bed this morning I was thinking “I could have muscled through this and gone to work today!” But after going to get my antibiotics, just walking to the car then to the pharmacy and sitting on their horribly uncomfortable chairs, walking to the car and then from the car… No, I need to be home.

Hopefully this will be a quick recovery with no further complications!

I didn’t say it enough in this post, and I can’t say it enough. David was amazing at helping me through this. Holding my hand, wiping my tears. Making me laugh, distracting me with stories and the like. Keeping the family the family informed, he was so good to me and for me.

Advice and words of comfort from my friend and my family also really helped, and I appreciated all of it.

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