Posterior Waste Orifices – Hospitals (2)

Posterior Waste Orifices- Hospitals (2)

Most of the info in this post is a repeat of what I said in "Rewriting History", but corrected in the light of new information that allows a better understanding of my discharge report. Basically, I hadn’t heard anything about my hospital experience from my brother until December 2nd, and since he was my registered next-of-kin, he was told a few extra things kept from both my sister and my carer. I am pretty much following the lines of my discharge report here, writing what was left unsaid because of the needs of the hospital to get rid of me as quickly and harmlessly as possible. A lot of this is reconstruction, and there are still a few obvious holes that may never be filled. I do apologise if this is overlength or repetitive, but each time I vist this matter, I have more information that better develops my thoughts. And I really need to do this for the sake of my own sanity.

The Beginning

I had caught a chest infection early in January, but had ignored it. I finally saw a doctor on January 16th, and made arrangements for a chest X-ray the next day. The next morning I woke late and tired, and decided to do bugger-all that Wednesday. The next thing I remember is missing out on catching he telephone before it rang off and deciding to sleep on the floor so I wouldn’t miss it again.

I remember the phone ringing again, and Margaret asking if she should come over. The next memory is of me turning off the power to the PC. I woke up in hospital after several weeks of nightmares, trying to answer a nurse who wanted to kow who I was.

Margaret said she had phoned earlier on Thursday and had received no response. She called again that evening, and that was the call I answered. When she arrived, I was delerious, running a fever, and the flat was laced with faeces. She waited with me until Friday morning, then called an ambulance. I think I would have enjoyed the sight of two paramedics carrying me down three floors, with me unconscious in a body harness.

Even though I was apparently conscious a few times, I have no memory of this period except the nightmares. The best I can deduce that I was operating subconsciously, and even that operation was affected by my assorted infections. Later that day, I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, the fateful day being January 19th. Then the pain and the lies began.

The Admission

The discharge report lumps everything under the heading "Admission Summary", not necessarily separating what was found initially from what occurred says: "Legionella pneumonia. Had cough, shortness of breath for a few days. Was found incontinent, tachypnoic (sic; correct spelling is "tachnypneic"), confused on the day of admision. Was diagnosed to have Legionella pneumonia and rhabdomyalysis (sic). Needed admission in intensive care unit. Was treated with Azithromycin. Was intubated. After extubation needed haemodialysis. Needed 7 weeks of ventilatory support."

"Tachnypneic" means I was severely short of breath. Since my last recollection about half a day earlier had not included such a feeling, it could mean I was in the final stages of an infection just before death occurred (Cheyne-Stokes breathing perhaps)?

"Rhabdomyolysis" (to use its correct spelling) is a breakdown of tissue that usually results in kidney failure and death. Basically, the kidneys get too clogged with protein to filter the blood. The cause is usually some kind of shock. People in car crashes or caught in collapses, if not freed quickly, tend to 0succomb to this. A severe septic infection can cause this. Problem with this ailment is that it can hide an underlying illness, such as acute renal failure due to sepsis.

My carer was told I died shortly after admission, but the doctors revived me and put me on life support after about six hours work. She was told I had suffered almost total organ failure. Only my heart had held out until it finally adopted the consensus and surrendered. My support included dialysis, where my blood was found to be so contaminated (the word "thick" was used several times) that I went through a filter pack every half-hour, in a procedure that takes about five hours a session to complete using a single filter pack. I was dialysed for three days before my blood looked somewhat normal.

Legionnaires Disease and Death

My Legionella infection was so bad that I inevitably had blood sepsis, which leads to organ failure on its own, specifically acute renal failure with damaged kidneys. It is probably why my symptoms were so bad: if I had been elsewhere except an ICU when I "died", it would have been permanent, and my neural damage would have not been observed (and my other symptoms would have only come to light in an intensive autopsy).

For the first 2-3 days I was in a screened-off bed in the main ward of the ICU. Then I was moved to a separate room. My carer was worried that it looked like a room she had seen in previous visits to ICUs, where terminal patients were moved when it appeared they would die. But she was told nothing. My sister, a nurse, was told it was protocol for MRAB. My brother, as next-of-kin, was told I was put there to die, and he should pay his last respects. He didn’t, and neither did I. Or vice versa.

Funny, but this was never hinted at in my discharge report, or ever told to me by the hospital staff. I think that me dying once, then hovering near death for several days, would have warranted a mention. Especially since the hospital rules required me to be told once I was conscious.

After another few days I was moved again, to an observation room, with an ever-present dialysis machine. My carer was told it was so I could enjoy the change in scenery. The tube in the right side of my neck was removed, and replaced with one put in the left side. My coma was shallow enough at this time for me to notice the pain, and I incorporated that with my earlier move into a nightmare so realistic that until last October I believed it was a real memory of a botched examination.

A bit afterwards, my breathing tubes were replaced by a tracheotomy, a change my carer was told was designed to reduce the risk of damage to the throat of a long-term patient. About the same time, my room became an infection control zone. My sister thought it was advanced MRAB, and this time my carer was told the same. I was still on dialysis, being intravenously fed a lot of liquid (and pureed food down a stomach tube inserted into my nose). My carer likes recounting how she and my brother used to look at the penile catheter ho0oked to an empty urine bag and pray aloud for me to pee!

From the time I was admitted, I was fed a normal dairy diet. This was in spite of the staff being told I was lactose intolerant. My previous usual response to excess lactose in my diet was to attempt to reject it from both ends, and failing that, speed up my metabolism to "burn it out". One nurse commented that I seemed to be rejecting my food, but never asked if I had any dietary issues. The staff also commented that my tissue was being attacked by some unkown bug (I am assuming that since the Legionella was apparently cured, so the Rhabdomyolysis that resulted was supposed to have stopped.) Overall, I lost about 40kgs of muscle and fat (really, there was extremely little fat to lose, too, on my lithe and youthful frame)!

My carer also told me that I was also put into an induced coma, as a means of combating the pain and stopping me trying to escape. I ws also given doses of morphine when I tried to break through the induced coma. At times my hands were tied to the bed, and my legs padded and strapped, to prevent me from hurting myself.

In my next post, "Posterior Waste Orifices – Hospital (3)", I plan to continue going through my discharge report, explaining what was included, and explaining what was left out.

****** (29) ******

About alarchdu

This blog is just a stream of consciousness. I was severely crippled in 2007, and these are the thoughts generated as I think on this.
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