Friday, September 12, 2008

I've been extremely ill the past two weeks, and did not want to have to detail this, but since I am unable to respond to all the e-mails and phone calls(THANK YOU SO MUCH, btw, I DO appreciate and feel the love!) I am receiving, it makes sense to post here, about what is going on....
Some time ago, I made arrangements to have surgery at The Cleveland Clinic for dealing with the Diverticulitis that has plagued me since June, 2003. The famed Ohio hospital has the best surgeons(particularly laprascopic gastrointestinal surgeons!) in the world. The operation was scheduled for mid-September. I arranged an unpaid, medical leave from my "job-job"(my term for a non-writing, non-performance job), and planned to rest fir a few days before flying to Ohio.
Unfortunately, I became violently ill the night before my last scheduled day of work. I was so ill, I was unable to go to work at all the last day, which made me very sad. I love my "job-job", which involves working with jewelry and accessories. It's a fun, fast-paced job where I feel very appreciated, and my fellow "team-members" are as kind and as hard-working as I am. I got sicker, and sicker, and was advised by my surgeon in Cleveland to head immediately to a local ER to get a CAT-scan to identify what was wrong.
I waited 'til the next morning; I simply felt too weak.
The morning we headed to the hospital, I was so ill I could not eat even an ice-chip without it "returning"(yuck!).
The wait was short, and the nurses, uniformly efficient, and ridiculously young and attractive "Are you a real nurse or do you just play one on T.V.?" I asked of cute brunette Nurse Jennifer(5'3", blue-eyes framed with a-young-Liz-Taylor-like-lashes), who asked "Why do say that?",clearly not understanding that my vision of nurses was shaped by old 1940's and 1950's images: older ladies wearing white dresses with white hose, and little "nurses' caps" on their heads.
Nurse Jennifer, and Nurse Jessica were a cross between the women of "Scrubs", and "Grey's Anatomy". Lots of glamour. I should add that Nurse Jennifer managed to take my blood, and insert an IV on the first try, an unbelievable feat, given the amount of sticks my tiny, almost-invisible veins normally have to endure! At 23, she was already a true professional. Nurse Jessica looked like the love-child of Jessica Alba(her coloring) and Jessica Simpson(her mouth, her figure). I wound up waiting in the CDU--Critical Decision Unit with uh, folks committed to, uh, being committed. The only bed available was there, and I learned a great deal in the hours to follow, about psychiatric meds, and discovered a wealth of security guards are assigned to these areas.
I had complained of being "so thirsty" (no surprise, since I'd had no liquids in three days!) for hours. I was on IV solution for several hours, and then presented with a 42-ounce lemon-y flavored drink to suck down in order to proceed with the CAT-scan. Be careful what you wish for, I thought. God provides. Finally, I had the CAT-scan made, and was moved to a gorgeous private room with flowers and a window. The diagnosis: Colitis. A serious intestinal disease, an inflammation of not just the Diverticular area, but "the entire region". My uncle who has suffered with Crohn's Disease for years, calls Colitis, "a cousin of Crohn's disease."
I still felt the illness I suffered was a "bacteria or virus" and I repeated this, several times.
The ER doc put me on Levaquin (an antibiotic I have used with no side effects, to treat Diverticulitis, over the years).
When I spoke with my own doctor the next day, she explained my long-planned-for surgery would be delayed a bit. "If they cut you when you have colitis, the infection can go into your bloodstream, and you can die."
and: "The surgeon cnnot cut and resew the intestines, because the tissue is not healthy. It won't hold. You have to be COMPLETELY healed."
I kept saying "I dunno. This feels like when I had e-coli, back in May, 1996. It feels like a bacterial infection. Can they test for that?"
She said they could, and I'm glad I insisted.
I had Hansoo drop off a sample (I'll spare you details here) and next day, I get a call from my gastroenterologist.
"Lisa, you have pseudomonas(spell?) colitis; it's a rare and very serious bacterial infection..
"So I was right? Is it like e.coli?"
"Yes", she began, "It's in the same class of bacteria, as a matter of fact...."
She explained only two different drugs can kill it, and one of them, I'm allergic to (Flagyl). So I'm off my old favorite, Levaquin, which is ineffective against this, and on the other one that actually can kill it, and it appears to be working well.
So the colitis may have been induced by this bacteria, or at least that's the way it appears....So.....I have a delay right now, of a few more weeks, before they will agree to perform surgery on me. Sigh.
I have in the past, asked for prayers, but I would encourage you to send prayers out to all those who are far worse off than me: those who are children, those who are without health insurance, those who are suffering in great pain, or from great loss, or going through a trauma right now.
I'm going to be great. And I can't wait 'til the surgery is over, because then I can have whatever I want to eat(any nuts, berries, seeds, baklava, lemon-poppy-seed-cake, etc.)
And know I'm thinking of all of you, every day.
I'll try to post later this week: my poem I promised you(I've misplaced it!!), and a few other poetry tid-bits, and updates on the Queer Lit Fest (which I'll be participating in!!) too.
God Bless You and keep you, kids.
Now, I'm headed back to bed. Peace, kids.


Collin said...

Sorry you're feeling so bad, Lisa. I hope it clears up and you can get that long-delayed surgery. Afterwards, you'll be good as new.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Coll--I'm up, checking the blog. Thanks for the well-wishes. And hey---HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU early(Sept. 17th, yes?)

betmo said...

september flies by
birds migrate to southern climes-
coming to cheer you :)

get well soon!

Anonymous said...

I knew your surgery was coming up but I had no idea you had been so ill. I feel awful for you. I am sure the treatment will fix you up in no time and then you will be able to proceed with the surgery. Take care of yourself. I will be praying for you. XXX

DeadMule said...

Lisa, There is no limit to the number of prayers one prays. You are in. Love, Helen

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Betmo--I love the sweet poem!Thank you!
Hello Selma--That is so kind of you to remember, and to offer such confidence in my recovery to me! Thank you!
Helen--I never thought about that; you're right--I guess there's "no limit" on prayers--I guess it's kinda like a buffet--you simply partake of as much as you like, and of course--there's always more...Gee, I guess the food metaphor popped up 'cuz I'm so HUNGRY!
Thank you again for including me in your prayers, all of you!

Karen J. Weyant said...

Just read your blog entry. Thinking of you from Western New York!

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Karen--Thank you for the warm wishes!