You may have gathered that I’ve been experiencing some amount of pain in my recovery. One might even consider it a ‘surprising’ amount of pain. Read on for an explanation of why, and some gritty biological details.
While I was in the hospital, I had a urine catheter. The installation was on Friday night and it was possibly the most painful thing I experienced while there. It made me scream. It continued to irritate and bother me throughout my stay and its removal (and my ability to drink liquids restored) was one of the things I looked forward to the most.
One of the two times I looked at the bag of fluid collected from the catheter, it was a clear reddish pink. I found this so sickening that I avoided looking at it again, and tried to suppress the memory. Sometime later a nurse told me that was a weird variation, not the normal color, but nothing to be worried about.
When it finally was removed, I noticed that one of my ongoing abdominal pains also vanished. Hurrah! I had to collect my pee for a couple of, er, voidings after, and it seemed perfectly normal.
On Wednesday, I noticed that I had to pee a lot, and sometimes when I peed, I felt… well, the urine equivalent of constipated. There was something to push out but I just couldn’t do it. I wondered if it was the beginnings of a kidney stone. But it didn’t hurt. All through this, it didn’t hurt.
On Wednesday night, my pee turned into that reddish pink fluid I’d seen in the hospital. Gross, but hey, it hadn’t worried the nurses. Throughout this all, my general achiness was growing and growing. I peed more ,and the need to pee, the bladder pressure, hurt. I needed to pee as much as I did while pregnant which, well, I figured that would fade with time.
On Thursday, I noticed a definite itchiness around my urethra. My urine was still disturbing. I decided that I should probably call a doctor– but I decided to do it Friday if super-hydrating on Thursday didn’t make it go away. My theory at this point was that there was some kind of scab that was being washed away. After all, it hurt to move, even with vicodin, and I ached constantly and more– but it didn’t burn to pee, and my incision from my surgery didn’t seem inflamed or hurt to touch.
I’ve been pumping breastmilk. I have a nice breastpump and a handsfree pumping bustier and pumping has been giving me strong abdominal cramps. Thursday night, close to midnight, I sat down to pump. I had just taken some of my pain meds, but they were having a smaller-than-usual effect. I wasn’t getting much milk. Pain can interfere with milk production, I’d been told, so finally I decided to cut the session short and wait until I felt better later.
As soon as I took off the bustier, I erupted into violent, spasmodic shivering. I didn’t feel cold, but at the same time, I did. It was weird. I started crying, because it was so shocking and I was so cold. Kevin rushed in. He does a lot of rushing in these days. He put me under three layers of covers and took my temperature. It was normal for me– below average for everybody else. I lay there and shivered and hurt. My aches were all magnified and new ones were appearing: spasms in my lower right back sending lines of pain up and down my right side all the way to my knee and my forehead.
Some time later, Kevin told me Michelle was coming over to babysit and we were going to the ER. When I complained that I wasn’t even properly cold, just… cold, he said I had a fever even if my temp was normal. We brought a blanket and I huddled in it. At the ER, I sat down in a wheelchair and Kevin pushed me around. He checked me in, told them I’d been discharged on Tuesday from the BC. And we waited and listened to horrible horrible paid programming about car loans and shaping underwear. I felt a great communion with Robin; it was hard work to hold my head upright so I concentrated on lolling it in comfortable directions. And at some point the shivers had faded into the background, overtaken by an enormous sense of being hot. Things got blurry then, as the heat came and went and the shivers reoccurred any time I moved too much.
A nice triage nurse felt my head. I had to pee badly. They took me to a cubicle and asked me about symptoms and took my temperature. The nurse observed that it just kept going up. They put me into a bed and let me pee first. There had to be sampling and I noticed that all that hydration had apparently worked. Of course it would, right when I’m at the hospital.
There was a nurse, and an IV, in the arm instead of the hand. There were a lot of blood draws. I made sure the doctor knew I’d rather do anything than have another urine catheter installed. They took x-rays and made me drink something mixed with sprite so they could get a CT scan. They gave me lots of morphine for the really quite extreme pain. And lots of tylenol and eventually I stopped feeling quite so woozy.
The end result? A UTI– urinary tract infection– bladder infection. With more pain than they expected, and something weird with my right kidney. 8 hours after getting the shivers, I was back home again, with prescriptions and orders to rest and return tonight if I wasn’t a lot better. We’ll see. I think I’ll take another nap first.