Friday, March 19, 2010

Home and Weak and Thanks!

Thank you everyone who worried. I muchly appreciate it.

I'm sorry I'm not back to reading blogs yet, but soon, I hope.

This will be boring, so please don't bother to read on, but I wanted to write the details for one particular person and just can't do that by e-mail, too long.

The warnings for this attack of ulcerative colitis must have started three or four weeks before it wiped the floor with me on President's Day weekend. I got very frightened by the lower bowel pains which completely reminded me of my long history of ulcerative colitis, but there were no other definitive signs until that fateful Saturday, last time I walked the dog.

I tried to be as proactive as possible. Had an appointment with the doctor by Tuesday (Monday was a holiday), an appointment for the colonoscopy by the following Tuesday and an appointment with the specialist for the results by the following Tuesday. 

Unfortunately I didn't want to take prednisone, having watched the reaction a friend had, so I started with the next level down of drugs. Unfortunately, he didn't have the results of my blood test then. They showed very low potassium and very high inflammation, but two of the results seemed alright, blood crit and albumin?  

I can only imagine how awful it was for Krissy and Chris to try to cook for me and watch me eat only two or three spoonfuls, get weaker and weaker. Finally I decided that I had to go to the hospital, Thursday night a week ago, where it was discovered how dehydrated I was which changed the results of the blood tests. (I had no idea how dehydrated I was when I saw the specialist. That was the one area I thought I'd been keeping up with.

A great deal of work was done to get the potassium up to a decent level so I could take steroids. It would get up there and slip back by the time I got back from having a chest x-ray and I'd been back almost where I was at admission.. I can't tell you how many bags I was given intravenously.

(spelling, spelling, spelling, sorry)

It took a couple of days to get that straightened out and a few days for the steroid to begin working. It was definitely dicey and frightening.

One of the inevitable (so I've experienced) qualities of this problem is the uncontrollable poop. That happened twice before I went in the hospital, once there (I sat and waited for the nice lady dressed in green to clean the floor) and once since I've been back. It seems a small price given this whole ordeal.

What I was told by the specialist is that colitis is a hereditary inclination, with unknown factors that bring it on, sometimes stress is a factor.  The only thing I had to hang onto was a cousin of mine (we were separated at birth, a joke, and only met about twenty years ago) who had ileitis. That was the little bit of information that made the family history somewhat comprehensible. I hung onto that in this maze of being slapped around so surprisingly by this attack.

Ulcerative colitis had been my beast for many years, but I'd not had an attack for thirty years. This came entirely out of the blue, entirely. Knocked my socks off. What's a great surprise is that it will mean medication from now on. I'll be weaned off of prednisone slowly and put onto a maintenance drug of some sort.  

I can't emphasize how grateful I was to be in the hospital, what marvelous care I got on every level. I also got to lie there and look at these beautiful faces of people taking my blood samples or putting in another IV or checking my vital signs. I'm sorry it took me so long to get there, but there's no better hospital.

I felt very weak when I got back yesterday afternoon, thinking that I should have stayed in the hospital another day, but I was also just frightened, thinking that if I lay here, quietly, maybe I'd get through the night. I did.

And Chris and Krissy have been rustling up meals. The bland, no fiber diet is hard to take, so different from what I eat, but I have few complaints. (I'm so glad to have something that has a little taste. They have been very faithful which will continue with feeding me and driving me to various doctor appointments next week.At least I hope they think that the worst is over. It's been quite an ordeal for them.

I look forward to having energy again and feeling like being out of bed more. And I hope to get back to teaching, though that seems quite far away at the moment.

I want to thank everyone for visits and phone calls....and messages that I haven't yet read on the blog.  

Hopefully I'll have an interesting blog entry soon...


  1. Dear, dear Melissa: I'm glad you are on the mend and hope you do nothing but baby yourself.
    Love from Mim

  2. Oh Dear Melissa! So glad you're back and healing and that you have people to take care of you, what a gift.
    Take very good care of yourself.

  3. Gosh, it's been terrifically lonesome without you, Melissa. I'm so grateful you got the care you needed and that you will continue to get stronger at home. Anything, anything, just ask. Love, Sparrow

  4. Wonderful of you to post this message now, if only for one, given your trials. It's good to have you back again.

  5. yay! i am so happy you are well enough to be home, melissa. and i see that you did not lose your incredible photographer's eye...weak though you may be or were.

  6. I'm so glad you're home, and I'm grateful to everyone at the hospital for taking good care of you there, and to Krissy and Chris for taking good care of you at home. Having a shared member of the family who has been through something similar (maybe she is the cousin you mentioned, but the word ileitis) recently, so much of what you said rang true. It's scary. I'm glad you knew enough about the symptoms to take it seriously and pursue medical help!! Love, Naomi

  7. 寂寞又無聊 看到你的BLOG 加油喔!!........................................

  8. Thank you all for writing. I much appreciate your thoughts and care and look forward to being a responsible blog reader soon. My apologies. I'm not quite there yet, but getting closer...looking foward to reading what's been happening in your lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Oh Melissa! I had no idea you were ill, I've been so preoccupied with myself. I'm very glad you're feeling better, I hope you're a hundred percent soon. You know, you and I share some old places I think, I was raised on Long Island in the 50's and 60's. I think you were too?