My Time in the Hospital: Visit #2 And just like that, I was back in the hospital. Ten days out, and I went to my doctor for a follow-up appointment. She became concerned about my weakness and difficulty breathing, along with my general sluggishness in recovering, and convinced me I should go back to the hospital for a couple more tests. If all goes well, "It'll only take a day or two, I promise."
Of course, the worry is that it won't all go well, and thus take a bit longer than a day or two. That's not exactly what happened, but they kept extending everything for different reasons, adding tests that I needed to take, tests I needed to retake, different doctors I needed to see (the pulmonologists seemed especially to be dragging their asses, as if they didn't think it was important to request their tests within a day or two of when they decided the tests should be performed). Three days later, I was finally released again.
So I have some additions to my list of procedures.
*Another CT Scan, this time with internal dye (they inject you with dye which shows up extra clear on the scan, illustrating the areas of your body in black and white). What they don't really warn yo is that the high speed injector of the dye via IV can occasionally make the connectors of your IV explode with pressure, causing the IV needle to jitter painfully in your hand (that is, where it is literally buried in your hand) and spurt dye all over the place.
* Blood cultures: A doctor draws an inordinate amount of blood out of your hands, drawing it into four bottles containing bacteria food. The idea is that if you have particular types of bacteria in your bloodstream, they'll start feeding on the food and they'll be able to detect the presence and type of whatever bacteria is causing you problems. The blood draw to fill the four bottles takes out what I'd estimate is the equivalent of a 20 oz. bottle. This is, oddly, the only bedside procedure performed upon me that comes with it's own super-sterile set of gloves which the doctor is supposed to put on top of their standard set of gloves.
*Six Minute Walk Test: I'm not sure why it's called "six minute" because I didn't last that long, but essentially the idea is that they attach a device that measures your blood-oxygen levels, and then they have you exercise until you're worn out (which in my case can be done by my walking to the bathroom and back. The idea is to test whether exercise unduly sucks the oxygen out of my blood, which would explain why I'm short of breath all the time.
I also gained a notable addition to my roommate experiences. He was the most polite and soft-spoken of all my roommates. He's also got the most grotesque condition. A long time alcoholic, recently knocked especially off the wagon by the death of his mother last month (who he lived with and who took care of him), Roommate #8 suffered severely from cirrhosis, of which the most significant, or at least noticeable symptom was bloating in the abdomen. Because of the damage done to his liver, he was no longer able to process fluids properly, and all fluids entering his body were accumulating in his abdomen. He was larger, albeit similarly shaped, than a woman nine months pregnant. Except instead of a baby, he was carrying at least 16 liters of emerald green fluid that was slowly leaking out of the hole in his stomach where they'd drained two liters from him the previous night (just enough so the fluid wasn't compressing his lungs and preventing him from breathing properly).
He was released, still in this general condition, shortly before I was. He has no insurance or means of payment, and apparently there's not much that they can do other than drain him every once in awhile. He needs to stop drinking on his own and give his body a chance to heal itself some.
He was a very nice polite person; he was just grotesque to see. He's not really expected to recover much, though he kept making noises about going into AA or some other program. What he really needs is a liver transplant, but apparently liver transplants are hard to come by, especially for someone in his shape: you can't even be eligible for a liver transplant until you've been sober for at least six months. So he was in shoddy shape. He kept trying to manipulate doctors and nurses into giving him morphine, nakedly begging and cajoling and constructing elaborate tales as to why he deserves and needs morphine, all the while doing his case more harm than good. I'm sure he thought he was being charming, but the naked desperation in his stories was painful to listen to.
He's a bit of a cautionary tale for the young drunkard, though mostly interacting with him made me crave a drink of my own. I'd do a better job at handling it than he would. As it is, I'm not even sure if I'll be able to have a drink by New Year's Eve.