Monday, November 28, 2011

Beware the Heparin Vampire

So poor Larry and Shelby.  I paged for them to come since my bag didn't just spring a leak, it totally let go on the side of my body, thus covering my gown and the bed in well....contents.  And since I was still on clear liquids, I do mean cover as it was like water.  Larry comes in, asks what is needed, and I tell him what I normally use for my ostomy.  He goes to the supply cabinet and comes back with the available wafers that they have.  They were big enough for a person with a 2xl stoma.  They were huge!  They also had the tape border on them, which my skin reacts to, so we had to modify just a bit by cutting off the whole tape edging.  Shelby came in for the assist, bringing towels to put under me as the stoma was continuing to leak, and got a heat pack to warm up the wafer at my encouraging.  See, when I was originally hospitalized back at Vassar, I was told by my home health aide (right after surgery) that the best way to get a bag to stick is to warm up the wafer by rubbing it between your hands for between thirty and sixty seconds, with the backing still on of course.  That way the wafer is about the same temeprature as your skin and sticks so well indeed.  So with lack of range of motion on my arms and an inability to warm anything up, Shelby got the heat pack so we could put the wafer on it to 'self warm.'  In addition, they found me adapt barrier rings by some stroke of luck (which help prevent erosion from stool on skin and are my personal God send), and we managed to get me cleaned up, the new bag on, and new bedding in the course of about twenty minutes.  In hospital time, that's record speed!  I think that there probably aren't too many ileostomy patients that find their way onto the spinal unit, so it was a crash course for all of my nurses in dealing with an ile with a mind of its own.  I'm pretty sure some of the nurses hadn't handled them before, but knew what to do from reading it in a textbook or hearing it in a lecture, but it's always good to have the hands on experience.  Larry, bless him, found out the proper size I used and put an order in for the correct sized supplies to be sent to the floor to have on hand for the next time it fell off.  They even were to be put in my room number specifically.  I really felt like I was getting 5 star treatment, at least as far as my ostomy was concerned. 

Larry came back in with my evening dose of heparin, the bood thinner I was on to keep clots from forming in my body since I had been immobile for so long.  Normally they can do it in your belly so it hurts less, but considering my was covered in bandages, the only option seemed to be my right thigh.  They squeeze a chunk of your thigh, plunge the needle tip in, and give it a good push to get all of the medicine inside.  It had become somewhat of a joke between Rich and me regarding the shots, as my skin scars so easily, it was beginning to look like a pattern of some nature.  After the heparin vampire did the first few puncture marks, they varied around my leg.  We were wondering if we should go for a rousing game of connect the dots or see if we could do constellation patterns.  They hurt like the dickens going in, burn for about three minutes afterward, and at least on my body, left marks that didn't go away, but at least I wasn't clotting internally.  That, with my history, is a blessing.

See, back when I was in college I got very bad cellulitis in my ankle during the last week of school.  It got to the point that I could no longer walk on my foot, but moreso hobble.  When my parents came to pick me up and bring me back home for the year they found me sitting in my room with hardly anything packed.  What was upset on their part quickly turned to concern when they saw that my ankle was about three times the size it should have been, and it was on fire and I was in severe pain.  They hurridly packed me up, brought me home, and I went to my podiatrist who said I'd need to go to the doctor the next day.  By the next morning, I had developed a blood clot in the tip of my thumb, and ended up being admitted to the hospital for ten days.  Since then, I'm considered at risk for clots, hence taking the extra precaution with the heparin to make sure it didn't happen while lying flat in bed. 

I was also getting used to having a new roommate.  She was an older lady, somewhere in her 70s if I had to venture a guess.  She was a bit of an add one.  She was dressed in a sweatshirt and sweatpants.  She had absolutely no i.v.s on her at all.  She took two pills orally per day and complained about everything.  And I do mean everything.  I just had no clue how bad she would be as a roommate, but I'd soon learn, she was the antithesis of the nice older lady.  But day three came to an end, or so I thought.  Hoping to get some sleep, we turned off the lights, and for the first time by back was pain free.  I slowly drifted off to a semi-conscious sleep, happy that I wasn't on the verge of tears. 

No comments:

Post a Comment