Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I should have pissed in the sink!

It all happened two weeks ago today.

Tuesday, April 22nd: The urination started about 2AM and repeated every hour on the hour until 8AM!   Around 10:30 I managed to make it downstairs and take a seat at the kitchen table.   About an hour later, I began to shiver...uncontrollably.   Having been denied a decent night's sleep, I returned to the bedroom.   On the way up, I noticed my right knee was a little swollen.   Got into bed and immediately fell asleep.

I woke up around 2PM with an urge to urinate.  I managed to get out of the bed and made my way to the toilet.   There a two ways to get to the toilet.   Directly from the bedroom, past a small area that contains my wife's sink and make-up area and then through another door to the other part of the bathroom that contains a walk-in shower, my sink and the toilet!   This is the path I choose!

(Far left door opening in the above photo.)   I passed my wife's sink, went through the second door and made it to the toilet.

That's the good news!   The bad news is not ALL of the urine made it into the toilet.   I made it back to the bedroom; changed underpants and crawled back into bed!   Two hours later...the same thing happened!   I followed the same path/routine!   Made it to the toilet...but, once again, I misfired and some of the urine made it into the toilet, but not all of it!

Now it was a three-peat.   This time I decided to take the alternate route!   Go through the bedroom door closest to me (opened door on the right in the photo above), and go out into (and down) the hallway... directly into the commode area of our bathroom.   I passed my sink and within 3 or 4 steps would be at the infamous toilet.   Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.

I never made it.   I wound up peeing on myself and all over the bathroom floor!   In the midst of all this I was still determined to get to the damn toilet.   I still struggled to get the damn underpants off.   During that struggle, I fell. I hit the already swollen right knee, hip, rib cage and head!   As I lay there, I thought of the infamous commercial..."I've fallen, but I can't get up"!   I couldn't  About 45 minutes later, struggling on my back, I was able to make it back to the bedroom!   That's when I thought to myself...why didn't you just piss in the sink!

Soon thereafter, my wife returned home from work and my daughter happened to stop by.   It was now about 5pm and both the ladies insisted I that go to the local emergency room.   I insisted otherwise and was very stubborn in my position.   I did agree to see my internist the next day, and they settled for that because they knew I wasn't going anywhere!

Wednesday, April 23rd: Called my internist and made an appointment for 2:15pm.   Asked if he had x-ray capability at his new facility (yes) and could he have someone meet me with a wheelchair.   I was dumb enough (stubborn) to think I could drive myself.   My daughter convince me otherwise!   Once in his office, the doctor asked the nurses to help me disrobe.   It was painful!   Shortly thereafter, he entered the exam room and performed the usual "vital signs" stuff.   He called the nurses back in to help me get dressed.

"But Doc, what about the x-rays"?   "Get dressed first and we'll talk about the x-rays later"!

Once dressed, the doctor returns to the exam room and tells me the x-rays will be done, but at the local hospital.   "WHAT"?   I ask how long will I be there?   "A couple of hours" I ask.   His response..."no...a couple of days"!!!   His preliminary prognosis was a potential urinary tract infection.

Admitted via the emergency room around 4:30pm.   I was asked a thousand questions.   Two doctor's assistants enter the room and tell me they will be extracting fluids from my right knee.   The needles look to be the size of knitting needles!!!   At 10:00pm I'm rolled into my room!

Thursday, April 24th:

My 15 year old attending physician enters the room.   Takes my vitals, wants to ensure I'm comfortable, etc.   I'm bed-ridden all day and later learn that the staff, unbeknownst to my physician, refers to him as "Doogie Howser".   Dougie returns later that afternoon.   Based on the fluids extracted from my knee, he informs me that I have septic arthritis.

Septic arthritis is an intensely painful infection in a joint.   The joint can become infected with germs that travel through your bloodstream from another part of your body.   Septic arthritis can also occur when a penetrating injury brings germs directly into the joint.” 

The bacterial culprit behind all of this is something called ‘Streptococcus pyogenes”.   After about an hour or so googling "Streptococcus pyogenes” (yes the hospital had Wifi), and I quickly realized that one needed an advanced degree in micro biology or something similar to even begin to understand the returns from google!
Then I stumbled across this article in language I could understand!

Streptococcus pyogenes is not a bacteria that should be taken lightly.   Many people carry the bacteria without incident, however it has the potential to cause both mild and severe diseases.   Streptococcus pyogenes has claimed many lives, including that of Muppet's creator, Jim Henson.   While most people will only suffer from mild infections, such as strep throat or impetigo during childhood, it is important to understand it's full pathogenic potential to understand how to identify, treat, and avoid these infections.”

Friday, April 25th:
Dougie returns and introduces me to his 18 year old partner in crime.   He’s the orthopaedic surgeon!   Are they recruiting these kids straight out of high school?   Surgeon recommends arthroscopic surgery and schedules it for later that afternoon!   I don’t remember the rest of that day!

Saturday, April 26th:
Surgeon returns; checks my vitals and introduces me to his teenage cohort (an internal disease specialist…IDS).   They check the drainage tube inserted into my knee to ensure everything is draining as planned.
Monday, April 28th:
IDS returns to check my vitals and removes my knee bandages.   She tells me I will be discharged the next day and will need to return to the hospital for two to three weeks of antibiotic IV infusions!   The infusions will require a PICC line?

Tuesday, April 29th:
Enter Laverne & Shirley!   Laverne has been with the hospital for 35 years and Shirley has been a nurse for 27 years!   They were both delightful and assured me they wouldn’t inflict any undo pain…and they kept to their word!

PICC in place in my upper right arm.   Notice I didn’t say bicep.   There was a bicep there years and years ago.   I checked out of White Plains Hospital around mid-afternoon.

Twenty-twenty hindsight…it’s probably a good thing I didn’t pee in the sink!   Why?   I probably would have delayed going to the doctor!   And who knows…I could have wound up like Jim Henson!   Dead!
Good news!   I walked around today (May 10th) without the help of a walker!!!

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