Just call me Mellow Yellow

I know I’ve been a bit absent lately, like the parent who works hours that are too long. But I’m not that parent, I’m that patient. So, to improve my patienting skills, I’ve been in the hospital. That’s not really true: I didn’t really need any more experience in patienthood, I’m a pro at this point. But I wasn’t the one competent to make this decision.

“Not another trip to the ER, Annie!” you exclaim with alarm. Well, it wasn’t my idea, trust me. But after 48 hours of a high fever, I had to consult the professionals. Dr. Blood said: “Get thee to the ER!” I never disobey Dr. Blood because I hold her in the highest esteem. I didn’t have much time for wardrobe selection this time but still I carefully matched my underwear to my yoga pants, put on my whitest socks, and off I went.

And so the very nice Dr. Emerg did every test under the sun, initially suggesting I’d be able to go home and follow up with my specialists and then, to my dismay, changing his mind. Here’s the thing: if any doctor performs enough tests on me, one or two or all will come back wonky. But I guess the ones that came back were concerning enough that more information was needed, and it would be quicker and easier to gather that information if I remained in hospital. Consider it a diagnostic admission. That’s why I’m home today, many invasive tests and physician consultations later.

I’d been joking about my appetite loss, which I’ve decided I must never do again, since it’s usually a sign that my liver isn’t happy. As glorious as it is not to be thinking about food every waking moment, this kind of appetite loss is a sign I’m unwell, and one I must listen to, especially if it lasts more than a few days.

I hadn’t realized before I came in that I was a little yellow. Yes, my liver enzymes, including my bilirubin, were off for the first time in a long time, but for no clear reason. Add to that a quickly tanking red blood cell count–full-blown anemia here we come!–and what is casually termed “heart failure” and I lost the possibility of going home.

Now, before you get your yoga-pant-matching knickers in a knot, heart failure isn’t as bad as it sounds. My heart has been working a bit too hard, as evidenced by some fluid in my lungs and some heavier-than-normal breathing. Have you noticed me panting lately? Sure, I may think you’re sexy but that’s not why I’ve been short of breath in your presence, just in case you had the wrong idea. Turns out my heart is working just fine, although it may be a bit fatigued because of recent events.

Finally, since the iron supplements I’ve been on haven’t trumped my anemia yet, I was dosed with IV iron. Now the search is on for some “baby reds” in my blood. No sign of them yet, but here’s hoping.

Today the doctors determined that I could follow up on these ongoing concerns as an outpatient. My yellow has mellowed and my lungs have cleared. But I think they let me go because we agreed I’d never get my appetite back if I had to continue eating hospital food. And they were right, as evidenced by this picture of my last lunch:

Hospital lunch tray with raw vegetables, beef sandwich on whole wheat, minestrone soup, and cantaloupe, with crackers, coffee and plastic cutlery package

I’ll bet you have lunch envy now, don’t you?

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6 thoughts on “Just call me Mellow Yellow

  1. Thinking about you a lot these days. Sending positive energy your way and missing my park visits with you and Jelly. I hope you are feeling better soon and some of this stuff gets sorted out. Take care Annie. Christine

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    • So nice to “hear your voice” Christine. Thanks for letting me know you’re out there. We miss you guys too. All positive vibes are welcome and appreciated right now. Hope you and your family are doing very well. XO Annie

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  2. So glad you are home. I am sure Jelly is also. Not that we did not like to see Clive and I am sure Jelly had fun. But nothing is like having your companion that feeds talks and hugs you throughout the day. Hope you are feeling better. Xo Karen and paul

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  3. Was thinking about you this morning as Sue and I were wondering where you were. We missed you! I hope you are feeling better, and yes I agree about the hospital food! Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with as I am off this week and right around the corner! I will also be sending the positive vibes your way! Cathy

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    • Cathy: I’m glad to hear I was missed in yoga today. You and Sue would have been proud to hear I did yoga in my hospital room since I couldn’t be there. But it wasn’t the same, and I’m sure I didn’t work myself as hard as Sue would have worked me. Thanks for your kind offer of help. Be careful or I might just take you up on it! Annie

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