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: