We’ve Got a Bleeder!

(Please note: There a few pictures that show blood in this post.  But you can’t actually see it coming OUT of my body, so don’t worry.)

I learned a lot this weekend.

• Those bee sting feelings I have in my legs?  They’re more like electrical shocks really and it’s my nerves healing themselves.  And those shocks could last for up to a year.
• Blood squirting out of you can actually be a good thing.
• I’m not great at handling little inconveniences.
• The Tylenol is actually helping my pain much more than I thought.
• Men’s underwear is oddly comfortable.

I took my Neurontin on Friday night and slept 10 freaking hours.  It was amazing.  But for some reason it wasn’t enough and I still felt exhausted all day.  I also woke up feeling incredibly nauseous.  I woke late so I ate half a breakfast, showered, and picked out clothes for the day.  The kids and I also finished up the signs for my dad’s birthday party.

Aidan helped too but I was showering when he worked on his, so I didn’t get a picture.  Boo.  J went golfing with my dad and a few others so when he got home, he showered, grabbed all the food and loaded everything in the van.

We headed over and ended up getting there an hour later than I originally intended.  Typical Nicole.  And we still hadn’t even chopped the veggies.  But as soon as we got there, I plunked down on the couch recliner and J handled the food.  Good guy, that J.

I seriously spent all day sitting.  I sat outside, I sat inside.  I just sat, sat, sat.  I had a great time talking to everyone at the party.  I just felt like such a cripple.  And I was still nauseous so I didn’t want to eat either.  But after months of hiding a big secret, we finally got to give my dad his big birthday gift.  And that was pretty awesome.

The fire pit was my brother’s idea, but in the end, many many people contributed to make it (financially) possible.  My dad has some great friends and family!  Isn’t it beautiful??  My poor brother is deployed so he couldn’t even be there in person.  But we FaceTimed during the reveal so he got to hear my dad’s very surprised and happy reaction.
Audra fell in love with this little puppy.

Austin is in love with fire and branches.  My mommy instincts were screaming but he had a good time.

 Until he almost got thrown into the fire.  Ha.

My dad and Joy’s best friends gave up one of their expensive camping chairs so I could have a sturdy place to sit.  Our cheapo ones were not working well for me.

There was beer pong involved.

 And Aidan got a shakedown from my dad’s good friend.

It was a great day – I was just so tired and not feeling great.  I felt embarrassed by my hunched walk and stomach binder.  But everyone was awesome and chatted with me about my surgery and recovery. Halfway through the party, I grabbed my medicine out of the bag, popped two in my mouth, and threw the bottle back in before I realized that I had taken Aleve instead of the Tylenol I meant to bring.  That didn’t help matters because the Aleve stopped working days ago.

We almost stayed until the end (it was a noon-midnight open house), but J fell asleep so we gave up around 11pm.  We went outside and said our goodbyes.  And I did get a picture with my dad but it’s on J’s phone and he’s back in Colorado right now (without access to his phone this minute).

We loaded up in the van and headed back home.  I was standing in the kitchen and I told J that I just wanted to be magically transported into bed.  I wanted someone to pee for me, wash my face, floss & brush my teeth, and take out my contacts.  He laughed and headed back toward the bedroom.  I was nauseous so I made myself a protein drink.  As I started to drink it, Audra came in and pointed out a stain on my maxi dress.  I looked down and realized it was blood.  I pulled up my dress and saw that my underwear was covered.  And then I moved the underwear over and the blood squirted out 6 inches.  At least.  We both screamed and Audra went running to tell J.  I stood there completely panicked and he came running out.  I really don’t remember much about the next few moments but he moved the underwear over again and the same thing happened.  All we could really tell that it was somewhere between my left hip bone and my pubic area.  He quickly grabbed some paper towels so I could apply pressure and he called his parents to come over so we could go to the ER without the kids.  (My dad & Joy live the closest but they had been drinking and were still entertaining guests; his parents live the next closest.  My mom & Roz are 40 minutes away.  We were panicked but still rational enough to decide who could get there the fastest!)

I then called my surgeon’s answering service but I had to wait for a call back.  While we were waiting, J left me in the kitchen holding a paper towel to the “wound” while he ran into the living room and signed us up for insurance.  It was kind of comical honestly.  We lost the insurance we had when he came home from Afghanistan and we hadn’t selected the new one yet that was offered for his new position.  Not very smart of us.  But we’ve never made so many quick decisions in our life.  In about five minutes, he selected our medical and dental insurance and now we are good to go!

Unfortunately, by the time he was done, I was standing in my own blood and still freaking out.  But yet I still asked J for his phone so I could take a picture.  I have issues.

(We went through a few paper towels and it still was landing on the floor even with the compresses.

My doctor called back and after breaking down and crying, I handed the phone to J.  Dr. Sando said he thought it was likely just a skin bleeder.  He asked if I had been taking Aleve.  (I had been on those blood thinner injections but I had waited his recommended time before taking any Aleve!)  He suggested that I go sit in the recliner, relax, and apply an ice cube to stop the bleeding.  If that didn’t work, he would meet us at his office so he could cauterize the open area.  So J lined the recliner with towels and I got into it.

We were able to get the bleeding stopped with just the pressure at that point and we felt like jerks for making J’s parents drive all the way out to us.  But we didn’t have ice, so we had asked them to stop and grab some for us.  We hoped it would be the final thing we needed to make the little area close up for good.
They arrived (in record time) and we applied the ice.  Once we were able to get a look at the suture line, it was insane how small the open area really was.  You would have thought it was an inch wide with how much blood kept pouring out.
I kept the ice on for a solid 20 minutes and my surgeon called back to check in on things.  We felt great at this point because all seemed good.  No more bleeding.  Case closed.  He said I shouldn’t take the Aleve anymore but that Tylenol was just fine.  But it scared me to take anything at this point and I felt like the pain meds weren’t doing a thing.  So I just decided to be done with them altogether.
J’s parents still hung around for quite a while and his mom even wiped me completely down.
She then asked me how often I was showering and suggested I do it more frequently.  And somehow it didn’t come off as insulting at all.  Mostly because it had nothing to do with my body odor.  And because she’s right.  I’ve been super lazy and I really should be showering daily to keep my suture lines totally clean.

J and his parents cut up some of J’s brand new white t-shirts and some gauze.  J went to find some of his boxer briefs so I could wear those as well.  We thought that my underwear was what caused the scab to come off of the incision line.  My elastic hit right on the line.  So they lined his underwear with the gauze and t-shirts so my suture lines were protected and comfy.  It was quite the affair getting me all outfitted in that little get-up.  J even commented that going to the bathroom was going to be quite the effort.  He wasn’t totally wrong, but it definitely felt more comfortable.

J’s parents left and while it had been an eventful night, I was glad that the bleeding was over and it wasn’t a huge deal.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it.  I started bleeding again once I got in bed so we applied pressure and another ice cube.  And again, we got it to stop.  But when I woke up yesterday morning, my (J’s?) underwear was saturated.  
Shit.
My mom was coming by to get the younger two for church and lunch.  J had plans to take Aidan to the Colts game for his birthday present.  I was going to be here all alone.  And since J sold his car, I didn’t have a way to get up to see my surgeon.  (Not that I really thought I should drive myself anyway.)  J just felt awful and suggested he give his ticket to someone else to take Aidan.  But hell no.  This was a big deal and I wasn’t going to let Aidan’s day get ruined because I was bleeding to death.  Haha.  But seriously, I knew we could work it out.  I called my mom to see if Roz was coming with her.  I thought maybe when they got back from lunch, one could stay with the kids and the other could take me to get the area cauterized.  But Roz was over in Illinois, so it was just my mom.  I didn’t tell her what was going on during the phone call because I didn’t want to freak her out.
I knew I could call J’s parents but it was early and we had kept them at our house until nearly 2am.  So I texted both Dad and Joy to see if they were at church yet.  Dad called me and when I asked what he had planned for the day, he said whatever it was I needed him to do.  I told him about the situation and he said he would be right over.  I hadn’t even called Dr. Sando yet though so I said I’d let him know.
I got ahold of the doctor and he said he could meet me in 90 minutes.  I called Dad back and he said he would be over to get me.  My mom came to pick up Audra and Austin and I told her what was going on.  Well, I mostly cried.  The idea that Audra saw that blood coming out of me is what bothers me the most.  But then we told Aidan about his big surprise while she was there.  I even took video of it and that’s on J’s phone too.  Dangit.  But he was very excited.  We had him get his Colts shirt on because he was going to watch the game with Daddy from home.  But you know, we sold our big TVs.  Not that Aidan would have cared about that, but J asked him if he’d rather watch the game on the little TV or IN the stadium.  Duh – no brainer.  J handed him the tickets and told him how close he’d be to the field (row 17).  It was pretty great.
Then my dad came by and we headed up north to the doctor’s office.  I was wearing my nightgown that was covered in dog hair and no underwear.  But hey, I brushed my teeth and put in my contacts!  I was having to hold another piece of t-shirt to the area constantly so changing clothes was just more than I wanted to deal with.  Anyway, I was just so glad that I didn’t have to go to the hospital.  Dr. Sando had said it’d be a quick 10 minute procedure so my dad hung in the waiting room and I was shown into the office’s little operating room.  It even had a “code cart”.  That was a tiny bit scary.
I was given a gown to change into, but that proved impossible because I couldn’t move my hand from the bleeding area.  So I just stayed in my nightgown and shimmied up onto the operating chair.  As soon as Dr. Sando got started, I knew this was a bigger deal than he originally thought.  He said he detected an odor and he thought I had an infection.  I’d been running a low-grade fever for a few days and J’s mom had told me to call the doctor.  I just figured it was no big deal.  He said the blood looked “old”.  He started pressing on my skin to get more blood to come out.  Um, gross?  He explained it all to me very well but honestly I can’t relay the information as clearly.  Essentially, it wasn’t exactly blood.  It was more like a serum and it had been collecting in the area.  It finally found its way out and that was a really good thing.  He thought it was simply a low-grade infection at this point (although the not-really-blood blood is being sent off to the lab) and it could have turned into something more serious if it sat in there longer.  So although it will be an inconvenience, I have to let all of the fluid drain itself out.  And instead of closing me up, he actually cut me open bigger.  I now have a small open line that’s 1.5 inches long.  He said it would heal itself up from the inside out.  If he tried to stitch it back up, it would definitely turn into a more serious infection because the fluid would just sit there.
The process took about 45 minutes instead of 10 and the smell of the my skin burning open was absolutely not awesome.  Thankfully, he had given me some local anesthetic so all I felt was pressure.  I even think he stuck a q-tip in there pretty far.  Gah.  Gross.  He said that area showed “no signs of healing” and he suggested I increase my protein intake.  I thought I was doing well with that but maybe not.  And apparently the situation didn’t really have anything to do with the blood thinners or Aleve.
He covered up the area with a sterile pad and special tape.  I then realized that my nightgown was covered in blood so my doctor gave me a towel and robe to borrow.  He wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and anti-nausea medication as well.  I hadn’t been able to eat that morning because of the nausea, so I’d only drank a protein shake.  If I’m nauseous, I can’t exactly inhale protein.  He also asked if I could reschedule today’s appointment to Wednesday so he could see me after the antibiotics had been in my system and the area had been able to drain for a few days.  Not a problem.  And lastly, I asked if I should still be sitting around most of my days and he said no.  I should be up and moving around.  So I guess last week I didn’t “overdo” it.  That’s good to know.  
I found my dad snoozing in the waiting room (someone had a really good time at his birthday party).  He drove us back down south and to our local CVS to get my scripts filled.  I also needed to pick up more of the pads and tape so I could apply them on my own.  CVS didn’t have them so we had to drive to another pharmacy.  The robe now had blood on it as well so Dad went inside to grab the supplies while I hung out in his truck.  I sent this picture to J.

We then had to drive aaaaaaall the way back to CVS to pick up my prescriptions and I found out that the Phenergan was $116.  Plus it was a suppository.  Um, whoa and ew.  So I asked the pharmacy person if it was rude to have them hold it and see if I could do without?  (My doctor suggested I try taking the Neurontin with some crackers to see if that helped.)  I wasn’t sure if they could restock the meds.  She said it was perfectly fine and to just let them know within a few days.  I thought it was impressive that she alerted me to the cost before ringing it up.  And the thing is, we are technically covered by insurance now, but I don’t have a card yet.  She said if we got the card (or necessary info) within 14 days, we could come back and recover the difference.  The antibiotics were a hefty $48 but those were a must-have.

So after driving me all over town (without complaining a bit), my dad dropped me off at home and I assured him that I was fine to be alone.  It wasn’t long before the kids arrived and then I took a nap.  I apparently really needed that nap because I felt much better after.  After the nap, I finally took a dose of Tylenol.  I hadn’t had any kind of pain meds (besides the Neurontin) for 24 hours.  And it was really hard to walk.  It felt like my legs and stomach were an inch tall and I was trying to stretch them out to a foot each.  But once I took the Tylenol, I could walk normal-ish again.  Guess I was wrong about their effectiveness.  Won’t make that mistake again!

J and Aidan had a great time at the game even though the Colts lost.  It was super sunny in their section and that part wasn’t fantastic, but at least they got to spend some quality daddy-son time together.  And how great is this picture?!

Handsome dudes.

The guys made it home and before we knew it, it was time to jump (or slide ever so carefully as to not disturb my thigh incisions) in the van and take J to the airport.  I have to be honest, it was harder last night than it was a week ago.  We felt like we took major steps backward in my recovery.  Between my exhaustion, nausea, and now this blood/fluid thing, I wasn’t sure how I would do without J here to take care of me.  And he was feeling the same way.  I know that if it were at all possible, he would have delayed his flight a few days.

So I did a lot of crying on the way home.  It’s scary when you’re just so not sure how you’ll have the energy to take care of your three kids all week.  I mean, my kids are great and I don’t even really have much else to take care of, so it shouldn’t seem daunting.  I know so many people have it a gazillion times worse and I’ve just been so damn lucky in my life.  I’ve always been so healthy.  This has really thrown me for a loop.

We got Subway (and I don’t even feel bad because I was just so happy that I finally wanted to EAT!) and headed home.  We were all so starved that we actually ate in the van.

Because of my amazing procrastination skills, I had all three classes to complete in 5 hours last night.  I completed two of them and left my philosophy class for last.  Oh man.  Still not sure I’m smart enough for that one. And last night did not help matters.  I just read the lecture notes and not the actual chapter and then took the quiz.  Guess what?  Not a wise choice.  I got 1/5 correct.  Yay me!  It’s my fourth semester and I’ve never bombed a quiz.  So this week I’m actually going to try (meaning I’ll maybe start on Sunday morning – just kidding) and see how it goes.  But if it’s just too much to focus on right now, I’m not opposed to dropping the class.  I think I can still do that and not have to pay for it.  It’s only the third week.  The only reason I took three classes in the first place this semester was for my financial aid.  I knew my head would be all over the place.  I need to see how many credits I actually need to be taking to qualify.

But this was my view while I was flunking my quiz.  Cute, huh?

Side note – he’s eating like a champ again and only puked on Saturday when we were gone all day.  So it totally sounds like anxiety.  But he’s back to being a total jerk to our older dog and snuggling with me at night.  Major win.
After my atrocious homework effort, I headed towards bed.  J had landed in Denver so I knew he’d be in his hotel room soon and ready to FaceTime.  I started to get ready for bed and changed my sterile pad for the fourth time of the day.  That stuff is draining and it is draining fast.  I can’t even imagine where it’s all coming from?
I didn’t feel tired and that worried me a little.  Would I toss and turn again?  But I was counting on my friend Neurontin to help me pass out.  So I ate a few crackers and took the pill.  Then I finished getting ready and slid into bed to watch Big Brother.  J called around that time and we chatted a bit.  And I’m so happy to say that even though I didn’t feel all that sleepy, I was out within 15-20 minutes of trying.  And that was so nice.  I woke up and changed the pad, and then woke up again but fell right back asleep.  But in the end, I got 7 hours of sleep.  And when I woke up, I wasn’t nauseous at all.  Oh Happy Day.  I was actually excited to eat.  But J was still in his bed, so I stayed in mine and read the rest of my book.  Seriously, you should check out The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.  It is sooooo so good.  And I read a lot of books and don’t mention them, but this was a 5-star-er.  Really well written with a good story.  But I cried damn well through the whole book.  But anyway, check it out.  Normally it would have been a book I knocked out in a day, I’ve just been doing other stuff.
Anyway, I said bye to J as he left for work and I made myself some oatmeal and coffee.  And it dawned on me that I probably was so exhausted the past two days because I didn’t have coffee at all.  And I’ve only been drinking about one cup, but I still always have one.  Interesting.  But then I also had a greek yogurt.  I’m dedicated to getting in that damn protein.  Then I sat here and started blogging for a few hours.  Then I *gasp* showered.  And here’s what’s funny.  You know that shit’s supposed to drain out of me?  So I thought, “Great!  It’ll drain lots while I’m in the shower moving and no pad is required!”  But nope, it closed up tight and didn’t drain at all while I was in there.  So weird.  But when I’m changing the pads (which I’ve become a pro at cutting the tape, wiping the surrounding area down with peroxide, and reapplying everything), it continues to pour out.  I have no idea.
By the way, I totally forgot to ask how long this should last.  That would be good to know although I’m sure he couldn’t give me an exact number of days.  Maybe he’ll know more on Wednesday.  He did still seem pretty confident that I could fly just fine to Hawaii in 2 weeks.  
So after my shower, J’s mom arrived.  She was originally going to come for the appointment I had scheduled, but then yesterday I asked her to still drive out because I was feeling so blah.  But we had a good time chatting today.  
Awww triplets.  
I made tuna sandwiches for lunch (protein!) and those were delicious.  I even walked around and picked up a bit.  It’s weird how it feels good to do little things like that after feeling like you can’t.  After J’s mom left, Austin helped me make dinner: homemade pizza and plums.  I’m drinking a protein shake for the…wait for it…protein.  I don’t care if I eat 5782 calories a day and gain 75 pounds, I’m going to take in some serious protein.
As for tonight, I don’t have any plans.  I could start on this week’s philosophy homework but I’ll leave that fun for tomorrow.
Oh, well I do have a few plans.  I have balloons to blow up and presents to wrap.  My big boy turns 10 tomorrow!
Also, between the backside sutures still being a pain (seeping – which is disgusting especially because it’s right above/in my ass crack…yum) and this blood-not-blood thing, I’m hoping recovery speeds up.  I actually thought my backside sutures were opening, and then I didn’t, but now I think they really are.  And I meant to have J’s mom look today but I totally forgot.  Oops.  I really don’t feel like things have improved at all in a week.  Well, things actually seem worse than last Monday except that I no longer get winded hardly at all.  But maybe this week will be the week that I start walking much better and shit stops flowing out of me.  Say a prayer, people.  I need it.
But seriously, I’m managing okay and I do keep getting reminded in different ways that my little inconveniences are absolutely inconsequential compared to things going on in the world.  I mean 12 people were murdered today in D.C. by one(?) guy.  WTH?  So although I just spent hours telling you about this stupid blood issue, I’m going to be fine.  And that’s the real story.  
But I do appreciate you letting me whine on like a big baby and I hope you had a great weekend. 

P.S. I’m still wearing J’s underwear (a new pair, obviously) and it oddly looks like I have a package down there.  I’m wearing my sterile pad to the left over the bleeding area and an overnight maxi pad to catch anything that drips.  It’s kind of funny to see in the mirror, haha.