Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Saga of the Bed

Finding  myself in bed more than usual, I decided a few months ago that it was time to replace my saggy mattress.  There is a Sleepys nearby, so I stopped by on a Sunday walk in early January.  Before long, the charming salesman had talked me into a memory foam bed, with a frame so the head and feet can be raised, and even can vibrate.  When I called this a "hospital" bed, I was quickly corrected: this  is a "lifestyle" bed.  I said I wanted a very firm mattress, and he kept saying that I should just try them out.  Note to self: this is not a good way to choose a firm mattress.  They sold Tempupedic and various competitors.  He told me about a 90 day return on mattresses.  Note to self: listen carefully next time, as it turned out that I bought a competitor's brand for which the return period is much shorter.

So this splendid and extravagant bed arrived, with much fanfare. There was even an audience that day.  I posted this on Facebook, and received many supporting notes.  All was well, for a while.  But over time the mattress got softer and softer.  It sagged over the side when I got in and out, and had a deep trough under my butt.  With my fluid problems, this was a serious issue, as the excess fluid in my body would collect at this low point.  I took to sleeping on my living room sofa.

Helene stopped by the store last week.  Bad news: I was well past the exchange date. But there are other firmer memory foam mattresses, as well as conventional mattresses that work with the lifestyle frame.  I decided to swallow hard and simply accept the cost of a new mattress.  However I have not felt well enough to mattress shop since my last round of hospitalizations.  Diana came by for a visit last weekend, determined to solve this.

She went to the store on Saturday and found the best mattress. They said that they could deliver it Sunday. One small wrinkle: a house rule in my coop is no Sunday deliveries.  But it is just a mattress exchange, we reasoned, and with luck it could happen so quickly Sunday morning that no one would be the wiser.  With luck?  By now I should know better!  Just at noon, the Sleepys guys pounded on the door of 5B (I live in 15B) waking the shareholder.  She called Moe, the super, who sent the delivery guys packing and came to my apartment.  Moe is a fine upstanding man, and I knew the rules.  So I hid.  Diana managed to sweet talk Moe into allowing the delivery if the truck would come back, and got the salesman to recall the truck.  Fifteen minutes later, new mattress, bed made, etc.  Diana did not miss her train.

I am no longer sleeping on the sofa.  The cat likes the vibrating bed.  Elevating my head helps with my breathing.  I just need to get back on Moe's good side.  They say that when you are seriously ill, you should have a companion at the  doctor's, so you remember what is said and don't do anything foolish.  Same thing goes for the bed store, I guess.  Thanks, Diana, for sorting this all out. Oh, and for the new mattress, too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Mediport Failed

I was so happy to have the Mediport that I blithely ignored the fact that the site became red and inflamed over the weekend.  I pretended all was well, and showed up for my chemo on Wednesday all ready not to have a venous stick.  Alas, the chemo nurse took one look, said that it did not look right, and summoned a doctor. Next thing I know I am sent to urgent care (UCC) and after a pretty long day there, was readmitted to Memorial.  It is one of the mysteries of my new life that one sits on a gurney in the hallway of UCC for hours after the decision has been made to admit. Do all hospitals do that?

Wednesday night in the hospital, and Thursday morning lots of consultation.  Was it infected, or a bleed? Cculd the port be salvaged? Back on Vancomycin, in case of infection, and back to to IR suite in the late afternoon. I had to wait until then to let the effects of the Lovemax thinners clear.  By now it is pretty clear that it is a bleed, not an infection, but the IR doctor decided it was prudent to take the whole thing out.  So they did, again under partial anesthesia: no pain, but vaguely and unsettlingly aware of the digging around to remove debris.  The site is much better today, it was quite swollen and angry.  But still a bit painful.

So the new challenge is that I am both a clotter and a bleeder; hematology is now officially part of my team. Unlike the bleed in the fall, this one was not entirely spontaneous, but bleeds with  Mediport insertions are unusual, I am told. [Frankly, I am tired of my ability to find the unusual.]  For now they are going to suspend the Lovemax and try to sort things out. I will not miss the injections. I think the plan is to try to put in a new Mediport in a couple of weeks.  There was some talk of inserting a PICC line in the interim, but I would rather have the skillful chemo nurses find veins than deal with that. (The Mediport is entirely subcutaneous, while a PICC line sticks out of the skin and requires more maintenance. I don't need something else that can go wring right now.)

I am sitting in the hospital, a second night deemed necessary to monitor the site for infection and come up with a plan about the blood. They are going to try to do a Torisel (chemo) infusion before I leave, but there are apparently problems (insurance?) converting an outpatient procedure to an inpatient.  But when this is done (or they decide it impossible) I will be heading home.  I have had enough of this place for a while.

UPDATE: Home, 4:30 pm. Thanks, Babbie.

Mom is coming for a visit on Sunday. Thanks, June. I look forward to seeing you.