Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Home now, and the diagnosis is in....

Olga's back at home, as of 3pm today. Her discharge sheet from the hospital states Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) as the diagnosis of her illness, so at least we can put a name to it now. She's got 2 inhalers and bottles of pills galore to take, and won't be running any marathons in the near future.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

One more night away

Olga's having one more night in hospital tonight. She's been given 2 inhalers to use, and been given some breathing exercises to do by the physio, although when she did part of them this morning when I was there, the result was her coughing worsened for 45 minutes. I suspect that is what is supposed to happen though, it's supposed to get the gunk in her lungs moving. She's still on antibiotics, but came off the oxygen this afternoon, and still has blood-thinning injections once a day, to combat any clot. So, she should be home tomorrow, which will be great, but more than anything I want her to have a good night's sleep without coughing.
I remembered to take a photo of Nurse Lara tonight, before we were ejected from the ward due to their No Kids rule. Something to do with avoiding infections, whether they're worried about the kids taking something in or taking something away wasn't clear! We hadn't been told this rule, communications between staff and family could be better - some nurses on the ward today weren't even sure what time evening visitor hours were... Anyway, there's nurse Lara giving Mama an injection and checking her temperature.
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Monday, 17 October 2011

Nurse Lara visits the patient

Olga is staying another night in hospital tonight. Her temperature has stabilized today, thanks to the antibiotics, but her cough is just as bad, and her breathing isn't much better, and so she's been on oxygen all day. I went to see her for a few hours this morning, then Lara and I went to visit her after tea tonight, and we thought it would be cute if Lara wore her nurse outfit, and took her Doctor's bag with her. It's actually her Vet's bag, but the equipment she carries in there is good for humans and dogs! She checked Mama's temperature, gave her some medicine, gave her an injection, looked in her ears, rubbed some cream in, brushed her hair and trimmed her nails (all pretend of course, apart from the hair brushing!) The real nurses loved it!
The word from the Doc is that there's a good chance Olga will come home tomorrow, but we'll have to wait and see how she is in the morning. I only thought of taking a photo once we were in the lift on the way down from the ward, which is a shame..

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Had better weekends!

Woke up in plenty of time on Saturday to play with Lara while watching the Wales v France game (even if Sam Warburton's sending off was justified, Wales deserved to win, if only the try conversion and that penalty had gone over, both were soooooo close), then took Lara to the park with Jackson, to gauge his reaction to other dogs, now that he goes out with his muzzle on. He was fine, no agression, just far more excitement than a foot-tall dog should have! I've still not let him off the lead yet, the park where we took him is just too big, it would take me ages to get him back if he did disappear off to play with another dog.
Back home to watch the Liverpool v ManUre game, which naturally I'll say Liverpool should have won, but at least they didn't lose. Then time to take Lara up to the top of the garden to pick up the fallen apples before I mow the lawn. Poor Olga is still in a bad way, and seems to only be able to get any kind of sleep in the early morning, once exhaustion kicks in, so she didn't get up until 10.30am, and then just didn't have the energy to get off the sofa. Lara gave up helping me to pick apples up after collecting about 6 apples, and decided it was more fun to kick my raked-up piles of leaves and apples about, or do somersaults on her trampoline. I don't mean proper ones, this is with the aid of the support bar on the trampoline that she's supposed to hold whilst bouncing (it's not one of the common round, caged-in type of trampoline). It was just the kind of thing she does at gymnastics, and was very confident at it, completing dozens of them whilst I picked up 2 full bin bags of apples.
So, I thought I'd nip to the bottom of our garden and bring the lawnmower up, and as I'm heading back up our rather long garden, I hear a nasty crack from where Lara is, followed by the kind of cry that kicks a parent right in their stomach.  I dashed up, and Lara had an obvious bruise coming up right between her eyes, at the very top of her nose, and my first thought was that she'd broken her nose. However, there was no blood, and she stopped crying in under a minute once Papa had picked her up for a cuddle, so I began to calm down.  Then I started to worry that maybe you can break your nose without blood gushing out, and that maybe she'd gone into shock and couldn't feel the pain. We applied ice (a bag of frozen brocolli) back in the house, and she really didn't seem in any more pain, and within 20 minutes appeared to be her normal, cheerful self. I put her to bed after popping out to a friend's 50th party for an hour or two (both my girls lying on a sofa each watching TV, comforting each other!), and when I pulled her T-shirt over her head, it pulled against her nose, and I thought this would be the acid test, if it was broken, the pain would show now.. and not a squeak out of her, so I think we've gotten away with just some swelling and bruising, although she says it does hurt when she pokes it with her finger (so, don't poke it, Lara!).

And so we come to Sunday - again, up early (7.10am, too early really) and I go and help Lara in the bathroom, almost not wanting to see how her pretty face looks this morning, but it was fine, still some swelling and some little bruising, but if anything was broken, I would have expected her to look like Stallone at the end of Rocky.
We watched the rugby and cooked our breakfast, and Olga came down just before 11am. Even coming downstairs caused her to be out of breath, and straight away this shortness of breath made her panic, and she had to sit down by an open window to recover. She'd felt like this once or twice before in midweek, but the feeling had passed quickly, but this morning she had this one attack, then another within 10 minutes, of extreme shortness of breath, bringing on a feeling of panic, and we both decided it was time to go to the Minor Emergency department at Wycome hospital. We have Junior to think of as well as Olga, and this has chest infection has been going on for two and a half weeks now, and it's not been getting any better at all after two visits to the GP, with a third appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. Olga's had virtually no appetite in that time, and that's not great for Junior, so I packed a bag, almost exclusively full of things to entertain Lara with, and we went to the ME department at 11.30am. It was very quiet, Olga was seen within 10 minutes, and we spent the next 3 hours in a booth in the old A&E department, with Lara and I mostly playing snap, although I'd even been prepared enough to take our netbook and Lara's headphones, so for the last 30 minutes of that we had some peace and quiet while she watched Postman Pat and Toy Story. Olga had an ECG and a chest x-ray (note to mums-to-be: opinions differ, even within hospitals, about having x-rays while pregnant. We were of course warned of the small risk, but the interesting thing was the chief nurse who was looking after Olga confirmed what we knew already, that they would use a lead blanket over Olga's tummy during the x-ray. However, the radiographer poo-pood this, and said that using the blanket actually trapped the radiation inside the covered area longer than if there was no blanket, so Olga went blanketless) to see if that showed anything about the chest infection, or a blood clot, which is another possibility the Docs were putting forward. The x-ray was inconclusive, so they treated both issues, with a dose of strong antibiotics and an injection of blood-thinning treatment (makes us wonder why the GPs were so reluctant to give antibiotics, the Docs in the hospital didn't think twice, despite the pregnancy), while she had an IV drip for fluids, once the Doc had got the annular fitted. Glad I didn't watch that bit. Once Olga's temperature and heart beat had normalised (her heart rate was 110 when we arrived, I measured mine at 75 at the same time), we asked if someone could check on Junior, and another Doc appeared with the microphone-thingy, and found Junior's heartbeat straightaway, and it was perfectly normal, which made us both feel better.
After three hours Olga was transferred to a short-stay ward, and went over her story (for the third time) with another Doc, who said Olga would stay there at least until the Consultant had done his rounds and seem her. She couldn't say for certain when that would be, so I took the opportunity to take Lara home, so we could let the dogs out for a few minutes in the garden, and I could get an overnight bag ready for Olga just in case. We stocked up on grapes, juice and a copy of Now magazine and went back about 4.30pm, staying with Olga until the Consultant came round at just after 6pm. While we'd been out, the ECG Doc had come back to see Olga, and tested the oxygen levels in her blood - he likened the level to that of a 93-year-old heavy smoker, so when we returned, Olga was hooked up to an oxygen cylinder as well as an IV drip, but she was well enough to have had a cup of tea and a sandwich.
The results of her blood tests weren't back yet, but the Consultant's opinion was that she has a very bad chest infection in both lungs, and that will be treated with at least one night's stay in hospital on antibitoics, although I wouldn't be surprised (and I think Olga and I would both feel better) that unless she makes a miraculous recovery tomorrow, she should spend a second night there, we both feel some much better mentally (and physically I hope, for Olga) that she is there and that her illness is finally be treated with some proper medicine.
Lara was thoroughly bored of being told not climb on this and that, and to try and whisper and not shout, that we left Olga as soon as the Consultant had said his bit. She's got our netbook, with some films on it other than Postman Pat and Toy Story, and a book and her Now magazine, so hopefully she's not been too bored herself tonight, and I hope she's sound asleep now.

An interesting weekend, but hey, at least the weather's been nice!