Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 off to a slow start, but it's for good reasons

I rested on New Year's Day.  I was going to do CrossFit on 1/2, but it was my birthday, and my wife talked me into a date at our favorite local taproom.  I taught skiing on the 3rd and 4th, and we skied hard, especially on the 4th.

And then things got weird.  My wife has been fighting a gynecological issue since just before Thanksgiving.  This past Monday, we finally had a visit with the specialist we wanted to see.  After a somewhat invasive examination, the doctor wanted to do surgery as quickly as possible.  She tried to do it that afternoon, but couldn't get a team and an OR as quickly as she wanted.  But, due to the urgency of the situation, she got my wife scheduled for the next day.  We were happy to have this scheduled so quickly, but obviously worried that the doctor considered it that critical.

After the appointment, I went to CrossFit and my wife went back to work for a while.  When my wife picked me up after CrossFit, she was not smiling at all.  It seemed that the exam had re-triggered her bleeding, which had already taken us to the ED twice before.  We were an hour from home and only 10 minutes from the hospital.  We talked things over.  We went and got dog food and talked some more.  My wife made one more stop, and came back to car saying we should go to the hospital now.

If we went home, and the bleeding really accelerated overnight, her options for local treatment were probably going to be limited, and very invasive.  Or, she might have ended up in an ambulance or helicopter, at risk for bleeding to death before we could get her somewhere.

We got to the ED of the hospital where she was scheduled for surgery.  We explained the situation.  We jumped to the top of the triage line and got a room immediately.  And then we waited a lot for the next 6 hours.  We saw people off and on, they were doing IVs and monitoring her blood levels.  Her surgeon was called.  We eventually talked to the nighttime OB/GYN staff, and they were ready to operate immediately if needed.  Luckily it didn't come to that.  My wife was finally admitted and I went home for a few hours of sleep.

The next morning, due to blood loss, they moved my wife up earlier in the OR schedule.  The goal was to try a minimal intervention technique, and hope that stopped the bleeding and resolved the issue.  But, if it didn't, they would proceed to a hysterectomy.  Due to my wife's blood loss, they prepped 8 units of blood for surgery.

Before noon, she was off to the OR, and my daughter and I were left waiting.  We had been told it would take 2 hours.  At 2.5 hours, I was really worried that they had needed to do the hysterectomy.  Finally, the anesthesiologist came and talked to us.  Everything had gone great, but they were holding her in the OR for just a little bit.  Her red blood counts were low and they needed to be sure the bleeding was under control before they gave up the OR and the instant access to blood.

Finally, she was released to PACU.  I got to see the surgeon at that point, and she was concerned about blood loss (her hematocrit was 20.0 - right on the edge of needing a transfusion).  I'm willing to bet that all of the training that my wife does, which keeps her in great shape, helped her to pull through without needing blood.

The next day, she was released and she is at home, recovering.  It will take a while to rebuild her blood supply, so she will be tired for a while.  But, for the first time since Thanksgiving, her mood was light and happy last night.  This has been an unpleasant process for her, including 3 visits to an ED along the way.  It's been expensive, on top of a lot of medical costs last year.  But, the problem was solved without a major invasive surgery, and in a couple weeks, she will probably be back in the gym.

Today, I'm at work while my wife rests.  I will get to the gym tonight - only my second CF class of the year on the 8th of the month.

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