Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I'm in Duke Hospital. I'm having another brain surgery tomorrow. That shunt I got put in last month is already malfunctioning.
I've had a headache constantly since Friday morning. Last night, it got progressively worse, and I also got abdominal pains that started and went to excruciating in about 5 minutes. (Those went away, though, so no worries about that.) Well, the two pains last night got to the point where I was sobbing. And let me tell you, with all that I've been through, if I'm crying from pain, it's really bad. I was kind of freaking out and couldn't really think, so I went outside and called my mom. She told me to go to my Resident Director (RD), Brittany, and get her to call an ambulance. She called me back a couple minutes later and told me to get the ambulance to take me to Duke, because as it turns out she called Duke in those couple of minutes, and my neurosurgeon, Dr. F was here and told her that I should go to him.
Well, the ambulance people got to my dorm finally, and my RD and RA were both there with me as they went through all of the typical paramedic duties. I told them that my mom told me I should go to Duke because that's where my doctor is, and they told me I'd have to wait for a transport truck from a town about 20 minutes away. I talked to my mom, she said yes I should do that, so they called the transport people. Here's something ironic: the transport people were on their way back from Duke. Go figure.
The kind of sucky thing in this situation was that my mom was 2.5 hours away. The good thing is that Holly was in Raleigh, much, much closer. My mom called her at the very beginning of all this, and thank God she caught her right before Holly went to bed after a long shift at her restaurant. Holly got to Duke just minutes before I did at about 3 am. She said she didn't feel very good, and I knew she was exhausted, but she didn't seem to mind because she knew I needed her, and she had a blanket and there was a rocking chair in the room. She slept a lot more than I did last night. ;-) But the important thing was that she was there. I get really freaked out and really upset if I'm alone at the hospital.
There was a super nice pediatric doc in the ER, and she was totally understanding about me needing pain meds and fast, and she told me not to worry when I explained to her about how Dr. F and his nurse were so iffy about giving me more meds a week after I got out of the hospital. It was good. So I got a "triple cocktail" (as one nurse called it) of Benadryl, Morphine, and some other drug I didn't recognize and don't remember. I finally got some sleep thanks to that.
8 am or so (I think, remember I was doped up beyond belief), I got an X-ray series on my shunt, and then a CT scan of my head. Those turned out normal, so I was told I had to get a "flow test" to test and make sure that fluid could run through it properly. Have you ever had a needle stuck into the back of your skull? I now have. Trust me; it's not fun. Once the needle was in, they took out some fluid in order to run tests on it, then the tech lady shot some radioactive material into it so they could take pictures to see how things were running. I didn't know the results of it for a while...
Holly left soon after that, and I slept some more until they told me that I was getting admitted. All they told me was that the pressure was too high, and that I would be transported up to the 5th floor, into my regular unit. A doc came in and said it looked like I'd be having surgery, but she wasn't sure, but that Dr. F would be in later. At 3, Mom called and said she was just leaving to come up here and would be here about 6. All right. About 5, Dr. F came into my room and he explained that I would definitely have to have surgery because the shunt was somehow malfunctioning. The "opening pressure" setting (don't ask, I don't know what that is exactly) was supposed to be 14, and the flow test from this morning showed it to be 35. Friends, that's bad.
So tomorrow about 4:30 pm, he is going to go in, unscrew the valve of the shunt that is in my brain ventricle, inject fluid into the tubing that runs down into my abdomen, and see if it flows properly. If it does, it means that the valve is what is malfunctioning and he can just replace that and be done. If it doesn't flow properly, it means that the tubing is the issue and he'll also have to cut back into my abdomen and do a full shunt replacement. So fingers crossed that it's the first, the easier, of the two options, eh?
Because of how bad the first surgery I had last month turned out, I'll admit I'm kind of terrified and frustrated that this is happening now, but I'm trying to be calm. I'm trying to remember that God is doing this for a reason, because He knows every detail of what's going to happen in my life good or bad, and He'll protect me. But it's hard. Satan keeps bringing back the memories of how I got that blood clot, how I lost my short-term memory temporarily, how I threw up for two straight days, and I'm scared.
I really need your prayers, friends. For peace. For comfort. For Dr. F's hands to be guided tomorrow. For no complications. For a successful surgery the first time. For no blowing IVs, let alone five. For fear to go away.
Thanks so much in advance for all prayers on my behalf.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
But this morning I woke up feeling like absolute crap. So I went to the campus infirmary, and they saw me and checked my vitals, got some info on what was wrong, and told me to come back at 2:30 to see the doctor. I did, waited like an hour, and was finally seen.
The doc originally thought I had strep. He said I had all the symptoms, so I got a strep test, but it was negative, so my diagnosis was "a sore throat manifesting itself as a strep-like infection." Okay then. Antibiotics it is. He was going to give me something that was actually an anti-fungal medication that works for sore throats (I don't even know) because I'm allergic to Septra, which gives me a 30% chance of being allergic to Penicillin drugs which gives me a 30% chance of being allergic to something else I can't pronounce. But I told him about another drug I've been on for chronic sinus infections so he chose to give me that since I knew it would work.
Luckily, I ran into a friend who was there with her boyfriend, and he had a prescription that needed to be filled, so they took me to the pharmacy, less than a 10 minute drive but impossible for a girl without a car, and he took me back later to pick it up. Yay for new friends.
So yeah. That's what's up with me. I can't go to class tomorrow. I feel like crap. Good night.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I've done absolutely nothing today except sleep, play on the computer, play pool with Kari (previously mentioned friend), eat, do my laundry, talk to my mom, take a nice and long and hot shower, and shave. It was lovely.
But don't you worry - this good little college student will be doing lots of schoolwork tomorrow. I just really needed a lazy day break from it all. Kind of sad that I need a break this quickly, huh? Oh well. Since I can't go home, not that I'd want to go home right now since my house is infected with swine flu, I have no choice but to give myself these breaks.
And no better time than a weekend, huh?
This place is pretty much dead on the weekends, anyway. I even told my mom that there are a lot of people who go home every weekend, so me asking to go home one weekend outside of holidays is not that big of a deal, but she doesn't buy it. Hahaha. Oh well.
Oh, and good news, when I talked to my mom today she said she's feeling a bit better than yesterday, so she thinks she's turned the corner, and Chelsea has so far avoided getting the flu from her. So yay for that and praise the Lord! I was having bad dreams last night about them getting really bad because I've heard how many people have died from it, so this was a huge relief to me. :)
It's late. I'm tired. Good night!
Friday, September 18, 2009
You wanna know why? Well, let's back up to yesterday morning.
I woke up at 10something and felt really crappy. Like I couldn't breathe through my nose for some strange reason. (Even stranger, I woke up fine today.) So I basically slept all day long. Bad idea.
I finally got out of bed at about 9 pm and started doing work. Of course, since I had slept so much, I was quite awake for a while, but at about 2:30 am I was getting sleepy and went to bed.
I laid there and thought I was about to doze off. And then, the banging started. I had no idea what it was, but friends told me that it was a couple of drunk idiots throwing apples at windows all along the side of my dorm. They even hit the second floor! They stopped kind of quickly, but I still couldn't get to sleep for a little while. I think I finally dozed off at 3:20.
3:40 - the loudest, most obnoxious fire alarm I have ever heard in my entire life goes off. I wake up and don't really know what the heck is going on, but slip on my shoes and grab my keys and stumble out of the building. Now, let me tell ya, it may be 90 degrees in the afternoon, but I think it was about 50 at that hour. I was in a short-sleeved nightgown that only went to my knees. NOT COOL.
4:00 - We're allowed to go back inside.
4:02 - The fire alarm goes off AGAIN. We evacuate AGAIN.
4:06 - We're allowed to go back inside.
Now, after all that movement and excitement, I was really awake for a while, which is why I didn't fall asleep till 5. I had to get up at 10, too, to go to Dr. Stanke's office to take two make-up quizzes (these went much better). Please note: Mallory does not function well on five hours of sleep. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. I didn't sleep during the day today, either, because I was afraid if I did, I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.
Oh, the joys of dorm life. I'm just happy I didn't fall asleep in class today. :) Go me!
Also good news, I'm taking one more makeup quiz in Western Civ and a makeup test in French, and then, I will be caught up! Yay!
Also really good news, for the first time, I walked an extended distance today! It was probably about a mile. My ankle was fine, and my back was only mildly aggravated. The smart thing was to do it after dinner when it wasn't quite as hot out. But still, the fact that I did it period is good. :)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Well, I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize at like 9:30.
Guy: "Hello, Gorgeous."
Guy: "Gorgeous, it's me!"
Me: "Who's this?"
Guy: "Oh, is this the wrong Gorgeous? I'm sorry. Bye, Gorgeous!"
And then he hung up. That was the weirdest wake-up call I've had in a very long time, possibly ever.
Haha, I just wanted to share that funny story. :) Good night.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've become addicted to playing UNO on Facebook.
When, ya know, I'm not reading or studying or going to class or doing homework or hanging out with people.
I LOVED this game when I was little and played it with my sisters and grandma a lot, so it's just fun to play it again.
If you have Facebook, go play UNO Beta. (I don't know what the Beta part is, that's just what it's called.)
Oh, and funny story, I went to the dining hall that's across campus for the first time today. There's a dining hall right next to my dorm, so I've been going there mostly, but I just decided it was time. But since it was the first time I'd been in there, I wasn't sure where stuff was and so I asked a random girl where the silverware and desserts were. As it turns out, she lives not only in my dorm but two doors down from me. We ate dinner together and talked and she seems really sweet.
Did I mention I'm making tons of new friends here? Because I am. And it's fantastic.
In fact, I met a bunch of new people tonight, too, because I went up to the second floor and played "Would You Rather" with a bunch of girls, most of whom I'd never met. It was hysterical.
I LOVE THIS SCHOOL. Plain. and. simple.
Hope you're having a wonderful night!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Volleyball game against Florida Gulf Coast University.
I should not have done that.
Not only was it loud and hot, volleyball is boring.
3 consecutive games of glorified hot potato, and watching girls in spandex do flips and try to attack each other with balls.
And we lost, too. 25-18, 26-24, 25-19, all losses.
Oh, so I realized that Katie and her husband are mean.
They're honorable people for being in the military, but they're snobs.
And so I really don't feel like talking about her, but her basic story is that she was in the Middle East, got attacked, and lost 80% of the right half of her brain. She now has seizures and is trying to finish her college degree while her husband lives 45 minutes away at a nearby Marine base.
But still. They were mean once they found out I was a Democrat.
I don't like mean people.
I have a lot of reading to do this weekend.
It can wait for tomorrow. 'Cause another big newflash - I'M TIRED.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
My ankle is still hurting really bad.
A girl I met in the dining hall , Katie, invited me to dinner at her apartment tomorrow. She has an amazing story. I'll tell you tomorrow.
Yay for new friends! I'm meeting so many great people here.
Campus Safety is giving me rides to class and stuff. That's so helpful.
I'm doing well with the whole separation thing thus far.
My head hurts. Bad. So I'm going to bed, and the best part is that I can sleep till whenever I want tomorrow because I have no classes on Tuesday or Thursday. :)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Only I can get hurt the day before my first college classes. My mom and I went to the bookstore to get a book for my Western Civ class that they didn't send to me, along with a few other school supplies. As you come out of our bookstore, there's a little ledge and then the steps start.
Well, I don't know if it was because I was so physically tired today or I'm just a klutz, but I totally did not see the little ledge and severely sprained my ankle. I fell backwards, luckily did not hit my head, and started crying just as a bunch of very hot guys walked by. Of course. So after dinner my mom drove to a neighboring (there's seriously nothing in Buies Creek) and bought me an ankle brace so I can survive walking for a while.
Oh, and to add salt to the wound, as I got up off the ground and sat on a bench waiting for Campus Security to come give us a ride, I stepped in gum. In my pretty Rainbows. Of course.
So you wanna see my room? :) I went a little photo crazy, so there's quite a few, but they're of my bathroom, too, and I want you guys to get the full effect.
inside the left closet
zoom in on TV, microwave, refrigerator
Sunday, September 6, 2009
And everything's unpacked and put in its place.
I LOVE MY ROOM!!!!!
My mom is the best. Ever. In the history of the world.
She's staying with me till Tuesday so she can take me to Duke to get my sutures out.
Then I can finally take a real shower! :D
Pictures will come in the next couple of days, but right now I'm exhausted and want to go enjoy my wonderful new bed.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
I did all the laundry in the house today except for one load.
And then I washed the sheets from my bed and the two sets of sheets for my dorm bed.
I've never folded so much laundry in my life.
Campbell was getting on my nerves today.
I called to make sure they would remove one of the desks and both beds from my dorm room.
Lady who answered the phone was acting like I was insulting her or something.
Sorry, Jodie, I need help. It's your job to help me. Deal with it.
More drama with Chelsea today.
Why she can't manage to tell the truth, like ever, is beyond me.
Holly's coming home tomorrow!
I can't wait!
Okay, that's all you get.
A) There's not much else to say.
B) I'm exhausted and don't want to say anything else.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
First, I called Residence Life and found out where my key will be since most people will be gone for Labor Day.
I put all my dishes in the dishwasher.
I found a tiny clear storage thing for my bathroom, rinsed it off, dried it, and cleaned it with Green Works.
I did laundry.
I know that doesn't seem like much for any average person, but this is more work than I've done in the past 23 days combined. Now, my back hurts and I'm exhausted, but still. Doing stuff was refreshing.
My mom said Motivated Mallory needs to visit more.
She just asked it not to be at 10 o'clock at night. :)
Good news: Today is the first day that I haven't woken up with an excruciating headache.
Bad news: Today I woke up because my stomach muscles were in severe pain again.
Go freaking figure.
I can't get full relief, but my family made comments that this is the first day that I've acted and sounded like myself, so that's good. Even with the stomach pains on top of still having a headache, this is the best I've felt. So yay for that!
Guilty pleasure confession time!
Have you tried these? Lindy's Italian Ice? Oh my gosh. I am so addicted to these things. I swear. I could eat six of them and still want more.
This one in the picture is the strawberry flavor. The orange is really good, and the watermelon - oh heaven help me, they're insane. They taste like real frozen watermelon!
If you've never tried these, go to the nearest grocery store and get some. Now. You'll thank me for it.
After seeing a comment on my last post, I thought I should give you guys an update on how things are going with Chelsea.
I know there are some people who don't believe in psychiatric medicine (hello, Tom Cruise), but for my sister
and my family, they're a lifesaver. Chelsea's like an entirely new person. There's been a total of one screaming match since she got her meds. I couldn't be happier about it.
Don't get me wrong; the girl still gets on my nerves. She's still a slob. She still takes and uses stuff without my permission. But I'm trying really hard not to be bitter or focus on the bad. I often fail, but that's okay. I'm still human.
This should give you an idea of how different things are now - I think that once I leave on Sunday, I might actually miss her. Crazy, huh?
If you would be so kind, say a prayer for her. Ask God to help her see that her refusal to stop smoking is horrible for the baby she says she loves more than anything. Ask God to protect that baby as it grows. She has no willpower, and I believe that only help from God will get her the strength to pick her child over cigarettes. She's not even trying to cut back, and it's gotten to the point where my mom, also a smoker, is mad about it.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you so much, all of you, for your support and prayers and kind words. They mean a lot. I don't have friends in this town, but you all have surrounded me with more love and support than I ever could have asked for from strangers.
I love blogworld. :)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This is not good.
The pain is getting worse instead of better.
That's not supposed to happen!
My mom stayed home with me today because I had such a horrible night last night and have been in unmanageable pain.
Thankfully, my mom begged Duke into calling me in more painkillers because I'm not doing good at all and have to move to college in 5 days.
In other, lighter news, I got my head shaved to look slightly less odd. Yes, I still have some hair. :) Maybe I'll post pics in the next couple of days.
I was pretty blah about it at first, even though I knew she didn't really have many options about what to do, but now I think I kind of like it.
The funny is that when I wake up, my hair stands straight up like a peacock (or a peahen, I suppose). Sometimes it's side to side, and sometimes it's front to back in more of a faux-hawk fashion. Seriously, I was getting ready to go out for my uncle's birthday yesterday, and I spent 25 minutes trying to get my hair to lay down. The tricky thing is that I'm allergic to pretty much every hair product, and finally, Chelsea came up to me, said "here, try this," and sprayed this hypoallergenic toner on it, and it worked!
Little did I know, toner is actually for your skin. :)
Oh well. It did the job and it didn't hurt me. That's all I cared about.