So I thought I was going home on Wednesday… apparently the fates thought otherwise. Two days ago I was in the middle of signing my discharge papers from my recent hospital visit which involved GI (garstrointestinal) complications and a colonoscopy. Everything was looking good. The day before (Tuesday) I received my monthly dose of IVIG. IVIG stands for intravenous immunoglobulin. It’s basically a synthetic form of a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin is low but because of my transplant, monthly blood transfusions would be too big of a risk for my body due to my immuno-supressed system. So instead I would receive monthly IVIG which was supposed to be for the rest of my life.
We (doctors and I) knew that I was allergic to IVIG but it was so important that they would shoot me up with benadryl, anti-nausea meds, and steroids before running my infusion very slowly. Over the past few months it always ended the same way… begin IVIG infusion and 5 hours later I would have a screaming headache and vomiting. This didn’t occur at all on Monday so we were in the clear right? Wrong.
On Wednesday, it came on so quickly. My mom ran some of our overnight bags down to her car, and by the time she returned to the hospital room to take me home I had screaming head pain and was vomiting something fierce. The doctors ordered a shot of strong pain meds and when it did almost nothing, I knew I was in trouble. Turns out my brain started swelling due to the IVIG allergy. Sometimes the allergy onset can take as long as 48 hours to kick-in. I was not aware of this at the time. The doctors took one look at me and figured out what was wrong. Besides the day I woke up from transplant, this was the most pain I have ever been in. I was rocking, screaming, and violently nauseated for about 18 hours straight! It was misery.
I have never denied the fact that I can be arrogant. So my mom said (after I started feeling better), well now with the swelling brain we can say you really do have a “big head.” Always got my family to help take me down a notch or two. Much appreciated I’m sure.
The doctors said that the symptoms could last for another 72 hours sometimes because it takes the brain a while to allow the swelling to go down. “72 hours?” I thought. “I don’t think I can make it another 72 minutes!” Luckily we worked out a pain and nausea medication regimen that seemed to do the trick. I was getting meds every 2 hours but was still counting down the minutes to the next dose, just to get a little short-lived relief. Needless to say it was not fun, but luckily my mom stayed with me throughout the night (Wednesday). Then Mary was on Adam-duty yesterday (Thursday) and my brother just left from his shift a few minutes ago. My best friend Jason said he could come tomorrow if I need him. Luckily, I have a loving support group of family and friends that are willing to help out in a moment’s notice.
Can I go home now?