March 14, 2017
I would love to say that the ED visit on March 3, where I was diagnosed with a neck muscle spasm was the end-all of the Sandee Saga, but come on peeps. My story with this very rare, nutz-o, who the hell gets a Chordoma experience did not quite end there. Obviously, I was in need of performing countless more high-kicks, Judo Chops, and my ultra-special Kung Fu moves on this friggin Chordoma crap in order to make all of those who purchased #Sandee Strong t-shirts feel as if they got their money’s worth.
On Sunday, March 5, I made my mom take me back to the ED. The valium was not cutting through the intense pain, and I had this feeling that there might be something more going on aside from just a neck spasm. I felt bad making my mom take me back to the ED for a day-long venture because who the hell likes to go to the ED unless you are there to save lives or earn a paycheck?
The morning I was headed out to the ED, my brother offered me a mint. A mint…He thought I needed a mint? I asked if my breath was that bad, and he told me that it was horrendous. He apologized and said that he did not want to hurt my feelings, but a garbage bin smelled better that my breath. Ok, he really didn’t say I had garbage bin breath, but I read it on his face. As it turns out, not one of my family members had the guts, or courtesy, to tell me that I had ass breath. Now, to most people it may seem just plain yucky to have foul smelling breath, but to an RN or someone in the medical field it is extremely concerning because it can be an indicator of an infection. I did not feel well at all, and the disgusting, smelly drainage from my nose was enough for me to insist on get an Uber ride back to the hospital to be seen again.
After entering the ED, we were brought back immediately to a room. I informed the ED MD that all of the tests and scans had been done a few days prior, but I had this feeling that the excessive, foul smelling nasal drainage and continuing headaches were potentially something more concerning. The ED MD called the ENT MD to have him come and evaluate me since all of the tests had been done just days before. The only thing they wanted to obtain was some blood tests to compare the levels to the ones from a few days prior.
Well, it did not take long for the ENT Resident to come in and perform his exam. After he ever so gently shoved a little camera through my nose possibly to look at my brain for a little peeksie, he gave me this look of, “what the hell did I just see in there?” He wiped the camera clean, and said he would return shortly with the ENT Attending who was the actual ENT specialist. It did not take long for them to return with a team of MDs, and this time they suctioned the crap out of my nose, slide the camera back in, and let me know that they needed to bring me back in for surgery.
As it turns out, this skin graft they made through my nose was necrotic and non-viable. This happened to be a flap covering the area of my spine that was made with the skin from my thigh. The site was also leaking spinal fluid (hence the severe headaches), so they needed to get in there and fix it. Ggggrrrreat! Truly, there was no opposition to the round two surgery that was about to take place. I wanted them to get in there STAT and repair whatever was keeping me from feeling better, truckin’ forward.
The second surgery was so different and much easier than the first one. I remember waking up grateful that I did not have a drain in my lumbar spine or in my thigh. The team just needed to get up in my shnoz and clean up the transplanted tissue, snipping off what was not taking and repairing what they were able to salvage.
I wound up spending 5 more days in the hospital. I still had the horrible headaches, but the nasal drainage was down to a minimum. As it turned I had a raging infection. I was extremely surprised when I was told about the super-bugs that decided to take us residence in my head. I was also informed that I was going to get a PICC Line inserted in my arm because I was going to have to give myself 6 antibiotic infusions a day, each infusion running over 2 hours, and doing them for the next 6 weeks.
I remained Sandee Strong through the whole ordeal, and I considered all of this a minor setback. After getting the PICC Line inserted on March 10, I was ready to go back to our make-shift home away from home. I really did get the best care in the hospital, but there is nothing better than clean sheets on a big bed with fluffy pillows…and presents. There were boxes and boxes of presents waiting to welcome me home.