It's been more than a month since my 2nd surgery on May 15th. I got out of the hospital on the 18th and found myself met with a whole other set of challenges. I had a PICC line installed in my arm(you all have google so...enjoy looking that one up). I was set out on a course of 28-42 days of antibiotics - Cephazolin to be exact. At first it didn't seem to bother me, every eight hours lay out the dose. It went like this:
Step 1: unlock line, wipe 20 seconds with alcohol wipe, saline flush
Step 2: wipe 20 seconds with alcohol wipe, Cephazolin (3-5 minutes to inject)
Step 3: wipe 20 seconds with alcohol wipe, saline flush
Step 4: wipe 20 seconds with alcohol wipe, heparin to make sure the line doesn't cake up in the next 8 hours, lock line and remove
Step 5: apply alcohol sponge topped cap to close the line
Each visiting nurse had something different to say or press onto my existence. This was another part of the routine...each week a visiting nurse would come to our home, answer questions I had or simply tell me their opinion and judgements around things ("you know, most doctors don't actually agree with Heparin as a useful tool..." Great! Something I want to hear when faced with having to inject this crap into my body 3 times a day!), change my PICC line dressing, take blood for weekly lab results and more often than not have a PRYT session with me based around self-care. They didn't know it was happening, but it was really the only way I could listen and not take all the stuff they were unknowing transferring onto me as the patient. To all the all the givers out there, PLEASE take care of yourself FIRST so that you can take care of others.
My lifebecame exhausting in a whole other way. 7am, 3pm, 11pm were my set times to inject. Somewhere in between I attempted to work, eat, volunteer and keep myself feeling like a normal human being. The PICC line made it rather difficult to maneuver with my crutches, but I dealt with it. My right arm was not allowed to lift more than 5lbs. It was more a precaution so that there was little chances of blood clots happening. Great, more life threatening stuff. NBD!
That became the new battle...I was surrounded by all this life threatening crap. The infection, the antibiotics, the potential for blood clots, side effects, everything and anything. So I tried to normalize it. I would come home at the end of a work day and crash. By the time my partner would get home he would have to cook, clean and take care of me. I was usually passed out on the couch. After weeks 1&2 I started to get low grade fevers, especially right after waking up after a night of sleep or a short nap. So to keep those down I started taking Advil & Tylenol, in addition to the every 8 hour routine. Oh, I forgot to mention the daily aspirin too post surgery because that was supposed to help prevent blood clots too.
Throughout all this I was gifted an opportunity. After years of being away from Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, I decided to reach out to assist the Level 3 Practitioner training. Life got in the way and kept me away from the work that I love and I wasn't going to let this keep me down too.
My work as a PRYT yoga therapist was one of the only things I
could continue to do in this state. I was still continuing to see clients with my physical limitations because for me this work was not exhausting but inspiring. It was the one place where I always felt whole. As a practitioner I gave myself space to be just as I was, the kind of space that's offered to my clients as soon as they step foot in the door.
The week before I left for Bristol, VT my transition began:
Monday the PICC line was removed. Left with a small hole in my bicep covered with gauze and a bandaid. NO more antibiotics!!!
Tuesday I has my FIRST rehab appointment post surgery (since December 2016). I even placed both feet on the floor and walked a few steps!
Moments after I get a call that my lab results from Monday (after the PICC line was removed) were not the best and could I come back in Thursday for another blood sample and run of tests.
Wednesday my surgeon gave me the go ahead to start walking in shoes with a lift in my heel.
Thursday I went in to get my labs taken again. This nurse was mortified at the bruise the nurse from Monday left on my arm. Good to know someone cares, right? I was pretty mortified by it too, but was getting used to being a pin cushion at the drive through blood drawing. Honestly I didn't care too much, I was feeling SO much better after being off those antibiotics.
Friday I get a call after getting out of my volunteer yoga class at Long Creek Youth Development Center from the Infectious Disease office (pretty glamorous, right?) by a super concerned nurse. Apparently my liver enzymes had spiked to a dangerous level. "Do you have jaundice? Your skin, your eyes?"
I was confused...I mean I'm Asian, but I wasn't any more yellow than usual.
FAST FORWARD TO NOW....
needless to say I am passed the time of needing weekly appointments. I am passed the medical world scaring me into thinking I am far worse off than I actually am. I am passed being seen as lab results rather than a person someone is looking at...