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Steroids, other drugs and life...part 3

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
On Saturday, the day before I was allowed (and agreed to) to go home I was pretty wiped out. I wanted so badly to get some sleep, but I just couldn't relax enough to doze off. At home, Rod and Nick were firing up the infamous burn pile. Every year we have a burn pile that includes dead trees and bushes, leftover wood from projects and a variety of other flammable objects. There are several friends that have heard of our burn pile and Rod joyfully agrees to let them add their dead trees, etc. to the pile. This year the burn pile was a record 25 ft X 20 ft X 15 ft! We have to get a burn permit ahead of time from the Douglas County Fire Marshall. Last year, someone called the fire department, not knowing what was going on. But evidently this year's fire went of without a hitch.

So, Rod and Nick took turns watching the burn pile and visiting me. After my previous behaviors, I'm pretty sure the short straw was drawn by whoever was sitting by my bed! Rod came earlier in the day and then Nick showed up in the afternoon. Nick came to visit while I was trying to sneak in a nap. He brought along a book so it worked out very well....except that I couldn't fall asleep. But, other than being a bit too wired, I was doing pretty well! One of Chris' friends, who happens to be a hair stylist, stopped by in the morning to cut my long hair short. Due to the lack of eating any protein for so long, my hair had thinned considerably and quite a bit had fallen out. So, her little "hospital call" was a welcomed and comforting experience.

Nick left late afternoon so that he could get back to the burn pile. Rod called to see how I was doing. I was doing fine, I was just tired, and I told him to stay home and take care of the burn pile. Also, maybe he could get some rest since I had kept him up so much the night before.

After dinner, the storm started. I was starting to feel a bit of the paranoia. I tried to talk myself out of it, telling myself that I was a smart woman and that I understood what was going on. But it just continued to grow. The hospital floor was extremely busy with some very needy patients. Thank Heaven I had improved to the point that I wasn't one of those "needy" ones. But, because I wasn't one of the "needy" ones, I didn't see the nurses as frequently. When you are building up a big steam of paranoia, the last thing you want to see, is no one around. I tried to call Rod. But, by now it was late in the evening and he had fallen asleep. Now. when Rod falls asleep, he really falls asleep. If he falls asleep on the couch, you can't move the guy. Obviously, he had fallen asleep on the couch. He didn't answer the house phone, he didn't answer his cell phone and he didn't answer his pager. There was enough of my "sane" self left to realize that he didn't answer because he was asleep. He should have been asleep! I kept him awake the night before and he had to manage a 25 ft X 20 ft X 15 ft burn pile all day. So, I decided to call Nick. He's young, he had just finished being "on-call" at the Med Center, he should be easy to get hold of. Well, my poor son answered his phone. I told him, actually no, I SCREAMED into my phone at the TOP OF MY LUNGS that I had been left completely alone. That there were no nurses around, no one had checked on me in hours. I screamed at him that I hadn't seen anyone since his dad left, "hours ago!" Nick was furious! He couldn't believe that I had been abandoned! He told me to sit tight and he would be right over! He was on his way to dinner with his friend Joe and they would take a quick detour and come and see what was going on. When Nick showed up in my room, he was much calmer than he was on the phone. He stopped and visited with my nurse and soon realized that I had not been "abandoned" I had actually been "steroidized." He came in and told me all about the nurses and nurses aids who were working the floor and how I was all hooked up to the heart monitor and that if I was having trouble that someone would know. He also reminded me that I was having a reaction to the huge amount of steroids that I have been on and that even though I was getting less, I was still on quite a bit. I told him that I understood and maybe he could just stay until I fell asleep. My poor son took one look at my wired eyes and knew it would be a long time until I fell asleep. I told him I was trying to find shows on tv that were familiar to me to keep me calm, but those shows only lasted an hour and then I'd start getting scared again because I was alone and things seemed so different. I was now afraid of getting out of my bed and/or something or someone else getting close enough to me to hurt me. Nick now realized that I was not just feeling the paranoia side effect of the steroids, but seemed to also be experiencing some of the hallucination side effects. He offered to go home to his condo (which is just blocks from the Med Center) and get a bunch of dvd's of movies that I have watched and that we could set things up with my laptop and two of the bedside roller trays. I asked if maybe Joe could go get the movies (Joe, was out in the waiting room, I'm sure hoping Nick would forgot he was there so he could potentially sneak away!) so Nick could stay with me. My poor son agreed. I asked him not to let Joe into the room though (like he would want to see this!) because I didn't want him to see me "like this." Joe was back quickly with a variety of movies from "Finding Nemo" to "The Mummy." With the help of my nurse, Nick set up these two bedside trays so that I was basically "stuck" in my bed. I almost felt like I had been put in some kind of overgrown playpen or crib. But, it was what I needed because it made me feel safe. Nick talked to me like the best son/doctor in the world. I was so incredibly proud of him. He reminded me of what I had been through and what the steroids were doing for and to me. He also reminded me of all of the potential side effects of being on such high doses of steroids. He also warned me that I may be part of the small percentage that has hallucinations, but to just keep remembering that I was not going crazy and that as scary and uncomfortable as it might be, it wouldn't last forever. (Little did I realize that he was well aware of the fact that I already was having some hallucinations regarding the nurses and my perception of what they had and had not done. Well, I "let" Nick and Joe leave, got settled in and decided to start out by watching "The Mummy." I love that show and have watched it at least 10 times. At this point things are now going well. I'm safe in my "crib," watching my movie and feeling like a "smart woman who knew that I was having side effects from the steroids." All of a sudden, I heard someone say, "Annette Markin." I looked around the room and saw no one. I thought maybe I was falling asleep and had just imagined it, until it happened again. This time not only did I hear someone say, "Annette Markin" but now "mummy hands" were reaching up behind the hospital bed going for my throat! I kept telling myself that it was just the steroids, but it was happening over and over again! About the third time the mummy hands came for me and I heard my name being spoken by no one, I decided that I needed to switch movies! I thank our dear Lord that He kept at least a little part of my "sane self" available so that I would not go completely wacko. I was going to switch to "Nemo" but I didn't want someone coming in, look at me in my "crib" and see me watching "Nemo!" I was so paranoid of what someone would think of me! So, I switched movies several times, going back and forth and back and forth. I was so proud of myself that I decided I needed to call Nick. I wanted to thank him for his help and wanted to let him know that I was doing better. It is now about 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. I woke him up. I was all ready to tell him thanks and such, but as soon as I heard his voice, I heard someone else say, "Annette Markin!" That did it. My calm, cool (talk about delusional!) and collected self hit the paranoia button again. I asked, no, I BEGGED Nick to come over. He told me, in the calmest voice in the world, that he couldn't come over, that he needed his sleep and that I needed my sleep. He told me to switch movies again and that I would be just fine. So, I did and told him I was better and that he could go back to sleep. I started watching "Love Actually" when I started seeing people walking around my room. I saw my father (who passed away just a few months after my youngest son, Chris, was born in 1983. I saw some "strangers" and I started "feeling" that people were standing behind me. I called Nick again. My poor, patient son answered the phone and I started in telling him that I needed him to come over, that I was sorry I was bothering him again, yada, yada, yada. Well, my young son, the doctor knew what to do. He lost his "patience voice" and said, "Damn it Mom!! Am I going to need to come over there?!?" All of a sudden, I knew I was just fine. I had flashbacks to telling Nick and Chris the famous mom phrases like, "Am I going to need to come in there?" "Don't make me pull this car over!" and my favorite, "Do you want me to take you out to the car?" Nick's response threw me right back into reality and once again I knew I was going to be just fine. I told him that I was fine, go back to sleep and I was going to do the same. I switched "Love Actually" to "Finding Nemo" and went to sleep.

Now, sleeping is a good thing. In fact, sleeping is a GREAT thing, unless you have a very, very bad nightmare. There is your "cliffhanger" for part 4.

I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to read this blog. I hope and pray to God that if anyone has to be subjected to a "steroid storm" that my experience will help. Also, if any of you do find yourself in that situation, I'd be happy to give you Nick's phone number. :0 he-he-he-he

Much. much love,

15 comments to Steroids, other drugs and life...part 3:

Colleen said...

Ooo la la, Nick's phone number?? LOL I find it cute that he owns a Finding Nemo DVD! Ahem, anyway! I cannot believe the feelings you experienced with the steroid storms you had! I was getting panicky just reading about them. I never knew that you could feel like that with steroids. I am so glad you aren't feeling that anymore! I'm afraid to read what your nightmare was about!

But I'm glad you are writing about your experience. As bad as it was, and not fun at all, I appreciate the info. It makes me better understand what you went through, and even happier that you are soooo much better!! :)

Jacqniel said...

Oh Annette - how awful! I am glad you are past those storms and things are looking up. Keep it up, dear!

The Admiral said...

My Darling Phriend,

I am so pleased to hear about the wonderful adventure you had on the SS Steroid, the fun ship, with 24 hour shows catering to your every fantasy. Sounds like you hit every port of call with a full head of steam.

You know, paranoia doesn't mean that there aren't mummies out there.

(And I never heard anyone calling my name but God. Are you sure that's not who it was?)

Boomer Sooner.

dab said...

Enjoy your day with all your "boys"! Dee Ann

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