Getting into a situation you don’t always like or want is never really your decision in life. It’s never easy and there are ways about going at it that can and will make it better. In this specific situation, I want to talk about getting admitted into the hospital.

I’d like to take a small break from my story and share some updates of my current health and what happened to me last week after seeing a new doctor. My health has been slowly getting worse since August after the medication I was taking, Stelara, stopped working. I decided to see a new adult doctor at Cedars and was able to get a rush appointment because my results from my pill cam were severe. After seeing Dr. Ha on Thursday and having her listen to what has been going on with my stomach flare, severe back pain, and low appetite she wanted to admit me into the hospital then and there. Unfortunately, Cedars had no available beds and a 19-person ER wait time, so she allowed me to go home and reserved a bed for me on Friday. Before I went home she sent me for a CT Scan for my back and took some needed blood tests to speed up the process for tomorrow.

So there I was again with no time to prepare for another hospital stay both physically and mentally. I headed home alone after my appointment to pack and get some rest that I knew I would need before the week ahead.

Hospital stays are never easy. I’m going to tell it to you straight. In all honesty, there is a way to make it a bit more positive. I may always talk about how making things “positive makes me have better experiences” but not all the things I’ve been through such as surgery has had positive outlooks. I want you to read this and look at my mistakes and maybe this can help you prevent a bad situation or just make it easier for you in general.

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A way to change your mind and attitude while staying in the hospital no matter how much you hate or despise being hospitalized are things you can bring to make it more comfortable. This week I was brought in for a five week IV steroid dose so I made sure to pack some of my own clothes to wear while I was in the hospital. No one enjoys wearing a gown so when admitted tell them you have your own personal clothes and ask if it would be possible to wear those. I also bring my own pillow and large warm blanket and that makes a huge difference with my comfort. I bring board games and my laptop to keep my mind off the pain and distract me from thinking negatively and I also was free to go on walks, so I made sure to take advantage of those.

While in the hospital I had to get several IV’s because they kept going bad. I had a total of 3 IV’s in three days. My last night I also had an ostomy nurse come in to help me with my bag because it has been leaking daily. She tried a skin prep called Marathon on my skin and instantly I started to burn. After already putting the new bag on for my second change that day I decided to give it a bit of time to see if it may cool down. That was a huge mistake. It didn’t, and for those of you that do not have a bag I would compare the pain to pouring acid on an open wound. HORRIBLE. Some advice I can give to those ostomates out there reading, if something is burning your skin MAKE SURE to get it off as soon as you can. So, I returned to the room in severe pain having to peel the marathon off me in the shower. This was awful and that was just the start. After letting the nurse know that this was going on I asked for a solution called “Domeboro” that you can pour on your skin to help heal it enough to put your bag back on. I waited a total of 3 ½ hours for this solution to get delivered to me in my room waiting with my bag off. The wait felt like days. After getting the solution on and my bag changed the doctor agreed to opting out on the last steroid shot so I didn’t have to go through the pain of another IV. The pain I hoped was finally over.

I was discharged Tuesday right before Thanksgiving. Sometimes even having a positive attitude and support may not change your whole experience but for me it helped me get through this week. I will be sent home with Prednisone for two weeks and then on to Humira. My inflammation went down significantly the first day of steroids so that was some good news I received. Please think about what I said on your outlook on your health. Having a good attitude and determination will help make you strong enough to overcome anything you put your mind to.  Like I mentioned in my first blog, don’t ever hesitate to ask me any questions or reach out! Hope your Thanksgiving went well last week. I sure am looking forward to mine!

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-Kristen Furey

Patient Champion

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