In The Hospital

by Cliff Ravenscraft on January 5, 2009

in The Old Pursing A Balanced Life Podcast

For those who follow me either on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I'm currently stuck sitting in a hospital bed at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Crestview Hills, Ky. Why? while the reason why may go back farther, let's start with Tuesday night.

It was Tuesday, January 30th. That evening, one minute after midnight, I was schedule to do a 24 podcast marathon where I would record a total of 34 podcasts back to back to celebrate our three years in podcasting as well as to celebrate the end of a successful first year in doing podcasting as a career.

To prepare for this 24 hour marathon, I had decided that I was going to sleep from 4pm to 11pm that day. Well, those plans changed around 9pm. Out of nowhere, I woke with very sharp abdominal pain. The pain was so severe that it not only made me nauseous, it literally brought me to tears. I had feared that the podcast marathon may have to be canceled.

After about thirty minutes of moaning and groaning, I finally found that if I laid on the couch a certain way, the pain was somewhat bearable and I fell back to sleep. After about an hour on the couch, I found that the pain and nausea had subsided. I continued to lay on the couch for just a bit longer until it was officially time to launch the 24 hour marathon.

During the initial launch of the marathon, I had explained how the even almost got canceled at the last moment but all was well at the time. I recall agreeing with someone in the chat room that it was likely brought on by stress. The podcast marathon was a HUGE success. Thousands of people joined us live over the course of the twenty four hour period and like I mentioned earlier, we recorded a total of 34 individual podcast episodes. As a result of the buzz going on twitter about the event, we even brought in a few hundred potential new listeners to our shows.

One minute after the ball dropped in Time Square, the podcast marathon was complete! I recall being in bed and sound to sleep by 12:30am. I slept in very late on Thursday morning and just took it kind of easy that day. On Friday, January 2nd, I woke up around my normal time, headed down to the studio get get some work done. I found it very had to concentrate on anything. Of course I thought I might still be recovering from my lack of sleep.

I tried to stay focused as possible. However, around 2pm, it was obvious that I needed to lay down for a quick nap. That nap turned into a three hour nap, which felt really great by the way. After waking up, I hung out with the family for a few minute before going back down to return to work on my projects. I was able to get the majority of the work that I needed to do for my consulting clients done before I simply felt like I could do no more.

Around 8 or 10pm, still on Friday, I went upstairs and asked if Stephanie would take my temperature. By this time, I just simply feeling “ill.” At that time I had a temp of 101 F. I decided that I would just lay on the couch next to Stephanie for a little bit. Before long, I started to experience the chills. When Stephanie went to bed, I really didn't have the energy to walk to be, so Stephanie brought me my pillow as I had figured I'd just sleep on the couch.

Falling back to sleep was not an issue and I was out like a light in no time. That is until 2am! At 2am, I was woken up with that same type of pain that had hit me on Tuesday evening. Only this time, when I tried to toss and turn my body into a position where the pain would subside, I simply was not able to gain any relief.

The best way for me to describe the pain is to tell you that is felt as though someone had stabbed me with a jagged shard of glass in the center of my abdomen and was twisting it around inside my chest. This was pain so severe, that I had not remembered having pain like this since nine years earlier when I had passed two kidney stones. That pain was so severe that I'd simply rather not even think about it long enough to even consider writing a blog entry about it.

I stood up, walked around the house, freezing of course due to my fever, hoping to walk off the pain. I tried to use the restroom, thinking maybe I had severe gas pains. Before long, the pain rose to such an intensity that it made me extremely nauseous. From 2am till daylight, I simply sat up straight in a chair in our living room, covered with a blanket, freezing with chills from a fever and experiencing excruciating pain.

When daylight came, my children started to wake up. I believe my son, Matthew, was the first to come out. I tried to hold a conversation with him, but just talking made me feel even more nauseous. When Stephanie woke up, I think I headed back to our bed and laid in there in pain with a fever for a few hours.

Around 10am, I had gone to the restroom and noticed that the color of my urine was extremely dark with a red tint to it. Although the pain was in a different place, this sure did remind me a lot of when I had passed my kidney stones nine years ago.

While laying there in bed, all I could think about was my trip to Vegas to cover CES for Panasonic. I figured I needed to get immediate confirmation of what was going on with my body with all hopes that I'd still be able to make my flight on Wednesday morning.

I had first thought we would save some money by going to Urgent Care. We sat in the waiting room for a while before I went up to ask them if it was okay if I were to eat a “protein bar.” I had not eaten since Thursday at 8pm. In fact, as I type this, it's now 6:22am on Monday morning and the only think I've had to eat was three small cups of Italian ice on Sunday.

The front desk staff at Urgent Care asked if were were the ones there for possible kidney stones. After confirming that was us, she notified us that the doctor would probably just refer us right up to the ER as they didn't have the diagnostic equipment to check for kidney stones. We went ahead and removed our name off the waiting list there and Stephanie drove us to the Emergency Room of St. Elizabeth Hospital.

By this time, my pain was finally starting to subside. Of course, without having the pain, my symptoms that I gave to the ER nurses sounded a lot like a simple hangover. I assured them that I had not been drinking and that the pain that I had experience up till that afternoon was as though something was really wrong inside by body and that it would take a lot for me to come to the ER knowing that I would be stuck with needles upon arrival.

By this point, I had already been posting regular updates to Twitter and Facebook. Hundreds of people were praying for me and I can tell you right now, the power of prayer is amazing!

Let me explain… I have a terrible fear of needles. It goes back to when I was a teen who was always being sent for tests for diabetes. It's those eight hour glucose tests where you drink a sugary syrup and they draw your blood every hour, on the hour, for eight hours. It never failed. Every time they went to draw blood, it took about three or four pokes of the needle with a ton of digging around inside my arm looking for vains. I became traumatized by this event. Of course I'd had about three of these tests at age 17, 18, and 19 and the same thing happened each and every time. Since then, the sight of a needle, even on television makes me sick to my stomach.

So what does this do with the fact that I know prayer works? As I mentioned, I'd been posting regular updates about my status and literally hundreds of people responded, saying that I was in their prayers. Since then, the person who drew blood in the ER got me on the first stick of the needle, the nurse who put my IV in got it in on the first stick of the needle and even this morning (Monday) at 5:45am, another tech came in and drew my blood and got me on the first stick of the needle. To me, this is a MAJOR answer to prayer! Not only that, but I was the most relaxed while being sticked than I had ever been before. THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO HAVE PRAYING FOR ME IN THIS AREA!

So back to the ER on Saturday afternoon. After having my blood drawn and giving a urine sample, I was sent to have an ultrasound so they could look at my liver and gallbladder. The doctor in the ER said that what I was dealing with sounded more like gallbladder symptoms than kidney stones.

The ultrasound confirmed that I indeed had some stuff going on inside my gallbladder. I was relieved to learn that I may be able to have a simple gallbladder surgery and that I would not be passing kidney stones any time soon. The only thing that the blood work came back and showed that I had bilirubin in my blood. Upon further examination, the doctor in the ER checked and saw that my eyes were quite yellow. I was told this is a symptom of a possible bile duct obstruction and was clearly the cause for an infection and the fever that I had experienced.

At this point, I was admitted to the hospital and the nurse from the ER came to put my IV in. Again, I thank God for the fact that IV went in on the first try. I was wheeled to a private room where I've been ever since. Sunday morning I had a HIDA Scan performed. However, when I later met with the surgeon, she had not yet seen those results and already told me that she wanted me to have an MRCP test done to see if we can find a blockage. Seeing as how this test could not be performed on a Sunday, I'm now here on Monday waiting for this test to be completed.

As to what will heppen next, I can only guess based upon what limited amount of information I've been given so far. My guess is that if they are able to find a blockage with this test today, depending on where it is, they would like to see if I can have an endoscopy to see if they can clear the blockage that way. If so, they would be able to remove my gallbladder with a laparoscopy surgery which has a much faster recovery time than having to do an open chest operation to find the blockage and remove the gall bladder.

Anyhow. That's about where I am up to this point. I had been without pain meds since yesterday at this time, but am just now starting to experience some bad stomach pain. This means that I'm going to be given another dose of pain meds, so I will end this post now.

If anyone is interested. I just released episdoe 353 of My Crazy Life in the Plus Member Feed which is an audio journal recording that I recorded throughout this whole time. Note: I was on morphine througout some of that recording!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.


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