I’m still in the hospital but hoping to be sprung loose on Wednesday or Thursday. Rich is a total rock star taking care of the babies. He said Beckett only peed on the wall next to the changing table 2 times and keeps assuring me the house is CLEAN. It looks like I will not need surgery which is a huge relief because the surgery has potential to be disfiguring. Not like I’ve been fielding calls from Hugh Hefner to pose for Playboy but I’m still vain enough to not want to be scarred although the way I look lately you wouldn’t guess it. I always thought that my next surgery would be a tummy tuck, not a modified boob job only on one side.
They are loading me up with antibiotics and I will probably go home with a PICC line so I can get IV antibiotics on an outpatient basis.
A PICC line is a peripherally inserted central catheter. It is long, slender, small, flexible tube that is inserted into a peripheral vein, typically in the upper arm, and advanced until the catheter tip terminates in a large vein in the chest near the heart to obtain intravenous access.
When the PICC line was mentioned I told them that I didn’t want to come back to the hospital every day for the antibiotics and I could administer them myself at home. I liked that idea but no one else did. It turns out probably a home health nurse would come over once a day to administer them.
I had absolutely no idea that something like an abscess could even happen from breast feeding. It usually stems from a fairly common tissue infection called mastitis that does not fully heal. That is what happened to me. I had two bouts of mastitis and was on antibiotics but they think that I wasn’t able to totally knock out the infection because of my weakened immune system so a larger infection developed.
As I said before, I knew that something was not totally healed for a few weeks but I thought that I was just being a baby and it would be fine if I continued with heat, vitamins and pumping. But on Friday and Saturday I had a fever, developed a rash on the back of my neck and arms, achy and was getting dizzy. Of course I thought I was dehydrated and the rash was from the fever and I was achy from sitting around feeding babies all day and night. I guess I’m not a very good nurse when it comes to my own health because I was terribly mistaken.
It turned out that not only did I have an abscess but the infection became systemic and I was in the early stages of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Don’t look it up, it will scare the pants off of you. The bacteria in the abscess produced toxins that got into my bloodstream which is what made it very dangerous and why they are keeping me so long in the hospital and being so aggressive with treatment once I go home.
The worst part of all of this is so heart breaking I can barely think about it but they gave me medication to stop all milk production. The milk is a perfect medium for bacteria and although really one side is producing milk the other side still makes enough to feed the infection. I tried all my persuasive powers to convince the surgeon to let me continue to pump from the one side and he said it was non-negotiable and at this point, a life-threatening issue.
So at 11:00 this morning my babies got their first bottles of formula. Words can’t even express how devastated I am. I never envisioned something like this could happen. The ironic part of all of this is that the same day they gave me medication to dry up my milk is the exact same day the supply of surplus frozen milk ran out. How about that?
But I have to believe that something good is coming out of all of this. I just gained about 4 hours a day to provide for the babies (or “wee ones” as Bambi calls them) in other ways. By the way, trying to dry up milk “cold turkey” as they are calling it is about as much fun as sitting in a kiddie pool with a dozen blue ringed octopuses- pound for pound one of the deadliest things around- I’ve been watching a lot of Animal Planet while in the hospital.