My daughter asked me to go along with her to "The Big Event" for a business she recently joined. I knew several of the people in the business, as I had gone to a few of the early meetings. I'd had my last chemo treatment a few days before "The Big Event" and my nausea was still quite active, but I couldn't find my Zofran, the day we were to leave. Those first several days after chemo, sometimes a whole week, I'd typically have severe constipation, which later would transition to diarrhea for a couple of days.
I didn't pack Lomotil or any other anti-diarrheal for that eventuality, because I'd ended up in the hospital with blockages, nearly every time I'd used them.
I went to part of one Big Event meeting and told my daughter I'd be back in the room. I felt really nauseated. I was also dizzy, and terribly fatigued. I'd been on an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection, which I seemed to be having chronically since they'd inserted a stent to drain a kidney with hydronephrosis.
When my daughter was finished with her meetings, I walked around the Vegas "strip" with her, seeing a few of the sights, which really don't interest me, but tourists always seem to want to see-- the music, light, and water show outside the Bellagio, and various architectural and artistic ripoffs from famous place in Europe... the fake "David" sculpture, and at our own hotel, the imitation Eiffel Tower...
I felt very tired and dizzy quite early. We stopped for a drink. I ordered Perrier with cranberry juice and a twist of lime. It was horrible. So was my daughter's blue martini. We left them on the table and went back to the room.
I don't recall much more of the weekend, except that I forced myself out of bed for the BIG big event, which was supposed to have a famous singer, some dancing, and a dinner. I couldn't pull myself together to get to the dinner on time. I was still nauseated and constipated and dizzy. I got there after all the food was gone, except dessert. Knowing I have a severe food allergy to dairy, I nevertheless decided to take a couple bites of a creamy chocolate mousse, because, after all, if you're consipated, what's the harm in taking a bite of something that usually causes diarrhea... right?
I left the event early, dizzier than ever, and went up to bed. On the day we were to leave, I was unable to get out of bed to get dressed, repack the suitcase, and go. My daughter had meetings in the morning. She came up to find me quite out of it, and I asked her to ask for a later checkout. The hotel gave us until two. She came up just before two and I was still almost comatose. We had no idea how sick I was. My daughter got the hotel to give us until three to check out without penalty or paying an extra night. I got dressed. My daughter packed my bag, and I followed her out the door. She disappeared down the elevator before I'd quite made it down the hall to the bank of sofas near the elevator. A man stopped me in the hall.
You do not look like you're up to this," he said. "Do you need help?"
"Please, just get me to that couch", I replied.
"Where are you going?"
"Home. Los Angeles."
"You'll never make it there. Let me call for some help for you."
Presently, a paramedic arrived as I was nearly passed out on the sofa. He asked if I wanted to go to the ER. I said no.
My daughter arrived back upstairs, having checked out, and the man from the hallway said, "Is this your mother?"
"She is too sick to travel. You need to get her to a hospital, or at least let her sleep here one more night. Maybe she'll feel better."
She argued that we could not afford another night. He went with her to the hotel desk and negotiated for a discount rate for the night. I went back to bed.
I don't know when it happened, but at some point in the night I noticed there was poop sprayed all over the corner of our Paris hotel wall (flocked, velveteen wallpaper) and on the carpeting. My daughter woke up and said my ostomy bag was in that corner, too.
Apparently, explosive diarrhea had blown the bag off while I walked to the bathroom, earlier that night.
I think I recall taking a few hot showers and baths in that hotel room. I always made sure I was clean and had a fresh bag before bathing.
I also recall diarrhea had sprayed all over the floor a few times, and I'd wiped it up with towels. But I was barely conscious.
In any case, the next day I still felt horrible, but, dressed and somehow with a clean, empty bag applied to my abdomen, I was ready to go. My daughter called the hotel desk to tell them they'd need to clean up some extra messes in the bathroom and on the wall...
The man who came to clean did NOT look happy, she said.
We drove home, which took several hours. Actually, my daughter did all the driving. I slept. That was a Sunday. Monday, I had a doctor appointment I canceled. I felt too sick.
Tuesday I had a friend drive me to my doctor appointment, and when I walked into the building I passed out, A number of people picked me up, asked questions I was too disoriented to answer, and after asking my doctor's name and suite number (it was suite 420, the number synonymous with marijuana in California), I think they all decided I was a drug freak looking for drugs, and instead of helping me to the doctor's office, they sent me back to my friend's car.
I don't know if it was later that night or the same day, but my oldest daughter, at home, asked me, "So do you want to die or go to the ER." I hadn't realized I might be dying. I guess I went. I woke, hours later, in what I was told was the "Telemetry Ward". I was on a heart monitor, for some reason.
Later in the week, I was moved to a medical/surgical ward. A urologist was brought in who removed my stent, which apparently had been the cause of sepsis, a complete body toxicity that could have killed me.
Also, when admitted, I'd had hypotension and hyponatremia, which also could have killed me. My fevers regularly spiked to between 101 and over 103 degrees.
I was in the hospital until the following Sunday, and was finally released with a prescription for Ampicillin, which I continued to take for a week. I had a couple more high fevers, but was eventually all right, though I've been quite dizzy and sleepy since then.
I expect to be back to normal, soon. My latest PET/CT, right before the Vegas trip, showed no more cancer. It would have been ironic to get that news and then die of a deadly infection.
I assume the Paris didn't charge my daughter an extra fee for the poop cleanup. I imagine some guests get drunk and vomit all over. It IS Vegas, after all.