10 Liters of IV Fluids Later

On Friday December 27th I was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and diarrhea. My body had finally hit rock bottom after fighting some pretty severe side effects I was having from a medicine I was on called Lialda. It was actually the active ingredient in it that was causing all of my problems. Here’s a list of the side effects that I was having from the Mesalamine:

  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Severe Cramping
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chest Pain
  • Fast Heartbeat(Tachycardia)
  • Stuffy/Runny Nose
  • Seizing Muscles

I got started on Lialda the day of my colonoscopy. The day after is when the symptoms started. But when they did start it looked like I was having a flair up. I went to see my doctor on the 18th because of the symptoms I was having and she decided to double my Lialda.

It was the next day when everything really started to go downhill for me. I started to get a stomach ache that wouldn’t go away and I was nauseous a lot. I was having a hard time keeping myself hydrated along with eating. After a week of dealing with all of this(along with trying to work and the holiday) I called my doctors office on the 26th to see if they could get me in. I got told that they were booked until my follow up appointment on the 15th and couldn’t get me in but they could put me on a waiting list. I was pretty frustrated at this point because I had been feeling horrible for about two weeks and I was at my wits end with everything. I said ok to being on the waiting list and asked if my doctors assistant could call me to see if there was anything I could take for the diarrhea I was having. She called back a few hours later and told me that I could take Imodium to help with it. I had taken some that night and it did seem to help.

On the 27th my body finally crashed out on me. I knew I was in a rough spot that day. I had managed to go to work and get a repair done with a coworker. I was feeling pretty shitty and lethargic at this point so when I got home I tried to take a nap before I had to get some paperwork done for work. I ended up getting paged for another one of my sites during my nap and I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to go.

I felt completely drained physically, emotionally and mentally at that point. I called one of my coworkers and had him take the call for me. I’m very thankful he did. If he hadn’t been able too I don’t know what I would of done. After I got off the phone with my coworker I tried to get some food in me and get some paperwork done. I noticed that my neck and shoulders were starting to lock up on me. I could tilt my head up and down but I was really struggling with the side to side movement. I had the same problem the night before so I decided to take a shower to see if it would help.

I was also having some chest pain which I thought was really odd. After I was in the shower for a little bit trying to get my muscles to relax my boyfriend called me to let me know that he was on his way home. I told him that I needed him to take me to Urgent Care. I knew something was going on and I just couldn’t keep going the way I was.

My boyfriend drove me to the Urgent Care in town where my doctor is also at. It didn’t take long for them to get me in thankfully. This was when I found out I had a temperature of 101°F. They got me back in to see the doctor and I let him know what was going on. He decided to order some blood work and chest xrays to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia. When the labs came back it turned out that my white blood cell count was double what it should be.

This was when the doctor got a little worried that I might have meningitis even though my neck stiffness wasn’t presenting that way. They called the hospital and made arrangements for us to drive over there for me to get a spinal tap. I got admitted to the hospital and found out that my heart rate was 130 beasts per minute(BPM). Mind you the normal is between 60-100BPM and I’m normally around 70-80BPM so I knew something serious was going on.

My fever had dropped down to 99°F. They put me in an isolation room and had me wear a mask until they could rule out that I didn’t have meningitis. They then proceeded to find out what was going on and I told them the whole story from when I got my colonoscopy to where I was at now. The nurse got some blood work started and then they started me on IV fluids. I got two liters of it while I was in the ER.

The ER doctor came in and talked to me and he didn’t think I had meningitis. He felt that something else was going on and he didn’t want to do a spinal tap on me and then have it be unnecessary. They started me on some dilaudid for my neck pain. While they were waiting on the labs I ended up getting some abdominal xrays done.

Then while we were waiting for those to be read(by someone in Australia of all places) they had to run some more blood work. A couple of things on my panel came back a little high and at that point they wanted to make sure that nothing was wrong with my heart. In the end nothing was thankfully. After all of my labs came back the ER doctor wasn’t comfortable with sending me home and they wanted to admit me.

While I was waiting for the admitting doctor to come see me they also ran some IV antibiotics. It unfortunately took a few hours for the admitting doctor to come see me. We had gotten to the ER around 6:30pm and I didn’t get to see the admitting doctor until around 2:45am. After talking to him about what was going on he didn’t think I had meningitis and that I was just severely dehydrated due to the diarrhea I had been having for two weeks at this point.

I didn’t make it up to the floor until around 4:00am. The rest of Saturday I didn’t get much sleep. I had to meet my nurse and let her know what was going on and then she gave me some steroids along with some more pain reliever. At 5:30am I got taken back down to xray for some more abdominal xrays and another chest xray. After this I was able to get a little bit of sleep but then it was time for the shift change and breakfast.

I ended up being put on a liquid diet and had to talk to my nurses about the fact that I have a fructose intolerance. This meant that I  could only have tea, coffee and chicken broth which really sucked. I ended up being on a liquid diet for 48 hrs before I could eat some actual food. They also started me on some steroids and they were still giving me the Mesalamine at this point.

I hadn’t seen my GI doctor at this point and I was still waiting for the floor doctor to come in and see me. It wasn’t until the afternoon that the floor doctor was able to come see me. I was hoping to go home that day but they decided to keep me at least another night. I still wasn’t allowed to have food at this point which I was pretty bummed out about. They were still running my IVs at 150ml/hr. It was a good thing they decided to keep me on Saturday because I ended up having 12 bowel movements in four hours. Even with the liquid diet.

There was no stopping it either. When my body has to go it has to GO RIGHT NOW DAMMIT. Which can be very inconvenient at times. I told the floor doctor about it the next morning when I saw him. I also managed to have another four bowel movements that morning within an hours time. But before I did see the doctor they did some more blood work. It turned out that my potassium has gone from 3.6 to 2.4 since I was admitted. This would of been from how much IV fluid I had gotten at this point(about 7L of it) and the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything that has potassium in it. My nurse was not happy when I told her that they didn’t take blood work on Saturday because she said that it’s been low for a while if it had gotten to that point.

We waited for orders from my floor doctor and he decided to change my IV over to fluids with potassium in it and then I was also on the potassium pills. When I finally saw the floor doctor on Sunday I was so damn hungry. I finally convinced him to let me eat some real food. He had asked if I was nauseous or cramping. Which I was but we didn’t know at the time that it was from the Mesalamine and not totally from me being hungry. I was so ecstatic when I was finally allowed to order food.

I also got to see a partner from the GI practice that I go to on Sunday. He was able to answer a lot of questions for me. He figured out(thankfully!) that it was the Mesalamine that I was on that was causing me so much grief. He didn’t want me to be glucose free anymore because he didn’t think that it had anything to do with my fructose intolerance. Which I was pretty happy to hear because I love me some bread. He also wanted me to stay on the steroids for a while for my system to calm down.

He said that they would figure out what medicine I would go on at a later date and that they may eventually try the Mesalamine again. I really hope it’s not any time soon. When I asked how long I would be in the hospital he said until my symptoms were under control. At this point I had no idea when I would be leaving. But I was glad to hear that they wouldn’t be sending me home without getting everything figured out. I definitely didn’t want to be back in the hospital anytime soon. It was the best place for all of this to be figured out. Little did I know that the hospital was just waiting for my urine output to improve. Which it finally did Sunday night.

I was super surprised when the floor doctor came in early Monday and told me I could go home. I just stared at him and was waiting for him to say it was all a joke. I was pretty ecstatic about going home finally. I was so tired and wanted to sleep in my own bed. I was also really missing my fur babies at this point. The hospital wanted me to have a follow up appointment within the next five days after they discharged me. I was pretty worried about this since I was told that they were booked until my next appointment on the 15th of January. I’m not sure if the hospital was able to pull some strings since I had been in the hospital that weekend but luckily they were able to get me in the afternoon I was discharged.

When I saw my normal doctor at the GI practice Monday afternoon she decided to keep me on the steroids for a while. She really wants my stomach to calm  for a couple of weeks before they put me on another medicine. I see her again the 15th and they’ll tell me then what the plan is. Hopefully things go much better this time with the new medicine.

I’ll definitely be paying more attention to the side effects of this new medicine just in case something crazy happens again. On the 15th they’ll slowly start lowering my dose of steroids until I’m completely off of it. In the end I’m glad that I stayed at the hospital as long as I did. I was in pretty bad shape when I got there and they were the best ones to be able to help me get back to where I needed to be.

It took about 10L of IV fluids to get me rehydrated from everything that was going on. I also lost about 8lbs which is quite a bit for me. I’m not a very big person to begin with. Now I’m just trying to rest as much as I can before I return to work on Monday. I haven’t slept well in a few weeks. You definitely don’t sleep well in a hospital and before that I was being kept up at night with my stomach cramping.

I’m just thankful that I decided to get medical help when I did. Who knows what would of happened if I had decided to wait another day or two. My day nurse through all of this was very helpful. She had an awesome personality and was willing to answer any questions I had. She also followed up on labs for me and everything when we were waiting for them. She made my stay a bit easier because of all of this. I’m really grateful that she was there for me for this whole ordeal. I’d also like to thank everyone for their love, support, prayers and thoughts while I was in the hospital. It’s great to know that so many people have my back.

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