Macro Mondays: Fasteners

Monday, February 19th, 2018

This week’s theme for the Flickr Macro Monday group is “Fastener.” From this week’s instructions (from Steve Crawford):

Look up “fastener” and you will find some definitions emphasize nuts, bolts and screws while others emphasize buttons, hooks and clasps.

For this week’s challenge we describe a fastener as “a device that attaches something firmly to something else.” There is a lot of opportunity here. Nuts, bolts, screws, fridge magnets, paperclips, staples, buttons, hooks, clasps, pins, snaps, dowels, buckles, zippers, cotters, nails, clamps, rivets, etc. The key elements for the challenge are that your photo should show device(s) rather than other attachment methods such as glue, welding or tape and that the primary purpose of the device is to hold things together.

Recheck the group rules to be sure your photo meets them, tag your photo #MacroMondays and #Fasteners, and have fun.

Love Fastens Us Together

I used to use Facebook almost daily, checking into our favorite restaurants, sharing photos of the kids, communicating with friends and family… it used to a good tool for me to stay connected. Once Curtis and I got back from Italy, I really only used it to share some posts from my blog, and this year, I’m hardly on there at all. I found myself spending too much time caring about what other people thought… if and how they reacted… and then a tragedy would unfold and the drama around which side of the debate you landed mattered more than those who lost their lives. I became disillusioned. So I stopped caring about Facebook and focused on the relationships of the friends and family that are a part of my everyday life.

That being said, when I found myself in the emergency room of Resolute Hospital Thursday night, I wavered. Do I post something? That I’m sick and could use prayers? I felt weird about it. To be frank, I was actually too sick to type or use my phone, so I would’ve had to ask my mom to post something. “Hey mom, would you check us in here at Resolute on Facebook and let everyone know that I’m sick?” Nah. Didn’t seem right for me. I don’t judge anyone else who does it, in fact, I’ve done it before with my kids… but I couldn’t pull the trigger for myself.

So here’s the dealio… I was admitted Thursday to the hospital for a primary diagnosis of acute pyelonephritis and a secondary diagnosis of sepsis. I was a very sick girl. I had been flirting with UTI symptoms the week before, chugged a ton of water, and had three days of feeling great. As soon as Curtis flew off to India, I woke up Tuesday morning with a definite UTI. I took some Azo, again flooded myself with water, and crossed my fingers… this works for me the majority of the time. Wednesday I woke up with less UTI symptoms but I had some back pain. I figured it was because Curtis was gone and I slept hugging a pillow instead of my cuddly hubby, so my back was barking at me. Thursday I woke up with more severe back pain and a low-grade fever. I still had the pressure and achy symptoms of the UTI, so I booked an appointment with my primary doctor for that afternoon.

By the time I got to my doctor’s office, I was fevering pretty good, even with Tylenol on board. She took a urine sample and said that I most definitely had an infection… most likely a UTI that had migrated to my kidneys. Because it was such a fast onset, she gave me a rocephin antibiotic injection in my hip, told me to come back Friday for another injection, then I would start on oral antibiotics on Saturday. She said if I wasn’t improved on Friday, that most likely she would want to admit me to the hospital for 24-28 hours to get IV antibiotics. She also said that if I got any worse, I had head to the ER right way.

My drive home was foggy. I could feel my body getting sicker. Honestly, I shouldn’t have been driving and really no one actually knew I was really sick at this point. I had been blowing it off and didn’t make a big deal out of it. Using my Bluetooth headset, I made some calls on my way home to alert family that I might have to go the hospital in the next few days. I hated to tell Curtis, I knew he would worry. I reassured him that I was probably going to be fine. He had a really important meeting the following Monday that I didn’t want him to miss. He rarely stays out of town over weekends, but getting home from India would take two days, so he wasn’t sure what to do.

Once I got home, I went straight to bed and fell asleep. I was shivering and nauseated. My mom took over childcare (the kids were out of school that Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday for a mid-winter break) and she kept a close eye on me. Despite the injection and staying on top of Tylenol, my fever continued to climb. Around 7, it was 104.3 and I knew something was wrong. I told her that I needed to go to the ER, I knew it in my gut. We didn’t want to take the kids with us to the ER because: 1) It would freak out Anna, she gets so scared and OCD about anything related to health, and 2) the flu was virulent and we didn’t want to expose the kids. She began to call close friends and some neighbors, and our wonderful neighbors down the street sent their son over to hang out with the kids while mom took me to the ER.

I was pretty out of it, but the staff at Resolute were wonderful. They triaged me quickly (my pulse was 150 and I was 101-degrees) and got me into a room. They got a urine sample, started an IV, took some blood, and then sent me for a CT scan to see what was going on. They came back and said that I definitely had pyelonephritis, a kidney infection. They wanted to admit me until I was fever-free for 24 hours. It was getting very late and mom kept checking in with the kids. Anna wouldn’t go to bed and had a huge meltdown because we weren’t there. She had thrown her phone and broken it. Mom never ate dinner but she didn’t want to leave me until I was in a room. I think she finally got out of the ER around midnight, poor thing. Dominic was able to get Anna calmed down and got her to sleep, well done son. Mom was texting nonstop with Curtis. He decided to get home as soon as he could, that made me feel better knowing that he would be here sometime late Saturday.

Because of my pain management protocol for my EDS, I cannot take any narcotics, so I was stuck with Tylenol and Advil to help with the pain. It didn’t do much. When I’m in a lot of pain, I literally cannot open my eyes. I think I could recognize my ER doctor and that’s it from that first night… I was curled up on my side shivering with my eyes closed the whole time I was there. The med/surg team came down and started another IV in my other arm. The ER nurse put one in the crook of my left elbow, the admitting nurse put one in my right hand. After mom left, it wasn’t long before I was wheeled upstairs. I had been to Resolute’s ER twice before but I had not ever been admitted, so my intake nurse had to input a lot of history. I keep an up-to-date medical history on my phone, so I handed it off to him and mumbled answers to his questions as I dozed. I have to give kudos to Jessie, my night nurse that night. He was so kind. He asked if he could sit on the sofa because he doesn’t like standing over his patients. He lowered his portable workstation so that we were eye-to-eye (albeit closed on my part). Very sweet man.

It was a little weird to be in the hospital and not have anyone with me. I felt bad for my mom, I knew she was exhausted and Anna was going to be extremely difficult for the next few days. I felt bad for my husband, being so far away and feeling helpless. I felt bad for the kids, worrying about their momma. And I felt bad for me, I was a little scared when I heard one of the ER nurses say “sepsis protocol” to the admitting nurse. I was so foggy. I slept.

Friday morning, Big Rick and Dominic come to visit. I slept through their entire visit. Poor guys. I just could not stay conscious. Mom and Anna came a little after lunchtime. She said that Curt, my father-in-law, was on his way from Oklahoma and should be here around 5. My friend, Terzah, had offered to come help with whatever we needed and she would be visiting that afternoon. My phone had a dozen messages checking on me, but I couldn’t type. On one of my trips to the bathroom Friday, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I was so swollen. My eyelids, face, fingers, and toes were huge. It looked like I had a goiter around my neck. I wish now that I had mom take a photo, it was the strangest thing. Now I know that was the sepsis, with systemic inflammation. I also couldn’t breathe through my nose, I was so congested.

Big Rick and Dominic left after mom and Anna came around lunchtime. After Terzah arrived (with flowers and a card, awww), I passed out again and started shivering. I don’t remember the nurse taking vitals, but my fever was back up to 102.5. Terzah took Anna over to the phone repair store to pick up her phone, that was so sweet. Mom told me later that Anna freaked out and wanted to call 911. They texted back and forth, mom offered to go over to pick her up, but Terzah handled it. She’s awesome. Curt showed up at some point, and I think he took the kids home. I couldn’t open my eyes for the remainder of the evening and barely remember much of the entire day.  I slept and slept and slept. At one point in the evening I woke up, completely drenched, totally disoriented. Mom was still there. I didn’t know where I was at first. It was icky. But my fever had broken, so that was progress. Mom helped me change and she changed all my bedding too, then she went home. Anna’s bedding was in the washer and she didn’t have a place to sleep, so mom went home to have Anna sleep with her. I slept fitfully. I remember the nurses coming in several times Friday night and I felt hot again, I think I ran a low-grade fever but nothing over 100.

Saturday morning Curt came to visit. We chatted for a while, I tried to eat some toast, then I fell asleep. I asked for some nausea medicine (now I know that pyelonephritis causes nausea, lack of appetite, fever, and chills in addition to the back pain and UTI symptoms) and was able to eat a grilled cheese for lunch. Mom and the kids came, then Curt took the kids out to eat mid-afternoon. My fever didn’t return. The doctor finally came in (the only staff member that I didn’t really care for) and said that I might get to go home on Sunday. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t because I was having a lot of physical pain. My neck and back were stiff from sleeping on an uncomfortable hospital bed but worse was the constant headache that Advil could only knock out for a few hours at a time.

Curt dropped Anna back off after lunch and she fell asleep on our little visitor couch. She was so sweet. Because of her disabilities, she is extremely frightened of medical things. Seeing an ambulance often makes her cry and she obsesses on calling 911 because she’s having a heart attack or seizure. It takes a lot of courage for her to deal with her own medical issues and even we can’t tell when she’s actually sick because she complains all the time. She was very loving and helpful when she visited me in the hospital; and I was so proud of her for walking through the halls to see me. The day before, she sat beside me on my bed and held my hand, it was precious. All that coping took a toll and she crashed hard. I reminded mom that the kids’ pills needed to made up for the week and one of Anna’s prescriptions was at the pharmacy. So after Anna woke up, they headed out to grab some dinner and go home.

Curtis landed in Dallas around 6:30 p.m. and I got to talk to him. He still had to go through Customs but wasn’t scheduled to leave for San Antonio until 10:30. We were both hoping he could grab an earlier flight. Terzah showed up a little later. Never in my life have I had a real girlfriend. Someone that actually shows up, that cares enough to show up. She lives in San Antonio, so coming to see me two days in a row is a big haul for her. She is a treasure to me. She is also a PT and knows a lot about medical things, so she’s a wonderful resource too. We visited and chatted and laughed. She massaged my neck. She is also recovering from shoulder surgery so I didn’t want her to overdo it. Curtis called and he made the earlier flight! Woohoo! He would be in my room by 11 instead of 1 a.m., and in he walked right at 11! I actually got tears in my eyes seeing him. I didn’t realize how much tension I was holding in my body being apart from him.

Terzah left shortly after that and Curtis and I were alone. We hugged, touched, and connected, and drank vanilla milkshakes that he picked up on the way. He took a shower to wash the day and a half of airplanes he’d endured to get home. Then we turned out the lights and went to sleep. Unfortunately, my headache returned and I couldn’t get comfortable, so I didn’t sleep much. I had another startled wake up, totally drenched events around 4 a.m. Luckily, the nurse was coming in to do vitals, so she helped me change my gown and bedding. I think that was the final hurrah of my fever. By morning, I could hardly move my neck. Curt came up a little after 8 a.m. and he and Curtis visited. The doctor came in and said the culture was negative, he called in a prescription for oral antibiotics, told me to see my primary doc in a week, and he was releasing me. I was confused, how could the culture be negative? He was not very convincing in his response and pretty much scooted out. Well okay then, we are going home. (My primary doctor did get a positive culture. The culprit was E.coli.)

The nurse said I would be going home in 30 minutes but it actually took almost 2 hours to get out of there. Curt went on ahead and picked up some bagels from Panera to take home, Jenny and Chris had just arrived at the house, and mom was getting the kids up and dressed. We drove through the pharmacy and got my antibiotics and finally I was home. The dogs were so happy to see me, they were dancing all around. I first hugged Anna, then Dominic (who actually got choked up with tears in his eyes murmuring how happy he was that I was home… aww!), then Jenny and Chris. Everyone made a fuss over me, making me sit in the recliner and waiting on me hand and foot. Curt had to head back to Oklahoma, so we said our goodbyes and Curtis and I went to lay down. His sleep deprivation (he can’t sleep on planes) and jet lag were catching up to him. Jenny, Chris, and Dominic went to the grocery store and did a huge run for me and mom. Mom and Anna did all the laundry. What a whirlwind of a few days.

If I had waited even one more day to go to the doctor or if I hadn’t gone to the ER Thursday night, most likely I would have gone into septic shock and could have ended up in ICU or worse. Now knowing what I know, the systemic swelling and extremely elevated heart rate that I had on Friday is called SIRS (systemic inflammation response syndrome) and it is the first sign of sepsis. Because I had a concurrent bacterial infection, I was in fact septic. Thankfully the rocephin injections I received worked and brought my white blood cell count down and by Saturday I was on the road to recovery. I have an 8-day prescription for antibiotics that will kill the rest of the bacteria and I should be good as new soon. Going through this scared me. We are not prepared for an emergency in our family and we have some practical things to add to our to-do list.

So today, I’m feeling extra grateful. Grateful for Curtis, my husband, who immediately booked a ticket home from India, missing a really important meeting today, to be by my side as soon as he could, even though it meant over 25 hours on airplanes with very little sleep. He really is my other half. Being apart is hard enough when things are good… when I am sick, I NEED him. He’s my everything. Grateful for my mom, who took care of me and my children, the house, the pets, the chores… she worked tirelessly and never complained. She fielded endless text messages and phone calls too. She really is a saint. Grateful for Curt, my father-in-law, who drove all day from Oklahoma on Friday to help with the kids. Grateful for Big Rick, a steadfast, loyal, and loving family friend who is always there when I need him. Grateful for Terzah, my first real girlfriend, who came to see me twice in the hospital and even took Anna out for an errand. She is the only one who actually touched me with loving hands while I was in that hospital bed. I think most people are scared to touch sick people. Grateful for everyone who called, texted, and messaged, to check on me. Grateful for family, friends, and neighbors that all stepped up and helped when asked.

This photo represents my fear and all the love that surrounds me… my hospital allergy bracelet tucked into a small floral bouquet that my dear friend Terzah brought… the heart just sticking out of the top of the bouquet. Love truly does fasten us together.

New Braunfels macro photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 1600

I think I will reconnect with my Facebook account and tell all the people I admire why I am friends with them or why I follow them. I will certainly work on sharing my affection more graciously. With last week’s tragic school shooting in Florida bumping up against Valentine’s Day, it was a weird day of violence versus affection, hate versus love. Let us always choose love, and let us even love those that are easy to hate.

Things can change in a heartbeat. Love each other. Thanks for reading and for looking. <3<3<3

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