Friday, 19 December 2014

Home from Hospital

Smokey bunny on the bed.
Home again…ah! Nothing like the feel of one’s own bed! 

Thank you so much for your support and good wishes through your comments. There were lots of useful suggestions about which crochet project to tackle and I will reveal my choice later in this post.

I was in hospital for three days and two nights and survived to tell the tale.  

Medical tests that are routine for most people are anything but routine for me, I’m afraid.  My body doesn’t cope with any type of stress (either physical or emotional) due to hypoadrenalism (also described as adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s Disease) and other aspects of my autoimmune conditions.  While most people can undergo relatively straightforward medical procedures in a ‘day surgery’ setting, I need to have a planned admission due to underlying medical problems.
Very blurry picture of
an IV catheter
from the previous
hospital admission.

My doctors and I have learned from experience that ‘IV (intravenous) support’ is necessary because hypoadrenalism will mess up my fluid balance and blood concentrations. I get dehydrated very easily; if that happens it can be hard to find a good vein for an IV injection. The plan is to have the IV catheter in place from the very start to save problems later.*  

At admission, the nurse on the ward questioned the plan (“We don’t usually do an IV for these procedures”) but I insisted. One needs to remain very assertive to have one’s needs met, especially if they are out of the ordinary, and emotional fortitude is often required 
in the face of the ‘medical machine’.

Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate. I’m glad that I argued my case and that, thankfully, the nursing staff followed the plan despite their doubts. It was just as well too because I became very ill quite rapidly once treatment was underway. What I expected to happen did happen and I have nothing but praise for the care I received

When I became very unwell, the nurses raised the alarm and within minutes, I was visited by the MET (Medical Emergency Team). It is a team of doctors and nurses who are emergency medicine specialists, available for ward staff to call upon when needed. It was a bit overwhelming to have such a crowd suddenly appear, seemingly out of nowhere.

They were brilliant. I’m a complex case (you may have guessed) and their close monitoring, cleverness and swift action saved me yet again.  I ended up with two IV lines and plenty of bruises from having blood taken and repeated attempts to insert the second IV catheter (Remember the problem with finding veins on dehydrated people? I did warn them!). They weren’t too gentle because time was of the essence and I’m still very sore now, over a week later. Oh, well, a small price to pay I suppose; a souvenir of my adventures!  What a rebel rouser, hey? Having doctor parties in the wee hours!

In some ways, it was reassuring to know that the symptoms truly did have a physical origin and that my perceptions were not exaggerated.  My life is filled with a collection of symptoms which come and go; often I ignore them and just wait for them to pass because if I sought help for every little thing, I would spend my whole life at the doctor’s office – no ‘quality of life’ points to be gained there! 

Despite shaking the place up a bit, it was as comfortable a hospital stay as possible. Everybody was very kind, understanding and accepting of my individual needs and everyone took extra special care of me. 

My crochet remained untouched until the final day of my stay. My selection of small projects was organised into individual snap-lock bags beforehand; my children were instructed on what they were and where to find them at home, should they be asked to bring one of them in to me. I truly anticipated finishing at least one of the projects during my hospital stay. 

Three 'hospital projects'
Each one is in its own snaplock bag.

Hooked on Crochet! Slippers,
10 comfy pairs of slippers!
(Annie's 2013)
What were the projects?

As suggested in “Packing for Hospital”, bed slippers were the obvious choice (4 votes: from RedSetter, Sarah, Ingrid and me) but I couldn’t choose a suitable yarn. The slipper projects suggested acrylic yarns but I preferred something that included stronger fibres like nylon as found in sock yarn. My sock yarn was too lightweight for the slipper patterns.

Lion Brand Bonbons DK acrylic
colour set 'Pastels' #620

Ingrid K.’s packing list was great: a cape–there was a one-skein cape pattern in the book similar to my Blue “Lacy Cape” made with bulky weight yarn; little things like granny squares and take 3 colours– I was reluctant to take more than one skein or colour unless small ones like the Lion Brand Bonbons; wrist warmers; or a hat; all great ideas. Ingrid suggested packing “a whole bunch of yarn and suitable hooks, a yarn needle to sew ends, and scissors”. She has her priorities straight! [grin]

Blue Lacy Cape, crocheted in 2010

A compact kit

A tiny pencil case, found around the house, was just big enough for a handful of hooks within a small size range, a yarn needle and my thread cutting pendant.  The case had a zip closure and a small fabric loop onto which I clipped a few stitch markers, a row counter and tape measure. A compact kit and I was all set!
What more could a girl need?
Clockwise from top left: pendant thread cutter, row counter & stitch markers attached to pink loop of case,
tape measure in crocheted case which can be buttoned onto the pink loop, yarn needle,
pencil case with more stitch markers attached to zipper pull tag,
steel and aluminium crochet hooks sizes 2.5–4.5 

The library haul was a good idea. So many portable projects; can’t go wrong! Not only that, for a year and a half, I had been searching for the perfect scarf pattern for someone and there it was, in the One-skein Wonders book. 

Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World
(Storey Publishing 2013)

You know how it is; you decide on the perfect colour, and know in your mind the style you want, but finding that style is hard. I would find a pattern with a suitable style and not have the right yarn, or I would have a few suitable skeins to spare for it but none of the patterns were the right fibre, weight or amount.  This time, the stars must have aligned because it all matched up and the decision for a hospital project was made!

I’m almost finished the Red Lacy Scarf and hope to give it to the recipient for Christmas this year.

Here’s progress so far…

Diamond-Strike Banded Scarf by Kristen Stolzfus
Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World

Some cooler days at home allowed time to work on the Belcarra Cardigan too. Not long to go now!

Belcarra Cardigan: all that's left to do is to complete the cuffs and weave in ends.

It took at least a week to recover, most of it spent sleeping. I feared that my body was slipping back to the bad old days of severe fatigue where “resistance was useless”, sleeping away the days for only a few functional hours in return.  My stupid brain remembered that ‘post-anaesthetic fatigue’ can last for 6 months and I desperately hoped it was not the case in this instance. It’s too close to Christmas for that! 

And on the Seventh Day… I woke up feeling okay!  I could get out of bed and had energy to get some jobs done around my home to make a start on tidying up the chaos of a week doing barely anything. Hooray!



Watch out world, crocheter on the mend…

* Post scriptum: I found out after the fact that Scleroderma Australia Inc. has published a brochure which is available for download: Helpful Tips When Having Blood Taken. Links are provided in the text above and in the list below.

Links & References

Annie's, Hooked on Crochet! Slippers, 10 comfy pairs of slippers! Book #878542, ISBN 978-1-59635-226-1, Annie's Crochet [series], Annie's,,  306 East Parr Road, Berne, IN 46711, USA, 2012,2013.

Belcarra Cardigan, designed by Robyn Chachula, Interweave Crochet, magazine, Winter 2010:
Durant, Judith & Eckman, Edie, editors, Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World1st printing, ISBN 978-1-61212-042-3,, Storey Publishing LLC, 210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247, USA, 2013.

Lion Brand Yarn, "Bonbons" DK acrylic, colour set 'Pastels' #620:

Lupey Loops, "Library Haul",blog post, 9 December 2014:


    1. I am glad to hear that you are home again and that things are picking up again for you. Take care of yourself and I hope that you enjoy Christmas. xx

      1. Thank you Amy. I am looking forward to spending Christmas with family. Wishing you a peaceful time at Christmas.

    2. Good to know you're home and starting to feel better!

      1. Yes, home in plenty of time for Christmas yet it still feels like there isn't enough time to do everything I want to do. Wishing you some joy on Christmas day. xxx

    3. Welcome home! Yay for days like day 7! I love the compact kit, and the blue sweater is toooooo cute. You are amazing and wishing you a Merry Christmas (no stress) and an easier time health wise in 2015.

      1. Thanks for the cheer squad! hehehe I love it! The compact kit worked really well. I am thinking of making a new tape measure cover to match.
        The old one is getting a bit tatty from years of use. The design was supposed to look like a wide brimmed hat (which it does) and I realised just this week that had I woven a ribbon through it like a hatband, I could have used ribbon to tie the tape measure cover to the pencil case without putting stress on the button stitching.
        I hope we all have an easier time in 2015. Thanks so much for your support this year.

    4. Dear Amy, Kaz and Mary-Anne,

      I hope you don't mind a 'group reply' this time. Thank you for your kind words and warm welcome home.

      I wish there were more days like 'Day 7' but I have had good and bad days in equal measure. I feel good, do a few things to catch up from when I was unwell and, despite my best efforts to pace myself, the next day I am in bed all day recovering. School holidays have begun so there is less pressure on my time and energy. Just as well, as I need some reserves for Christmas preparations! Once all the Christmas activities are done, I will be able to pace myself a bit better. Very slowly order is rising from the chaos of daily life.

      Wishing you a Merry Christmas with happiness and good health for 2015. xxxx

    5. Dear Jodie! I was wondering about how things were going for you! Glad to hear you are back home, Xmas is not the right time to be staying in hospital (if you can avoid it, of course). It sounds like you had a tough time, I hope you will recover now slowly at your own pace!

      Glad to see you were prepared, better to have a bit too much yarn than not enough (says the woman who usually takes 2 projects on any bus/car journey, no matter how short! It's amazing how much crochet you can get done with a 40 min bus journey!)

      That lacy red scarf is STUNNING and BEAUTIFUL!!! Do you have a Ravelry link for it by any chance??

      I just want to say that I hope your family will support you (of course they will!), so try to take it slow, and enjoy Xmas!!!! It's lovely to have your crafty friendship, I value that very much! <3
      Happy Xmas!!!!! Big hugs!!!
      Ingrid xx

      1. Hi Ingrid,

        The feeling is mutual about our crafty friendship. I think we share a similar sense of humour and enjoy similar things in our crafting like always taking at least one project (often more) with us. I agree about the surprising amount of work that can be achieved in transit and 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there.

        I finished the red lacy scarf and delivered it today, on Christmas Eve. The recipient was surprised and delighted with it, I must admit that I fell in love with it too and it was tempting to keep it for myself, but no, this was especially chosen and I got a lot more joy from giving it to someone who appreciates the work and she really loved it just like we do. The recipient is of Chinese heritage and red symbolises good luck so it was also my way of saying Happy New Year as well as Merry Christmas (even though Chinese New Year is later in the year)

        There is a Ravelry page for the scarf but I haven't had a chance to post photos yet. I will certainly post the finished results on Lupey Loops and make a point of including the Ravelry link.

        Have a warm, wonderful, woolly Christmas
        Hugs to you! xxx

    6. I am glad to read that you are back home safe after some though days! It's good to hear the doctors took such great care of you!!


      1. Thanks, Anne.

        Yes, I am glad and relieved about that too! I am very lucky to live where I live.

        I hope Christmas where you live is magical and magnificent. I love all of the traditional German Christmas foods. We consume lots and lots of pfeffernuße!

        Because there is a significant German population in my city, the shops stock a lot of German and Dutch foods nowadays. This year we baked gingerbread and also taai taai (Dutch spiced gingerbread but it isn't gingerbread because it has no ginger in it! Mine doesn't anyway).

        'Taai taai' is different to regular gingerbread because it is tougher and chewy; it literally means 'tough tough' but I loved it as a child because it took a while to eat it so the treat lasted longer.

        Thank you so much for your support and friendship. Wishing you a great 2014 and
        Fröliche Weinachten xxx