When I was in the hospital in September of 2014, I was in total isolation. I had been in isolation for about 7 days and was getting sicker and sicker. I was pretty well restricted to my bed. I had tubes everywhere and monitors of all kinds hooked up to me. Even though I had my own private bathroom, I could not use it! It was more for the convenience of the nurses to empty my bedpans and wash their hands.
Whenever I needed to go to the bathroom, I had a portable toilet next to my bed. Because I was receiving intravenous fluid around the clock, I had to urinate at least every 2 hours. This was quite exhausting considering I was so ill. I honestly do not remember why I did not have a tube in my bladder with a bag on the side of the bed, but for some reason I did not. I think it was because I already had a severe infection that the doctors could not identify. I think they were afraid to put in the tube because of the possibility of further infection. Also, my white blood count was down to about 300 on this particular day, and my white blood cell count had continued to spiral downward for the last several days. Normal blood cell count is between 5,000 and 10,000, so you can understand the reasoning. I was already in serious trouble and anything else could have killed me. So the doctors were erring on the side of caution.
I had been to the bathroom on my portable toilet at least 5 or 6 times already that day. Because I could not use my private restroom, I always had to make sure that the nurses kept me stocked with boxes of tissue. Unfortunately, by this time in the afternoon, and being so ill, I had forgotten to check my supply. I would always wait until my bladder was about to explode because it was so exhausting to climb out of bed, get on the portable toilet, take care of my business, and then crawl back into bed. And the whole time I was constantly fighting with all of the tubes. I also had one of those rolling units that an I.V. bag was hooked up to that administered all of the fluid. So you can imagine what a hassle it was just to go to the bathroom.
Once again, I knew I was going to have to get up and go to the bathroom. I waited as long as I could, but finally had to make the effort. I also was supposed to call the nurse, but all the nurses were so busy and I had been doing this for days. I decided I did not need to call the nurse and I would attempt this little venture on my own.
I crawled out of bed, hiked up my hospital gown, sat down on the toilet and started my business. As I was finishing, I reached onto my bed for the box of tissue, and guess what? It was EMPTY!!! I sat there for a minute, and tried to figure out what to do. I looked around the room to see if there was another box close by that I could reach. Nope! No tissue. As I was about to give up and call the nurse, I turned around and looked on the rolling unit that the I.V. bag was hooked on. Oh my! There on the back was a round plastic container that baby wipes come in. Well, now I was not going to have to call the nurse. I could actually reach the container, which I did. The attached lid was already raised, so all I had to do was take out a wipe.
I took out a wipe and proceeded to, well, wipe. Within a couple of seconds, I started experiencing a burning sensation like I had never felt in my entire life! OH MY GOSH!! What had I done? I grabbed the container and read the top, which had been raised when I grabbed it. It said: “INDUSTRIAL WIPES FOR EQUIPMENT!!” Oh, S__T! The burning was excruciating by this time, even though it had probably only been about 10 seconds.
I immediately grabbed the call button, and called for the nurse. At the same time I had started screaming for a nurse because the burning was beyond unbearable. The nurse came running in to my room, and I quickly explained to her that I needed her to run into the bathroom and get a soaking wet washcloth to clean myself with. She literally ran across the room as fast as she could, grabbed a washcloth, soaked it with water, and ran back across the room. By this point, I was screaming from the pain! All inhibitions flew out the window! We had to get this stuff off of my body by any means and whatever it took. By this time another nurse had come in because of all the commotion. Have you ever heard the comment ” You cannot unsee what you have already seen?” Well, I am sure this held true for both of those nurses! This second nurse immediately started helping the first nurse, and eventually, after many trips back and forth to the sink, they managed to get most of the chemicals off of me and relieve most of the pain.
By the time they were done, I was soaking wet, my gown and bedding were wet, the floor was wet, even the nurses were wet! What an ordeal! EVERYTHING had to be cleaned up. My bed had to be changed and I had to be put into a clean gown. As the nurses were helping me into bed, I started to laugh. At first, it was just a little, but as I continued to think about what had just happened, I started laughing harder. Of course, I was talking to them about it at the same time. All of a sudden, all 3 of us broke down into an hysterical laugh that lasted several minutes! Did that really just happen?
Once we quit laughing, the nurses grabbed the “Industrial Wipes” and removed them from my room. They also came back with 3 or 4 boxes of tissue! All of that activity wore me completely out. I could barely move once I was back in bed. Everything and everyone calmed down. I dozed off.
The doctor was supposed to be in to see me shortly. I was very concerned about my health at this point. I was scared to death that I may have just caused another infection or something that would continue to cause me to spiral downward. When the doctor arrived, I explained to him what I had just been through and also expressed my grave concern. He kind of just blew it off, and told me that I would be fine. He also told me that I had not done anything that would jeopardize my health. WHEW!! Was I relieved! Of course, in the back of my mind I just could not quit thinking about it. Time would tell. Of course, this did not change a thing! I was still in total isolation until the doctors figured out what kind of infection I had??