Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Thank You God for the Boat

1:15 p.m., December 27, 2006 - I had just gotten off the phone with my husband after returning from lunch at Arriba with a his aunt. It is what it sounds like - Mexican food. I had eaten a huge plate of nachos piled with refried beans, cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, and sour cream. We had split a side of guacamole. I had left the restaurant feeling stuffed and uncomfortable as usual.

After hanging up the phone, I planned on going upstairs to be domestic. Since the boys still share a room, I have one room upstairs that I have called the guest room for a while. Basically it has a mattress set on top of those cheap metal rails with wheels. On top of that are a couple of ill-fitting sheets (as guests would attest) and mismatched blankets. I had crowned this bed with a turquoise, white and pink quilt my grandma had made for us for our wedding. And recently, going along with the grandparent theme, I have hung a pastel painting my grandpa made for us, as well as a needle point hanging also from my grandma. I also have her old sewing table in the room to which I was going at this time.

1:30 p.m. - I had just sat down at the sewing table and was looking at the situation with the pants. However, my insides started to ache beginning with intense heartburn down to abdominal cramps. I figured, what should I expect? I had just filled my stomach to capacity or more with gas producing Mexican food. I'll just lie down for a few minutes and it will eventually pass - literally.

It didn't. I mean I did go to the bathroom a few times. Ok, things should start moving. They aren't. Even though I couldn't stand up to walk, I came down to the kitchen to get some Tums. Tums always make me feel better. I passed the kids in the living room. Don't talk to mommy, mommy's sick. I went to my room and curled up in bed. But nothing. No change.

Ok, I'm pretty nauseous now and then, and I've been breathing deeply and probably too fast hoping the feeling will pass. Or maybe I'll just throw up. But no. Ok, I'll make myself throw up. Now, this was a first for me. I had only heard that you could stick your finger down your throat to induce vomiting. I've never been a fan of throwing up and I will normally do anything I can to avoid it. So I wasn't sure it would work. It worked well. Bye, bye, refried beans. Things should get better now. It's about 5:00 now and my husband was home. I'll go sit on the couch. Be positive.

5:30 p.m. - Ok, the couch is not comfortable. I'm going back to bed. The pain has not subsided at all. I lay in the fetal position and wonder if this might not be gas and/or constipation. I'm freezing, no I'm hot. I'm shaking constantly. My legs and arms are tingling and going numb (I found out later this was a result of the heavy breathing I'd been doing for 6 hours - I didn't have enough oxygen). I called my husband in to get on the internet and see what else it might be. He decides maybe it's my appendix and suggests maybe I should to go to the hospital. The hospital! For constipation? Forget it, I'm tough. This will eventually go away.

7:30 p.m. - God help me please, God help me please. Ok, God just take me home, if it's easier. Please. My husband comes in and hears me chanting my God help me prayer. He suggests again we should go to the hospital. No, I say. However, I suddenly heard in my head "I sent you a boat." Yes, yes. A boat. (For those not familiar, there is a joke about a guy in a flood on top of his house praying for God to rescue him - God sends a guy by in a boat, and a raft, etc. - he didn't take any of them because he was waiting on something that appeared more miraculous). Anyway, I called out to my husband to take me to the hospital, please. At least they can give me an enema or something.

7:45 p.m. - We, kids and all, park in the parking lot at the hospital and I get out. I'm about to cry as the hope of pain relief is in sight. I hobble into the ER praying no one is ahead of me. The place seemed empty. They took down my list of symptoms and sent me to the triage nurse who also took down my list of symptoms. Was the first a deposition? And now they are trying to catch me in a lie if I can't repeat what I told the first guy? I felt like if I missed something, I might get sent home. Now come to think of it, every new person I met that night asked me the same questions. Are they not writing this down?

Thankfully they believed me. Probably because, by this time, the pain had caused me to enter my own little world. Yes, I have a heartburn feeling. I get my heartburn feeling at KMART. Oh, she's asking me another question. Hmm. What was the question? I'm cold. I've got to go the bathroom. No, she says, not yet. I'm thinking, What? What if going to the bathroom is the end of my troubles, and they aren't going to let me? Apparently, they want me to pee in a cup down the hall.

They put me in a wheel chair and took me to a dark room where nurses finally start scurrying around and poking me with needles. They take my blood, give me an IV and begin administering pain killers and anti-nausea medicine. I'm still cold and shaking. They get me warming blankets. That's nice. Ooh, the pain is starting to subside a bit. And I'm tired. I think I'll go to sleep.

At one point they tell me my husband is going to take the kids home. It's about 11:30. They put me in a new room because they need the other room for someone else. The bed here is more comfortable they say. Not really, but I'm not complaining. I've got drugs now. The heartburn is still there. They give me some kind of Mylanta cocktail. Ah, that's better.

The next events turned into a groggy, out-of-body experience. I swear I went to the bathroom and stood staring at the toilet for about an hour. The nurse said I didn't. At one point, I was taken for x-rays where I remember the x-ray tech saying she was in the hospital last Friday night for what I have . What did you have, I asked? The flu, she says. Are you kidding me? I came to the hospital for the flu? I'm a wimp.

The doctor gets the x-ray back and says she thinks maybe my intestines are twisted. They think while there is no stool blockage, there may be gas blockage. Nice. So I just need to...umm...pass gas. I knew it. They want to do a CAT scan to confirm. They actually had me sign a form to allow this. Really? I mean, I was not in my right mind. What was the point? I'd sign anything to make it all go away. Cut of my right hand, you say? Sure, why not? Sign, sign, sign.

The CAT scan was a little weird. I was supposed to listen to a voice that told me when to breathe in and when to breathe out and when to hold my breath. It wasn't loud enough. And I'm trying to sleep. Did he say breathe in? No, I'm supposed to hold now. Hmm, I must have passed the test because they took me back to my new little dark room.

3:00 a.m., December 28, 2006 - The doctor enters in a flurry. She's excited. They've figured it out. I didn't read the book, she says. I've got appendicitis. They are positive. Look at the CAT scan; look at my white blood cell count. And I've got a low grade fever. And where do you feel the most pain? She asks. I point to my right lower abdomen now. See, the pain wasn't localized, she says. Once we took care of the heartburn pain, now it's more obvious. I will have surgery, she says. When? I ask. At 7:00 a.m., in four hours. Ok, I'll think about that when I wake up.

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