Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Since I had nothing better to do on a Tuesday

I'll get back to over-sharing about my trip to Chicago but first I thought I'd over-share about my trip to the emergency room yesterday.  I went to work in the morning, as usual. I ate a couple of mid-morning snacks, as usual. By around 11:30, I was in a lot of pain. It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. The pain was emanating from the right side of my abdomen, but it was hard to pinpoint beyond that.

Barb at the front desk was kind enough to give me a couple of ibuprofen. I sat at my desk, sweating and shivering and wondering what the hell I should do. I was due to train a client at 2:00.  Nausea started to hit, so I hung out in the bathroom for a few minutes in case my mid-morning snacks might need to exit my mouth at high velocity. Normally I am perpetually freezing at work, but suddenly it seemed like an inferno in my cubicle. It was cold outside, so I decided to go out to my mom-mobile and lie down on the third-row bench seats for a moment or two. I looked up at the ceiling of my van, clutching my abdomen and wondering how my daughter managed to get marker up there like that.  Mostly, I just kept thinking, "I'm getting dog hair all over me!"

Finally, I gave up. This felt like something more serious than a stomach ache. I called my husband and told him I was headed to the emergency room. Fortunately, I work within a stone's throw of a hospital. I even eat lunch there sometimes (don't laugh - this hospital has a kick-ass cafeteria!) I drove myself over there and turned myself over to the medical professionals.

"What seems to be the problem?" asked the admissions lady.

I immediately thought of a Brian Regan routine where he talks about going to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. He responded something like, "Well, it SEEMS like everything on my inside . . . wants to be on my outside."

I explained that I had abdominal pain. Then, when asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, I thought of the same Brian Regan routine, where he notes that 10 is reserved for people with snapped femurs.  "About a 6," I said.

A few minutes later, I was in a hospital gown (open-backed, natch) and peeing in a cup and whatnot. Once I was alone in the room, I did nothing but stare at the clock. There was a TV but the pain was so bad I didn't think I could concentrate on anything. Eventually, a physician's assistant came in to talk to me. He seemed nice. He was a very dark-skinned man with a name that suggested he might be from somewhere exotic. He asked me a bunch of questions and then asked, "So, what do you think is going on?"

I wasn't sure how to respond. Is this like the self check-out at the grocery store, I wondered?  C'mon in, diagnose yourself, and then head on home. I shook my head. "No idea," I said. He said he would order some bloodwork. Moments later, a paramedic came in to start an IV.  This is where I started to get nervous. I've had bad experiences with this in the past. Although my skin is virtually transparent and my veins and arteries and whatnot are fairly easy to see, apparently my veins are not particularly cooperative. They are shallow, from what past technicians have told me. The paramedic proceeded to spend quite some time digging into my right arm with his finger. Finally, much to my relief, he gave up and jabbed me in the left arm instead. He collected a bunch of my blood and left.

After that, the PA came back.  He handed me two bottles of water and instructed me to drink them in preparation for an ultrasound. Apparently they can see my innards better if some of them are floating.  So, I watched Law & Order and drank both bottles of water, even though I was not even vaguely thirsty.  Shortly thereafter, an ultrasound technician came in with a portable ultrasound machine.  She did an external ultrasound first and then an internal one. She was nice, but I can barely hear the word ultrasound without having a breakdown. In my 20s and 30s, ultrasounds always resulted in bad news for me ("fetal demise" was the term used, as I recall). I know that every women hates the stirrups, but I have a particularly strong contempt for them.

Shortly after the ultrasound was done, I had my results. I have to say that the hospital was pretty efficient - a whole parade of people came through my room in fairly quick succession. I was out of the hospital in four hours, which is pretty good when you think about it.  The PA gave me the news: bilateral ovarian cysts. Apparently the ones on the right side are larger and more menacing, which resulted in the plethora of pain, nausea, etc.  By then, the pain had actually dulled somewhat, so I was ready to go home. He gave me two prescriptions: Vicodin and Naproxen (prescription strength Alleve) and bid me adieu.  I have to follow up with my regular doctor. I don't like my regular doctor, but I'll make an appointment anyway. So, that was my Tuesday.  I am not a big fan of Vicodin, as it upsets my stomach. However, at least now I have it on hand and have some recourse for next time the cysts flare up.

When I got home, I asked P if he still would have married me if he had known my lady parts were all jacked up. He nodded.  Good boy.

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