One week ago, I felt completely and totally fine. I was eating normally, and I was the picture of health … to an extent, anyway. What a difference a week makes.
[Disclaimer: From this point on, it could get mildly gross. Just a warning.]
Last Monday night, I began experiencing some stomach discomfort, seemingly out of nowhere. I began vomiting up everything that had touched my stomach in the last 24 hours. Once that was all gone, I began dry-heaving. My mild discomfort turned into severe abdominal pain, like muscle soreness turned up to 11, and the bouts of dry-heaving kept both me and my wife from getting any semblance of sleep. Because of the severe pain involved, Michelle began to worry that it might be appendicitis. After hours of back and forth between bed and the bathroom, she finally convinced me to go to the emergency room. By that point, it was around 2 in the morning.
After waking Liam up and getting him ready for the ride, we made it to Erlanger’s emergency room by around 2:30. I stumbled in, gave the clerk my information and took a seat. Michelle parked the car and came in with Liam a few minutes later. I apologized to both of them endlessly — something I tend to do when I feel helpless and someone has to take care of me. And, believe me, I was completely helpless. The abdominal pain was becoming unbearable, and all I could do was writhe in pain across a four-seat bench in the ER. After about 45 minutes, they called me back to the triage area to take down more information. I got my hopes up that I would be in a room shortly. I was wrong.
Around 4:15am (nearly two hours after we arrived), I was finally placed in a room, where I waited by myself for another 20 minutes or so before anyone came in to check on me. In that time, Michelle had called my mother to ask if she could stay with Liam at our house while Michelle and I were at the hospital, just in case I was going to need to be there for a considerable amount of time. At this point, we both believed that it was appendicitis and that I might be having surgery in the very near future. We were wrong on both counts.
I was given IV fluids to take care of the severe dehydration that had also overtaken my body, along with nausea medication and morphine for my abdominal pain. Within minutes, I was feeling better … and drifting in and out of sleep. I woke up long enough for the doctor’s examination, where he explained that, given my description of the pain, he was more worried about gallstones than appendicitis. He brought in an ultrasound machine, and I was gallstone-free. I slept for a little while longer, and then I was discharged without ceremony or diagnosis. I was home shortly after 7:30am with a prescription for some nausea and pain meds.
I spent the rest of Tuesday in and out of consciousness. I’m not sure what I experienced could truly be called sleep, as I don’t recall any dreaming or even any real feeling of rest. I was awake for perhaps two to three hours all day. That’s a cumulative total. Michelle, bless her heart, slept on the couch and made the living room her primary base of operations for the next two days.
I lived off of Sprite and chicken broth until Thursday, when I was adventurous enough to try applesauce and toast. That’s pretty much where I still am, nearly one week later. I have had moments of rebellion where I have tried to stomach a cheeseburger, but all it does is let me know that I am not quite done with this yet, whatever it is. Then again, I’ve been wanting to slim down a little, and I suppose this is one way to do it. Not the way I would have preferred, but that tends to be how things go with me.
The moral of this story? Hospitals don’t know everything, appendicitis isn’t always appendicitis, sleep isn’t always sleep, my wife is amazing, and I am an absolute baby when it comes to pain.
Here’s to hoping I don’t have to go through that again any time soon.