Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The One Where I Throw Up at CVS

I awoke in the middle of the night with what I thought was horrible heartburn/indigestion. In a sleepy haze, I grabbed a couple Tums, turned over and promptly went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I still felt crappy and now had pain in my lower abdomen. Well crap, this can't be good, I thought. It feels like diverticulitis. 


I employed my M.O. which is to ignore it until it goes away. It didn't go away. In fact It got worse.

So I headed to the hospital. I was going to go to the only one I've found down here that doesn't suck in Dr. Phillips, but my friend suggested I try this hospital that is much closer to me in Clermont. Knowing I'd have to sit in tourist traffic on I-4 to get to the decent hospital, and knowing that traffic would be especially awful now that Universal has built an enormous volcano in Orlando and everyone has to slow down and gawk at it, I agreed to try the closer one. (NOTE: Savannah works at Volcano Bay and loves it and I've only heard good things about the park, but seriously, no one can drive by without slamming on their brakes because, oh look, it's a water park. In Florida. How unusual.)


But I digress. So after being in pain all day, I gave up and drove to the close hospital, and hobbled to the door, doubled over in pain. Once inside the ER entrance, a security guard had me walk through a metal detector while she went through my purse. Now, living here in Orlando, capital of theme parks, I've had my bag gone through a thousand times. Usually, the procedure works like this - the guard, bored out of his skull and wishing he was literally anywhere but there, takes his little bag-searching-stick and apathetically pokes it in the general vicinity of your purse. Ta da! All searched and secure. This security guard, however, went to The Intrusive School of Security because she unzipped every compartment, looked in every pocket, opened my little makeup bag, inadvertently (so she claimed) dumped out my container of coupons and business cards (because you never know when someone might be hiding a firearm among the business cards) and took a good 3-4 minutes scrutinizing the contents of my purse.

After passing inspection, I walked to the registration desk, filled out the paperwork, then took a seat amongst thirty or so people waiting to be seen. Half of them were wearing cowboy boots. One old man was having a loud conversation on his phone, in the middle of the waiting room, with his buddy about their next gun club meeting. I overheard one young man say at least 7 times how he was just beginning to make a fish salad (sounds gross even when you're not having intestinal pain) when he got the call that his mom was in the hospital so he drove 150 miles an hour (is that even possible?) to get there. One man wearing steel-toed boots, shorts, and a tank top proudly stretched his phone charger across the waiting room and announced to (someone, everyone, no one in particular, himself?) that he had a 20 foot long cord and he'll never need to buy another one again. I'm pretty sure I saw this guy there:


I sat folded in half, concentrating on not passing out from the pain while listening to people I thought only existed on TV. At some point, I was taken back to triage where one nurse sat, texting on her phone and the other nurse asked me the usual questions - when did the pain start, on a scale of 1-10 how bad is the pain, blah blah blah. Then she asked if there was a chance I was pregnant. I told her no. She responded with, "How do you know? Did your husband have a vasectomy?" I blinked a couple times while I tried to process what she'd said. When I was certain she'd really said what I thought she'd said, I finally responded. "First off, I'm not married, you presumptuous bleep. And I'm telling you there is no way on earth I could possibly be pregnant." I was exceptionally proud of myself for not throat-punching her and instead just giving the slightest hint of an eye roll because seriously??!

After waiting for TWO hours, I was finally led back to a room. As I walked, I started crying because the pain had gotten out of control. A nice nurse saw me, came in right away, helped me change into a gown, got me set up with an IV, and got a doctor to order nausea and pain meds. Unfortunately it was time for the shift change and she left soon after she got me settled. The next few hours are blurry because they drugged me up with morphine and I do not do well with narcotics. 

A PA came in and asked me a few questions. "Where is your pain?"
"Lower abdomen."
"On the left side?
"Nope, all across my lower abdomen."

"Diverticulitis pain is typically on the left."
"So I've heard. Every single time I've had it. When the pain was across my entire abdomen."

"Do you have your appendix?"
I mean, I understand that the medical team has to rule out other possibilities, but if it looks like a duck . . . and the patient tells you it's a stinkin' duck, maybe that's where you should start. So I had a CT of my abdomen. When the technician tried to inject the contrast, she had a hard time and my IV got all wonky. Finally, the PA came in and seemingly grudgingly admitted that I was right and I do indeed have diverticulitis again. 

They tried to give me some antibiotics through my IV line, but since it had gotten all wonky (technical medical term for not working), a nurse who looked like Rashida Jones from The Office had to start another one. 

I never saw a doctor, I didn't really get any discharge instructions on what I should (or really shouldn't) be eating, what medications I was being prescribed and how to take them, or when to follow up. Honestly, after SEVEN hours, I just wanted to leave. I didn't even care at that point. It wasn't until I stopped at CVS on the way home that I realized I was only prescribed a pain medication and one antibiotic, and not the 2 different antibiotics I've been prescribed every other time. I hadn't been prescribed any anti-nausea medicine either, but I thankfully have some left from my last bout. As I made my way toward the door of CVS, a wave of nausea hit me. Before I got to the door, I began gagging, completely creeping out the other customers (and who could blame them?) When I hit the parking lot, my lunch (of hot tea) hit the pavement. I made it to my car where I continued retching. And then I started crying because 1. You guys know how much I hate vomit! And 2. I was feeling sorry for myself because it sucks not having someone to take care of you.

What I learned:
1. It is worth the drive to Dr. Phillips.
2. A lot of rednecks apparently live in Clermont.
3. Some nurses are nicer than others.
4. There a thing called fish salad. I really don't need to learn more about this.
5. Never break down and have popcorn, even if it IS Garrett's.
6. The empty-your-bowels and consume nothing more than clear liquids for days is a great weight-loss tool. Or well, it's not really great, but it does garner a great loss.
7. If I never call the gastroenterologist to follow up, I won't need another colonoscopy or surgery.
8. I still HATE throwing up.


Peldyn said...

This sounds like a trip to Dantes' hell.

Sharlyn said...

((((Hugs))))- from a total stranger- but loyal reader- in Idaho

dpinyan said...

Bless your heart.

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