DISCLAIMER: Please do not be alarmed when you read this post. I’ll just start at the end to let you know that I am completely fine. A little more loopy than normal, maybe, but that’s to be expected. Also, lady bits will be mentioned briefly. Please bear with me.
With that said, I spent last Friday night in the ER. That day had started off just dandy; it was the kickoff for our huge author conference at school and everything had gone off without a hitch. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and went home to hang for a little while before going out and celebrating. I was sitting on the couch reading, minding my own business, when out of the blue I was hit with a wave of stomach pain that almost made me pass out. Ladies: imagine cramps, magnified to the point of being doubled over.
I tried to wait it out and lasted about twenty minutes before the sweating and crying made me text my roommates that I needed them to come home from grocery shopping immediately. I had no idea what was wrong, but I was pretty sure it was not going to go away on its own like I had hoped.
Fortunately my roommates were not far and Catherine drove my sorry self to the nearest hospital. Which, also fortunately, is not far either, less than a mile away. A sign of how sick I was: I barely noticed anything about my surroundings or the fact that I left my roommate in the waiting room until I was on a bed with a steady stream of narcotics pumping into my veins. (If you’ve never had an IV, I do not recommend it. It feels disgusting. But oh, sweet relief of pain medication.)
Since I had never been to the ER for something like this before, here are some of the things I noticed: first, everything takes an inordinately long time. Unless you cry, then pain meds come pretty fast. They decided on a CAT scan and an ultrasound and it took three hours just to prep for the CAT scan, including drinking a half gallon of some nasty fluid, which was the only thing I was allowed to eat or drink for the entire eight hours I was in the hospital.
Second, most people have no awareness that curtained off “rooms” are not soundproof. In the three adjacent rooms I heard from a woman who had been hit by a car, another woman who had scabies, and a Tufts undergrad who had broken a rib skiing and was very concerned that he wouldn’t be having sex for a while. No amount of narcotics could drown out their conversations.
Third, doctors do not at all like to tell you what they might be checking for. I won’t lie, it’s scary as shit not being able to move for pain and no one will speculate as to why. Eventually I got out of a nurse that they were checking for all kinds of things: appendix, kidney stones, gall bladder, ovarian cysts. No, no history of any of those things in my family. No, I’ve never experienced any of those things before. Yes, it is freaking me out to be wheeled around the ER in my bed like I’m some kind of terminal patient.
Many hours and two staff shifts later, my final ultrasound revealed a ruptured ovarian cyst the size of a plum. Since normal ovaries are the size of an almond and do not explode inside your body, you can imagine what was causing the pain. Apparently ovarian cysts are very common and not normally serious, but they definitely sound pretty terrible when you are not aware of that fact.
Jay was the best and picked me up from the ER, filled my prescriptions, and made me ramen at 3 am because I hadn’t eaten since my 11:30 am lunch time. He also spent the weekend making sure I was comfortable and offering to do everything for me because he’s the sweetest. (Even after I threw up all over his car from pain med nausea. That’s love, guys.)
Five days later I still feel awful, like someone keeps punching me in the kidneys repeatedly, but at least I don’t feel like I might pass out from the pain. Plus, those fantastic pain drugs they gave me in the hospital? They sent me home with some too. Plus side: they take away the pain. Minus side: they make me feel like sleeping through this entire week of author conferences that I have been planning since September. I mean, it’s pretty dark in that auditorium. Who’s going to notice me anyway?