Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tumble

I should know better than to get motivated.  I make plans, lists, draft up goals a mile long.  I plot rewards for reaching those goals.  I get excited and amped up.  I look ahead instead of behind me.  

I smile and I start the climb. 

And tumble head over feet back down to the bottom of the hill.

Awhile back, I decided that my fate was in my hands and I was going to run with it.   Lifestyle changes like clean eating and exercise were going to rule this disease, not the other way around.  I started making changes, cutting out things that are bad for me, gearing up to add better things in.    I took a vacation from work, hoping to hang at home and get some things done.  

On vacation, I got sick.  No biggie.  I'll take this week to rest and kick this cold back to the germ factory it came from.    I go back to work, I get some exercise and then I feel violently nauseous.  There's no vomit, mind you. No, that would probably have made everything better.  Right?  Isn't that usually what happens?  We feel awful and then a good session of trying to turn ourselves inside out makes the nausea go away.  I couldn't make myself sick.   I went to work, I made it through my shift and then woke up the next day for another shift feeling even worse. 

I even pulled over in the parking lot of Whole Foods to email my doctor because something wasn't right.  I got a reply that my doctor was out of the office.  It was alright. It was just nausea.  If it got any worse, I'd go in.  I headed off to work.  A short while later, I noticed I had a voicemail on my phone from my doctor's office.  The nurse stated my doc had called in and wanted me to me seen.  So I called them back and made an appointment. 

I asked my supervisor if they could cover me so I could go.  When she explained they were all going to be in a meeting, I shrugged it off and said "I'll just go in the morning.  It's not like I am going to die tonight."  But, she said that it would still be fine if I went and headed to the meeting.  

I went over to my appointment, feeling lousy but ... figuring that like all my appointments in my journey with my companion Wegener's, nothing would show.  So, when the Nurse Practitioner started feeling around my abdomen, she and I were both surprised when I lit up like the fourth of july.  She tried it again, and I about leapt off the table.  Her response was classic.  "Uh Oh.  Shit"  When I looked at her she gave me a wan smile "That's not what I wanted to find."  

She ordered a CT scan, some lab work (I needed to do my usual blood work anyway so this was all OK with me.) and explained that it could be appendicitis and it could just be a very bad flu.  Either way, I shook it off.  I wasn't in an insane amount of pain like every other appendicitis patient I knew, and I wasn't vomiting like I would associate with "bad flu".  I did my blood work, marched over to the radiology place only to march back to the pharmacy to get a wonderful iodine beverage to drink ... then it was down to the cafeteria to get something to drink my iodine cocktail in ... then back to radiology to try and choke down this whole bottle so that we could get this show on the road and I could go home and rest.  I felt awful still, and kind of crampy where she'd poked me.  

When I was curled up in a chair, drinking my Gatorade/Iodine drink, the radiologist came out and told me once I finished the drink, I'd have to wait an hour before they could take the scan.  

Grrrrreat.  So, I curled back up in my chair, played with my phone and waited.  FInallly, hey took me back, hooked me up to the contrast (yay more chemicals for my body!) and laid me on the table.  I made small talk with the guys, tried to make people laugh and just wanted to be done.  Right as I was leaving, they let me know Dan had arrived to hang out with me.  

I checked my lab results as I walked out and saw that my white blood cell count was fine. No sign of infection.  I must be fine, right?  I met up with Dan outside and told him that all was fine.  I just had to go to the evening urgent care lab to wait for my CT results and then I would be home.   Dan left and I walked in. 
I checked in and sat down and hurt a nurse in the back say my a name. 

"Was that Nicole that just checked in?

"Yes."

"Can you cancel that?"

I stood up as the nurse walked to the door and waved me over.  This was going faster than I expected.  yay! I walked over and was not prepared for what she told me. 

"You're going to the emergency room."

I'm sorry.  What?   She didn't say why, just told me to follow her and led me to a room.  As we passed another nurse, my nurse said "I need a wheelchair, she has to go to the ER.  She needs an appy."  

I watch Grey's Anatomy.  I know that's what they call an appendectomy.  So ... I guess it WAS appendicitis.  
I used their phone to call Dan who literally had JUST left and was plopped into a wheelchair.  This petite little nurse had to push my fat ass all the way to the ER from the West Building.   I felt so bad.   But, she explained that I had appendicitis, I was lucky that it hadn't ruptured yet, she had been reading my chart and they were aware of my condition, and they weren't going to wait any longer.  

I got to the ER, got checked in, got put in a room, changed into a gown, covered in a blanket and then I waited.  My stepmom and her friend arrived.  We chatted.  I explained what was going on.  

Nurses came and went, one jammed a huge tube into a vein in my hand.  The surgeon came and explained and then ... like that, I was whisked off to the pre-Op area.  I remember cracking jokes with the nurses, I remember them doing a sneak-attack with the muscle relaxer ... and then, I was being wheeled to the OR.  

My last thought, before oblivion, was just HOW many people were in that OR.  Lovely.  My lard ass would be splayed out on a table in front of them until they could cover me in those fancy surgical sheets.  

Anyway, everything went well and I was deposited in a bed in the maternity ward to recoup.  I had wonderful nurses who took excellent care of me. Monica came and visited, Dan dropped in for a few moments but then was gone.  I laid there and watched about 6 hours of news coverage because it made me feel like I was at home.   There was an unfortunate incident with my pee and the bathroom floor but that's a whole other story.  It was a pleasant experience ... if an emergency surgery story can be described as such.

I'm not cleared to work until at least Friday.  I have a doc appt on Thursday that will tell me if I can go back.  Why do I bring this up? Because I absolutely can't afford this right now.  Being off for a week, losing overtime.  I say this all the time but it's true.  I overextended myself on my house payment ... and I feel in control when I can make enough money to pay it.  With me off, and then telling Dan he needed to be home with me ... I'm stressed out.  

I felt good,  I was getting my head screwed on straight ... and then something pushed me off the mountain.  I feel like right when I am starting to find my footing, to get a good grip on things, something changes.  

First cancer, then wegener's ... now this ... 

I feel like I am being punished and I can't figure out why.  I'm a good person.  I put others before myself.  I give all of me, I don't ask for much in return.  I work my hours, I pay my bills, I pay my taxes, I donate money, I give ... so what did I do to keep being challenged? Am I meant to make some great difference because of all I've gone through?  No.  Because in the great big reality of things, these are small obstacles on the giant radar of life.  My challenges seem big because they are happening to me.  To others they are probably a piece of cake in comparison.  But ... it still bothers me.  Why can't I seem to get ahead?  What is the message I am missing here? 

So now, I am not a full person.  I've lost yet another piece of my anatomy.  When I get to the finish line, God is going to go through the checklist and I won't all be there.  I didn't lose my pieces in a blaze of glory, they just malfunctioned.  Maybe that's my lesson, I'm not taking good care of my engine, the parts are breaking down.  

So, body, listen to me a minute.  Let me get these changes made.  You can't keep breaking and putting me in the shop.  I will never get you back into tip top running order if you do this.  

But, for now, I must end this. I gave in and took a pain pill since my incisions are screaming at me and those drugs are starting to fuzz my consciousness.  

Goodnight World

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