Then the Doctor Said the “C” WordDawn Meehan
I woke up in pain on Saturday. I immediately recognized the lower abdominal pain as something I’d experienced before. I knew, even though I hoped I was wrong, that it was diverticulitis again. My plan for dealing with the pain was to ignore it until it went away. That’s my M.O. My first course of treatment for anything that ails me is ignore it. It usually sometimes pretty much never works. But I do it anyway.
This morning, I had visions of my large intestine becoming so infected that I would need to be hospitalized. At first I thought it would be a nightmare, but that gave way to fantasy about lying in bed all day with people bringing me my meals while I did nothing more strenuous than change the channel on the TV. I’m sure the nurse would never run into my room, shrieking that everyone had eaten all the macaroni and cheese, forcing her to declare her undying hatred of her brothers and sisters. I snapped back to reality when I remembered that I had no one to take over for me. No one could step in and take care of my kids and everything else while I lounged in the hospital. And really, there is no resting or relaxing in a hospital. Ever. Between the annoying roommates, noisy hallways, announcements over the PA system, and the nurses who must take your vitals every twenty minutes, it’d be easier to get rest lying in the middle of the Kennedy during rush hour.
Despite my fears about infection ravaging my intestines, I still hesitated going to the doctor. You see, I had diverticulitis in August. You can read all about that fun-filled ER trip here. (Really, go read it. It’s funny. I’ll wait. I’ll even sing showtunes while you read. Wait! Where are you going? Okay, okay, I’ll stop singing! You’re back? See, I told you it was funny.) Anyway, in August, the treatment for me was a clear liquid diet for two weeks and high doses of two different antibiotics. Strong antibiotics taken on a stomach that only contains gingerale, water, Jello, or chicken broth at any given time, made me want to vomit every minute I was awake. So, for most of the day today, I went back and forth. Horrific infection, endless nausea, horrific infection, endless nausea, horrific infection, endless nausea. Horrific infection won out and I headed to the ER with Brooklyn while the others were at school.
I walked in, told the triage nurse that I’d already diagnosed myself and knew that I had diverticulitis. Apparently, they don’t like it when you do that. They like to let the people with the medical training diagnose you. She gave me a cup for a urine specimen. Brooklyn was fascinated with the concept of peeing in a cup. I made a mental note to check for cups lying around in the bathroom when I got home. I waited through half an episode of Barney and two Word World episodes before I was called back to a bed in a hallway. Brooklyn and I played “Find a word that starts with [insert letter]. Pee was the most popular word (said at least ten times) for the letter P, by the way.
We were called to a room where a nurse started an IV. Or tried to anyway. When a nurse says, “Oops, I blew your vein”, and your hand puffs up to boxing glove size while blood spurts everywhere, it’s generally not a good sign. There was so much blood all over, she made me get up so she could change the sheets. Honestly, my hand hurts far worse than my tummy tonight. After that, the doctor came in, blah, blah, blah, went for a CT scan, ended up waiting because a trauma patient was rushed in for a head-to-toe scan, freaked out that it was time to get my kids from school and I had no signal on my cell phone and was waiting in the hallway for my CT with no way to call the school or friends. Thankfully, I was able to get a text through to one friend (THANK YOU, MARTI!) And thank you to everyone else whose offers of help I finally saw after I left the hospital! I also got messages from my mortgage guy that I’d inadvertently forgotten to sign a couple documents, the high school, a couple friends, a couple kids, and my realtor up here who wants to show my house tomorrow morning, oh joy! I played achoo which is a game Brooklyn made up wherein her baby doll sneezes a thousand times in a row and the only thing that can cure her is putting headphones on her so she can listen to music. Who knew?
Finally, the doctor came in and confirmed my original diagnosis of diverticulitis, but then added another, bonus possibility of cancer. I need to get a colonoscopy as soon as this bout of diverticulitis is cleared up. If I’m super-lucky, maybe I’ll get surgery and a poop bag! In the meantime, I’m finishing up day three of the liquid diet I started when I first woke up with the pain, and I’m taking the evil antibiotics that will no doubt end in a killer yeast infection. On the bright side, this is a fabulous way to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
Want to read more from Dawn? Whether you’re thinking about having kids, you’re pregnant now, or you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll love her popular, You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth)!