Sunday, May 18, 2008

Now this is not what I signed up for!

Monday was a long day, my back ached and I felt a little bit off most of the day. I had one god awful night of sleep. I had managed to miss an entire week of early morning spin classes, and it's always hard to get back into the routine. I didn't sleep well, I kept waking up wondering if it was time to get up and get dressed for the gym. Finally my alarm went off, I was sad, it was DD's last week of teaching (except for the ridiculously early Monday morning class). My stomach was upset, I figured it was the lack of good rest and maybe the couple of store bought cookies I mindlessly noshed on at work the day before had disagreed with me. I made myself get up and go to class.

I know I'll still see him, I know he's not really quitting, but it really is the end of an era. DD is a fabulous teacher and is everything exercise needs to be in order to be fun. If more people were like him, maybe I wouldn't know so many people who hate exercise. I made it through class just fine, told him I'd see him Thursday and got home so CF and I could have some breakfast.

Once he was on his way to work I actually dozed off for a minute on the bed, so sleepy! Ms. D was coming over pretty soon though so I knew I had to get a shower. We had a pretty mellow day ahead of us, I figured I'd be fine. She and I ran some errands (including getting a large bottle of vodka so I could start a new batch of limoncello) and then headed to Redwood City for lunch. We decided to try the lunch platters at Red Lantern (the sight of the fabulous Yelp party I was lucky enough to attend a couple months ago). Really I had selected this place for lunch so we could get dessert next door at Pamplemousse. French macaroons!!! We indulged in a nice baker's dozen and took the box to go. At home we picked a ton of lemons and I started to peel them. I use a vegetable peeler and while I get a tiny bit of the bitter, white pith included, it's never hurt my final product! I started standing at the counter, but found myself feeling so weak that I decided to sit down to finish stripping the lemons. We sat around discussing future travel plans of all sorts, her going to Alaska, me going to Zurich, and us going all kinds of places in Europe when she comes over to visit. I was feeling increasingly weighed down and slow. She suggested another round of coffees, I headed to the kitchen and turned on the machine. Woah! I held on tight for a second while a slight dizzy spell hit me. I figured I'd have the caffeine and be fine, maybe I'd need a nap before I finished my writing assignment after D headed back to Davis. I felt bad for being such a bore, it was our last day of hanging out just by ourselves until November at least. I tried to shake it off!

After she left I did indeed pass out for about a half an hour. Then I sat wriggling around in the chaise as I completed my writing homework. I thought if I could just stretch the right muscle, or lean the right way, I might get some relief from the discomfort that was now wearing me out. I thought about the workout I had scheduled for the morning and wondered if it was too late to cancel with LT. I sent her a text message describing how I felt and warned her that I might need to cancel. She said to let her know by 8:30am the next day and she didn't mind the extra time in the morning if I couldn't handle it. It took me a long time to complete the assignment, but I finally got it posted on the class website.

I had a hard time falling asleep. I was restless and uncomfortable. I was extremely irritated when I woke up and still didn't feel right! Ugh! I had no appetite but ate a small piece of toast with CF for breakfast around 7am. Finally a little after 8 I made the call to LT. She asked if the pain was moving lower and to the right, I told her it was low but centered. But I started to wonder. She told me not to come in, that she wouldn't charge me for the session and to call the doctor. So then I call the doctor's office and describe what's happening. I switched away from that awful doctor I had last Fall, but I hadn't been in to meet the new one! I was a bit pleased that I'd be getting the chance. As the advice nurse asked me questions I started to wonder if the pain wasn't actually moving to the right. Oh no. She said I could either make an appointment there or I could go straight to Urgent Care in Palo Alto. I didn't really want to go to Palo Alto so I took the appointment. Then she said the doctor would be coming in to the office soon and she'd call me back sooner if she thought I should do something sooner than coming to my appointment.

I hung up and decided to get a shower. We were supposed to be taking CF's mom out to dinner in San Francisco later that night. We had a reservation at Kokkari, a Greek restaurant I've been wanting to try for quite some time. I thought I might wear a dress so I took the time to shave my legs and everything. But when I got out of the shower I found two voicemails from nurses at the doctor's office telling me to go to the Emergency Room! Ugh! I really had no idea what was going on here, I didn't want to end up unprepared for the rest of the day. So I took a few extra minutes putting myself together, yes, I did my makeup before driving myself to the ER! I called CF and told him where I was going, but said not to bother coming there until we knew it something bad was actually happening. And that was how I ended up walking solo into the Emergency Room door and announcing, "I was told I should come here! What's next?" I went through triage, not much pain, no nausea, I had almost gone to the gym! But that nurse sent me to get registered. That was when they gave me a wrist band. And suddenly I didn't think it was very funny anymore. I updated CF and still told him to wait for more news.

The ER nurse and doctor were very nice. I made jokes about it being the calmest emergency ever, but that the blood test was an awful birthday present. I tried to explain that it didn't hurt much but was responding to movement and was increasingly lower and more tender. I thought it might be some sort of "female" problem and explained how the last several years of weight loss have totally messed with my hormones at times. Finally Dr. MacGregor just said what I had been denying all morning, "It's probably appendicitis." Damn it. I asked to borrow a phone since I had shut down my mobile. I told CF it was time for him to come join me now.

They told me I had to drink some liquid that would dye my insides so the CAT scan would show everything better. The nurse, Caitlin, brought three cups of the stuff, one with a paper umbrella, "Cocktails!" She joked. I was thirsty so it actually wasn't hard to drink it all. But then there was nothing to do but wait two hours for the stuff to work it's way in enough so they could do the scan. I laid there alone and scared, suddenly feeling ridiculously stupid for telling CF to wait. The ER had been empty when I arrived but most of the beds were filling in now. Each one with someone in way worse of a state than me. I wriggled my bare toes around trying to think of some way out of this mess. "Fucking Lost!" I cursed in my head. Caitlin and Dr. MacGregor would reappear from time to time to bring little bits of news, I'd blink away tears and shake my head in acknowledgment. The doctor told me my white blood cell count wasn't elevated like it should be with appendicitis, but that didn't mean that I was off the hook quite yet.

It wasn't too much longer before CF was there and I relaxed a bit. Quite a lot actually. I let him distract me and we made snarky comments about whether we were on Scrubs or Grey's Anatomy. He made a joke about Jack's recent jungle appendectomy on Lost, he offered to hold the mirror so I could watch. I glared at him and asked if he really thought Lost wasn't one of the first things on my mind when this whole thing started going down. He should know me better than that!

Finally it was time for my CAT scan. To my surprise they didn't have me get up and into a wheel chair, let alone just let me walk there, they wheeled me over there in my ER bed! Little did they know the most painful thing I had going on right then was the IV in my right arm. Melody was my no-nonsense x-ray nurse. She made sure I had drank the dye and then explained that they would be injecting me with another dye right before the scan. She said it would feel kind of funny, it makes you feel warm, a lot of people feel it in their throats. She kind of smirked and said, "You might feel like you're wetting your pants, you're not." And then she got me hooked up to the freaky injection machine and the fun began. It started in my shoulders but hit my throat quickly just like she said it would, and yes, sure enough, I would have sworn I had wet my pants. Good times. The machine was very impressive, I was relieved that it wasn't a long skinny tube I had to go inside. More of a giant hoop I was sort of levitating through. And within the giant hoop there was an inner hoop spinning that made a loud rushing sound. "Take a deep breath... hold it," a recorded voice instructed. I slid through the ring. "Breathe!" It was sort of anti-climactic. That was it? Yep, that's it.

They wheeled me back to the ER and I stared up at the ceiling. So weirded out by the situation. The hospital's long hallway somehow made me think of the space in the Veteran's Memorial Theater building behind the stage. It's not entirely unlikely that it's because I was already flashing back to younger days, I hadn't been in the hospital since I was 12. I just don't do the dramatic stuff like this! They slid my bed right back next to the chair that CF was waiting in. He had been making phone calls while I was gone, and now the families had been alerted. I told him that I was done with this, changed my mind, can we go home now? I wondered what the chances were that the doctor would come tell me this was all just a big mistake and I'd be just fine. Really I knew better than that and I wasn't surprised at all when Dr. MacGregor told me that the radiologist was quoted as saying "I don't care!" when he was informed of my white blood cell count. He knew a "hot belly" when he saw one. He said something about a "strong constitution" and "walking around with appendicitis since yesterday." Should I remind him I went to spin class with it? Nah. Surgery was being scheduled for just a few hours from then.


Kendra said...

Wow, wow, and wow. Hope it's not a spoiler to say I'm glad that you are OK now! (Well, obvioulsy, you are blogging, so it's not a huge spoiler...but still!)

Leanne said...

You are one tough woman!

Try not to go running through the jungle after freighter baddies anytime too soon, mkay? :)

Chasing Travel said...

Thanks for the gory details, I had been wondering. At least the day before the surgery was fun. It just took a little hospital time to get you out of your last weeks of work and I get more time camping with you. Practically a win-win. Just kidding. I am so happy you are feeling better.

Meagan said...

I am incredibly impressed that you survived a spin class with appendicitis. You are a rock star!