03-19-06: rusty innards

Earlier in the year, I had what I thought were gall bladder attacks.  Everyone on my dad's side of the family has had their gall bladders out, so I knew it was just a matter of time before mine went sour.  Lately, within a few hours of eating crappy food, I'd be bent over double with a hot knife searing through my lower-right section of my abdomen, so I figured that's what it was. 

I went to my doctor in early January and he sent me for an ultrasound, which confirmed gallstones.  I figured I'd wait until my company's new, sexy no-deductible insurance kicked in on 3/1 for me to make an appointment with a ninja-approved Delaware surgeon to do the deed. 

Alas, as these things go, I haven't yet received my new insurance card (even though I am totally covered), so to keep hassle to a minimum, I didn't schedule the surgeon appointment yet. 

Tuesday night I was enjoying a delightful Indian food buffet dinner in Newark with Jerm and Matt, and before I could even take a bite of my food, I felt an abdominal twinge that I knew was only going to get worse.  (Sometimes I know they're just gonna stay a twinge, and other times I can tell it's gonna escalate.)  I was right-- within the hour we had paid the bill urgently and I was curled up in my car's back seat screaming, crying and wailing, begging God just to kill me now.  Matt and Jerm said it sounded like I was in labor, but worse.  I honestly have never known pain like this in my life.  It was by far the worst attack ever. 

Normally these attacks pass in a half-hour, but lately they've been taking longer.  Also, I've noticed that lately they haven't been linked to eating crappy food anymore, since I've all but eliminated the occasional crap from my diet to avoid this very thing.  This particular attack hit around 7pm, and I wasn't even able to speak coherent sentences until 8:30 at least.  We drove by Christiana Hospital to throw me into the emergency room, but the triage / reception line was so long that I knew by the time I saw anyone it would have passed... and I'd only be extra-miserable in a seated postion in a waiting room, with everyone staring at the screaming lady.  So against Matt and Jerm's coaxing, I had them take me home.  When we got closer to home they asked if I wanted to go to Wilmington Hospital instead, but I was just so panicked and frazzled that I just wanted my bed.

We got home, and I took a Vicodin which this didn't even take the edge off the pain.  If anything, it just annoyed me because it made me sleepy, but I couldn't sleep because I was hurting.  Duh.

By 11pm the pain was finally subsiding, and I was hungry since I had pretty much skipped dinner.  I asked Matt to grab me a protein bar, and after the first bite, ZING! the pain and yelling started all over again.  I got to sleep around 1am, and I went to work the next morning around 11am. 

In the past when I've had attacks, as soon as they pass it's as if they never happened.  No residual pain or tenderness, nada.  I can run around, I can bend, laugh, work out, whatever, without giving it a thought.  But this time, the pain lingered big time.  I couldn't stand up all the way straight, bending over hurt, walking wasn't always comfy, and turning over in bed sucked.  I figured it the pain would pass eventually... it was just sore from being so traumatized.  Being at work was not a joy, especially considering how uncomfortable my chair at work is.  But whatevah.  You make do.

I read up some more online about various gall bladder diseases, as well as other lower-right abdominal ailments, and I honestly ruled out gall bladder stuff.  All signs of gallbladderness didn't point to what I had.  (Pain radiating to the back= nope.  Pain that could feel like a heart attack = nope.  Pain under the ribcage, kinda = nope.)  So I started researching appendicitis.  Signs made a bit more sense, but still, not right on the nosey.  Then I considered abdominal adhesions, since the pain is pretty much right underneath the largest of my laproscopic scars from a previous surgery.  Still, no alarms.

Anyhoo, Friday night I was hanging out with ButlerJon and his friend Caitlin at the Golden Monkey, and I didn't have much of an appetite.  I had 1/2 an omelette and some toast.  Didn't touch my fries... (Wow, that should tell you something right there.)  A few hours later at home, I felt the old familiar twinge.  was on his way over and when he arrived I told him that we had to hit the hospital.  It was time.

We got to Wilmington Hospital around 11:30pm, and they kept me overnight.  By the morning, the following tests were done:

  • Abdominal ultrasound (oh hey John, Donna the redhead from XRay says hello.  I think she also wants to have your kids.  Just sayin'.)
  • XRay + barium swallow  (yummy)
  • Plain ol' CT
  • Another CT with IV-administered contrast (oh hey John, Karen from XRay says hello.  I wasn't name dropping, what makes you say that?)
  • Girlie-exam
  • Hiney exam (wheee! big fun!)
  • Blood tests a-go-go
  • Pee test o-rama

    And you know what they found?  NOTHING.  They said I'm fine.  They discharged me Saturday morning with a prescription for Vicodin and no real answer about anything. 

    The good news:  I have no infection anywhere -- my white blood count was good and I had no fever.  My appendix is happy.  My gall bladder, while it has a stone or two, is totally happy, and there's no need to remove it.  It's not inflamed or even mildly irked, and the stones are not in attack position.  Everything else looks dandy.  Happy liver, spiffy kidneys, joyous spleen, rapturous pancreas, blissful duodenum, festive stomach, whimsical colon, chipper ovaries, magically fertile girlie-bits.  He even said I had a nice ass.

    The bad news:  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME!?

    The nice news: Matt (what a champ) called a zillion people from work on my drugged behalf and told them I wouldn't be going to Nashville, and they were all bummed about it. 

    The meh news:  Right-- I didn't go to Nashville.  I kinda wanted to go, considering Alyson Krauss was gonna be playing and I could have seen her.  I lerve her voice, in that O Brother Where Art Thou kinda way.

    How do I feel now?  In no particular order:

    1. Fine, really
    2. A little sore, but only because I was flat on my back from midnight Friday night to 9:00am this (Sunday) morning.  I didn't have a Saturday, basically.
    3. Silly, for panicking so many people just to learn that golly gee whiz, "there's nothing wrong with me"
    4. Annoyed, because I still have no answers
    5. Doofy, because work is not expecting me to be at work until Thursday, since work thinks I'm in Nashville, so I'm not sure what I should do...
    6. A little pinchy in the lower-abdomen, but nothing earthshattering.
    7. Hopeful, as I'm going to call my surgeon in NYC and schedule an appointment with him, just to see what he thinks.  He's the guy who did a laparoscopic gall bladder removal of a woman in France... from NYC.  He's THE DUDE.  [What can I say?  I like nerdy doctors.  (snicker snicker.)]
    So, now that I'm awake and stuff, I'm gonna go have me some dinnah.  Crap-free dinnah, to be specific.

    Fortune Teller Miracle Fish today tells me I am: Fickle. There's been a lot of Fickle going on lately, according to this thing. Hmmm.