Friday, July 5, 2013

awake for not good reasons

This is a generic abdominal ultrasound; it's not mine. I'll be undergoing the procedure in about four hours. It's one of the few diagnostic procedures that is both painless and isn't going to eventually kill me with cumulative residual radiation. Someday it will probably be discovered that the soundwaves cause deafness or pelvic inflammatory disease, but at least, for the present, it's considered to be a harmless procedure..

I am awake at this lovely hour because of extreme abdominal pain. One thing we know it is not is appendicitis, because my appendix was removed a couple of summers ago. An appendix can regenerate itself (it does so only rarely), but not in two years.  It appears, for reasons we need not get into, not to be a bowel obstruction, either, which is a good thing. Bowel obstructions are rarely if ever good.

My dad thinks it's adhesions from a prior surgery. I've had two kidney surgeies, an appendectomy, and a splenectomy. The appendectomy is the one most likely to result in adhesions, although the location of the pain is vague enough that it doesn't automatically point to that as the culprit. The pain is centralized enough now that it could also be gall bladder or kidney stone issues, neither of which have been a problem for me before. It could even just be a bad stomachache from something I ate or something I contracted, though I only have a low-grade fever. My dad is convinced that it's adhesions. My mom is certain I picked up something at the lab where I'm interning, where they use interns to dispose of waste in a not entirely safe matter and to mop up toxic spills.  My dad, who was the first one to suggest the tasks the lab personnel were giving the interns there are hazardous, says my mom is letting her imagination run wild, and the odds of my having contracted some lab-created superbacteria are quite remote and sound like something from deep in the entrails of her memories from  her early childhood days when she used to watch soap operas with her older sisters, or maybe from an episode of House, M.D.

Blood and urine samples have been delivered to the hospital lab, and my dad picked up IV versions of the good drugs, so I'm not feeling nearly so  much pain and nausea as I was about three hours ago.  My dad keeps telling me to go to sleep. The drugs help, but not that much, so sleep is not in the stars for me right now. I wish I could go to sleep, because then maybe everyone else in the house would go to sleep. They've even got my Uncle Steve, my primary care physician, who lives 30 miles away, here to monitor things.  One would think the logical thing to do once specimens are being delivered to the hospital and I'm receiving IV meds, would be to admit me to the hospital, but my dad and Uncle Steve, though they spend a good portion of their workdays in hospitals, are afraid of hospitals when it comes to their own kids, and won't let us in one unless it's absolutely necessary and only for the length of time it's absolutely necessary. If you ask me, my dad has something of a fetish when it comes to MRSA,

My dad or my uncle could give me drugs that would knock me out, but won't because pain is a diagnostic tool. Drugs that dull pain when necessary are OK, apparently, but something that could allow me to sleep through virtually any level of pain when the cause of the pain is unknown is not OK. I'm going to the hospital at the crack of dawn for an ultrasound. It seems to me that the sensible thing would be to get it done now while we're all awake anyway, but my  uncle Steve says the lady who's on duty for ultrsounds right now is bat-shit crazy and a bitch as well. He could read the ultrasound himself -- she's just the tech, not the radiologist  -- but she's apparently enough of a psycho that he'd rather risk my life than deal with her. He says I'm being melodramatic.

At least my illness didn't interrupt anyone's 4th of July festivities, as I didn't begin to experience symptoms until just after 10:30 p.m., which was after  the party had wrapped itself up. One thing I know is that I didn't get anything from eating anyone's potato or macaroni salad, as both are on my Donner Party List, which is my list of foods that no level of starvation would induce me to eat.  Actually, I ate one browine and a couple of crackers. I wasn't all that hungry; the illness was probably already on its way. My dad says it's not food-poisoning, anyway, because the output isn't enough, if you know what I mean. There's been a little of both types, but not enough for food poisoning. The major symptom is pain, and the nausea, my dad says, is mainly from the pain itself.

Jared was at the festivities. We were not rude, but did a good job of ignoring each other. I assume from his presence that he and his father must be back on at leat semi-speaking terms.  My brother told me Jared texted him to inquire about my well-being when he learned that I was ill. My parents had to call everyone at the party to rule out any obvious food-related issues, although my having eaten only two saltines  and a brownie (a plain one -- not one of those dressed up things with cream cheese that shouldn't even be called brownies) should have pretty much ruled out food-borne illness.

By tomorrow morning we should know if adhesions are the source of my pain. I almost hope they are even though such could necessitate another surgery, because if the cause of my symptoms cannot be pinpointed, my mother is going to go crazy thinking it's something created in the lab for which there is neither a readily available diagnosis nor a cure.  She has been worried about my immunity ever since they took my bone marrow to give to her without her knowledge and against her express wishes. She needs to get over it. It was over  twelve years ago. Any major consequence  suffered as a result should have come and gone a long time ago.  It's akin to donating blood in a perfectly sterile environment, then claiming eight years later than light-headednesss or some other symptom is from the blood donation.

My mother is an intelligent woman, but she sometimes appears to be from another planet, or even from another galaxy. My father shows some of the same characteristics, although at the moment, my mom is out-weirding even him, which is not an easy feat to accomplish. It's a miracle that my brother and I function as well in society as we do.

This is as good a place as any to reinsert a video from one of my favorite songs.


  1. Been there done that with adhesions. I don't even remember how to describe that pain. They ended up causing a small bowel obstruction that I ignored until the point that I was dry heaving every 2 minutes and couldn't pretend everything was alright.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do. I'll keep my fingers crossed that its nothing surgical. Just get well.

  2. Thanks, Becca. I should now something by early-to-mid morning. sleep is still eluding me, although I just had another dose of dilaudid into my IV, so my pain level is tolerable. My dad is primarily a guitarist, but he took piano lessons as a kid and plays to some degree. He's trying to entertain me by playing some of the songs he knows. It's far more entertaining than good. If he wanted it to be good, he'd take four steps down the hall and grab a guitar, but the man is lazy and there is a piano in my room.

  3. That really sucks. I hope that you are on the good drugs by now.

  4. I really relate to your mother. Emotionally at least, intellectually we're from different planets I think. I recently watched Guilt Trip, which I found very entertaining, and it made me think perhaps I should become Jewish as my parenting style seems to match the cliche of Jewish mother. :)

    I hope you're feeling loads better and whatever is wrong is easily fixed.

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