Last night, after a nice, homemade dinner of beef stew over fettucine with pineapple and steamed corn, I did my usual after-meal routine of dishes and whatnot. The kids took a little bath, and I made a cup of half-caffeine coffee, and then we all settled into the living room to play and knit and hang out together. DH went up to the university to work on a project. It seemed like a normal, quiet, uneventful evening in suburbia.
One row into the little baby hat I’m trying to make, my belly started hurting. Not quite a cramp, not exactly indigestion, but it hurt. A lot. I finished knitting the row I was working on with my toes curled up. Maybe it was just a little gas, I thought, although in retrospect it would have been more than just a little to make it hurt that much. A few minutes later, the ache went away, so I didn’t think much of it.
But then, a half-hour later, it came back. Bad. A wrenching, balled-up fist in the middle of my abdomen had me doubled over with my eyes watering. It felt like a labor contraction, only much higher up, and it didn’t go away. I tried breathing through it and thinking past it and all the other coping-mechanisms I could remember from childbirth, but to no avail. This was awful.
It was bad enough that, for a moment, I considered calling DH to come home. But the pain eased up, so I got the girls together and instead we cuddled up in bed and watched Black Beauty on Animal Planet. Lying down seemed to help. My belly still hurt, but not as much as before.
DH came home a while later, and I told him what had happened, but that it wasn’t a big deal and probably just some bad indigestion or something. Of course, ten minutes later, I was doubled over again. I tried stumbling my way upstairs to go to bed, but the pain just intensified. It was horrible. Hubby decided to take me to Emergency to see what was going on. I burst into tears and then, I did something I have never ever ever before done in my life.
I had a full-blown panic attack in my foyer, complete with hyperventilating and crying and near-passing out. DH took me to the ER to see what
alien offspring was trying to claw its way out of my stomach was wrong with me, but I hardly remember any of the trip. I fainted in the registration cubicle as soon as we walked in. It was a classic display of completely wussing out psychosomatic symptoms. Fortunately, my hubby and two reasonably cute EMTs were there to help me off the floor and into a wheelchair. So it wasn’t all bad.
Five hours later (yes, we work quickly here), I had my diagnosis: Cholelithiasis Biliary Colic.
“Biliary colic is the term used to describe crampy pain from a gallbladder that contains gallstones.” So says my discharge and diagnosis paper that the emergency room doctor sent home with us.
I could have stayed in the hospital, but since I can’t see a specialist until Tuesday, it didn’t seem to make any sense. What would I do there for all that time? Lie in bed and moan?
So now, I’m just hanging out at home, lying around, moaning and clutching my worthless guts every so often when the gall bladder thing flares up, taking (sparingly) Vicodin (?!!), and not eating, because eating makes it act up within an hour. And I know we’re going to have to just go in there and cut this sucker out, but I’m not looking forward to that AT ALL. I am a terrible patient and a complete phobic when it comes to doctors and hospitals. My second child was born at home, just so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital. But I guess there’s no getting around it this time. No one seems to sell a Home Gall Bladder Extraction Kit anywhere. So we’re stuck.
And, of course, my mother is now on an airplane up from Florida and my sister is calling and everyone in the damn family wants to know how I’m doing, which is embarassing as all get-out. I hate being the center of attention, particularly sympathy attention. Which is, of course, why I put this on my blog, because talking about your troubles is the best way not to get people to feel sorry for you.
At least there’s the Vicodin.