March 14, 2004

The Universe is Out to Get Me

Whoever said that bad things happen in threes was right. My third bad thing happened last night.

Out of the blue at about 9:00 I was hit with uncomfortable, then severe stomach pain and cramping. Assuming it was something bad I ate, I stuck it through thinking that once it left my system I'd be okay. No such luck. After about 5 hours of constant pain and, shall we say, seeing my food a second time from both ends, I couldn't take it anymore. When blood became involved, it was time to call the ambulance.

I was ambulatory but we have no idea where the hospital is or which one is open at night, so the ambulance seemed like the best way to go. Of the two paramedics, one was nice and the other was rather stern. Neither one spoke a word of English (which seemed to really bother the stern guy) so Kevin did his best to translate for me. Still, no matter how fluent you are in a language, interacting in a medical setting is a whole different ballgame. Later Kevin was reprimanded by one of the paramedics, asking "if this happened at 8 or 9, why didn't you just call your regular doctor instead of waiting?" Can you imagine that in the US? Just calling up your regular doctor at 9 pm on a Saturday? Kevin's response was along the lines of "well, we're foreigners and we thought it was something bad that she ate."

I got right into the uncrowded ER and was attended to by two nurses who spoke passable English. Still, we got stuck on some of the medical terms ("what do you call it--not when you vomit but the feeling you get before you vomit?"). They drew some blood and due to my bad veins had to try each arm before they could get enough. They debated for a while on which doctor to get for me, and due to the blood they got the surgeon.

He spoke reasonable English as well. He did an abdominal ultrasound (normal) and an exam, finding nothing. I was then given an IV, which was started by the doctor--I've never had a doctor start an IV on me before, only nurses. He did a pretty good job too. I was then given some saline with some pain medicine in it while we waited for the blood tests.

Most were normal, including the test that indicates whether there is internal bleeding, so that was very good. My white blood cell count was high, indicating an intestinal infection. I wasn't particularly surprised by the diagnosis--in December 2002 I was hospitalized for an intestinal infection that was worse than this but had basically the same symptoms. I wonder why I seem prone to this? With the exception of a granola bar and some chocolate, Kevin had eaten exactly what I ate all day, with no ill effects. Very strange.

Anyway, I was given two medications and allowed to go home. The first medication, "for my stomach," turned out after internet research to be Nexium (The Purple Pill). Since I happen to have a 6 month supply of Nexium due to a pharmacy mishap, we don't need to fill that one. The second was "for pain" and research showed that to be an anti-spasmodic, muscle relaxer for the intestines. It was interesting because I was expecting regular old pain medicine but when I was given it intravenously I felt the pain lessen without making me woozy, tired, or spacy.

I'm still feeling not so great now. Nothing like last night, but still experiencing many of the same problems. I had some broth for lunch and some soup for dinner and have been able to keep both down along with water. The doctor didn't seem to want to give me antibiotics for the infection, preferring to let it pass through my system naturally. I hope it does so soon.

In the meantime, expect light blogging until I feel better.

Posted by Shelby at March 14, 2004 06:30 PM

Jeez, girl! Hope you're feeling better and getting lots of rest!

Posted by: Annastazia at March 16, 2004 07:39 AM
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