For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

They're gonna do WHAT?

We've been out and about for the last bit.  Time for me to catch up.  Some I'll write about in other posts, but before I get to them, I want to follow up on my previous posts.

I got the call from the hospital I was waiting for.  My pre-op is booked for Tuesday morning at 8:30am.  It'll take a few hours.  The surgery itself is booked for the following Monday.  I'll find out what time I have to go in during the pre-op, where I will also be pre-admitted.  Handy, that.  Dh was able to book those days off, plus the day after my surgery, with a tentative extension in the unlikely event that things go wrong.  Things are moving along smoothly, and I'm quite happy with how it's all working out.

I spent a bit of time going over the information pamphlets I got from the gyno.  They described 3 different possible laparoscopic surgeries, including a hysterectomy.

The one describing the procedure I'll be getting had a few details the gyno forgot to mention.  One of them was the inflation.  I actually did know that this would be done - an old friend had described her laparoscopy some years back and mentioned it.  I had completely forgotten about it, though.  I'm going to be pumped full of CO2 so they have room to look around.

It takes a while for the gas to go away on its own.


I'd better make sure I bring along some very loose clothing to wear when I'm done.

Then I got to the image in the pamphlet and discovered there was something else the doctor neglected to mention to me that had me spouting come choice words that had the rest of the family wondering what the heck was going on.  Seriously??  WTH?!?! 

It wasn't the ballooned belly in the image that bothered me.  Nor was it the laparoscope through the naval.  The second image showing a surgical instrument inserted through another incision didn't bother me, either. Nope.

It was this.

Yeah, that other thing.  That thing that looks like a medieval torture device.  The thing with the hinge.  A friggin' uterine manipulator.


Stick something through an incision in my belly, I've got no problem.  Pump me full of CO2?  Go for it.

Sticking something through my vagina and INTO my uterus?  Then wiggling it around?

THAT gives me the willies.


I know I'm going to be out for this and I won't feel a thing if they do end up using it.  It doesn't matter.  It's bad enough I've had to put up with all those friggin' pelvic exams.  I don't like the idea of someone paying me a visit, shall we say, and I certainly don't like the idea of hosting a guest in my parlor.


Ew.  Ew.  Ew.


I really, really hope they don't need to use it.  Unfortunately, it's probably likely they will.  As my MIL (who has assisted many a surgery in her medical career) told Dh, aging, having children and weight changes has things moving around and settling in places they didn't start out.  Considering the difficulty they had trying to find things during the ultrasound, I imagine my bits and pieces have moved around a fair bit.  This is normal.  It just makes it a little harder on the doctors during surgery.

My MIL had assurances for Dh about the cyst, as well.  They're pretty normal and I may have had it for decades.  Had George not decided to do the twist, I may never have discovered him.  Of course, I told him this as well, but sometimes it helps him to hear it from somewhere else.  Hearing it from his own mother, with her background, probably did more to reassure him than hearing it from anyone else.

As for me, I'm looking forward to Tuesday.  I'll have to remember to bring my project bag along.  I imagine I'll be spending quite a bit of time waiting in between the tests and whatnot they have to do.  I've been told it'll be 2 - 3 hours altogether.

I wonder if I'll have a chance to visit a friend who's been stuck in that hospital for a few weeks now?  I haven't seen her in a while.  A visit would be nice. :-)

Meanwhile, I've been tentatively active.  Eldest escorted Youngest to her guitar lesson for me, but I've been able to walk to the library and back without issue, though I do tend to slow myself down.  Today I was on my feet a lot more than usual and felt fine until the last leg home.  There was just a bit of pulling in the area.  Not something I haven't felt before, but now I realize it's George, saying hello.

George, your days are numbered!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The continuing stooooory...

Ah, finally an almost quiet moment to continue the tale of George.

Which means I expect my husband to come down the stairs, wanting the computer, any moment now.  Because that's just the way it seems to go in this household.  ;-)

After getting changed and packed up, Dh left me in the waiting room of the emergency while he brought the van around to pick me up.  He'd used a parkade this time and, much to his shock, had to pay $25 for the four hours it was there.  Keep in mind that, in the downtown parkades a few blocks away, they charge a maximum of $14 or so a day.  So that was an unexpected hit.  All the hospitals have really expensive parking like this, I've heard, so we knew it would be high, but sheesh!

I was feeling almost normal by then.  The last dose of painkillers may or may not have worn off by then.  I wasn't feeling any pain, which was the important part.  Well enough to leave the waiting room and wait for Dh outside.  Ah, sweet fresh air! 

Dh dropped me off at home, where Eldest came out to make sure I was able to get up the stairs okay, while he went on to pick up my prescription for painkillers.  He was laughing at me about having to take suppositories until I pointed out that he'd be the one ... applying them, shall we say.  It's a good thing we buy latex gloves in bulk for when Eldest needs to top up her colour (her hair is bright blue at the moment).

The girls were doing the dishes when I got home (they're so sweet!) and Youngest promptly glommed herself onto me in a giant hug.  :-)  I spent the next while sitting at the computer, which had me facing the kitchen, and regaled them with all that had been happening in the last while.  I also sent emails to family to let them know I was home and telling them more than we could pass on through text messages and facebook status updates.  I found out later on that my sister, who is on dial-up and had connection problems for a while, wasn't actually able to get any of the messages I'd sent until I was already home.  Dh was home with my prescription soon though.  It was covered 100% by his insurance, which was nice. 

The family took care of everything for me - including making sure I had something to eat pretty much as soon as I got home.  It had been some 18 hours since I'd eaten that lonely little hunk of pork chop I'd managed to have before heading to the hospital.  And water.  Lots and lots of water.  I was feeling pretty dehydrated again by then!

I was completely exhausted.  I didn't want to go for a nap, as I figured it would mess up my sleep patterns, but in the end I just couldn't stay away.  I made up a pile of pillows so I could sleep reclined, as I had in the hospital, since lying flat even for a little while had caused problems.  I slept for a solid four hours.  What bliss!  No weird guy yelling all the time.  No interruptions from people wanting to poke and prod at me.  No test after test after test.

I so needed that nap!  It ended up not messing me up, either, as I found myself going to bed early, too.  Well, early for me, which means at about midnight or so.  Dh tried to set up a better incline for me - one that didn't use his body pillows, which he needs because of his back injuries.  It didn't work, unfortunately, and I ended up sleeping with Youngest.  She didn't mind at all. :-)

The next day, Saturday, I was feeling almost completely normal.  The only thing that reminded me of my ordeal was stiff and sore muscles on my entire left side.  Go figure! *L*  By Sunday, even that was gone!

On the Friday, we called the office of a gynecologist I was recommended to.  Actually, Dh tried to call while I was going down for my nap, but they had to talk to me directly.  We called a bit too soon, though.  They hadn't received my file yet.  The receptionist took down my info and said she'd call me back. 

That call back came on Monday morning.  Early!  They had an opening the next morning.  Could I come in that quickly?  I said yes, of course.  The quicker the better, as far as I was concerned.  I was surprised to have a 7:50am appointment, though.  I'd never encountered a doctor's office that was even open that early before!  Our own family doctor's office opens at 9pm, which seems to be pretty standard. 

Dh was able to book the time off from work to take me to the appointment.  His employers have been so fantastic! Not only were they supportive when he sent an email (from the hospital, via Blackberry) to let them know he wasn't coming in on Friday, but he was assured that he could work from home any time, if I needed him to take care of me.  I'm just really impressed with this company and how they treat their employees.

So Tuesday morning had us heading out to the medical centre my gynecologist works out of.  It's right near to the hospital emergency entrance, actually.  We got there early and Dh dropped me off while he went to find someplace to park that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.  Early was good, since I had paperwork to fill out while I was waiting.

When someone came to get me and Dh, we were left in an examination room with instructions from me to strip from the wait down and sit on the exam table.  Gotta love those paper blankets they leave to cover up with. :-P  Dh and I chattered away while we waited, and I noticed a sign on the wall informing patients that, due to unexpected emergencies, sometimes appointments could be interrupted or delayed, with apologies and thanks for patience in advance. 

When the dr finally came in, he was looking over my file and started talking to me about my cyst.  I interrupted to clarify that they had determined it was just a cyst.  He seemed almost surprised by my question - as if he thought I already knew.  He flipped through the pages and told how the four different markers for cancer they'd tested for had all come back negative.  It's still possible that George is actually cancer, but at this point that's viewed as unlikely. 

(Shortly after the doctor came in, we got a knock on the door and he had to rush off to take care of something.  We could see why the sign on the wall we'd been reading was necessary!)

The next step was to give George his eviction notice.  I was to get a laparoscopy, which he started to describe in more detail.  They'd be making an incision in my naval for the camera and surgical equipment.  The cyst and ovary would be removed through the same opening.  A sample would be sent for biopsy immediately.  If it came back negative, they'd remove the cyst and ovary, close me up and send me home within a couple of hours.  If it did turn out to be cancer, they'd make a larger surgical incision to see what they were dealing and remove what had to be removed, which might include the uterus and right ovary as well.  I'd be in the hospital for however long it took, after that.  Sort of a worst case scenario.  Basically, it was what we were expecting to hear.

Then I got another physical exam and pap smear.


Dh just about burst out laughing at my face during the exam.  That and the whole shoulder action from the dr. as he put his weight behind it.  Ugh.  No wonder I always feel bruised afterwards!  He was apparently able to feel George right away, though.  That made him a first!  No other doctor had been able to until then.

I did remember to ask about the other findings of the ultrasound.  The gyno at the emergency had mentioned that my uterine lining was unusually thick.  Considering I was menopausal, they weren't sure if this was normal for me or not.  When I brought it up, the new gyno actually had to go flipping through the pages again to find what I was talking about.  Nothing about the uterus had struck him as unusual.  Which turns out to be a moot point, actually.  Yesterday (4 days after this appointment) I started my cycle - the first in some 8 months.  *sigh*  I was so hoping to finally be done with those! *L*

As we were chatting with the dr, we called the cyst by name.  The dr. got quite the giggle out of it.  It wasn't until later on that I clued in.  The dr's first name is Jorge. 

After the appointment, I had some paperwork to fill out for the hospital.  More background info, allergy info, other health problems, if any, and signing that I'd have everything explained to me and understood it.  I did have to ask what a "vendor representative" was.  The release form stated that, by signing, I was okay to have a vendor representative in surgery with me.  Vendor for what?  I asked at the desk and the receptionist had to go find someone to clarify, so I guess they don't get that question often.  It turns out that, if some new equipment is being used, the maker of the equipment might have someone in the room to make sure the doctors using it didn't have any problems.  It doesn't happen often.

I also asked about the possibility of being able to see George.  All this time, and I had yet to see anything besides a vague dark shadow on an ultrasound monitor I could barely view.  Off the receptionist went again.  When she came back, she explained that, because George out be removed in tiny pieces through a tiny hole, they wouldn't be able to get an actual picture of him, but the nurse promised that they would put the pieces kind of together and get a picture of the bits.  Good enough for me! :-)

Yeah, I know.  It'll be gross.  I'm okay with that.

Which leaves me at where I am now.  Waiting.  I'm to get a phone call from the hospital telling me when my surgery is booked.  I haven't got a call yet, but if it take a while, I'll call the gynecologist's office and see if I can get a bee in someone's bonnet over it.  George has been served his eviction notice, and although he's behaving himself for now, he's not long for this world. ;-)

If, however, he does decide to take my ovary for another dance around my intestines, I'm to go straight to emergency, and George will be removed immediately.

Although I have no restrictions placed against me, I'm being a lot more cautious in my mobility.  So far, I can walk to the library and back without setting George off again (a distance slightly less than the walk I took that triggered all this), though I did find myself slowing down a lot more than usual.  The twisting and bending that I always took for granted will also have to stop.  I'm going to be a lot more sedentary than I like for the next while, which is irritating. 

Not much to complain about, in the grand scheme of things, though.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Hullo, George."

Continuing my tale...

I was now into the wee hours of the morning.  My pain was under control.  Dh had gone home to the girls, and I was more than ready to try and get some sleep.

Of course, there were a number of interruptions.  Necessary ones, though, so I didn't really mind.

Having been turned over to the emergency gyno team, one of the team members came by to talk to me.  He was actually an intern, working with the doctor heading the team that night.  A very young, very soft spoken man with a gentle voice and mannerism.  He had a whole lot of questions to ask me, and apologized ahead of time for some that would be of a rather intimate nature.  There were the usual questions about my health history; was there any cancer in my family?  Diabetes?  Heart disease?  Did I have any health problems?  Past surgeries? (While it seemed odd to have to tell him about an appendectomy that I had 30 years ago, I did make a point of telling him that the dr had removed a cyst off my right ovary at the same time, just because he happened to be in there to see it, and it was unusually large.)  Had anything like this ever happened to me before?

Then he had to ask the more personal question.  Was there any chance of STDs?  Had I ever been tested?  How often did I have sex, and did I ever feel discomfort/pain/etc. during intercourse?  When was my last menstrual cycle?  Was there any possibility of being pregnant?  He spent a good, long while with me, talking to me as much as asking the questions.  Then he explained that the dr would be coming by later to talk to me and to do a pelvic exam; did I have a problem with that?  Or with both of them having to do an exam?  Blech.  I hate pelvic exams.  Not for any reasons of modesty - I assured him I'd lost those sorts of hang-ups long ago!  They're just really unpleasant.  Under the circumstances, it was rather necessary.  He was quite thorough in explaining everything to me.

I had a chance to doze a bit before I was awakened by an apologetic trio who were loath to interrupt my sleep.  The intern was back with the doctor and a female nurse to be my chaperon.  The doctor was another young guy with a gentle speaking mannerism, though not quite as soft spoken as the intern.  There were more questions and clarifications from the doctor, though it was more a matter of me assuring him I understood what was going on so far, and the possible repercussions.

Then it was exam time.  Blech.

I made sure to go to the bathroom first.

The purpose of the exam was to find the mass and get a handle on where it was, what it felt like and how big it was.  This first involved palpating my abdomen, then fingers reefed around internally while being pressed against from the outside in different areas and asking me if I felt any pain. Aside from being stabbed by fingers, that is.  The intern went first, and he was pretty gentle about it.  Then the dr had his turn.  He was a lot more... thorough.  By the time he was done, I was feeling almost bruised, inside and out!  Going to the bathroom before the exam had been a very good idea. *L*

With all that, neither one of them could feel the mass, though I could pin point to them exactly where I was feeling the pain, even dulled as it was by the drugs.  They talked with me a bit more about the upcoming ultrasound, then they shut off my lights so I could go back to sleep.

Sleep was not yet to come.  Between the walk to the bathroom and the pelvic exam, things started acting up again.  At first, I just ignored it.  It was obviously triggered by walking to the bathroom and the pelvic exam, and I thought it would settle itself outsoon.  Instead, it got worse.   Quickly.

Which left me back to my earlier dilemma.  Do I nip it in the bud before things get too uncomfortable and ask for painkillers, even though it was still quite bearable?  Or do I give it more time and see if it went away on its own?  There had already been a couple of times when it felt like the pain was returning, only to fade away again, but this time was already well past previous levels of discomfort.

In the end, it was the speed at which the pain was increasing that decided it for me.  Within less than 2 minutes after they left, I was calling the nurse back.   On telling her the pain was coming back, she asked me how, on a scale of 1 - 10, would I rate the pain?

I'd been asked that question several times through all this, and I find it one of the most annoying things to answer.  Just how does one determine that?  Pain is such an individual thing.  I've always had an unusually high pain tolerance - one of the side effects of standard pain killers not working well on me.  It makes getting dental work a rather unfortunate experience, among other things.  Pharmaceuticals in general just tended to not work properly with me, though that seems to have improved as I've gotten older.  Then there's my tendency to avoid using painkillers in general, so I've learned to put up with quite a bit of pain.  So my idea of the pain scale was going to be a bit off.  As the pain was increasing so quickly, however, I rated it higher than I normally would have.  As this nurse hadn't treated me yet, I told her what I'd already had over the evening.  At her questioning, I told her that I preferred to stick to the Toradol rather than go back to the morphine, explaining that while I could still feel things going on with the Toradol, I preferred it to feeling nothing at all with the morphine, and fighting the urge to go home.  So off she went to check my chart to and get some Toradol.

She came back empty handed.  It turned out that I was no longer written up for Toradol.  Instead, I was written up for Voltaren.  She explained to me the difference between it and the other meds, and why it was considered preferable.  That it lasted for a full 8 hours being one of them.  Less likely to cause nausea or stomach damage was another.  The problem?

It was a suppository.


I was told that I could administer it myself, if I preferred.  No thanks! *L*

Thankfully, it worked rather quickly, and I was soon happily drifting off.

Then my neighbour, B, started up again.

Most of the time, it was the usual stuff, like body noises.  At one point, I could hear someone wheeling around a cart in between sweeping, changing garbage bags, and restocking the rack of things like towels and facecloths, among other things.  That rack happened to be located right next to B's room.  I guess he had his curtain open or something.  He started telling the woman doing her work to go away, come back after he was gone, stop what she was doing.  A nurse came by because of the commotion and tried to tell him the woman was just doing what she was supposed to, and that she couldn't stop doing it just because of him.

Other times, he seemed to be giving his neighbour, the guy with 3-4 broken ribs, a hard time.  There were a few times I heard him pipe up for B to just be quiet!  B didn't appreciate that and would have a little snit.

Still, it wasn't too bad.  I actually did fall asleep for a while.  It wasn't very long, unfortunately, before I started hearing, "Oh!  Oh... yuck!  That's disgusting!"

Instantly, I knew exactly what happened.  The thought just popped right into my head, without any doubt at all.

Sure enough, I soon heard exactly what happened, as did everyone else in the ward.

B had just shit his pants.

I heard him getting out of his bed, making disgusted noises the whole time, and could see his sneakered feet under my curtain as he shuffled across the ward towards the nurses' station.  He then loudly began telling whichever nurse got to him first that he had thought he just needed to fart, but instead he had a squirt.

After a while, the nurse had to tell him he didn't need to be so loud, and remind him that other patients were trying to sleep.

He didn't appreciate that.

He shuffled around, calling out to the nurses, asking if they had any hospital pants he could have.  I could hear someone come back and start changing his bedding, and he somehow thought it necessary to explain to this person what needed to be done.  He shuffled off to the bathroom, then I could see him shuffling back - this time it was bare feet and bare legs I could see under my curtain - still loudly asking for a pair of pants.  They didn't have any, but someone did bring him a pair of disposable underwear.  Then I heard someone saying they'd go to the Social Services desk to find him a pair of pants.

He responded by telling her he needed a 32 inch waist and 32 inch leg.  No thanks of any kind.  Actually, he showed no gratitude at all the entire night, but somehow, the lack of it stood out a lot more this time.

After a while, someone came back with a pair of pants for him in the size he's specified.  He was pretty talkative while trying them on, so it wasn't long before we all knew that they didn't fit and could she get him another pair?

Eventually, he was back in his stretcher, and I dared hope to finally get back to sleep. 

Yeah, I should have known better.  Soon, he started loudly moaning and groaning and calling for the nurse, with everyone being treated to the knowledge that he needed to go to the bathroom and he was afraid he'd shit himself again.  The head nurse finally had had enough.  When she went to help him, she admonished him for being so loud and keeping everybody up.  I must say, she displayed remarkable patience and respect in her tone.  I was impressed by it.  Before we knew it, he was yelling at her and repeatedly called her a bitch.  She promptly went to get security.  He managed to get out of bed and shuffle off to the bathroom again. Security was waiting for him by the time he got back.  The guard tried to talk to him, but B started yelling at the security guard and claiming that the one particular nurse was treating him so badly, and that she'd refused to put down his safety rail, and that she was trying to kick him out of the hospital (what she'd really said was that he was free to go if he didn't want to be there - it seems he didn't actually need to be there, but they were letting him stay to sleep off his high blood alcohol level that he denied having) then he was crying about how awful everything was, and on and on.  Eventually, the guard got him calmed down, but by that point, I was wide awake again. 

With all the stuff I'd been hearing from this guy all night, B was clearly someone who could turn it on and off at will.  A total manipulator, trying to play different staff members off the other.  His lack of success didn't stop him from keeping it up.  Things did quiet down again briefly, but this guy just couldn't go for long without finding something else to whine about.  This time, it was the lights.  He wanted them off.  Not his lights.  The main lights for the ward.  He couldn't sleep with them on - but he didn't want the curtain pulled, either.   After asking several people to turn off the lights and being refused, he tried a different tactic.  While talking to one nurse, he started going on about how the hospital depended on staff like her, that she should be able to do whatever she felt was comfortable, that if she was comfortable working with the main lights off, she should be able to do that, and the hospital wouldn't be able to stop her.  She emphatically told him she wouldn't be comfortable with the lights off, and neither would the 20 other people working in the ward.  That finally got him to shut up about it.  Finally... peace and quiet! Finally, a bit of sleep!

Can you guess what happened next?

Yup.  It was time for my ultrasound.  Someone came to get me just before 7:30 am.  B had managed to keep us all up almost the entire night with his antics.  I got maybe an hour of sleep after he finally quieted down.  Either that or I was so exhausted, I simply slept through anything else.

The timing was perfect, though.  I was just being wheeled away when Dh walked in.  He stayed in my room and got my phone hooked up to charge for me - I had finally turned it off, as it was almost completely drained.  I found out afterwards that he was entertained by B while I was gone.  He was sitting and waiting for me when he could see B going by in a wheelchair, dragging against our curtain in the process again.  He'd started calling out to the nurses for a sandwich.  Most of the daytime shift change had happened, though, so what he got was a bunch of people asking who he was, and why was he there?  A nurse that was still there from the night shift came by asking B why he was still there, as he had been released.  And why was he in a wheelchair instead of walking?  He started claiming that he couldn't walk, and that they couldn't kick him out, and he was taking that wheelchair until his dad came to pick him up (I was surprised by that detail, considering this guy's age) and generally being abusive to the staff.

Emergency room staff deserve medals!

I, however, had other things on my mind.

As I was being wheeled away, I couldn't help but laugh.  Chatting with the nurse pushing me, I pointed out the Xray ("been there already") and the CT scan ("been there, too!").  I was getting to know the bowels of that hospital rather well!  I was left to wait in a stretcher waiting room for a couple of minutes with one other patient.  (After the ultrasound was done, I was left to wait in a different area for a minute or so before being taken by to my room.  There I found my neighbour in the emergency ward; the one with th 5mm kidney stone.  The poor guy looked so worried and scared!  I hope things went well for him.)

The ultrasound tech got me into the room and started the explanation of what was going to be done.  It turned out I was getting two different types of ultrasounds.  There was the type I was already used to, having had a couple of babies.  The other was going to be internal, which was a procedure I hadn't known about.  As she started explaining to me how it worked, she told me, "don't worry about the size when you see it.  Most of that is handle."

Uh huh.  That didn't make me feel any better!  The darn thing looked like a futuristic dildo.  I was getting more action in one night than I've seen in a long time!  Too bad none of it was any fun. :-P

She started me on the jelly belly ultrasound first.  Unfortunately, the screen was angled in such a way that I couldn't see it.  She did her thing around the area in question, but didn't seem too happy with the images she was getting.  She got quite a series of images, though, taking plenty of extras.  She could quite clearly see the dark mass in question.  I asked her some questions and, while making sure I knew this was her unqualified observation, as it would be up to the specialists to interpret what was there, she said she thought it looked like it was full of liquid.  Which was about what I expected, since I felt it was most likely to be a cyst.

Then it was time to do the internal.

After my experience with the pelvic exam, I asked to go to the bathroom first.  I didn't need to, but I figured better safe than sorry!

While I was away, she set up the stretcher for me. This involved a triangle shaped pillow with a section removed at the top.  I was to lie with my hips at the top, so that my butt was at the cut out section.  This was to prevent the bed from being in the way of the ultrasound wand. 

Not the most comfortable of positions.

After a bit of privacy to strip down even more than I already was, get on the triangle pillow and cover up with a paper blanket, the tech got me to reach around and insert the idiot thing myself.  It made things easier for the patients that way, apparently.  I'll take her word for it, since reaching around with my hips up in the air like that wasn't the easiest thing.  It did allow her to do what she needed to do without ever having to look under the paper blanket, and I guess that's something a lot of patients would be more comfortable with.

Then she started reefing it.

To think I thought the dr's very thorough pelvic exam on me had been a bit much!  She was yanking that thing in directions I didn't realize I could bend in down there!  She wasn't just trying to get the affected area.  She was trying to get a series of images of the entire area from right to left. 

She had troubles finding my right ovary.  I'm not entirely sure she ever did.

And yeah, I was very glad to have gone to the bathroom first!  She was pressing that thing against some very sensitive areas.  It brought back memories of having a baby stomping on my bladder while pregnant.

She was not happy with the images, though, so she left to get someone with more experience than herself - leaving the wand dangling out of me.  Ew.  The specialist came in and tried to get the images, but wasn't satisfied with what she was seeing, either.  They did take images, but she decided to try again with the jelly belly method.  Ah, well.  So much for my getting all cleaned up from that the first time.  It meant they had to get the triangle pillow out from under me, though, and that got a touch awkward.  There's just not a lot of maneuvering room on a stretcher.  It was worth it, though, as the specialist got a series of images that they were much happier with.  Then after she left, the tech took a few more, just to make sure they had a lot of decent quality shots. With the shifting around, I could just sort of see the screen at an angle, but not well enough to make anything out, though I could see the dark mass they were talking about.  I think.

After giving me some privacy to clean up and get semi-dressed again, it was back to my room in emergency to wait for the results.  Dh was waiting for me and we filled each other in with news. I regaled him with what a lovely night we all had thanks to B, and how glad I was to see that bed empty as I was being wheeled back, he told me about B's attempt to not leave, after all. 

I still hadn't eaten anything since late in the previous afternoon, and hadn't had anything to drink since before the CT scan, so I was absolutely famished and thirsty.  Dh went to ask if I could finally eat something, but once again I was told no.  The reason this time was the possibility of going into surgery after they got a look at the ultrasounds. 

Once again, we waited.

It was a surprisingly short wait, all things considered.  The doctor came by to explain what they could see - which still wasn't much.  They could now say it was attached to my left ovary.  They could also tell me that it measured 13 x 11 cm.  That's about 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.  Definitely something with some heft to it!

They still couldn't determine if it was cancer or not from just the ultrasound.  For that, they would need to take more blood and test for specific markers.

So much for the 7 vials I had taken when I first arrived having "extras" they could use!

He asked if we had any questions, but we didn't have many.  There's only so many things it could be, and we were aware of what sort of treatment might be likely.  I did have one main question, though.

Would I finally be able to eat and drink?

Nope.  There was still a possibility I'd be going into surgery.  They needed to spend more time going over my details to decide.


A few minutes after the doctor left, a nurse came by and took another 4 vials of blood from my other elbow for the tests.  After she was gone, we had nothing to do but wait.

And wait.

With time on our hands, we discussed the thing that was found.  Not knowing if it was a cyst or a tumour, we didn't know what to call it.

I decided to call it George

Dh thinks I'm silly. ;-)

With the possibility of surgery now in the air, we talked about one problem I was having that I was now seriously considering getting fixed.  The IV in my right elbow was an issue.  Though I had some movement in my arm, it was severely limited.  I couldn't put my glasses on properly, for example, leaving me with one handle resting crooked on my head, making it not only uncomfortable, but affecting my vision.  (For the folks who don't wear glasses: If the lenses are not positioned properly on your face, it distorts the vision.  Depending on one's prescription, this can lead to headaches, dizziness and nausea.  It also can affect depth perception.  Not pleasant.)  I also couldn't put my hair back up into its clip, so it was constantly getting in my way.  Dh had brought my project bag so I could crochet while I waited, but there was no way I could manipulate a hook.  Even holding the book he also brought me was more difficult than it needed to me.

Dh went to ask a nurse to come by about the possibility of moving the IV.  When a nurse came by shortly after, I explained what I wanted done and why as he looked at the veins in my arm.  He suggested that I would still have the same problem if it was in my hand, as my ability to bend my wrist would be affected by the needle.  He thought it might be worth moving the IV to the underside of my arm, instead.  This area has almost no movement to affect the IV, and it could be taped down quite securely.  He offered to give it a try and, if it didn't work, he could still move it to my hand.

I decided to give it a try.

It didn't work.

After inserting the IV needle, he injected a bit of saline solution, as is usually done, but instead of going into the vein, he could see it was going into the arm. He took it back out and bandaged the area for me while we discussed trying on the hand.  In the end, I decided against it.  Getting yet another poke (I was up to three) and still not being able to use that hand didn't make much sense, so he left it at that.

Shortly after, a different nurse came by saying, "so, someone wants their IV moved?"  She didn't know someone had already been to see me about it.  We told her what was done and why I'd changed my mind.  She took a look at the back of my hand, declared I had excellent veins, and assured us that she could place the IV so that I would have full use of my wrist.  With that, I told her to go ahead and do it.  It worked just fine, and she was able to tape the tubing down out of the way, too.  What a relief!  As soon as she was done (and the bleeding was stopped in both the old IV location and the attempt made just before she came in), I immediately put on my glasses properly and put up my hair.

What a relief!! 

It's the little things that make me happy. :-D

We were left to our own devices again for a while, passing on information to various family members and letting them know about the possible surgery.  After a while, a new doctor came in.  She was the day shift doctor for the gynecological team and had just finished going over my file.  As she started talking about the object, we told her we named it George.  She got a good laugh out of it and referred to it as George from then on.  She then told me that some of the new blood tests ordered could take a few days, and that she was recommending I not go for surgery until we got the results back.  She asked how I was feeling, and I told her I was feeling great, but I wasn't quite sure if it was because I was actually feeling normal again, or if the drug hadn't worn off yet.  She told me that if I did end up going home, they'd make sure I had more of the Voltaren prescribed to me to use as I saw fit - I no longer had any restrictions on the type of painkillers I could use to treat my pain, now that we had a better idea as to the cause.

Which lead me to ask - at 13x11cm, clearly George has been with me for a while.  Why would it start causing me problems all of a sudden like that?  She wasn't able to give me the exact reason, of course, but the most likely reason was that George got twisted around while I was walking Youngest to her guitar lesson.  In doing so, it would have wrenched my ovary and cut off blood supply, which would be extremely painful.

Uhm.  Yeah. It was!

As soon as she told me that, though, I suddenly started remembering things.  When Eldest and I started going for our mall walks last winter, there would be the odd time when I would feel what I thought was a muscle being pulled in my abdomen.  The location of that pain, minor as it was, was exactly where George was found.  Then I began remembering other times when I'd been walking, whether it was to the library, while running errands, or just for an outing, I would feel discomfort in the area.  It had never been of much concern to me, as the pain was brief, relatively mild, and didn't happen all that often.  Except that in the last while, it was happening a bit more often - and sometimes even when I hadn't been doing any walking at all, but just being actively moving around.

Now that George was getting bigger, he was taking my ovary out dancing.

In mentioning that I might not be going for surgery that day after all, I was quick to ask her if it meant I could finally eat!  Yeah, I had food on the mind a lot by that point, I was so hungry.  After explaining how long it had been since I'd had anything to eat or drink, she left to talk to the rest of the team and get a decision for me.  It was only a few minutes before she was back to verify that I would be going home!  I only had to wait for the nurses to come and remove the IV (the one I had just had moved to my hand! *L*) and take care of a few other little details, and I was free to go.


Dh immediately went to the nurses station to ask if I could get something to eat.  At first he was told no because of the possibility of surgery, as they hadn't been updated yet, so he told her I was now slated to go home.  With that being the case, she said, I could indeed eat again! 

Not at the hospital, though.  Within minutes, I had a nurse back with me, removing my IV and giving me a prescription for the Voltaren.  In no time at all, I was getting changed and packing up.

It was time to introduce George to the girls.  *L*


Monday, March 07, 2011

What Happened Next...

So there's Dh and I, camped out in the emergency room.  The double dose of morphine has done the trick; the pain is gone and, other than feeling exhaustion from several hours of painful contortions, I'm feeling good.  Normal, in fact.

This is not a good thing.

You see, I'm the sort of person who loathes going to the dr for much of anything.  If it isn't broken or bleeding profusely, I tend to just take care of it myself.  Actually, that includes profuse bleeding, but only to a certain point.  It's taken me years to get past that, and it's something I still struggle with.

Which means I was starting to think there was no reason for me to be at the emergency anymore.  We could just go home.  I felt fine.

Dh just rolled his eyes when I told him that.

We stayed, of course.  At the very least, we had to wait for the Xray results.

It was an interesting wait.

I did try to doze off while we waiting.  I knew I needed the rest, but I didn't want to actually go to sleep, since I figured we either had a lot to come, or we'd be going home soon.  That and there were a lot of interruptions preventing any real sleep.

The nurse who'd given me my second dose of morphine had done it just before her shift ended, so that I wouldn't get lost in the shuffle of shift change.  Some time later, the new shift nurse came to introduce herself and check on me.  My vitals were taken again.  Now that the pain was going, my BP and heart rate were back to normal.  The nausea and dizziness had disappeared as well.  I'd gone through my first back of IV fluids rather quickly, so I was hydrated again and the new bags they gave me were set at a much lower drip.  There wasn't much to do at that point.  I ended up taking out my phone frequently to check my facebook, answering comments people had left on my status updates as best I could with one thumb - with the IV in my other elbow, I couldn't bend it far enough to grip the phone and use two hands - and doing a bit of browsing online.  There were some weird connectivity problems that lead to my status updates being uploaded as many as 5 times in a row, or not update at all due to a lack of connection.  Dh's Blackberry was fine, though, so he kept in touch with the girls and, at one point, I even borrowed it to access my own facebook and send more updates.  It was the more practical way to let our far-flung family members know what was going on.  Our batteries were draining rather quickly, though! *L*

We quickly learned to really appreciated the staff in the emergency room.  Those people deserve to be sainted!

The way the ward is laid out, there were 5 "rooms."  Three of them were against one wall while the remaining two were on opposite walls facing each other.  We kepts our curtain pulled for privacy, but the curtains were about 2 ft short of the floor, so we could still see people's legs moving around.  Of course, we could hear everything, too.

There was one elderly woman there that needed some rather gentle care.  The nurse found out it was her birthday and offered to get her some celebratory jello.  She promised to pass it on to the other staff so that when she was admitted for her longer stay, they would help her celebrate.  Meanwhile, the same nurse had to try and explain to another older woman right next to me why, even though she was hungry, the nurse couldn't give her any food because of the tests they had to do.  Rather heartbreaking, as the woman seemed to have difficulty understanding and was a bit confused.  After a while, a guy was brought in with 3 or 4 broken ribs.  He'd actually broken them some weeks ago, but kept rebreaking them while doing things like shoveling snow.  *facepalm*

It was the guy in the room directly opposite me that made the evening... most interesting.  Not in a good way.

At first, we noticed him because he kept calling loudly for things.  A sandwich.  A glass of water.  Another sandwich.  The nurse went past to work with the guy with broken ribs, and this guy was calling out for her, asking her to open his sandwich.  Apparently, that was more important than some one's broken ribs.  When he got his glass of water, we could actually hear him finishing it off in no time, then call out to some passing staff member for another.  I don't know what the staff member was, but he wasn't a nurse and not someone to give patients anything.  Then he was calling out for another sandwich because he was soooooo hungry!  In fact, he was asking for sandwiches so often, someone finally came and told him he couldn't have any more because they were running out.

And there I was, with my stomach rumbling and growling away, wishing I could eat at all!  In fact, I couldn't even drink.

Dh and I chatted, of course, and wondered what would come up on the Xray.  The kidney stone possibility was still there, but I didn't think it likely.  Which meant it was "something else."  There aren't a lot of possibilities.  Because the pain was so localized, a few things came to mind.  The most obvious, of course, was a cancerous tumour.  A cyst was another likely possibility.  Less likely was that it was some sort of intestinal blockage.  A loop of intestine might have gotten kinked or twisted.  The tearing sensation I was feeling could mean... well, that something had torn or ruptured.

I don't remember how long it took, but it wasn't very long before the doctor came back with the Xray results.  At least I think it was the same doctor.  When he saw me earlier, I was a bit distracted by my contortions.  It was some time later that I joked with Dh that I couldn't remember what the dr looked like.  Just some vague notion of blonde hair.

The doctor comes in with the results and sits himself down with a very serious expression on his face.  The Xrays showed no sign of a kidney stone, nor anything else.  It could still be a kidney stone, but the urine test didn't show any sign of one, either.  This meant they had to look into other possible causes.  Then he sort of braced himself, looked at me directly and said,

"We could be looking at cancer."

To which I replied, "Oh.  Interesting."  Then I turned to Dh and started cracking some joke.  The doctor blinked at me for a bit, then turned to his clipboard saying, "not the reaction I was expecting!"  I just laughed and told him I was a very pragmatic sort.  The doctor told us the next step was a CT scan of the area, and that they'd be getting it ready for me as soon as possible.

*sigh*  So much for being able to eat something!

Which meant we had more time on our hands, waiting.  By now it was about 11:30 in the evening, and I'd been there for 6 hours.  Sleep sounded like a very good idea!  Ah, but it was not to be!

Dh called the kids directly for this, then tried (unsuccessfully) phoning his parents.  My own parents, I trusted my other family members inform when and how they saw fit.  They need to be handled a little more delicately.  Especially my father.  The less stress and worry he has, the better, and at this point, we really had nothing to tell anyone besides "not kidney stones."

That meant we got to listen to our neighbour across the way some more!  Joy!  Not.

This was not a quiet guy, even when he wasn't talking to anyone our calling out for the nurses.  There was a continuous stream of burping and farting, moaning and groaning.  He kept asking the staff for stuff, as if they were his own personal servants, demanding attention from the nurse even when she was dealing with other patients.

Then he (I'll refer to him as B) started letting out a strange moan.  Then another, louder, moan.  Before long, he was letting out these long, ululating wails, calling for the nurse, complaining about his IV and that it was burning his arm.  A couple of nurses rushed over to him and discovered his IV was no longer in the vein, but in the muscle.  Dh and I couldn't help but glance at the IV in my own arm, thoroughly taped down in several places, and realize this was no "accident."  We could hear the nurses talking B through what they were doing.  The IV nurse got the needle in properly again, and we could actually hear the amount of tape she was using to lash this thing into place.  As they were telling him to be careful with it and whatnot, B started getting all indignant at the suggestion that he might have done this himself, even by accident.  They tried to be diplomatic in their answers, but really, how diplomatic can you be with something like this?

They were done in no time at all, though, and soon he was left alone.  Within a minute, he was moaning and wailing again because the IV was burning.  The nurses rushed back and, sure enough, the IV was no longer in his vein.  The main nurse was more blunt to him about pulling out his IV, which lead to him loudly wailing and crying and "how dare you suggest I'd do something like this!"  He got even more incensed when the nurse mentioned that his blood work showed that he was inebriated (like that was a surprise!), which had him protesting loudly that he'd only had a glass of wine with lunch, and how could she possibly suggest that he was drunk.  Then he started calling her stupid, which she shut down rather quickly.

They ended up taking out the IV completely and leaving him without.

I'm not sure this was a good thing, because now he was free to move around.  We could see which pair of legs under the curtain was him by the jeans and shoes (the only patient not in a hospital gown) and the shuffling.  Other times, we saw him go by in a wheelchair, pulling himself forward with his feet, frequently brushing into our curtain on the way to his own room across from us.  That had to take some doing, really, considering the layout of the place.  We were also treated to the constant calling for painkillers.  Very specific painkillers.  We heard a lot of nurses diplomatically saying they had to ask the dr before they could give him anything.  We also got to hear about all the other drugs he was apparently taking as much as 3 times a day - but hadn't taken at all in the last 10 months.

We learned more about this guy's medical history in a couple of hours than I know about most of my family put together!  It was a constant litany of complaints, body noises and whining.

As you can imagine, I didn't get much sleep.

At some point, the older woman in the room next to me was gone and guy of about middle age was soon installed.  I really felt for this poor guy when I heard the doctor telling him he had a 5 mm kidney stone.  No whining and complaining from him, but we could hear from his voice that he was terrified, as I could also see from the few glances I got of his face in between the curtains.

We found it sadly amusing that the loudest complaints were coming from the one person who seemed not to have any injuries at all. 

Throughout all this, we had things pretty quiet.  Dh did go out and see if I could at least have something to drink, only to be told that, because of the CT scan, they couldn't let me eat or drink anything at all.


I had managed to actually doze off when they finally came to get me for the scan.  With all the stuff going on around us, it felt like we'd been waiting for ages, but in reality it was less than an hour.  A porter came to wheel me off down the hall where a tech was waiting for me.  I was asked if I had a full bladder or not, as it turns out I needed one.  Having already given a urine sample and not being allowed to drink anything, I had nothing.  I was sure glad to finally be allowed to drink something, even if it meant I had to drink a lot in a short time!  The porter had to leave, so the tech gave me a big glass of water (think of a disposable glass from a fast food place that can hold a litre), then wheeled me to the entrance of the waiting room that was there, so I could watch some tv.  The Daily Show was on, (Do people really think this guy is funny?) so she gave me the remote so I could watch whatever I wanted.  I ended up watching Ace of Cakes and ended up drinking almost 2L of water.  My bladder may not have been full yet, but my stomach sure was, and it would have to do!

The first thing I noticed when she wheeled me into the room was the COLD!  It was absolutely frigid in there!  The machine itself heats up a lot inside, so they have to keep the room colder than normal.  I was able to get myself onto the scanner bed.  I had to lie flat on my back with my arms above my head. The test is a lot like the MRI, except the machine is amazingly quiet.  I was surprised by the lack of noise, actually.  The scans were a lot faster, too.  Much appreciated, considering I had to hold my breath for them.  The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes.

As fast as it was, my insides were definitely not happy with lying on my back like that!  While lying on the scanning bed, it felt like something was being yanked inside me.  By the time the scanning was done and I had to go back to my stretcher, things were starting to twinge and spasm a bit.  Because of the cold, the tech was a sweetheart and wrapped me up in a blanket fresh from the warming shelf and made sure my stretcher was back in a slightly upright position to help relieve the pain that was starting up in my abdomen, then wheeled me back to my room in the emergency.  Normally a porter does that, but the scan was over so quickly, she wasn't back from her break yet.  The tech wasn't used to handling a stretcher, and this one was giving people steering problems all night.  She managed to get me back without incident until the very last moment, when she accidentally backed me hard into the wall! *L*

With the nice, warm blanket around me, I felt my insides relaxing a bit, but after all that water, I soon had to get up and go to the bathroom.  My dancing partner had been left behind somewhere, so Dh got a nurse to bring one over for me.  After walking to the bathroom and back, however, things were kicking in again.  Walking definitely was a trigger, and lying flat on my back seemed to be as well.  I hoped it would go away, but it was quickly getting worse.

Dh got the nurse over and we talked about it with her.  The pain was still bearable, but quickly getting worse.  I wasn't yet sure if I wanted to take more morphine so soon, and wasn't sure it was bad enough to warrant it.  In the end, I was given some Toradol.  It didn't work as quickly, but it's longer lasting.

Now, it was back to waiting, and being "entertained" by the antics of B.  By this time it was about midnight or slightly past.  I was actually able to doze off a bit while we waited.  The Toradol did the trip.  What I appreciated most was that, while I felt no more pain, I could still feel *something* going on.  This meant I wasn't going through the idiocy I did with the morphine, where I was feeling nothing at all and thinking of going home!

It was maybe an hour before the doctor came back with the results.  It was definitely NOT a kidney stone.  That was the only thing they could say for sure.  What they could see was a large, dark mass around my fallopian tube, but they couldn't tell what it was. 

Because of where it was, I was going to be transferred to the care of the emergency gynecological team (I had no idea emergency wards would need such a team!).  The next step was an ultrasound, which they would do in the morning.  It was about 1- 1:30 am by now, and I would definitely be staying the night.

I still wouldn't be able to eat, nor would I be able to have anything to drink again.


After the doctor left, we passed on what news we could and Dh packed up to head home.  He'd been able to keep the girls updated by texting them as we got news, at least.  This was definitely a time for us to appreciate how independent and responsible our girls are!  At no point did we ever worry about them being able to take care of themselves.  We just weren't completely sure how they were handling what little news we could pass on to them.

Then he was off for home, and I was left to - hopefully! - get some much needed sleep!

Not that my chances for it were very good. ;-)


Saturday, March 05, 2011

An Adventure in pain!

Ah, the things life throws at you.

Thursday afternoons, Youngest has guitar lessons.  Handily, her lessons are at a nearby university's conservatory of music, and only about a 15 minute walk from home.  Though her lessons are at 2:30 in the afternoon, she and I have been walking over to arrive a half hour early because of the rather severe cold we've been having lately.  I have no idea if it's necessary, but the idea of going from -20C to being used at room temperature is something I don't think is very good for a guitar.  So we leave early and try to remember to have something along to keep us occupied.  For me, that means my crochet project bag.

As her teacher wasn't able to make her lesson the previous week, this past Thursday was to be an hour long instead of half an hour.  I had a light lunch - just a couple of pieces of toast and half an avocado - then we left early enough to arrive at 2:00.  By the time we got there, my insides were feeling decidedly uncomfortable.  I figured a trip to the bathroom was in order, but it didn't seem to help much.  We sat ourselves down in the waiting area and I broke out my crochet.  Soon I was squirming around, trying to find some way to sit comfortably.  Though the general pain was intestinal and included most of my left side, the source was very specific.  I remember mentioning to Youngest that, had it been on my right instead of left, I would have thought it was my appendix - except I don't have one.

Her lesson started off as usual, and I kept trying to crochet.  After a while, I found myself getting up and trying to walk off the discomfort a few times.  Then I'd sit for a bit and try and crochet, but couldn't keep it up.  By about 3, I was texting Dh about the possibility of a ride home.  He was home from work because of his back and I knew heading out would be very painful for him, but by that point, I realized any attempt for me to walk home would be extremely painful.

I'm glad I asked for a ride.

By the time 3:30 rolled around and Youngest's lesson was done, I was having difficulties standing up straight.  Usually, we take our time packing up, getting our coats on and heading out.  Instead, I already had all our stuff packed, my own coat on, and barely have her time to put on her own coat before we headed for the elevators.  I was decidedly hobbling by then.

Dh had some issues finding where we were in the van - he'd only ever gone there by bus from the other direction, and the road is one of those one way streets where the entrance is easy to miss.  Youngest ended up holding on to my project bag for me, keeping a lookout for Dh, while I hobbled over to a window ledge so I could lean against it and breath my way through the pain.  Getting into the van was a bit of a challenge, too.

Once home, I went straight into a hot bath, thinking the heat might give some relief. 

It didn't.

Strangely, through all this pain, I was still able to feel hungry.  Aside from the toast and avocado I'd had before we left for the lesson, I'd only had a cup of tea and a cookie all day.  While still in the tub, Youngest brought me what was handy - a porkchop on a fork. *L*  It didn't really take the edge off my hunger, but with the increasing pain, I didn't try to eat anything else.

After my attempt at a bath, I tried lying down, only to discover I couldn't.  Lying on my back was out of the question, but whichever side I tried to lie on, it felt like something was pulling and tearing at my insides.  I found myself writhing around from position to position - some of them getting decidedly pretzel-like! - and breathing away the pain.  It reminded me of some of the stuff I did while in labour, except more painful.  I did take some pain killers after my attempt at a bath; a double dose of extra strength Advil, to no avail.

We were at a loss as to what was wrong.  Was it cramps?  Gas?  The world's worse case of constipation?  We couldn't figure it out.  Dh thought it might be kidney stones, except that primary source of the pain was in the front instead of the back.  Finally, I threw in the towel and told Dh to drive me to the emergency.  I mentioned to Dh along the way that, if it did turn out to be nothing more than massive constipation, I wouldn't be the least bit embarrassed to have gone in, for the amount of pain I was feeling!  It was worse than 71 hours of labour.  Worse than giving birth to a 9 pound baby.  I've endured extreme pain a few times over the years, and this blew them all away.

When we got to the hospital, the entrance to the emergency was different from what we expected.  Rather than a drop off area, there were automatic doors for vehicles to drive through - and there were three ambulances in there, with no way for him to go in one way and out the other.  So I got out of the van and hobbled in while he went to find somewhere to leave the van.

Walking in was truly interesting.  By this time, my entire left side was pulled into itself.  I couldn't straighten my left leg, so I hobbled and lurched my way to the triage nurse.  I made a point of having my health care card handy, since I wasn't sure how well I could talk.  The nurse had her back to me at first.  I must have been quite the sight when she turned around, leaning against the counter with one arm, the hand rail below it with the other, and making weird breathing noises through my teeth in between sudden spasms that had me crunching around my left side even more.  My hand was shaking massively as I handed her my card and stammered out as best I could, what was happening to me.  She was actually able to take my BP and hook a sensor up to a finger while I was at the counter while she plugged in my card number and started a file.  I was in the middle of that when Dh walked in, so he was able to help me to a chair when she was done with me.

The waiting room was pretty full, though I have only a vague notion of lots of people around.  I wasn't really seeing straight.  I tried sitting, squirming around, twitching and spasming.  Every now and then I had to stand up, turn around, and jam my left knee onto the chair seat while hanging onto the hand rests.  While I was doing that, Dh was called to one side to finish up my paperwork for me.  Handy, that.  If it had been just me, who knows when it would finally have been done! *L*  After a while, I started to feel nauseous and dizzy from the pain, while still feeling hungry!  What a contradiction of sensations.  It was like having menstrual cramps, constipation, diarrhea and muscle tears all at once, with nausea, dizziness and hunger to top it off.

I have no real idea how long we were in the waiting area, but it wasn't long.  We had a different nurse let us know that I was next and they were preparing a stretcher for me.  When another nurse came to get me, she asked if I wanted to walk or take a wheelchair.  With my inability to sit properly, I chose to walk.

"Walk" being a very loose description of what I did. 

At first, I was hanging on to both Dh's arm and the nurse's as I lurched along like something out of a horror movie.  Things got a bit too narrow for the three of us and, since I had no clue where we were going, I let go of Dh so he could follow behind.  A couple of times the nurse tried to comfort me by saying we weren't in any hurry and I could slow down.  I was completely incapable of telling her that I wasn't actually rushing.  It was just the spasms causing my left leg to yank up, and the rest of my body trying to compensate for it.

We got to the waiting stretcher soon enough.  The nurse started to tell me to lie down, but quickly amended it to "however you feel comfortable."  I was given a gown to change into and some privacy.  I don't know how I could have changed without Dh to help me!  I found myself on the left side of the stretcher, standing on my right leg with my left knee contorted onto the stretcher, left hand jammed into my left side while my right hand was braced on the stretcher.  This came in handy when the nurse (or was it a different one?) came in and was able to use my right arm to take my BP and heart rate again.  I did ask what the readings were, but I don't remember the BP numbers right now, other than they were higher than any reading I've ever had before.  My heart rate was at 110. 

We were left for a while again and I kept having to move and shift into different position.  At one point I was on the right side of the stretcher, sitting with my left leg on the stretcher and twisted into some sort of pretzel shape, right leg braced on the ground.  It was about then that a nurse came in to stick an needle in my right elbow, take 7 vials of blood for testing (she explained she was taking more than needed, in case more tests were needed later, so they wouldn't have to do it again).  Then she put me on IV.  I was pretty dehydrated by then, not to mention light headed from both the amount of blood taken and from hyperventilating through the waves of pain.  How I managed to keep my arm still enough for her to insert the needle while twitching and squirming, I don't remember.  I do know I went through that particular bag of fluids rather quickly, and Dh let me know that he could actually see in my face that it made a positive difference.

Somewhere through all this, my own responses to the pain changed.  While still in the waiting room, the pain made my eyes water enough that I was pretty much crying and in need of nose blowing.  It's rather difficult to blow one's nose while writhing and spasming.  This changed some time after I got to my room in the emergency (each "room" in the wards consists of a stretcher, necessary equipment, a chair and one of those tables that can go over the bed, and a curtain for privacy).  I found myself being rather angry, with more than a few choice words escaping my lips during the spasms.  Dh commented on my looking ready to kill something and I joked about making angry faces at the pain.  The nurse taking blood at the time asked me if that helped and I told her that yeah, it actually did! *L*

I can't quite remember the proper sequence of the next few things.  I do know that, after the IV was placed, I got a visit from the doctor working the emergency room that night.  I was back on the left side of the stretcher again, doing some weird contortions and making my angry faces.  The doctor took my blood pressure and heart rate again and asked me a bunch of questions.  He said that, based on my level of pain and how localized it was, their thought was that it might be kidney stones, and that they wanted to do Xrays.  If it wasn't kidney stones, then they'd have to explore other options.  I think it was just after he left that a nurse came in with some morphine.

Now this was a strange thing!  I've never had morphine before.  She warned me as she was prepping (and making sure I was actually lying on the bed - this was not a time for me to be even partially standing!) to inject it into the IV that I might feel a burning sensation and possible nausea.  She did know I was already feeling nauseous.  At this point, I guess it was a good thing I hadn't eaten much.

When the morphine was injected into the IV, the affect was instantaneous and incredibly weird!  There was this strange wwwhhhoooossshhh feeling in a wave that radiated from my arm across my body.  Then the nausea hit.  Dh and the nurse quickly got one of those kidney shaped disposable bowls handy for me.  Thankfully, I didn't need to use it.  I don't imagine it would have been the same if I'd had a meal earlier!

The pain just melted away.  With it went the nausea.  All of it.

What an incredible relief!  Slowly, I was able to straighten out my left leg, then at the waist.  I could breath normally again!

That's some gooooodddd stuff!

This made waiting for the Xray much more pleasant!  I even got to dose off a bit, under the watchful eyes of Dh.  I remember lying there, drifting off, then opening my eyes to find him leaning against the side rail, staring at me intently.  I'd start laughing at him and we'd crack jokes about the joys of morphine or some such, then I'd drift off again.

Then it was time to go for the Xray.  Someone did ask if I wanted to walk or get wheeled over.  With the morphine, I figured walking wasn't a good idea.  Somehow, I assumed that by "wheeled over" they meant in a wheelchair, so I was getting all ready to get off the stretcher.  Turned out they meant the stretcher itself.  One of those "duh" moments, but hey... I was stoned!

Off I was taken to Xray.  For that, I did get off the stretcher and stood up.  It went by quickly - I just had to lean forward against the machine for one, turn around for the other, then it was back in the stretcher to wheel me back to my room in the emergency.  Just getting in and out of the stretcher woke up some discomfort, though.  My insides were definitely starting to talk to me.

Once back in my room, a nurse came by to tell me they needed a urine sample to test for kidney stones.  My IV bag was hooked up to my dancing partner (my term for the IV pole) and I was able to walk to the bathroom around the corner.  There, they had a basket full of sample bottles and another of wet wipes.  I was to use a wipe on myself, then get a mid-stream sample.

Have you ever had to give a mid-stream urine sample?  It's difficult enough for a female to provide a urine sample without pissing all over the place.  For this, I had to let 'er rip for a couple of seconds, stop peeing, position the bottle, then continue taking a leak.  Blech.

I had to use a few extra wet wipes.  And wash thoroughly.  And wipe the drips off the floor.

I hate giving urine samples.

Walking back to my stretcher, however, my insides started acting up even more.  As I lay down, I mentioned it to Dh (who, by the way, was continually keeping the kids updated by texting them on his Blackberry).  Within a minute, I was starting to squirm again.  Within two, I was having to breath through the pain while writhing.  Dh had already gone to tell someone the pain was coming back, so when a nurse came in, she already had another dose of morphine ready. 

By this time, it was clear that the walking was a trigger of some kind.  Things were moving around in me.  Whatever they were, it was causing me a lot of pain.  Enough pain that my first dose of morphine wasn't enough.  She quickly gave me a second dose.

This time, I figured the wave of nausea would be worse, so the puke dish was already handy.  It wasn't necessary.  I still got that massive wwwwhhhoooossshhhh across my body, but it felt slightly different than the first dose, and had no accompanying nausea at all.

The second dose did the trick.  Finally, the pain was gone.

After that, all we could do was wait.