Thursday night found me bent over with unrelenting pain. The pain in my stomach that brought me to the doctor's office on Monday morning had not been relieved by the idiot saying it was constipation and sending me off without any sort of remedy. The emergency room came to mind and I had not visited one since that eventful night on January 23rd 2005 when a baboon poked a hole through me heart and after said these words, "WHOOPS, I tore your heart".. So you wouldn't exactly call my memories of the E R, fond. Also, in the back of my mind, I'm picturing it being a Thursday night and all of the gun shot victims and gang fight casualties will be there. As since I just didn't feel that I had the patience to wait while they sewed up the belly of an an opposing gang member, I simply took 2 Ibuprofen and tried to go to sleep. That method worked pretty well and I only got up a few times.
Friday morning arrived about 8 AM and the pain was still there. Previously on the night before, the pain was at a full 10 and didn't seem to release for about 3 or 4 minutes at a time. (Sounds like a birth!) Friday morning it was a lot better, but no sign of it going away. So the decision was made, after suffering with it for about 3 weeks, to go do something about it. In my brain, I make these snap decisions right between the motor section and the sex drive area. Neither have been too active lately, thus the 3 weeks.
There must be an unwritten rule somewhere that says, "NO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM", because the parking lot is a good 1/2 miles from the ER at Banner Thunderbird Hospital. The location of the parking lot to the ER is my one and only complaint about the facility. They were WONDERFUL! I kind of felt a little strange being standing upright because everyone ahead of me were in wheelchairs. First there was a 17 year old kid with Cerebral Palsy crying really loudly. He unable to communicate was clearly in severe pain. He was quickly sent off to a interviewing room that turned out to be right next to mine. I learned a little of his situation. He was 17 and a foster son of the man that brought him in that day, truly a saint. He'd been his foster father for 12 years when his biological parents abandoned him at age 5. This poor kid whaled for a good 30 minutes until they wheeled him away to a private room and I listened to his sad howling as it distanced itself down the hallway. Next was a homeless man with a gash that was about a week old, that required sewing up, but it was too late to try that. All they could do was clean it and bandage it, as he howled in pain. I got the impression that it was on his face and when questioned about how he got it, all he would say was that he didn't remember. You should have been there as they tried to pry $25 out of him that he clearly didn't have. They finally gave up after giving him an envelope to send in the payment when he gets home to his park bench. It was embarrassing to listen to, as he was clearly a welfare victim of our economy.
After a couple of hours, I was seen and someone took my history. Blood was drawn and I was promised a CT scan. Many hours had gone by and suddenly, out of nowhere, just as he was a dream, a kid came to my ER bed and announced that he was going to wheel me to the imaging section. Keep in mind that I have not eaten now in 24 hours, but this kid in a pizza aficionado. He had a picture of his favorite pizza on his phone, really! In a couple of weeks, he's headed to Chicago because he's been told that they have the best pizza. (probably from a Chicagoan). I told him to be sure to try Uno's on Rush! I kind of liked being wheeled around by another person. When I get nervous, I tend to get pretty funny. Friday and Saturday, I was hysterical. As he wheeled me around I warned him that if anyone attempted to put a toe tag on my, I was gonna make a run for it! Let's call my new driver, Joe. Joe took me to a few places and gave me the grand tour of the first floor, mostly in error, since he really had no idea where he was supposed to take me. I got parked for awhile while he found out just where they wanted me and it turned out to be, back to the ER, since after all these hours, my room was still not ready.
So now I'm in a new section of the ER kind of in a holding pattern, but no one would hold me! Because so many hours had passed and no one has fed me, I was just starved. The nurse gave me a menu, but just to appease me. As I viewed pictures of beautiful entrees from their artistic menu, a new doctor, an Italian this time, came in. He was to be my gastrointestinal dude. Little guy with a friendly smile. We chatted for a while, I liked him. Way better than the Indian doctor whose name had 42 letters in it, who argued with me about everything from my treatment to the weather. He worked out of the same office as my buddy Dr. Z, that I've been seeing for 7 years. This new guy wanted to change everything and I kept telling him to check with my doctor and all that did was piss him off. So now, I not only have to manage my own pain, which by the way, no one has addressed, but also the multitude of, and I'm sorry to say, male egos.
Now in his parting words, my little Italian doctor is walking out my door and announces that he's going to put me on a liquid diet for today! That's when I leaped out of the bed and grabbed him by the throat! (not really) I told him that I'd not eaten in 24 hours or probably more now and I was really looking forward to a little something. He emphatically said no! I begged, I pleaded, I asked for oatmeal. I finally won him over with oatmeal and he gave me the okay! Just then a nurse came in and announced that they had a room for me and she took me away in my chariot (bed).
I was assigned room 125 and a private room, no less. She took me on my grand tour and even showed me the bathroom, but I assured her that I was a bed wetter and wouldn't be bothering with that! She had a good sense of humor and we got along well. That's when she dropped the bomb on me, she handed me a menu and told me that if I'm hungry, I only have 10 minute left to order. A million things started running through my brain. Suddenly in my mind I was a scale of justice. On one side was a pizza with sausage and pepperoni and on the other side was a bowl of oatmeal. Sitting with the pizza was a little devil and of coarse the angel was sopping in the oatmeal. (poor guy). With a tear in my eye, I informed nurse Sweetie, that I was just told I needed to be on a liquid diet today. She picked up her instructions and announced back, that according to her info, I just need to keep my sodium down, so we compromised with a grilled chicken sandwich. By the way, it was so bad, I wished I'd had the oatmeal!
The next eventful thing that happened, other than trying to figure out the TV, was this beautiful girl that wandered into my room, kind of looking lost. She introduced herself as a hospital hostess or something like that and wanted my history again! *Fun Time* She had a distinct accent and she told me she was from Russia. I asked if she were 25 and she told me, a lady does not give up her true age, but she then announced that she was 31. I said, 25 or 31, same thing. Her first question was, What am I in here for? After giving it a lot of thought and deciding that Natasha can probably take it, I explained that I'd been a man all of my life and I was 65. I'd promised myself many years ago, that if I lived long enough to reach my 65th birthday and the technology was in place, that I would like to change, to be a woman. Now if you could have seen her naive face, as she went through all the contortions required to process this all, it by itself was just worth it all. Her last facial expression was one of a smile and she said in her Russian accent, "you are kidding me, of course". I said, yes I am and we both had a good laugh.
I must reiterate that the staff was so helpful and nice that it really made the experience pleasant. For example, I didn't have my battery charger for my phone. I had not expected to stay over. My nurse went around to several other nurses stations until she found one that would work on my phone. That was the sweetest thing anyone has done for me in a long time.
I finally fell asleep around 1 AM, only to be awakened at 2:30 AM by a pleasant young female voice that said, hi! I opened my eyes to a premonition and there standing in my doorway is a beautiful 22 year old blond with a female shape that was quite noticeable. Turned out she was one of those Vampire Chicks from the movies, because all she was interested in was my blood!
I let my Ambien drag me back under and finally awakened at 5 AM due to the hustle and bustle of the floor. People walking by, voices in the hall, doors opening and closing. The day was starting way too soon! At some point, probably shift change, 3 people appeared in my room to be introduced. I thought that was nice. I met my day nurse, a guy named Adam, his assistant or aide, Chris. Both very polite and helpful and turned out friendly. I could not have been treated better. A couple of different doctors came by, the ones on call and said I could go home as soon as the paperwork is done, about 3 PM. I did wake up with a raging sore throat today though, and I swear I didn't kiss anyone!
***Addendum to this post. Somehow in the confusion of the day, I neglected to mention that the results of the CT scan came back about an hour after the test and I was diagnosed with Diverticulitis, and inflammation of the Sigmoid section of the lower bowel, which would account for the pain I had been suffering. Sorry to Katie and MJ for neglecting to mention it in my rather confusing story. I'm on an antibiotic and pain reliever, as well as adjusting my BP meds to accommodate my condition. Feeling much better already.