Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Midnight Field Trip to the Emergency Room

So last night. After four hours curled in a fetal position, groaning, I finally gave in and asked to be taken to the ER. This was not gas, nor was it going away. J dropped me off at the door and I plopped myself into a wheelchair because the idea of walking across the lobby seemed like crossing the Sonoran Desert on rollerblades. But at that point, I still felt well enough to get irritated with a walk-in who entered at the same time as me, practically sprinted to the desk, and took a year to be processed.

The pain in my abdomen and side began to escalate while we waited…it felt like an army of mustachioed, middle-aged nerds was re-enacting the Battle of Antietam in my uterus.

Once in the exam room and my stylish hospital gown, a parade of nurses began to enter. My favorite was the one who gave me morphine. Because by then, I’d gone to the place where the pain is so intense that you are nearly hovering above yourself, having weird memories like the time you and your friend Wendy laughed so hard at Bo’s leather jacket on Days of our Lives (you used to watch this in college) because every time he moved, it creaked loud enough to drown out his conversation with Hope. Or maybe this was the morphine talking?

But yes! Ah, the pain. It also made me do exciting things like vomit into a plastic bucket as I was still being processed.


“Jessica, when is your birthday?”

This was the third time a nurse asked me. Hey, maybe they were planning a surprise party for me!

“Could you spell your last name for me?”

“R – I – (gag) L-E-Y.”

Punctuated by another hurl into the bucket. Yay, me!

A young, cute doctor came in, examined the fun, and surmised that I could have a kidney stone.
Wouldn’t that be something? Despite my writhing and groaning, J and I began to plan who we would give it to, after I had it set in a ring first. My friend Fee immediately came to mind. It would go well with the set of wisdom teeth earrings her sister had given to her for Christmas one year.

So we launched into a battery of tests: a CT scan, bloodwork, and urine sample came first. No kidney stone…and they couldn’t even FIND my appendix. So on to an unanticipated pelvic exam (of course I hadn’t showered and was wearing my most disgusting underwear) and an ultrasound for the hooha.

You don’t even want to KNOW what that test entailed. Let’s just say I didn’t ask for any souvenir photos.

Back in the private little curtained room, I began to worry. We’d only recently started talking seriously about having children, and it was quite clear during my pelvic exam that the pain was radiating from my uterus.

A nurse came in and gave me another dose of morphine, because despite feeling 'Lisa Simpson “I am the lizard queen!”' out of it, the pain was still marching across my gut. I asked J to tune our television set to The Golden Girls, which is for me, the equivalent of TV comfort food. Soothed by the rerun where Dorothy might discover that Sophia isn’t really her mother, J crawled onto the gurney next to me and began to snore.

Floating on the edge of sleep, I wondered: we were finally in a place to talk about trying for children...what if we’d waited too long? A commercial came on featuring an adorable baby and I felt like I’d stepped into a dark, empty room. Had we meant it when we said we’d be okay if we couldn’t have children possessing our genetic material? Had I meant it when I said I would be fine if I couldn’t get pregnant someday? Maybe it was the morphine, but I didn’t panic at the prospect. I would accept whatever the answer was. Still…no high chair, no crib, no tiny shoes, no tiny snowpants, no tiny jars of pureed plums, no baby giggles…pangs of regret began to squeeze my heart.

And then my overactive imagination REALLY kicked in. If it’s cancer, that’s the least of your troubles. I used to think now and then on really good days that if I died the next day, I would die happily. Even though I’d never gone to Nepal or Africa. And then I thought, what am I, f*cking NUTS??!!!!!!!

Around two in the morning, the doctor came back. He told us that I have a LARGE cyst on one of my ovaries, and it burst or started leaking or had engaged in some kind of funny business that made me vomit and hallucinate about old soap operas. I also had a UTI. And they were still worried that my appendix was wonky. Basically, I was … AM… a mess down there. Today, we fill my new prescriptions and I make an appointment with my doctor to follow-up. Funny, even though I was groggy with exhaustion and morphine, one of my first questions to the doctor was, “Can I still get pregnant?”

And he said, “Uh, that’s not really my department. Most women come to me when they DON’T want to get pregnant.”

A Bob Dylan lyric suddenly streamed through my mind. “Nah babe, that ain’t me, babe.” So ... there you have it.

(Wow, I can hardly wait to see what kinds of posts I’ll be writing when my new Vicodin prescription is filled!)

ETA, Friday: Not out of the woods yet. The only position that isn't making me cry in pain is the child's yoga pose. Appendix, is this YOUR doing?? Will be returning to the doctor...


  1. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Wow--I'm glad it's something fixable. But that diagnosis sounds quite soap-opera-ish if you think about it--a burst cyst--I've never heard of such a thing! Here's to good drugs, bed rest and feeling better soon!

  2. First, I totally remember that episode of "Golden Girls"--Dorothy looks like the woman who could be her mother, and Sophia looks like the woman who could be her daughter. Funny episode. Second, I hope that you're feeling better and we're wishing you all the best out here in Lansing, MI!!!

  3. I'm so glad you seem to be doing better! I hope you're feeling better soon!

    I totally remember that leather jacket. I used to tape Days on our BETA machine every day and watch it when I got home from school. And just the other day I saw some commercial that Marlena and John (is that his new name?) are still together and he's dying or something!

  4. My best friend and I used to mock DOOL in college, so yes, I remember Bo and his hideous leather jacket quite well.

    Hope you feel better soon and that they give you lots of good drugs in the meantime.

  5. oh wow... I'm glad you're diagnoised, and getting on the meds. SCARY!

  6. yikes! glad you're getting some good meds out of this situation. :)

    Get well soon!

  7. If it makes you feel any better, one of my co-workers had multiple ovarian cysts and still managed to have three kiddos in two years.

    Super-Pregnancy stories aside, oh my LORD those hurt. You are a rock star for realsies.

    Lastly, my WV was feerit, which I found rather ironic.

  8. They gave you morphine FIRST? You seriously need to send me their address.

    Any vike questions, call me. McLoserstene listened to her doctor about vicodin and got sooooo sick had to be taken to the ER. She said she thought about calling me first but after all, I wasn't a doctor.

    I said, did your doctor ever have to take it for 3 months straight? Yeah, didn't think so.

  9. Ack. Am sooo sorry. Glad to hear that with the assistance of heavy narcotics you are feeling better. take care yourself and that uterus.

  10. Anonymous5:11 AM

    That does NOT sound like fun! (Any of it!) I really, Really, REALLY hope you feel better SOON!!! (Like NOW!) :)

  11. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Oh Jess.... Thinking of you! Hang in there. Good excuse to stay in your pj's all day, curl up on the couch with a good book! Take care of yourself, make J wait on you! :)

  12. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Oh, Jess. I am so sorry! I know it feels to be sitting in the ER, wondering if your life has measured up and simultaneously wondering how you got to an age where the doctors are your age and kinda hot. It certainly doesn't make the intimate exams any more comfortable! Feel better. And yes - please post as often as you can while on Vicodin.

  13. I have had three ovarian cysts rupture by now, and you may also count how many children I've had. (in fact, I had one rupture WHILE I WAS PREGNANT. Oh, that was GREAT.)

    Sorry that you've had to go through all that, poor you.

  14. I'm sorry you had to go through so much pain, but am happy that it wasn't cancer and seems as though it is under control.

    Watch of Golden Girls this week and stay comfy on the couch.

    Hope you're back on feet soon.

  15. Get better Jess.

    Ask the doctor if you can keep the cyst. OK, maybe not.

  16. Hope you feel better!

  17. Anonymous10:43 AM

    Hey Jess. Same thing happened to me last winter...I remember thinking...what the hell, aren't cysts on my kidneys they have to take over my ovaries? But 6 mos later when the pain was still around I had surgery. Come to find out they weren't cysts at all. It was endometriosis growing INSIDE my ovary. Apparently it is very common in women who haven't had kids by 30. Anyway...its been year since it started and I still don't feel that great most days. Hope you have better luck than I've had...

  18. Um, maybe this is not a good time to mention this--but I just went out on Amazon and bought DRIVING SIDEWAYS for my Kindle.

    Hope you get better soon.

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