6:40am: Wake up groggily, in need of a bathroom. I have slept in by over two and a half hours, and my body is demanding that I get up to relieve it, at last. I do.
As I re-ascend, a flea lands on my ankle. I grab it immediately, destroy it, and flush it down the sink. This cycle repeats itself once more, but this time with the bug landing on my shin. I head downstairs a get plates and tea lights, set up the traps in a few spots, hoping to nab anything left while it is still somewhat dark outside, and pour the soapy water and light the candles.
As I am just about to head upstairs to my bed – for I had not felt as though I had slept eight hours, and felt a real need for more – , a pain strikes my lower belly. Oh, no… digestion problem, I think, rushing back to the bathroom. Everything had gone as usual in the bathroom initially, but my father’s (and my maternal grandfather’s) GI tract genes had been passed down to me, so it is somewhat always a toss-up as to whether by bowels will be normal or ridiculously sensitive.
Back in the bathroom, I find that nothing is interested in moving – it feels as though there is nothing to depart from my body, even. And yet, I am suddenly crying out in pain, it has become so intense. But nothing seems to be happening inside me. Just pain exists, increasing to a point I have never known. I have had success pains before, but they typically end within a minute, as things readjust inside me, and then I am fine.
But this is somehow different.
The cries of pain continue to escape my lips, shocking my more and more. What is happening?
There is a chance it could be the appendix. The position of the point of the most pain is appropriate. But I’d need a second opinion to be sure. Perhaps I would do best to call my mom and ask her, since I know that she knows. The cries and the pain continue and increase, as the phone calls.
Straight to voicemail. I call again, in case it is merely Do Not Disturb. Voicemail immediately. She’s still asleep. I could call the house, but only if absolutely necessary, as it would wake more than just her. Wait on that.
Thinking is growing fuzzy. As I begin to get up from the toilet, my ears lose full hearing, filling partly with a fuzzy, humming noise. My vision is shaking. I might be about to pass out.
I rush to wash my hands, and rinse some cool water on the back of my neck. It helps briefly and barely. I need water. But my bottle is upstairs. If something goes wrong, I need to be downstairs. There’s a cold bottle in the fridge, I recall.
I bolt in a slow stumble down the stairs to the kitchen, and open the fridge, shakily. I manage to pull out the water and drink some, then hold it against the back of my neck.
But I cannot hold it there. Before I really know how it has happened, I find myself on my hands and knees, my head laying inside the fridge, my breathing heavy and intense.
I just feel so hot.
And I hadn’t five minutes ago.
Something is definitely wrong.
I call my brother. He does not answer. I call the house for my mom twice, but it just keeps ringing both times. Some emergency contacts, I think, somewhere far back in my brain.
I might hurl, I realize. But I might just need a bowel release. Either way, I need to get back to the bathroom.
Because I always put things away, I put the water away in the fridge, though something inside tells me too weakly to bring it with me. Too hard to hold.
I crawl back up the stairs, so hot, out of breath, the pain only increasing in my lower belly, just above my pelvic floor, especially on the right side.
I make it to the bathroom. Nothing is moving in my bowels, nothing wants to exit. As I have been contemplating where to seek emergency medical care, should I need it – though, I had wanted a second opinion on that, this the phone calls – I am now faced fully with making the decision myself. But I know I cannot see well enough or function well enough to find the directions to the right place on my phone. Urgent Care, not ER, but I have never been there, so I’m not certain we’re it is; just that it is near.
First that, then see if I can drive… or even make it to the car.
I have been very near passing out this past several minutes, I know I need someone else to know of my situation, to help if I do pass out.
I call a friend on EDT, knowing she would be awake by 8:20am, even if it is a Saturday. She answers.
But I find that I cannot speak.
I manage a greeting of some sort, I believe, but then just continue breathing heavily, crying tears of pain and confusion and frustration. I know she will remain calm and evaluate properly, but I need to communicate what is happening.
My arms have gone completely tingly, shoulders to fingertips. When did that happen?
With much struggle and murkiness, I finally manage to say what is happening. I am only in underwear at this point. My shirt was wrenched off in the bathroom when the heat first began – I had thought that I only was overheating somewhat, but my skin was completely soaked with sweat once I’d slid off my shirt.
She first tells me that her husband (hems a doctor, but not the first reason I was calling her) is not with her right now, but then immediately tells me that I might be having a panic attack – BREATHE. At this point, I am lying face-down on the floor, my cheek just hanging over the first stair step. My left hand clenches a soaked paper towel… soaked with what? Tears, snot, sweat…, probably all of them, but I cannot quite remember how it even got to my hand. My right hand is pressed into my lower right belly, at the point of the most pain.
Staring at the phone – on speaker – on the floor next to me, I focus on calming my breathing, deepening each stroke. I am still terrified, but I already feel immensely better emotionally, now that someone is here with me. That helps my breathing ease better.
We laugh at her comment on how I should probably be talking to an actual doctor, not someone searching on WebMD. My face is soaked and my body hurts, my arms still tingling, but my hearing has been restored and I can see clearly, though my processing is still slow – it takes real effort to make the words come out. But I tell her that, if we determine I need to go to see a real doctor, I first need to make it upstairs to put on clothes. We laugh at the prospect of my showing up in my car in just a pair of underwear, and I wonder if I would end up with a ticket afterward for indecent exposure…. and yet an ambulance would have taken me in just my underwear, and that would have made their jobs even easier.
I marvel somewhere in the back at how I can even have such thoughts right now, but can barely manage to mutter a single simple sentence aloud.
I tell her that, even if it just turns out to be digestion issues, I am totally okay with that. I’m still glad I was able to get ahold of her. I’d actually rather not have it go that way if I ended up at Urgent Care, however. Not cool. She is giving me options of what might be wrong, assessing my specifics on the pain locations.
Nothing quite lines up as well as the facts that 1)I am near beginning menstruation, and 2)I have bad bowel genes. I ate brisket yesterday, which I do not usually do, but everything else was rather normal in my food.
As we sit on the phone, the pain slowly begins to ebb away, bit by bit. I ask her to stay with me, and she agrees with a firmness that she had already planned on that.
After an hour, I finally have been able to roll to my right side, and curl up in a ball for a bit, and then lie on my back, knees up. The pain has finally begun shifting around slightly, no longer covering such a great area within my body, but it has shifted partly, though gently, to the tender area just above the pelvic bone and in front of the uterus. It is relaxing its grip, nonetheless. I make it to my hands and knees. My arms are only barely tingling.
I need water. I had wanted some already, and had laughed as I’d told her that my brain felt like she could get it for me, because she was here with me now… that fogginess hadn’t been able to sort out the different between digital and physical presence, obviously. But so, I have finally made it to my hands and knees. After staying there a while longer, I finally make it shakily to my feet, and then head downstairs. Perhaps I should eat food, too.
I have some calm, dry food, after I gulp some more water, and she tells me she’ll check in again later.
It is almost 9:00 now. I use the bathroom once more – no BM or gas, of course – and head upstairs to rest briefly. For some reason, I have it in my head that I still need to go to the gym. I had already canceled the 9:00am cardio class, knowing that was neither an option nor a good idea. Not paying that no-show fee. But the 10:00 class is just calm weights, and part of that was something I had missed Monday and had been waiting to make up all week.
I couldn’t miss it… but that had been a thought I’d had before the morning’s insanity. However, my brain was still so murky that it was not able to notice that fully. It just knew that I had to go to 10:00. And that I had convinced someone to go with me, and had helped that person sign up for the class this morning… while I was lying on the floor in the hallway, shaking still…
(I know, right?)
And so, after a brief nap, I did go. Before we began, one of the guys asked about my morning so far – I think – and so I told him a brief summary.
‘And you’re still here?!’
My brain hadn’t even considered that yet. Life goes on, was all it could think, and so it had had me continue onward in my day.
It was still very difficult to talk, to make my body out forth the effort of creating and spitting out words, more than just a few at a time. But, once we got to work on our training, I didn’t really need words – not more than a few every so often – and so life felt somewhat normal. I was sleepy, exactly, but my brain felt something like sleepy, and my body was definitely tired. I had the wherewithal to take it all easy, but not to consider that I maybe should just go to bed or something.
I think I really wanted to be with people for a while. And whatever was wrong with me seemed utterly unlikely to be contagious. I’d even checked my temperature, and it was quite low. No elevation whatsoever. And I don’t feel that kind of sick, anyway. I just felt cloudy and a bit weak on endurance.
And I was. But I got through all that I’d determined to do for today’s workout, and I felt much improved by the end of it. Though, no longer having a specific, repetitive task in front of me, it was a struggle to walk to the car to get myself home. I stopped for bananas on the way, knowing I would want smoothies today and tomorrow, and feeling a call toward eating a banana, anyway.
I managed to make food and eat it, and drink some smoothie, and then shower and nap for a while before having to head to work. When I got in, I found that I couldn’t talk. Not quickly, anyway. If someone greeted me, I could only smile, and then wonder how speech worked, feeling mentally my throat and mouth. I set down my stuff, and acknowledged that maybe I couldn’t do this work today, despite my efforts to show up. My belly had begun aching again, but I wasn’t sure when. Every time I considered genuinely talking, my eyes started to burn.
I went a spoke to the supervisor. She reminded me what the store actually does, that they’ve been short workers before, and that it is significantly more important that I take care of my own health and well-being than suffer through helping there. They absolutely would make it without me, if I needed to go home. And the fact that I had shown up in the first place spoke volumes to my dedication. No, there were no negative repercussions for me, if I determined that I needed to go home right now. Think about it, she told me, and let her know. I had been crying from the moment I’d started telling her what had happened.
After a few minutes sitting there, chatting – well, sort of – with another coworker who had been in the room with us, I noticed that I was hunching forward. When I stood up, I could not stand up straight. The pain was too strong, and I was too weak.
I was going home.
Now, it is just after 6:30pm. I am lying uncomfortably in bed, that lower right spot gently twisting again. The aim is to sleep. The goal is to awaken healed tomorrow. We shall see what happens.