Or my stomach more specifically.
I had the distinct pleasure, disregarding circumstances, of sampling the effectiveness of the Windham Emergency Squad service last evening (Thursday night). Having suffered the aftereffects of a nasty little stomach virus, I finally was able to eat at Fifty Plus on Thursday morning.
(For the uninitiated, Fifty Plus is a Bible study at church for folks who are aged fifty years and up. If you’re not busy on a Thursday morning at 10:00 and have a couple of hours to burn, come on over! We shoot the breeze for a bit, sing for a bit, study for a bit, and then have a nice lunch made by members of the group. Its mighty fine eatin’ I must say. We’re even going out to eat this week. Maplewood rocks!)
So the afternoon passed with some odd pains in my stomach, which looked as if I suddenly became a pack a day’er, and not the “Walk a Mile for my Camel” pack either. At about 8:30, things began taking a turn for the worse, and by 9:30, the pain became debilitating. Of course, being the man of the house, and having no family close, the Lady of the house and I debated as to what to do, should she drive me to the hospital? What about the kids? This would be so much easier if we had family closer, but alas, with a preaching job, that’s not generally available. Finally, I told her to call the Squad, because I don’t really think I’d have made it to the hospital in the car. It was less than five minutes from call time to them showing up (I think, I really wasn’t paying a lot of attention at the time).
By this time, I was doubled over in pain on the living room floor, two of our friends were at the house getting the kids to take to their house for the night, two squad guys (sorry guys, I can’t remember your names) were checking me out, and my wife was frantickly running around trying to get everything gathered up for everyone.
I have to admit, I was in some serious pain by this time. My stomach continued to feel like it was about to explode out of my belly like that creepy scene in Alien, but I was also having some extreme back pain. It felt as if someone had a steel bar and ran it right between two of my vertebra in the middle of my back. Lovely feeling.
So I’m strapped into the bed and in the truck, and at my behest, my wife is going to follow us to the hospital with one of the formerly mentioned friends. It was at this time (I later learned) that the driver of the Squad commented to my wife that most men insist on their wives doing such or something of the sort. Normally I’d cry foul, but really, he’s right. And he’s a good driver too, so I’d best keep my mouth shut. Because I’ve got an IV in my hand, groovy heart monitor thingy on a finger on the other hand, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, and the saline is flowing freely! Ahh life! Now if it just wasn’t for all of this nasty pain, we’d be having a party. Of course, I’m also making the guy in back with me nervous, because he’s concerned that I’m having a heart attack or something.
But I’m not.
No pain in the arms, no pain the the shoulders, no pain in the chest, I’m being a pain in the neck, but other than that, and the stomach, oh, and the back, everything’s ok. And we’re making seriously good time to Ravenna, which is also incredibly cool. Speeding rocks! I even got wheeled into the hospital on the bed! Having called in to the hospital about five minutes before, we expected them to have a place ready to go. But no! Surprise for the guy with the terrible horrible pain in his stomach! You don’t go here. No? Where should we go? I’m not sure, check up front. So he checked. No idea.
I do love being the center of attention sometimes. This is not one of those times. Especially when a nurse is making light conversation with the guys trying to unload me into their care. “You going to get a new battery?” I’m not a violent guy, but I would have slapped her if I could have at the time. Ha ha, very funny. Jokey McJokerson. Go have some cake while the funny little man writhes in pain. Seeing pain every day does desensitize you, doesn’t it?
FINALLY, I was put in a bed, wished well by my two temporary companions, whom I will always appreciate. A nurse comes in, asks me the same questions that my temporary companions did, tried to get blood from the IV that was installed a few minutes before, to seeming no avail, but finally was able. My wife arrived shortly thereafter.
Then my moment of lucid sanity. My pinnacle of triumph. The doctor walks in.
Doctors for the most part are very intelligent persons. They’ve dedicated years of their lives to the study of the human body, how everything works, how this corpuscle moves through that, and this synapse is fired by that stimulant. Smart folks they are, and purport to be. My doctor, though, could have worked a little more on his entry line. To the guy in bed who’s obviously writhing in pain and making no small commotion in the process he says:
“So how are we doing tonight?”
How am I doing? How am I doing? You know how I mentioned that the RealPlayer cancellation line made me want to curse? This was worse. Being a man of sophistication, I looked at the wise doctor and replied:
“I don’t think that’s the least bit funny.”
He mumbled something about how it wasn’t supposed to be. Then he went on to ask the same questions that the nurse asked me before, which were the same questions that my two temporary companions had asked me prior to that. I know that they wrote the answers down somewhere. Why didn’t he just check those before coming in? Maybe it was some sort of test for me. I expect that I passed because he pressed here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Then he pressed here and here and here and here, which hurt very badly, which he realized, but continued pressing. This man is not a nice man. Not at all. He said he’d get me some phenergan and check a few things (I admit, I’m not paying much attention because of the repeated pressings.) So he walks out with his little assistant. Poor girl. She needs a better teacher.
Two minutes after he leaves the room, I can feel the pain leave my back. It feels like my back was in a vice, and someone quickly released the pressure on the vice. It was gone within three seconds. I have no clue why or how. My stomach still felt bad, but nothing as it was thirty seconds before. Nothing was wrong.
And then they brought the pain medication.
Yes, the pain disappeared before they put the meds in my IV. Not that I told them that or anything, I wasn’t about to go through all of that again that night. No thank you. I happily took a nice little nap. I had gotten to the hospital at 11 pm and was released at 2 am. Not a bad night. There was no official diagnosis, but we were led to believe that it had something to do with the stomach virus I had a few days before, combined with some dehydration. My wife is convinced its gall bladder trouble, considering some abdominal pain I was hospitalized for back in January. Me? I’m just happy to be home again.
To my two temporary travelling companions, thank you very much. I wasn’t necessarily the most willing or best behaved patients to be transported by you, but I am one of the most appreciative. If everyone else gets nearly the same care that I did, they will do well. Thank you.