On Saturday night, September 12, I went to bed very late, feeling an unusual amount of pain and discomfort in my abdominal region, most specifically on the left side. I kept hoping that it was a temporary problem that would subside, but I wasn't so lucky. As time went by, the pain kept getting worse and I started to feel nauseated.
It could have been one of two things: appendicitis or a kidney stone. Because I had had a kidney stone in 2006, I recognized the feeling as being almost identical and tended to believe that was the problem, but I allowed some room for error. Still, I've been living in this body for over 57 years, and I've gotten to know it pretty well by now, so I was fairly sure of the diagnosis even before I sought medical help. I was fairly sure it was a kidney stone because it was on the left side, but that was no consolation for me.
I went down to the street in the middle of the night, taking my CPAP unit with me in case I might be staying over, and flagged a cab with little problem. He asked me where I was going, and I told him, "Georgetown University Hospital."
He asked me, "Oh, do you work there?"
I responded, "No, I'm going to the Emergency Room there. I'm in terrible pain."
That threw in a somber note that brought the dialogue to a halt. He took a route that was much more scenic than the one drivers usually take to get to the hospital, which I appreciated because it was also free of congested traffic and traffic lights that would only have held us up. When we finally arrived at the Emergency Room, he said to me, "I hope everything works out for you."
Because I had arrived at such an odd hour, the reception area was empty and I was received right away. By now, I was fighting off the urge to vomit so greatly that I could not really give the intake worker much information, but she did not let that hold her up. I was then led to a bed in a cubicle where I was instructed to put on a gown. After I put on the gown, a nurse connected me to an intravenous device and administered to me medication to reduce my nausea as well as morphine to relieve my pain.
Once the pain subsided, the fatigue that I had withstood from not having slept all night began to hit me, and I wanted to sleep, but another employee came to wheel me off to do a CAT scan, so no time for sleeping yet. The CAT scan did not take up a lot of time, and before I knew it, I was back in the cubicle again. It took very little time before the doctor came in and told me what I basically already knew: I had an eight-millimeter kidney stone.
The hospital equipped me with four prescriptions: one for pain, one for infection (which my test results indicated I had), one for nausea and one for some reason that I don't remember -- it isn't important because my insurance required a pre-authorization before filling it, so it still isn't filled.
The doctor told me that the stone had passed from my kidney into my bladder, but that didn't explain why I still had such sharp pain. For the next three days -- that includes today -- I spent most of the day lying in bed, swallowing pain pills and drinking nothing but water to keep going.
When I finally got the strength to open my e-mail, I was overwhelmed at the tidal wave of e-mail traffic in my Inbox and in my Gather box. (I have all my Gather e-mail forwarded to a special folder for Gather mail only.) There was just no way I could ever catch up with everyone who had posted during that time; you people are just too productive for your own good! With apologies, I simply wasn't able to read all of your posts, even though I generally try my best to do so; when the number exceeds 50 at a time, I fold, whether graciously or not, and look forward to better days.
So now I've told you what's happened with me. It hardly qualifies as an exciting event, but it's what's been occupying my time for days now, whether fun or not.