When we got there she peeled up and parked all crooked, as though I were a trauma victim bleeding to death. We hadn’t brought my wheelchair because we figured there would be one at the ER. But there wasn’t. So my sweet Nicole, who takes such good care of me, had a Terms-of-Endearment-Shirley-Maclaine melt down, yelling “What kind of hospital doesn’t have wheelchairs?!?!”
Well they dug one up, registered me, realized I was a minor VIP (past director in the system and daughter and son-in-law both still working for the hospital) and the testing began. They diagnosed exactly what I knew it was.
An inflamed gall bladder. Cholecystitis. Mundane, middle aged, ordinary. Embarrassingly banal. Minor surgery, admitted in the morning, home by evening.
Unless you have MS, lymphedema and a partially paralyzed diaphragm. Then it is a medical emergency, a crisis that requires consults with a cast of thousands: anesthesiologists, surgeons, pulmonologists and, I swear, passers-by on the street. The consensus: the surgery to remove the gall bladder is simply too risky. I was facing days in the ICU, prolonged intubation and a possible tracheotomy (an opening cut into my throat into which a tube would be inserted). Not to mention a slow and horrifying death.
So now the plan is to do a less invasive procedure that will hopefully quiet down the gall bladder, prevent it from getting gangrenous and buy some time to figure out some more options.
In the meantime, a mass has been found on my liver. Because all the other stuff was not enough. So I had an MRI for that yesterday. I had to leave the hospital because they had to use a special machine. When the EMT’s arrived to transport me, the first guy took one look at me and, at the top of his voice, announced “No way is she going fit on our stretcher”. I could feel my face get hot, I was so mortified. The nurse and aide gasped. Even his partner looked uncomfortable. Trying to maintain some shred of dignity I told them I never had a problem “fitting” on a gurney before. How about I just try it? He ignored me, went into the hall to call his dispatch and loudly asked how long it would take to get a bariatric stretcher. Four hours. I would not make my appointment. But I knew I didn’t need it, that I would be ok on a regular gurney. Finally he reluctantly agreed to let me try, all the while muttering dire warnings about hideous discomfort to my fat, fat, fat body. And guess what? I fit, as I knew I would, with room to spare, and was completely comfortable.
This guy is now my candidate for The Asshole Hall of Fame.
On the plus side, when I got to the MRI center, the tech was my old friend Nicky, who has been doing my MRI’s since I first got sick in 2005. He is the most incredibly kind man. After one MRI a few years ago, when I was in tears from so much pain, he actually got down on his knees, put on my socks and sneakers and tied them for me. I had forgotten he told me he moonlighted at this place. His sweet demeanor and constant concern for my comfort was a real gift.
Then when I got back to the hospital, the staff had a surprise for me. They had been so upset over how the EMT had treated me, they moved me to a private room and presented it with a big “TA DA!!” like a Christmas present. They are the best. So, so kind. It makes a huge difference.
My friends on Facebook have also overwhelmed me with their love and caring. Message after message of support, encouragement, prayers and reassurance are like lifelines. I am so lucky.
So now I am just hanging out, day four in the hospital, waiting for the results of the MRI to diagnose what is going on with my liver. Tomorrow I should have the minor procedure. My pain level is pretty high, so I am existing from shot to shot. One doctor was just in and asked how I was doing. I said my pain level was up there and the medicine just wasn’t helping as much anymore. He didn’t respond, but asked a few more questions and then said, ok, glad you are doing well see you tomorrow. Um, what about my pain? I ask. Oh…well, make sure you ask for your medicine when it is due. Smile. Bye.
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