Tuesday, 13 November 2001

A Story

I'm waiting. I have 4 days to get through before I board the bus to go work my new job. I need to do the dishes, clean the house, call the mortgage company and explain that I have a job and the payments will be timely again, and figure out what the hell I'm going to wear to work for the first week. I don't have a lot of work clothes, I've been in the software industry too long. Plus I've gained weight due to the surgery I had last year. I need to go run. I'm supposed to run a half marathon next Sunday and I'm not ready. Oh, but tonight is group running night and I won't be able to go any more, so maybe I'll just do that.

You want to hear about the operation? The scariest day in my life, or it would have been if I hadn't been either in tremendous pain or unconscious? Well, let me tell you.

Last year, my in-laws came out to stay with us for Christmas. I was working at the Big Software Company, but had taken a few days off to be home with them. Husband came up as well for a few days, but he left the day before the dramatic emergency. It was December 27th, and I was due back at work that morning. I got up around 8 to go get in the shower, when I was hit with severe pain near my right hip. This had happened a few times in the past months, but it always went away after a half a minute or so. I thought it was a gas pocket trapped in a corner of my intestines; I'd had that before. This time it wouldn't go away. Apparently I was on my hands and knees on the bed, rocking back and forth and moaning. My in-laws were up, preparing to drive my brother-in-law back up to where he lived about two hours away. They thought we were having sex, because of the moaning.

I kept saying it would go away, but it didn't. Mr. Dreamer decided to take me to the emergency room. I managed to get into sweats, but I couldn't bend over to get shoes on. He dragged and pushed me to the front door, where his mom took one look at my face and knew those hadn't been moans of passion. I got in the car, wearing my slippers. The floor was soaked, and my slippers were no protection, so he drove me to the hospital with my feet crammed into a bucket he keeps in his car. I don't remember much of that, although I vaguely remember that I had to wait awhile before they'd take me in and give me a backless gown and an emergency room bed to writhe in. I think the other people in the emergency room might have gotten a bit alarmed by my writhing and moaning after a while.

I remember getting the IV put into my wrist. That hurt. Why there, right by the bone, instead of in my elbow? I don't know. They got angry with me when I didn't know enough to say I had pelvic pain instead of abdominal pain. How was I to know there's a difference? One is part of the other in my mind. They put some dilaudid in my IV, which made my head feel tight like my brain had expanded, but didn't do anything for the pain. They gave me more, and then some more, and I just kept saying it didn't work. My masterful and experienced husband kept after them until they gave me morphine. That worked. I think I passed out from relief of the pain at that point, until they took me to the ultrasound room.

I still feel sorry for the woman manning the ultrasound. She had to press the thingie (what do you call that thing anyway?) into the pelvis of a woman who screamed when she did. I screamed so much that someone stuck a head into the room and asked if everything was all right. Both the tech and I said yes, it's fine, and I tried to be a little quieter. But shit, I had so much pain in that area and there she was jamming a blunt instrument into it, trying to find out what was causing the pain. She couldn't find it. Eventually she consulted with some guy, and they decided to try the vaginal ultrasound wand. That was cold, slimy, and unpleasant, but the cessation of the pressure from the outside made me again pass out. And then they found it. I had a 7 by 5 centimeter growth on my right ovary. Schedule the surgery!

And here is where Mr Dreamer made his way into the hearts of my parents forever. They told me I had to have it removed immediately, that was the only way to stop the pain. Plus, who wants a big old growth on their ovary? They had to take it out to find out what it was. I told Mr D to call the insurance people, because you have to call within 24 hours of an emergency room visit in order to have it covered. And they wheeled me into some other room (surgery prep? I don't know) and I have a vague memory of a big room and people introducing themselves to me. "Hi, I'm Dr. This and I'll be your surgeon today." "Hi, I'm Dr. That and I'll be your anesthesiologist today." That's the last thing I remember, either they gassed me in prep for the surgery or I finally passed out from the morphine. I didn't wake up for a very long time.

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