The dance begins: November, 2009
That morning Del, my husband, found me rolled up in a tight ball with my eyes swollen and red from hours spent crying. The pain was so intense, I was unable to answer his questions. This was the fourth pain attack I had experienced within a couple of weeks. After the third, Del said he was taking me to the emergency room.
Angry because I failed to wake him, he grunted something like "Get pressed. We'erowing to the hospuddle." I was in too much pain to get pressed. Fortunately I was wearing pajamas which passed for casual wear. Or was is casual wear which can pass for pajamas? And even though I was up crying all night, I was quite certain there was no need to row to the hospuddle.
I must have looked as horrible as I felt for I was rushed through the emergency room which is something nearly unheard of. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain rated 100. I was administered morphine through IV. The doctor was satisfied the dose was right when I asked him to pull the (imaginary) sock off my head. He explained to my husband than I was flying at just about the right altitude. I was thrilled with what he has to say, whatever it was.
From the description of my symptoms, the doctor (Gabriel Stanley) believed I was having a classic gallbladder attack. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and prepared for emergency surgery. The vampires must have been circling over my head for they wasted no time coming to drain me of my blood. From past experience, I knew not to watch as they happily suckled. I have passed out every single time. Wimpy? Yeah, well...I never claimed to be Superwoman.
The pain was centered just below my right breast. Doc said my upper abdominal region was swollen probably as result of a nasty gall bladder. Mentally, I was asking myself the difference between the gall bladder and fat? Will I be skinny after surgery? And to think of all those people who get snuckered into those seedy lose-weight-fast gimmicks.
Two for the price of one. One gall bladder removed for an instant waistline.
Giggles. Snort. More giggles.
The more I thought about it the funnier it was. It wasn't until everyone laughed at my snor-gigle that I realized I had been speaking outloud. Another great thing about morphine, it doesn't care who is listening. Just when the laughter died, a couple of chauffeurs came to my room to take my bed and me down for some tests.
The first test had me hooked up to iv's and machines. It was to examine my entire gall bladder function over a four hour period. From being up all night, all day and heavily medicated, I was soon sound asleep.
A few hours later, I awoke all alone in my room. I was in pain and confused. I didn't know if I had more tests to do, or maybe I had surgery? I had just located the call button when Del walked in. Knowing I was getting much needed sleep, he and Doc had been speaking about the tests results just outside my room where I would not be disturbed.
Del said most of the test were in. So far, everything was looking ok.
"Okay?" I winched from pain. "What does that mean?" I turned on my call light.
He said Doc is still waiting for the gall bladder function test. It will show exactly what is going on with the bladder. He paused as the nurse came to check on me.
"Hello. I will be your night nurse. My name is Megan. Could I please have something for pain? It's getting pretty intense". She checked the computer and said I was past-due. I should of had one a couple of hours earlier while I was upstairs having tests.
"I will give it to now. It should help get you to sleep as well." Once she left, I looked at Del and asked, "What were we talking about?"
With a chuckle he repeated, "Most of the tests are in. Everything looks good so there is no need for emergency surgery. We are still waiting on that long gall bladder test. You know, the one that watches the entire gall bladder process."
"hmm", I said while stifling a yawn and playing with the buttons on my electric bed. While in a taco position, I began to ramble, "I wonder what it is a gall bladder does when a gall bladder doesn't know someone is watching?"
Del chuckled and said something about me being either too tired, too doped or both. We were both exhausted. He needed to get something to eat and get into bed. I had been fasting all day for tests and for the possibility of surgery. On the chance I may have surgery tomorrow, the fast had not yet been lifted. I was allowed as many popsicles as I wanted. But I wasn't very hungry, or thirsty for that matter. Bone tired was what I was.
Del would be back early in the morning to hear the results with me. He kissed me and went home. I continued to play with the hospital bed and flip through the TV remote until slowly I drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
squeak...squeak...squeak...squeak...squeak...click, LIGHT in my eyes.
"I'm sorry honey. I need to get your vitals. Where you sleeping?"
"Sookay", I mumbled. "Your cart needs oil."
"Yes. Sorry about that. I am finishing up now. Is there anything you need?" she asked.
"No. Just a little quiet is all."
"Okay. I will turn out the light and shut the door behind me. Goodnight."
Click LIGHT..."shit", I mumbled.
"Renee? Are you awake? It's time for your meds. Now lets see.....what do you need now...", Megan said as she chewed on the cap of her pink, ribbon pen-necklace.
I didn't know if she was talking to me or to herself. All I cared about was morphine and sleep. She handed me a Jello-o shot full of meds, without the Jell-O. I swallowed them all down with cold water.
"Ok. I have a nausea shot for the IV. This mixed with the morphine, will have you feeling funny for a few minutes. After that passes, you will go to sleep."
I watched as Megan slowly released the fluid into my IV. When she finished she began typing away on her laptop. I noticed her rosy cheeks. They matched her rosy heart-shaped lips. I wondered if they were real? The lips and the rosiness. She also smelled of cotton candy. Megan asked if there was anything else she could do for me...I had a craving for strawberries but dazed, I just shook my head, or maybe I nodded. Which way is "no"? She turned out the light and left.
I hear noises. Someone is here. "Is it time to take blood?"
No answer. I know someone is here. I can hear her breathing. "Hello?"......no answer.
Something hit me! I sat straight up in the bed. Darkness. Where am I? Something hit me again!
The sky is falling all around me. All of my dreams have gone away. The air is thick and murky.
The ground! Below! Is in decay.
A large hole is forming. It is going to take me in.
Someone! Please! Help me!
Don't let me fall into this hole of sin!
Falling, falling, falling!
I hear the crows. They are laughing. They are possessed.
Something's grabbing at me!
Falling, falling, falling! Is there an end?
Where are the crows? Will I never land? Is this a bottomless pit?
I am scared, helpless and alone.
Is this my purgatory? Falling through eternity? The bottom of this pit, My hell, Satan's gift
Will I become a crow? Haunting unbelievers? A black feathered spirit. An evil dream-weaver.
Ripping out souls.....Winged Banshee.....Latching onto me.....Eternal night dream
I cried out. "Del!" I screamed, "Help me! Del!" OH God! Help me! Please. Help me. I raised up my head.....
I was drenched in sweat and breathless. Terror slowly drifted back into the shadows. A dream, I think. It was only a dream. Del poured me a glass of ice water. They both watched as I calmed down.
I looked up to see Del standing above me with his hand on my shoulder shaking me as he called out repeatedly: "Honey, wake up! Honey?"
When he was satisfied he had my full attention, he said "The doctor is here. We heard you screaming. Are you okay?"
Telling me to take a drink, he handed me a glass of cold water. But my hands were shaking too much to hold the cup. Covering his hand over mine, Del helped steady me so I could sip. Slowly the demon who tormented me during my sleep crept back into the shadows.
"A dream. It was only a dream", I thought to myself. My skin, damp from fear, began to chill as the cold water rehydrated me.
Once I was calmed, Doc checked me over. He mentioned nightmares sometimes being one of the side-effects of morphine when taken in high doses.
Satisfied he had my full attention, he said the tests showed my gall bladder to be in great health. Puzzled by the results, Doc began to ask more questions about my symptoms and family history. He wanted to know of any digestive diseases or disorders throughout my family. I mentioned my father had Crones (a pre-cancerous bowel inflammation), Mom and my sister had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and also maybe a cousin or two. I could not think of anyone else.
I was scheduled to come back to the hospital on Monday for both an upper and lower GI. Today was Friday. It was rare for Doc to do both of these procedures at the same time, but in my case, he made an exception. He explained my symptoms, which included terrible heartburn and diarrhea caused him reason to be concerned. He believed I had more than one problem. He felt it best to check my entire digestive system.
I was sent home.