Friday, May 14, 2010

Forget left field...this is in a whole other ball park

Monday, April 26, 2010

If I had to pick a point to start at when I thought, "hmmmm, maybe there is something really not okay here" was truthfully on the day that I, a 33yr old, married, mother of two children had to pick up the phone to call and ask her parents (yes you read that right MY PARENTS) if I should be, oh I don't know  "overly" concerned by the fact that the left side of my stomach was rock hard and that I hadn't had a decent bowel movement in oh....hmmmm, I don't know....2 weeks? 

And I define decent by me not requiring the maneuver of  clenching my ass cheeks together as I make a mad dash for a toilet.  I'm talking about one of those get up in the morning and greet the new day with a poo kind of bowel movements.

Jon and his flaunting colon and intestines can have as many as 2 or 3 of those before leaving the house to start his work day. GOD, SO UNFAIR THAT HE GETS THE GOOD COLON AND DIGESTIVE SYSTEM!!!

How my parents who have both worked in the medical field (my mom as a nurse and my dad in radiology) did not come through the phone and slap me silly is still beyond me?  I did admit that I had gotten a little bit of motion with the laxatives and such but nothing that I would define as a nice #2 if ya know what I mean.

My mother listened as I listed off all the over the counter and home remedies I had utilized to try and get more than just a lot of toot in the chute but hadn't managed to get enough motion in the train.  Moms are good like that.  They will listen in detail as you describe the exact color and texture of the snot that is coming out of your nose from a cold you just can't seem to shake.  It is NO different with your bowels.  Once you have been carried in that woman's womb for close to 10 months baking she will always be able to stake that little claim on how your body is working....or in my case NOT working.

Feeling that she was ill equipped to deal with the magnitude of this situation and the fact that I had spent most of the conversation relaying every detail through sobs and sniffles of pain she then asked if I wanted to speak to my dad because she was even perplexed.

I love my dad...really I do.  But really what grown woman wants to talk about her bowels with her father?


Anyone at all??

Yeah, I didn't think so.  So I quick as I possibly could thoroughly reprized the whole list of things I had gone over with my mom and then my dad told me that if I was in that much pain and hadn't gone to the bathroom by morning to go directly to my doctor's office.  I asked what I should do if it got worse during the night.  He told me to go straight to the ER just to be safe.  Said they'd most likely get a few films, get my fever down (which had been hovering at a little over 101 for the past 4 days) and hopefully the end result would be poop.

Sounded like a brilliant plan.  I tried to wait it out until morning because like one of the many millions of people in this great country of ours, I am uninsured.  So any medical treatment of any kind was gonna be out of my bank account.  We have no credit cards and currently sit in debt consolidation hell because those had been used on previous illnesses or just on "getting by living expenses".  Oh stop making that face at me...yes that pair of khaki capri's and sandals were a necessity...geeze can't a person live a little??

Anyways, when I left my last place of employment I lost my medical coverage, when we attempted to pick it up through Jon's dealership we found that the monthly premium for our family of 4 to be covered would cost more than the mortgage payment on our home.  We tried going to alternative routes and looking at private carriers but of course with my LONG ass list of medical conditions, it was always "sure we have a plan that will fit you and your budget but there will be a bazillion year waiting period for Sickly Sue over there"....what a crock of crap!  So we basically played Russian Roulette with our families health needs.  And we had been pretty fortunate.  I really didn't think this time would be any different.

I had Jon drive me up to the local ER.  He stayed long enough to do the initial paperwork with me because I was hurting so bad I could barely write let alone let it be legible.  Within minutes they whisked me back to triage where I kissed Jon on the cheek and told him that I would call him when they released me in a few hours as a brand new woman who hopefully will have a cleaner intestine.  He chuckled in his very tired way since it was just past 11p on a Monday.

Our house is in the same neighborhood as the hospital so I felt it was better he go home look after the kids and rest since he would be going to work in the morning.  When the doctor's finished their magic on my "business" I would call him, he'd pick me up, I'd fall asleep in my comfy bed with a much lighter tummy and the world as we knew it would return to normal.  I was so full of shit literally that I was believing this story. 

I knew that something was up when I was brought back to a room in the ER and the doctor started doing my medical questionaire while a two nurses worked feverishly to get IV's in and blood drawn.  Everything was coming rapid fire.

How long have you had the fever?

When did you notice the bruises?

What about all of the red spots on your neck and arms?

Where is the pain again?

Are you sure you're not pregnant?

As soon as I would answer one question another one would be flying at me.  I was in so much pain and trying hard not to cry while I answered.  I was more than a little unnerved that a doctor, an actual DOCTOR was doing all of this paperwork.  It scared me and made me wish for a second that I hadn't let Jon leave me here. 

But I'm a grown up so I just put on my big girl panties and listened as they told me that they were ordering a chest xray, CT scan of the abdomen and a shitload of labs, cultures and so forth.  I just laid there in agony waiting for someone to get to the part where they offer up the pain medication.

The offer didn't come but it wasn't for lack of things going on.  Matter of fact I felt like I was in one of those scenes from a television show where the person is standing still but everything around them is moving super fast.  I was brought to xray and then back to my room.  Then it was time to drink the contrast for the CT scan and although I felt like vomitting their little concoction of Crystal Light and whatever the hell it was I managed to choke down both cups in the alotted time frame before getting the first glimpse that while I believed I was there for a stomach problem, the doctors had found something else.

One of my nurses came in with a consent and said I needed to sign to have a platelet transfusion.  I was confused.  Who comes in to the ER constipated and ends up needing a platelet transfusion?  Did I miss something here??

I mean I know that I am the Queen of bizarre illnesses but seriously...platelets?  That sounded way serious and I was just having poop chute issues I was sure.  Her face told me otherwise but when I tried to ask more questions she said I would need to talk to the doctor first and that he was on the phone with another hospital regarding me. 

Great as if I wasn't hesitant to take the transfusion before, now I'm being "talked about" with another whole hospital.  Oh lord.  So I signed and she hung the bag of what looked to me like Tang in a clear whoopie cushion bag.  She read through all the side effects that could possibly happen and then had to stay with me taking my temp every 5 min and monitoring my blood pressure.  I really wanted the doctor to come in so that someone could explain to me what the hell was so serious that I had to be monitiored like this. 

It took about 30 minutes for the transfusion because they ran it fast.  She said they really needed to get my platelet count up before I was transferred.

Ok, hold up...wait a minute....who the hell is being transferred??

She did manage to tell me that it was me, but of course couldn't say why so all I could do was speculate that clearly this hospital was NOT equiped to deal with the amount of shit they must have seen built up inside me in the xray.  Next thing I know I am being whisked off to CT which I have now assumed is to clarify the exact amount of shit that is impacted and how they are going to formulate a plan with this other hospital to get it out. 

Seriously people, this is how my mind works when left to it's own's NOT a pretty picture. 

I had just been wheeled into the hallway to make my way to CT when the doctor came over to let me know that as soon as I got out of CT he would be in to explain everything to me.  He then patted me on the arm and walked away.   I wanted to scream after him to tell me now that there was no way that I would be able to be fully compliant in the "take a deep breath...hold it...don't breathe" sequence that takes place repeatedly through the damn test if he was gonna make me wait until afterwards to find out what the hell was going on.

The CT seemed to take FOREVER because I had that anticipation of what was coming next.  I never in a million years could have guessed and if he had let me phone a friend and poll the audience I still would have been able to have been knocked over with a feather when he leaned over my bed took my hand and said "you've got Leukemia and we are transfering you to Tulane Medical". 

I heard nothing in the room.  Not my breathing.  Not the monitors....nothing.  I had come to the hospital thinking I needed to take a crap and now I was being diagnosed with cancer.  There were no words for the longest time.  I kept moving my mouth to formulated questions or sentences or even sounds of some kind but nothing would come out. 

They asked if I had someone there at the hospital with me and I managed to shake my head no.  They asked if there was someone they could call and I gave them Jon's number.  It was now close to 3:30 am and just a few hours before my biggest worry had been how I was going to get to feeling better for my May 3rd return to work since I had been out with what I had been told was Mono. 

I spoke to Jon on the phone and then my parents and it took everything in me not to just beg for them to get into their car right that second and begin driving to me.  At a little around 4:45 am the ambulance arrived at Slidell Memorial to transport me to Tulane.  The nurse gave me my room number and told me I would be on the Bone Marrow & Transplant floor.  It all seemed very surreal.  I just couldn't believe that less than 6 hours earlier I thought I had Mono and was constipated. 

Life as I have known it is now changed and I'm about to get a crash course in cancer.  Ready or not...

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