Look closely! It's a self-portrait!

I want to say something positive because sometimes I can be a real downer. The Jell-o was not bad!

On Tuesday morning at 2:55am. I awoke to what I thought was back pain.  took three ibuprofen and waited for it to take effect. I cat-napped for 30 minutes. I awoke to even more pain, but it had now crept around to my chest ,and I thought, “Oh this must be some really bad reflux.” So I took some Prilosec. The next four hours were some of the most painful of my life, and I have been through natural child birth (still need to tell you that whole story).

I tried to wait for my doctor’s office to open, but it was taking too long. Then we tried to find an urgent care facility. That is when my mother arrived. I had called her at 6:30 to see if she could swing by to help me figure out what was going on, at which time she suggested I drink some chamomile tea – to which I gently offered, “TO HELL WITH TEA!” She was a little freaked when she came in my bedroom as I was crouching on the floor rocking back and forth like a traumatized child.

My husband asked what he should do, and I did something I hardly ever do: I told him he needed to make my decisions for me because I was no longer capable, and to please do it RIGHT NOW. We got in the car and he took me to the ER.

Let me just say that you know it is bad when you fill out the ER paper work, under your name it asks if you are having chest pains or shortness of breath, and you answer YES! They start moving fast! I was whisked into the back and needles started being stuck in me and blood being drawn and an onslaught of questions (which I could barely answer because of the insurmountable amount of pain and the confusion that comes with it).

I was taken to a small room where I was treated by a doctor that did not wear a white coat but instead opted for a red and blue plaid Polo button down. He gave me very good drugs so I let his fashion choices go. This is about the time that they inserted another IV into my other arm. My veins had started shrinking so they put this one in the crook of my arm like the other one. I did not know at the time that this was the last time I would bend either arm for the next five days.

The pain was to return though, as I was trying to still nurse Ewan and I wanted to not have any drugs that would impede that. They offered morphine, which is fine for nursing mothers, but it brought little to no relief. The unfortunate thing about finding that out was the timing: I had been strapped down and placed in a large metal machine. The pain started to build before I even got in, but they said drugs would interfere with the test, and I was all “I can do it!” Sadly, I was mistaken. By the time I was in the machine for 30 of the 90 min that was required, I was crying and pleading for “it” to stop, screaming to be saved from the torture. This is when I finally got some drugs – 4 mg of morphine were shot in my veins, dope-fiend style. My eyes did not roll back in my head, and I did not fall to the bathroom floor with the syringe still in my arm. Instead I was still screaming in pain.

I was taken back to my room to moan and groan far away from other patients’ ears. After an hour of wailing, the pain started to ease to where I could sit down. I asked husband to rub my back. Thankfully, he did until all the pain just melted away.

The test still needed to be finished, so I asked if we could hurry it along before the pain came back. Lucky for me, a new kind of drug was waiting for me when I got back to my room – dilaudid. If I ever become a drug user, this may be my drug of choice. It made me crazy, wired, tired, and dizzy, and it even made me slur my words, but it took the pain away.

By the end of the testing they had stuck me in every machine the hospital had to offer and finally came up with what was ailing me. I had a gall bladder full of stones. One stone had escaped and clogged my common bile duct, causing bile to back up into my liver. And I also had a blood clot in my lung.

Now we had two major problems – one that must be dealt with immediately and one that has long term implications. I was immediately put on high doses of heparin to start treating the clot. Once that was under control they dove into the other more immediate problem. I had an endoscopic procedure done where they removed the stone from blocking the common bile duct and also opened the duct up so if anything else came tumbling down it would fall out instead of blocking the bile – mostly so my liver could start healing. The next day, which was Friday, I had a laparoscopic surgery where they removed my gall bladder and its trove of stones.

The pain from the stones is gone and in its place is pain from surgery – but I will take that any day. The blood clot is something I now have to deal with by taking serious blood thinners for now and then find a good hematologist in the ATL area to deal with my on-going care (chime in if you are one or know one).

I am now back home and steadily recovering from the surgeries. I am not, however, getting back to life yet. Hopefully that will start to happen by the end of this week. I did however lose all my baby weight while in the hospital, and I look forward to trying on my jeans when I can put pants on again. There is also something to be said for making it through this very creepy week alive when so many in the public eye have not.

I did not eat or drink for four days and when I was finally allowed to put something inside me besides air, they brought me green lime jell-o. It was the best damn jell-o I had ever tasted.