Greetings! It has been quite some time since any exotic medical maladies have befallen your's truly, but in keeping with the previous week's theme of "Change", the past few days have provided quite a good story. Now, for most regular folk, talking about one's medical conditions tend to be a somewhat private matter; shared only among close friends and family. This is how it's been done for millenia. But, as with the new administration, CHANGE HAS COME!
The beginning of this sharing harkens back to my time in the Peace Corps. There are two prime topics of gossip for volunteers: 1. Who's sleeping with whom, and 2. who's got what disease/parasite/illness. Volunteers share, in excruciatingly great detail, all unnatural bodily functions in a kind of gross-out-athon. One-upmanship is KEY for this endeavor. It truly is shocking and disgusting but you are so starved for ANY contact with a native English speaker, that it actually becomes somewhat routine and accepted. It breaks the monotany and for a brief instant, you know that there is at least one American in Georgia who feels shittier than you do.
Since I've returned, I realized, quickly, that my good ol' friends here in the states did not find such detailed descriptions entertaining in the least. Keeping that in mind, I will do my best to make the last week of my life more humorous than stomach-turning for you intreped readers. It all started last Wednesday. Due to this recession thingy, my school saw fit to cut my hours from 30 to 20 per week. Of course this included a corresponding pay cut which went on top on the 10% pay cut the entire staff had to endure at the beginning of January. I scheduled a meeting to talk with my principle about how this was going to be implemented (I had only recieved 3 days notice). About 10 minutes into the meeting, I began to feel a great pain in my left side. It quickly became very intense and with apologies to my boss, I ended the meeting post haste. After about 20 minutes or so the pain went away; only to return a few hours later.
I called the help nurse and explained it and she said I should see my doctor tomorrow. She put a front of the line priviledge on my record and I hung up and went to bed. At 1 AM, the pain returned. It was intense enough to wake me out of a sound sleep and I decided to head to the ER. I was quickly seen and placed in a cubicle to await a doctor. He arrived and asked questions and sent me off to get an x-ray of my belly.
It was at this wee hour that things took a turn for the wierd. I had brought a book with me. "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins tears down the early claims by "Intelligent Design" Creationists. The orderly who wheeled me to the X-ray room noticed the book and began telling me how much she didn't agree with it's premise (although she had only seen the cover). Now, as a science teacher I have a pretty short fuse when it comes to such things even under the best of circumstances. Place me in a hospital at 3 in the morning, writhing with pain of unknown orgin and, well, let's just say that I was not in the most harmonious frame of mind. I won't sully this here story with the details of our exchange but I will leave you with this: My Biology teacher never spoke about God's testicles and my Theology techer, Father Garvey, never waxed catholic about the golden ratio or Plank's Constant! Nuff said!
After a nice dose of radiation (about 160 millirems), I was wheeled back to my cube (thankfully by the rad-tech and not Sister/Nurse/Orderly Rachet) where I anxiously awaited the diagnosis. Time passed. The pain dissapated. Finally my doctor arrived. I had....
Consta-what?! Needless to say I was shocked. This could not be! The main symptom of constipation is...well damn! We all know what the main symptom is and I didn't have it! But, I was exhausted, had school to teach in 2.5 hours and the pain had gone away so I paid and made my way home. I stopped at Walgreens and bought my "constapation remedies", went to be for an hour and arose to teach. Thursday passed without incident. No pain and everything was working as it should. "Maybe that quack with 7 years of school under his belt was on to something with this whole "phantom" constipation diagnosis", I thought.
Friday, 11:20 AM. I am sitting in studyhall when I feel a twinge. 2 minutes later, I can't stay seated due to the pain in my gut. I tough it out til 12 noon and go home (20 hours a week, remember?) The pain worsens. I call Eva to take me to the hospital. No answer. Tears are running down my face. "This ain't no damn constipation", I think to myself, "it's Ebola, the movie 'Alien', and the Zombie apocalypse all rolled into one!" I hear a door slam in the hallway. It's my neighbor Shauna. I ask her if she can take me to the ER. She takes one glance at me and turns white as a ghost. I mean, I haven't seen a look like that from a girl since my last date. 20 minutes later we arrive.
Although I am hunched over in pain and breathing a mile a minute, there IS still the matter of my co-pay before I can be seen and I'm a dollar short. I tell the guy to bill me. After what seems like hours I finally have glorious intraveinous pain-killers running through my system. Things get a bit foggy after that. There was a long wait for a CT scan with fancy iodine dye and then another X-ray. My doctor came in and said I had 2 decent sized Kidney stones; one of which was on the move, hence the pain and blood in my urine. "What now?", I asked. "Well, you'll just have to wait for them to pass", she said. With that, I was given a big bottle of percoset and a funnel strainer to catch the little bugger when it comes out (oh joy!). Evan and Eva picked me up and took me home, definitely a bit worse for wear.
So now I wait. Some days are almost pain free. Others send me running to the medicine chest. Today was rough becuase the pain started this morning and I couldn't get all doped up and still teach; or could I? :) (Just kidding). So while it's not as gross as Girardia, or as exotic as Ameobic Dysentary (pretty gross too), or as exciting as being blugoned repeatedly in the head by a rock-wielding Georgian thug, it IS another great story of non-fatal bodily woe to put out into the ether. Where the hell are my PILLS!?
Til next time.
Yours in calcification,