I’ve been MIA because I spent Monday night at urgent care … and then five hours last night in the ER.
Backing up to Saturday afternoon — I started having these major stomach pains, coming from my lower abdomen.
It felt like pain just radiating across my tummy to my lower back, etc.
But by Sunday, everything in my abdomen felt tender to the touch, I was bloated and my tummy was distended. I had little appetite (which means something is wrong; as my dad says, I was born hungry), and knew something was wrong.
I wasn’t nauseous or vomiting — which are traditional flu-like symptoms. But it felt like a GI problem, or perhaps involving something worse (appendix, kidneys).
I called our insurance company’s nurse line and they recommended going to urgent care, in case it was an obstructed bowel or worse.
So I went to urgent care, spent two hours there, only to find out they didn’t have a functioning X-ray machine to examine me more thoroughly.
He heard lots of noises in my intestines — and while some noise is normal, excess noise usually means some kind of blockage. He determined it was ileus which is pretty severe if you ask me.
So sorry to be TMI, but I was sent home with magnesium caltrate to help my insides work overnight, and given a shot to ease the internal pain. He said to see a doctor the next day for X-rays if I wasn’t any better.
Yesterday I was still feeling miserable and the cramping/bloating/misery wasn’t going away. Nor were the waves of dull ache.
I then called my general doctor, and he suggested going straight to the ER where they have CT scans, X-ray machines readily available because if it was something very serious, the sooner it’s taken care of, the better.
Me, being an anxious person, naturally freaked at his urgency, but I tried to remain calm, and drove to the ER where my husband met me.
The long and short of it is, we spent a good five hours in the ER last night.
I wore a blue hospital gown for the first time; had my first IV (though they ended up not needing to hook me up for a drip or draw additional blood); found out I had an awesomely low pulse and low blood pressure; learned I was not pregnant (in case I had been, they had to test — though I was positive I wasn’t) … and that I had no blood/platelet disorders/infections.
The doctor felt around and ruled out a kidney infection or appendicitis, which was good because the whole time, my mind was going a mile a minute, fearing the worst.
I did mention my history of IBS, which had been calmed over the past five years on WW, actually.
(I mean sometimes I have a flare-up, but usually I know what foods trigger it and if I choose to eat it, know I’ll be sick).
Anyway, he decided an X-ray was useless because he didn’t think, based upon my symptoms or what he felt, that I had obstructed bowels (like the urgent care doc feared), but was concerned about possibly something involving female reproductive organs (since the pain also radiated near where your ovaries sit).
So upon his recommendation, I had my first ultrasound.
They couldn’t see much (my bladder was half-full) with the standard ultrasound so I had to do the “other kind” and let’s just say it was the most uncomfortable experience of my life.
I hate pelvic exams (ok, who likes them?!) and this was like 20 times worse. It’s like a 4 foot wand — no joke.
Thank gosh my husband was there squeezing my hand through my tears — it was miserable. And lasted a long, long time because they had a ton of trouble finding my right ovary (which is not abnormal, apparently — ovaries can be kind of anywhere).
I was already tender to the touch anywhere in my lower abdomen, and this was just beyond uncomfortable.
After like 5 minutes, I thought it was over, but then the ultrasound technician had the radiologist come back for a second round because they thought they saw a shadow on my right ovary — turns out it was just a piece of my intestines or something and it didn’t show up in the live image the second time.
Seeing nothing wrong with my female organs (whew!), they let me breathe for a minute. Then they waved a traditional wand over my belly and sides. They didn’t see anything unusual except gassy pockets in my intestines, which isn’t really all that unusual.
So the conclusion was this was just most likely an IBS flare-up that I’d have to ride out — nothing involving any of my other internal organs.
I was prescribed an anti-spasm medication, but strangely I feel better today so we’ll see if I need it. The doctor said if the pain continues, to come back and get a CT scan but that most likely, it was just a GI-related issue that will work itself out.
Obviously, I didn’t exercise yesterday at all, and am going to listen to my body the rest of the week. I ate, but with little appetite, I ate less than what I’d normally eat in a day.
It’s a shame it has to come from such an extreme situation, but sometimes I think we need that wake-up call to just “be”.
While it was an expensive two days with doctors, it’s certainly worth it (love having a Flex Spending Account!). Fortunately, there’s nothing seriously wrong, but it’s always better to know that not know.
And so I’m going to go to work today, and I will see how I feel as the day progresses. Thanks for bearing with me. Hope to have the book review done by Friday!
How about you? What was your biggest medical scare?