IVs, Gowns, Wands, Oh My!

451px-Hospital_sign_svgI guess this isn’t the week for me to be blogging about disordered eating. My apologies in advance, but this is life and, well, stuff happens.

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?


12 thoughts on “IVs, Gowns, Wands, Oh My!

  1. Oh no! Hope you are feeling better. What an ordeal. Did they check your gallbladder for gallstones? I dont’ think a pelvic US would “see the gallbladder?) had the exact same symptoms once and went to the ER. They gave me some pain killers and I felt better. They sent me home with stomach meds. Next day I went to my doctor who did an ultrasound of the gallbladder and sure enough there were stones.

  2. Oh my biggest medical scare was a tie between that ordeal with the gallbladder and teh time they thought I had a pituitary tumour. Waiting for that MRI result for a week was totally nerve wracking. TG I did not have a tumour!.

  3. I think they looked for that when they did the abdominal US — I’m not sure if they were checking that, too –they ran the wand all along my lower abs/sides looking for stuff.

    Oh wow, that is quite a scare!! Glad it was ok!

  4. i’ve been terribly lucky in that i haven’t had any big medical scares, but i’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better. i always hate when they can’t tell you EXACTLY what’s going on, but you’re pretty good at being in tune with your body so you’ll know if things aren’t right again soon.

    take it easy and take care of yourself!

  5. I feel like the worst friend ever not knowing what was going on! I’m glad you’re okay and as we discussed, pelvic US’s are NO.FUN.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better!!

  6. Oh and Lara — with gall stones, it’s usually upper-ab pain; this was definitely lower.

    Thanks Auntie!

    Aw Staci, you’re a fab friend — I just didn’t mention it at work b/c well, it’d have been a wee bit awkward! 😉 Glad you can understand my pain!!!

  7. Oh my gosh….thank goodness you are okay!!

    I have always said that stomach pains/problems are the worst. I can handle many things, but I don’t like stomach issues. (Maybe because it effects my eating?) 🙂

    I hope you’re feeling back to normal today. That exam sounds absolutely awful! I even get nervous for the normal pelvic exams…

    Thankfully I’ve never had a huge medical scare of any type, other than the normal aches/pains. I’ve only broken my toe, and never have stayed in the hospital for any reason.

    You are so right about the wake up call. I tend to get wrapped up in food, exercise, and all that – I forget that I’m perfectly healthy and should be thankful for that everyday.

  8. Yipes, I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that over the last few days. I’m so glad you’re okay though and didn’t have a problem requiring surgery. I have been really lucky and never had a medical scare. The most intense thing for me was getting my wisdom teeth out–first time I had an IV and I cried land babbled like a 2 year old throwing a tantrum.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better, and hope you continue to improve and get your appetite back 🙂

  9. Thanks, Holly! Exactly, we ought to be happy for being healthy at all — I was def. scared though!

    Thanks, Kersten! I have no wisdom teeth at all (never got them) but have had a TON of dental surgeries over the years — ugh ugh ugh, hate them!! The IV HURT!! It felt soooo uncomfortable. I have a LOW pain tolerance threshold!

    Yup, appetite is back full-force today 🙂

  10. wow lissa yikes! prayers lifted for you. im so sorry you had to go through this. it is so good to be safe than sorry in these situations.
    glad you went in to get checked, but again so sorry…especially about the ultrasound exam 😦 yuck!

  11. Oh my, that is so scary! What a nightmare. I am lucky and have never been through anything that painful…the worst is probably a 1am visit to the on-call doc because I had a horrible painful UTI (sorry if TMI, but we’re on the subject, right?!). I had NO IDEA they could be that bad.
    I hope this week is better for you!

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