Honestly, out of everything I went through, I consider this the worst experience.
Two, heavenly weeks at home went by. Two whole weeks. One night, after binge eating on cherries (why? I wanted to gain weight so I ate what I fancied. And I fancied cherries), I got stomach pains. They started small, but over several hours increased. It was a rolling, intense pain that wouldn’t let up. Michael insisted I go to the hospital, but I did not want to go back there! Surely this would go away soon.
Bad call on my part. I was out of time to be driven the 2 hours to Charleston. Well, in retrospect, we could have, but Mike was afraid I would die, so we went to a hospital in Columbia. Oh Palmetto Health, how I loathe thee!
I had to wait two hours in the ER to even go back (by then we could’ve been in Charleston). I started puking, the nurses freaking out when it came out red. Nope, just cherries. Finally, when they took me back, I was in a hallway bed without an IV placed. I could see nurses walking around. One nurse asked the other to place my IV, and she said she would once she made a bed. Seriously? Making a bed takes priority over my IV? There were also gang members with bullet wounds handcuffed to beds with cops around. I shouldn’t have been surprised when they wouldn’t give me proper medication.
Once the IV was placed, I begged for proper pain pills and nausea meds, which I wasn’t administered. I had to suffer through X-rays (no CT scan-odd), continuing to hack and hack with nothing coming out. It was nonstop. At one point, the nurse finally gave me Hydromorphone, but my breathing slowed (duh! It’s called oxygen women!), so she refused to give me more. When I woke up, they said I had a kink in my bowels that required surgery. Michael about flipped.
“Have you contacted MUSC?”
“No, we will when they open.”
“They are open! I already told you it’s a 24 hour hospital. There will be a surgeon on staff who knows her medical history. Call them now!”
After fighting with the knife happy surgeon for a while, he told the doctors to discharge me and let him drive me to Charleston himself.
“No, she has to ride down in an ambulance, that way they can administer medicine to her during the trip.”
“Fine! Order the ambulance!”
Which meant waiting until morning…
Meanwhile, they wanted to place an NG tube while I was AWAKE! Seriously?! Wasn’t living with it for weeks enough! Now I had to have it placed while awake! I knew, from asking nurses, that if I ever experienced this to ask for water. The sipping motion would help me swallow the tube down. I demanded a glass.
“No! You can’t have any liquids in your stomach.”
“But I’m about to have the tube placed. It will help me swallow it and the tube will suck it right back out!”
We continued to argue. I’m a lover, not a fighter, but I was getting seriously pissed. The doctor walked in on our argument, heard both sides, then yelled at her to get me a cup. She brought me a minuscule glass that was mostly ice. This is the same nurse that made the bed before my IV and refused to administer hydromorphone.
The water wasn’t enough, so I had to suffer as the tube was forced down my throat. This erupted another round of hacking. Alone, I couldn’t stop vomiting up nothing. I heard doctors pass by, asking the nurse if I was ok.
“She’s fine. We just placed an NG tube.”
I wanted to yell or scream after them. No I’m not fine! I need medicine! Please! But I couldn’t. So I stayed there, alone, miserable. When Michael returned from checking on the kids, he asked the nurse to give me the right medicine. She said the doctor wouldn’t order it because I had stopped breathing. Michael asked to speak to the doctor. The doctor explained he had ordered it, but the nurse was refusing to administer because she didn’t want to be held liable if I stopped breathing and died. Or, you know, maybe you could give me an oxygen tube? Just a suggestion? My husband flipped out, and I was mercifully given more medicine.
The ambulance arrived; I was still comfortably drugged. But the road to Charleston was packed with traffic, and halfway through the 3-4 hour drive, I got sick all over again. I begged for medicine. The drivers said they couldn’t give me any while we were moving. Really? REALLY?! Then why was I in this godforsaken ambulance in the first place? I could have been to Charleston by now!
Finally, once in the safety of MUSC’s walls, they delivered the proper medicine, and I was comfortable and asleep in ten minutes.
No joke. Ten minutes. My nurses were so mad for me! Since I was well known by now, they grabbed the doctors, got the orders, and gave me what I needed, when I needed it. My surgeon told me that I DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT need surgery. At all. I needed bowel rest, and the kink would resolve itself in a matter of days. And guess what? You’ll never believe it. He was right! In a few days I was all better! The tube was out, and I was eating again. Surprise, surprise.
There was finally an end in sight! I just had to hang in there for the ostomy reversal surgery…