Friday, October 29, 2010

D Day Plus 219: (October 13, 2010): Part 2: Déjà vu

From 10:30 to 11:30, I did whatever I could to get some relief.  But nothing worked. Flashbacks of your pain kept bombarding my brain like a thunderstorm.  The more I tried to stop thinking about you, the worse it got.  Every stab of my pain was a reminder of yours. 

Déjà vu! My pain came on as suddenly as yours.  Yours started suddenly the day after you came back from Houston.  It was after you found out the trial wasn’t working.  Then, I thought your pain was brought on by stress and if you were more positive or relaxed, you’d get better.  Now I know better.  Sometimes, it just happens. 

Around 11:30, I broke down and called Dad.  “Take me to the ER.” I said. “I can’t fart or anything.  It hurts. Something is really wrong.”  Dad laughed because I was so blunt, but promised to get home ASAP.  He knew from appendicitis, when I couldn’t break wind, something was really wrong.  You knew that too.

I waited in my Inspiration Room.  Actually, it was your room that I repurposed.  I was in the tan brown recliner doing whatever I could for relief.  But nothing worked.  I thought about listening to a healing meditation, but bagged the idea.  The thought of walking down a healing path with Kelly Howell only made me mad.   

Remember, how I’d beg you to meditate to allow the healing.  Now I know it wasn’t the time or place when I suggested it.  I was only trying to help.  But it wasn’t mine to give.  While I apologized to you, sweat beaded down my neck. Even though I was sweating, I couldn't get warm.  Wrapping myself in the zebra blanket didn't help. Was this how you felt?   

Around 12:20, Dad opened the front door, so I forced myself to get ready.  I hobbled to the master bath to brush my teeth.  I worried I had butt breath and other superfluous crap like how my makeup looked and whether my hair was combed.   Dad came upstairs.  He told me not to worry about how I looked and that I looked just fine.  I did listen.  I stopped fussing. 

Around 1:00, Dad helped me walk to the ER from the parking lot.  I was really glad I didn’t have to wait too long.  Not like I did when I had appendicitis a few years back.  Then I rocked in the chair in the waiting room for what seemed an eternity, like we did waiting for all of those tests and ER visits. Remember how I’d breathe with you through the pain and imagine that I was taking all it from you. I even called Morgan and Katie to do it with us. And it did work. We got through it when we didn’t think we would or could.

This time I didn’t have to go to Triage.  I guess the tears flowing down my face and having me doubled over in pain on floor beneath the check-in window helped. I was admitted within five minutes. Dad was in firefighting mode and made sure I got what I needed. I was so glad Dad was there for me.  Now I know you really meant it.  It was enough that I was there for you – just having someone to help you over the humps made all the difference.  I wanted to do more.  You said it was enough. I get what you meant now.  I’m a slow learner.

My heart stopped when I saw the ER Doctor. Déjà vu! She was the same one you had for the first ER to the Loudoun Hospital last December.  I told myself, just breathe and that it wasn’t such a big coincidence. That helped a little. Dad didn’t even notice. He was too focused on me and rattling off my litany of surgeries: appendectomy, cholecystectomy, partial hysterectomy and dealing with the administrative guy and all the details about insurance and co-pays. 

Meanwhile the tech finished with my IV prep.  I knew serious pain meds were coming. So I relaxed just a little between the waves of pain that permeated through my lower right abdomen.  I even joked I didn’t have anything else to take out.  The dark humor reminded me of you teasing about everything being okay except for the cancer -- the cancer choking your lower bowels.   

I tried not to think about you and how watching you in pain took my breath away.  You wouldn’t have known, because I did a really good job hiding it.  I didn’t want you to see how afraid I was.  Was this was the beginning of the end? What if we don’t find a treatment?  What if your bowels are perforated again? What if????

I did a pretty good job distracting myself.  At least until the doctor said they’d give me dilaudid for the pain.  More déjà vu! It was the exact same thing they gave you.  Then even more déjà vu!  I had to get the same CT scan with contrast too.  I was a little freaked.  But by then, the pain distracted me from everything. I just wanted the dilaudid so I couldn’t feel anything.  I wanted to be numb. I just wanted it to stop. 

The pain finally stopped when the nurse pumped the dilaudid into my IV almost with a vengeance.  She forced the dilaudid through my veins. And it hit the wall of my stomach with its angry fists.  Then I was finally numb.  You used to say the dilaudid hurts for a few seconds, then “it was good” each time you got a hit.  Now I know. 

The nurse barked some orders for me to drink the big a**ed container of crap for the CT scan over the next forty-five minutes.  I just wanted to sleep.  Dad made sure I took a sip every five minutes or so.  Just like I did for you. 

Some tech wheeled me off to CT scan just like you. I remember the clicking of CT scan and that’s about it.  I really wanted to sleep.  I barely remember getting wheeled back to the room.

The pain meds were wearing off and I wanted another hit of dilaudid.  By then, the results had come back. Nothing significant. No bowel obstruction.  Mild constipation. Prescription: Miralax and pain meds.  Follow-up with doctor within 48 hours.  Return if pain worsens. 

This was the basic diagnosis you had for your first visit too.  It was the beginning of your chain of pain.  And my understanding of the power of poop. And how pain meds only perpetuate the constipation. And how Miralax helps keep it in check.

By then I felt stupid even though I knew it was something more than mild constipation. I’d give Miralax a try and only use pain meds as a last resort.  I knew the havoc they can wreak. 

By 6:00, I was home safe in my Inspiration Room, in embarrassed pain, taking root in the tan brown recliner.  The one you insisted on (so you could get some relief) last February.  Dad left for Wegmans to pick up my drugs.  He asked if I wanted to eat.  I told him no. And I remembered how you didn’t want to eat so many times.  I didn’t understand.  But I do now.

Around 9:00, I forced Miralax down. It didn’t taste bad. It only made me sad.  It just made me think of all the times you had to force it down.  And how I kept nagging you to drink it to help counteract the pain meds -- like you didn’t already know that. 

For the rest of the night, I did my best not to think of you and your pain.  I was even a little glad when I hurt. Because it was nothing compared to reliving your pain through my eyes.  I hated déjà vu.

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