The many medical adventures of a Meaghan

So, yesterday morning, I decided to seek medical attention for my tummy troubles. I wanted to see Dr. Easley, but no one I asked was able to drive me and I didn’t want to risk suddenly needing to vomit whilst driving myself 65 mph down the interstate. So I went to a nearby urgent care clinic.

They took an X-ray and asked a lot of questions and then told me, based on the X-ray and the fact that this was the second time this month I’ve been sick like this and I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d pooped, they thought I had an intestinal obstruction and should go to the ER, like, yesterday.

This scared the bejeezus out of me because I had a dog who died in agony of an intestinal obstruction. When I left the clinic I realized I didn’t have my cell phone. I went to Michael’s to get it and called Mom. She said maybe I just needed a laxative or something and to call Dr. Easley. So I did, and Dr. Easley’s nurse was like, “Go to the hospital, you fool. Why are you even talking to me?”

Michael had to work till nine and I decided to drive to Ohio and go to the hospital there, where my family was. Always good to have someone on the outside to help you when you are in the hospital. So I went to ER with my records from the urgent care clinic and they did a CT scan of my abdomen. This required me to drink barium, which was rather awful. It actually didn’t taste bad, it was the texture that was killing me — like vanilla flavored chalk.

Then they said the CT scan indicated I did not have an obstruction but rather there was a place where my upper intestine had gotten folded into itself. They said they had to go look inside me with a scope to make sure, and they wanted to admit me overnight. I said okay. Then they said I’d swallowed a lot of air and my stomach was distended and the doctor wanted to shove a tube down my nose to suck it all out before he would scope me.

That tube business was the worst part of it. It was just godawful getting it in, with gagging etc., then once it was in it felt more rather than less painful as time went on. My throat hurt and my nose hurt and the whole side of my face hurt. For some time after they got it down, I was left alone and my only source of stimulation was watching (with ardent fascination) the ever-growing strings of drool dripping out of me.

Then Mom showed up at the hospital, and put an end to that entertainment by constantly shoving tissues at me and telling me to wipe myself. And the nurse was asking all these admission questions and it was very hard to talk without making my throat hurt more and/or gagging yet again. I wound up having to write a lot of the answers down. Then Dad showed up with some clothes for me, and they talked to each other while I just sat there in increasing misery, rather wishing I had not decided to go to the doctor. Not much was coming out of my nose tube.

Eventually they wheeled me down to the OR. Fortunately I was unconscious for the procedure, and they waited till I was out before they removed the nose tube. I had thought it would probably be just as agonizing to pull out as it was to put in.

And the scope revealed…absolutely nothing untoward. No obstruction, no folds where there shouldn’t be any. (Afterwards they showed me some interesting pictures of the insides of my intestines, which I might wind up putting on Facebook or something.) The doctor said they were going to try another test tomorrow to figure out what was wrong.

Everyone said this was good news that the scope didn’t find anything, because if they had found something I would have probably had to have proper cut-me-open surgery, which would have sucked. But I was thinking of the Great Headache Crisis and fearing I would just keep getting sick and they would never find out was wrong.

(“You have New Daily Persistent Puking,” they would finally say. “There’s nothing we can do.”)

Eventually my parents left and I went to sleep. I woke up in the wee hours. I had been hooked up to an IV the whole time to keep hydrated, but my mouth didn’t know that and I was vilely thirsty. A nurse gave me some ice chips and we talked for a bit. Then my back started hurting really bad — possibly because, it turned out, I had a fever — and I was actually whimpering out loud in pain. They gave me some medicine for it and I finally fell back to sleep.

In the morning they gave me more barium for the second test. It was a different flavor than the first kind but equally horrible. I was so tired that I kept falling asleep on the X-ray table. At one point the doctor looked and said, “Not enough barium.” Which made me think I was going to be forced to swallow more, but it turned out he just meant the barium hadn’t filtered through to the part of me that he wanted to look at, and I had to change position and lie on my side for awhile.

The test took hours (they let me sleep most of the time though) and also revealed…nothing. Then they sent me back upstairs and I just lay there drifting in and out of sleep and imagining a new, barf-bag-filled life for myself.

Finally the doctor came and said he wasn’t sure what was wrong, but on the scope he thought my stomach looked a bit irritated and so he was going to give me some medicine to reduce the acid in it. Maybe, he said, that would stop my symptoms. And the hospital would give me some dinner and if I could eat it without barfing, the hospital would let me go. Otherwise I would have to stay another night.

I really wasn’t hungry, just tired and feeling yucky because I hadn’t showered, or washed my hair, or even brushed my hair since I got sick on Monday. I forced a few bites of chicken down. They said that was good enough. Mom came to go get me. I’m spending the night at her house and then meeting up with Michael tomorrow. I’ve kept in touch with him and some of my friends by phone during all of this.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t barfed since yesterday before I went to the urgent care clinic. Hopefully the antacid medicine works and my symptoms go away. They said take it for two weeks and then see Dr. Easley.

I’m writing all this on Mom’s computer since my own is at Michael’s house. I’m still really tired. I’m going to just chill out as much as I can.