This morning I woke up with a side pain that kept me up most of the night. Somehow, during the night, I managed to fall asleep, but not for long. I was up around six and knew the pain in my side may send me to the ER.
In my head, I went over the reasons why I did not need to go. The pain would go away, I told myself. I took Aleve and Advil hours later and I slept. Slept most of the morning and afternoon.
The day flew by. The pain continued. I barely ate and I could think of nothing else other than my appendix may explode inside me.
I spoke to everyone I knew through texts and calls.
When I walked, I doubled over. I had to go to the ER. I had put seeking help off long enough. It was after 6 p.m. Why had I waited so long? Was it really that bad? Could a dose of medicine heal me?
I called a Lyft and ten minutes later I waited along with a few others in the Queen’s Emma Clinic emergency room. Because of COVID-19, they spread out us from outdoor entry sign-in to indoor lobby seating.
“Wait here and the doctor will see you soon.”
I could not remember the last time I was in an ER. I spent most of my childhood free of hospitals, except for a few occasions. My youth was the same.
My first ER visit came a few years ago when after going for a bike ride to the campus gym for a swim, I felt a sprain in my left foot. I could still walk and with a quick massage, I thought I was ok. My workout routine did not alter. I swam and biked home, but the next day, I could barely walk, and hours later, I found myself inside the campus doctor’s office.
The doctor handed me a bag of Advil and told me to return if the pain did not go away. He insisted it could not be a blood clot. I had no symptoms other than a warm spot in the middle of my calf.
I returned days later.
Upon further review and measuring one calf to the other, he sent me to the ER. They found blood clots on my left leg up to my knee. After they issued me a blood thinner to take for the next six months, I was sure I would never go through this again.
Life has nothing better to do but challenge your fears.
My fifties had become a hurdle. Now three years later, I was back in the ER. “We have to remove your appendix,” they said. “We can medicate, but it is a 30% chance it will work.”
I brought up the fibroids. I knew about them for a year. They had caused me no issues, pain or discomfort like they had years prior when I underwent noninvasive surgery, hoping to destroy the fibroids.
The pain increased each hour. I went for the surgery. After an interview with a physician’s assistant and several hours of waiting, I had a bed by 11pm.
I was in surgery two hours later. I informed them about my history with blood clots. They released me seven hours later.
This was just the beginning. I would return five days later.