Sunday, September 09, 2007

Best Weekend Ever

I woke up on Thursday feeling, not so good. Not so good in that I should have gotten up at 9, but felt like such a bag of ass that I lied in bed, not sleeping or watching tv, just lying there, until 1. You are probably thinking, "Great, a hangover story," but you are wrong. This was a day that is much more rare than days when I do not have at least a sip of beer.

I was sick. I never get sick. Maybe a cold here or there, but not sick sick. Not sick like my body is trying to tear itself apart from the inside out. This character trait was always a burden during elementary, junior high, and high school years ("hey look at me, I am perfect attendance guy! Blech"). Nowadays though, I appreciate it. So when I woke up feeling like my stomach was attempting to eject its contents through two orifices simultaneously, I was unsure how to react.

So, I did what always do, after all, I am perfect attendance guy (though not so much since high school, but for entirely different reasons); I went to class, did my homework, made pointless small talk, all while wondering if my body had hit the sharp upspike in its degeneration.

By the time Thursday night rolled around, I was proclaiming to myself that this was the worst pain ever. After futilely searching my room for drugs, any drug really, and finding none (admittedly, it was difficult for me to, you know, move, which seriously inhibited my scavenger hunt), I did the only logical thing. Fearing that I may pass out from the pain at any time, though the pain would prove to keep me awake the next night, I drove to nearest place that might have drugs. This happened to be a gas station. And they only sold Tylenol by the single (two capsule) packet. I did my best to articulate to the cashier that I wanted, no needed, some Tylenol (it was kept behind the counter), and she understood, asking me, "How many do you want? One, Two?"

I responded, "No, Four." They happily charged me for four packets. So when I got home, I ripped open two of the packages, took four Tylenol capsules, and fell into a merry sleep, for about five hours.

I awoke to more blinding pain. But, I took a couple more Tylenol, took a few deep breaths, and was able to do four hours of work for my externship (which I had planned to do on Thursday) as well as attend class. I made it home around five, took the last two tylenol, and laid in bed for the next five hours, in too much pain to move. Around Ten I discovered a bottle of Nyquil, left by a former roommate, and noticing that it contained acetaminophen, chugged half the bottle. I figured this would kill two birds with one stone. Pain relief, and I would fall asleep.

Sadly, I was mistaken. The pain permeated throughout my entire body, and by this time I had developed a severe case of the chills. I did eventually fall asleep, for about two hours, waking up at four a.m.

For some reason, in this damn shit town, there are no 24 hour stores that are relatively close to where I live (other than the gas station, but I was not prepared to revisit that debacle of a pain killing attempt, I needed to bring out the big guns), so I laid in bed for four hours, watching god knows what on tv to keep my mind off the pain, until the Walgreens opened up. At eight, I started getting out of bed, and by eight-fifteen I was completely out of bed, and after a few minutes to regain my equilibrium, I dressed and drove to the Walgreens, where I picked up Aleve and Tylenol PM (the big guns, like I said). Got back home, popped four Aleve, and within an hour I was off to sleep, not to wake up until the Aleve wore off and the pain returned.

To me, Aleve is the best of the bunch. Naproxen Sodium beats acetaminophen any day of the week. I was knocked out for six hours (though sheer exhaustion may have played apart).

So to cut Saturday a bit short (you earned the respite), more chills, probable fever, Tylenol PM did not put me to sleep, Michigan Lost Again (yay), sharp pains running throughout my body whenever I moved (though breathing was painless, small favors), and once wondering if putting a bullet in my head would be more painful than this (I mean sure, I was in pain, over a long period of time, but a bullet to the brain has to cause excruciating pain, if only for a moment. Is there a way to chart various pains by severity and duration?).

So by Sunday morning, around 6, I finally had enough. I decided I needed to figure out what was wrong with me. So I logged onto WebMD. I have always been skeptical of WebMD. There are all of these arcane diseases on there, and virtually every entry ends "Consult with your local Physician Immediately." To me, it always seemed like a racket in order to scare the shit out of people, and force them to schedule appointments with doctors because they think their cold is encephalitis. But I was at my wits end. Apparently, my body was not going to take care of this one on its own.

So I wrapped myself in a blanket, and began surfing around the webmd site, then shed the blanket and cross referenced what I had found with wikipedia in my boxers, then re-wrapped myself in the blanket and did a few google searches to confirm that my self-diagnosis was correct. All the signs pointed down the same road. I had to go to the emergency room.

It is not that I do not like Doctors, it is just that Doctors represent mortality. As Dr. Cox from Scrubs put, Doctors are only there to delay the inevitable. As such, other than routine physicals, I have never been to the family physician. I have, however, been to the emergency twice before. Once when I thought I fractured that protruding bone on one's ankle (caused by a hockey puck, and it was not fractured), and once when I got side swiped nearly flush on the driver's side door, while I was driving, and spun off the road (I got to ride in ambulance, but the only damage was a black bruise about the size of Shaq's handspan). Really, I just like to think of myself as indestructible.

My primary concern with all of this is the fact that I have no insurance. (First time in the ER, I had insurance, second time I did not, but the crasher's insurance paid my bills). ER visits can be expensive, and I am not sure if I can get more student loans to pay outstanding hospital bills. You are probably thinking, hey, why didn't you just go to the Student Health Clinic like a normal person? Well, two reasons. First, the doctor was going to have to cut me. I do not know if the clinic cuts people. Second, there was no way I could make it through another day without taking ten Aleve at a time, every two hours (and I am very conscious of not overworking my liver). The last thing I needed was to head over to the student clinic, only to be told I had to go to the emergency room.

So I went to the ER, and they took care of me. I am perfectly healthy now, with only slight residual pain. I find it odd that they wrote me a prescription for Vicodin, considering the pain I am feeling now is not even in the same stratosphere as the pain I was feeling over the course of three days. I have never taken a Vicodin before, and I am a bit scared too. I might enjoy it too much. But anyway, fret not, I will be fine. And I suppose this means that I am not due to be sick again until 2033, when lung cancer and liver disease launch a two front attack on my innards.

Oh, and if you made it this far, let me share a quick story from today. It is very odd to say "Thank You" to the first man who has ever stuck a finger all the way up your asshole. I appreciate what he did for me in curing my disease, which was what I was really thanking him for. But when I saw him as I walked out the ER and croaked a thank you, I could not help but think that he took my anal cherry. (oh and ignore these next paragraphs, I know this long and I do not want to give the satisfaction of hearing that anecdote to those who only skimmed).

[The Rest of this entry is all fiction. I was going to delete it, but what the hell. Probably the best fiction I will ever write. 5/21/06]

The little hospital bedroom is a lonely place. It was in the ER, so no tv, no beer, and nothing on the walls to read. There was a computer, but it did not accept my pathetic attempt at a login and password (seriously, Hippocratic and Oath not working? WTF?). They had already dragged me through every fucking room they had in the ward, despite my repeated protests that I had no insurance. The Doctor was a surly fellow, likely hitting the tail end of his 36 hour shift. He did not have time for me and my problems and I sure as hell did not have time for them imprisoning me here for seven hours. Shit, I could have done a weeks worth of homework with all the downtime that Dr. Surly had bestowed upon me. Yet here I stood, bored from sitting, my ass showing through the back of my gown because I was too pissed off to bother to tie it again for the umpteenth time. Let them see my ass, serves them right. God I hate doctors.

Dr. Surly finally returns, the frown permanently embedded on his face. He beckons me to follow him, and we take off on another jaunt down the now familiar hallway. I wonder why a guy like this ever wanted to be a doctor. There is no bedside manner at all. Must be why he is stuck doing the ER rounds. He probably dreamed of a successful general practitionership, only to see it dashed in a few months when Dr. Nice Guy from across town starting requesting all of his patients' files. Serves him right I guess.

He leads me to a room you see all the time on the medical shows. The X-Ray room. Not really the X-Ray room I guess, they already X-rayed me four times. I suppose this is the X-Ray viewing room. With the bright hot lights the size of a a good Monet. He sticks my four X-Rays up into the the little clasp at the top and begins mumbling some nonsense. I am checked out (not literally) and ready to go home.

Then, he looks at me, and the sadness I see in his eyes snaps me back to attention. My body goes numb, my eyes blur, I feel like I am going faint. I know this is serious, I can tell by his eyes. He is not Surly, just a little depressed. He points to something on one of the X-Rays and circles it with a red writing utensil.

"Son," he says, "I am very sorry. I think you might have cancer."

My world goes black.

1 comment:

nicolle said...

i'm said at the middle of the entry that you were perfectly healthy now, and were sent home with some vicodin. (which, by the way...some people think is good shit, and other people, it doesn't have much of an effect on. it sends my best friend to the stratosphere...whereas i may as well be taking ibuprofen.) but then, at the end, you said the doctor said you may have cancer...i'm hoping you don't actually have cancer?