This is a story all about how my day got twist, turned upside down and if you’d take minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you all about how I ended up at Sibley Memorial in Emergency Care.
I was at work and took an afternoon bathroom break. While doing my…business…without straining…I noticed a cramp in my abdomen when I was finished. I immediately got up and tried to stretch it, but was limited with my clothes in a tiny stall. Then other men started entering and exiting the bathroom. I wanted to stretch this out on the floor – it was that bad of a cramp.
I tried sitting in different positions, but it wasn’t helping. I started sweating a very long time. I felt better enough to get back to my desk. I went to my desk and sat down. Then I noticed I couldn’t sit, so I stood. Then I couldn’t stand up straight and had to tilt to feel better. I went back to the bathroom because I started seeing little black spots in my vision. I thought I had food poisoning and was about to have some explosive diarrhea or vomiting. I put the toilet protector down and tried to go, then the pain was so bad I stood straight up and the toilet protector went down with the automatic flush. It hurt to stand now so I sat straight down again, in pain, on a bare public toilet seat. I pray for grace over my butt and rear thighs.
I sweated for about ten minutes, got dehydrated, went back to my desk and started packing up to go home. I informed my coworker that I was sweating a lot and had a severe cramp on my right side. He thought it was Chipotle, as I did. The drive home was tragic. I had to put my seat back halfway and lower my rear view mirror. I could hardly turn to back out, turn the wheel without pain (I made the widest, slowest turns), or do the speed limit. It hurt to move from the gas pedal to the brake and back again. The Holy Spirit told me to stop at two hospitals on the way home, but I thought I would feel better once I got in bed. I should have listened.
I got home and slowly walked in. Thankfully, the door was open with someone moving, so I didn’t have to pull on it. I got in my apartment, stripped down in my living room and left a trail of clothes on the way to the bed, except this wasn’t a sex scene from a movie, although my cries of pain that had to be heard in the hallway may have convinced otherwise neighbors and someone’s maid who was waiting in the hallway to get into an apartment. It took me about 20 minutes to get into my bed and get situated. I found a comfortable position but could not fall asleep. Turning on one side was a bad idea, as was the other side. I thought I was going to die. I even asked God to not let this be it, but thought, “If I’m dead, I won’t hurt anymore and won’t need this body.” When the pain became too unbearable I called 911, thinking I could be in a hospital now if I had listened to that still, small voice on the way home.
I could barely breathe on the call. Breathing deeply hurt. I painfully got out of bed, stood awkwardly for a few seconds and put on pajama pants and an over-sized T-shirt. I answered the door for the paramedics and explained what happened. They looked at my stomach, saw it was concave on one side and hurt to even touch the skin. My pajama pants had to be placed around my butt because it hurt to have the band on my skin in that area. The pain was radiating like a “C” in that area.
They asked me a bunch of questions on the way to the hospital and the woman plowed through a speed bump at the hospital. They asked more questions while I was literally writhing in agony and moaning (so annoying) trying not to scream out in pain in the ER. The doctor came in almost immediately. I just wanted morphine. The pain was THAT bad. I didn’t even care that I left my house in only an oversized T-shirt, pajama pants (no undergarments) and bedroom slippers.
They gave me an IV, which was good because I was dehydrated. I sucked that bag dry in record time. Maybe it was a regular rate. I don’t know. They gave me a painkiller, which I felt kick in (skin felt slightly tingly) and the pain went away except for the area where I felt something stick out earlier in the bathroom. I went for the CAT scan (first ever) and it was an ordeal moving from one bed to the next there. I got back into the ER room and waited, playing games on my iPhone and texting updates to people, Twitter, and Facebook.
The nurse came in and said (while connecting some sedative to my IV tube) that they were keeping me and going to prep me for surgery. I looked shocked that they would do that without telling me first. He said, “You’re Mr. Dunphy, right?” I said, “No.” He checked my wristband and immediately disconnected the sedative and apologized. The doctor came in a while later and said they have an answer. She seemed happy. I said, “It’s a hernia.” She said, “No, you have a torn abdominal muscle with light bleeding at the site. Your kidneys and intestines look normal, your appendix is fine, and everything there is fine except for that tear.”
That is a direct quote from her on the series. Yes, I’m a comic book nerd and Marvel fanboy.
She recommended that I push my trip back by a day or two, and hopefully (I pray) there will be no additional fees, charges, or problems with doing so because I have a doctor’s note with those instructions and the diagnosis. I’m just praying that the travel agency, which is not a great company, can do this without a problem today and that the other airline I use to get to L.A. won’t have an issue either. I still want to go on this awesome vacation. God knows I do and how excited I am for it.
So, I got a muscle relaxer and a habit-forming painkiller. (I understand why people like this one. After one pill I was like, “Why did she only give me twenty pills? I need about sixty. Or one hundred.”) She said to not combine the muscle relaxer and painkiller unless absolutely necessary as they’ll leave me zonked and sleepy. I thought I should probably do that on the plane, then, if I can still go.
The pain is localized now and I am at work. I have to sit at a rear angle, but not as much as yesterday. I sat upright in two chairs last night without a problem. I’m praying that I’m on the mend. There is some tenderness at the site and swelling in my stomach (one side is slightly more swollen than the other – goodbye visible results from working out). Thanks for your prayers in advance too. Two of the awesome things about yesterday is understanding a new friendship and feeling love. I have a new friend I met in February and he offered to take me to the airport in my car, drop it off at my place, and catch the bus back to his place. That’s awesome and it made me smile. I might keep him around for a while longer. (smile)
The other awesome thing is the outpouring of prayers, well wishes, and follow up calls and texts from family and friends. My parents were worried but relieved with the diagnosis. They were ready to come take care of me, though, if I had to be admitted. They live over an hour away. Other friends reached out, too, and a favorite cousin called and said she could come down here today from NJ if I needed her to do so. That’s pretty great and loving.
During my time of pain, I had asked where the Lord was because it wasn’t getting better. I was told to get to a hospital, but didn’t listen. I needed to get to the hospital. I needed to get diagnosed and somewhere stable where I could get a powerful painkiller. I needed painkillers and muscle relaxers. I needed to understand what could have led to this to hopefully avoid it in the future. I needed people to reach out to me, pray for me, care about me, and possibly get me to the airport on my scheduled day or later. I might need to wait to go (you never know what you’re avoiding with setbacks like this). He was there all the time. Thank You.
But listen, I don’t want to have pain like that or worse ever again. I cannot describe how bad it felt. Just know that it was that bad. You use your abdominal muscles for everything your body does. All that’s left is the waiting and healing now.
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