Monday into Tuesday

I tried very hard on Monday to ignore any physical symptoms. By Tuesday morning I realized I had to do something about the pain. I’d gone and filled the pain meds and nausea meds and took some of them Monday, but I didn’t see how I could continue on once they ran out. I called my oldest son to take me to the ER.

He lives in another town that is close, but felt very far away as I waited for him to arrive. The ER waiting room that had been empty on Sunday night, was packed when we got there. The two most noticeable occupants were two screaming children and a man who kept throwing up. If I wasn’t sick before I got there, I would be before I left. After a two hour wait, I told my son to take me home. I’d come back later when it wasn’t so crowded. I was already angry with my regular doctor. When I’d called her that morning, she was so busy that she couldn’t see me until Thursday. Huh???? I was SICK. I told her nurse about the Sunday night ER visit and she said to go back to the ER. She said that was all the doctor would do, if I did get in to see her – send me to the ER. This was a far cry from my regular doctor in Plymouth, NC, who stayed late when I had appendicitis. She waited for the ER test results, after calling ahead and putting me at the head of the line in the ER . . . and then she set up the surgery with the surgeon. As soon as I arrived at the hospital where the appendectomy was to be, I was greeted right away by a wheelchair bearing employee who whisked me quickly upstairs. Not to be so today. Today I joined the throngs of those who use the ER as a doctor’s office and watched the slow, slow procession of people going back to see the doctors.

I finally got fed up enough to call my son who lives in Charlotte. I told him I was trapped at the ER with his older brother and I wanted HIM to come get me and TAKE ME HOME. His response was to hang up and call his older brother who said I was giving him a hard time, but I had to see the doctor, no matter how long it took.

Finally after we’d been there a little over three hours, I was taken in the back. I found out why it took so long, because once I got back there, I occupied the room for almost five hours. They ran tests. They drew blood. They inserted an IV and gave me nausea and pain meds through the IV. They asked many questions and wrote on many forms. My son sat stoically staring into space. He had worked the night before and had two hours sleep before he came to drive me to the ER. It was a rough day for him as well.

Finally just after 5:00 pm, the doctor came in and said they were transferring me to a hospital in another town. It was in the opposite direction from my son’s town and that announcement brought me to tears. I told them NO. I didn’t want to go! Why??? They said not only did I have gallstones, but I had a stone blocking a duct and it could be better handled at the other hospital. So instead of facing one surgery, I was facing two.

They insisted that I go in an ambulance, although my son could have driven me. He offered to follow the ambulance and I told him to go home. He’d planned to work again that night and he needed to go back to his place and try to get a little sleep.

Shortly after he left, two nice looking young men walked in with a gurney and put me on it. Then I was wheeled down the hall and outside to the waiting ambulance. I asked if I could drive, just to lighten the mood, and they said not this time.

I watched the cars that trailed behind us and wondered if the people driving those cars wondered if I was dead or dying? I’d asked for the lights and sirens (might as well get my money’s worth), but the driver said he couldn’t do that. So I rode in mostly silence for eighteen miles to another town and another hospital.

I’d had an ultrasound done of my gallbladder on Sunday night and they said they would use that one. When I got to my hospital room, I was told that the first procedure, called an  ERCP would be done the next morning, with a gallbladder removal surgery following the next day.


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