It cracks me up when I go to a medical office and I have to do the assessment with the nurse. They're all basically the same: current complaint, history, vitals, and then she will ask, "Do you have any other conditions that we should be aware of?" My answer: "Nope. Aside from the pesky cancer, I am perfectly healthy."
It's an answer that came in handy on Sunday morning when I found myself in the emergency room. I started feeling more cancer-y (yes, I just created a new adjective) than usual late last week. Friday afternoon was a rapid decline of stomach-related symptoms and pain that refused to be controlled with meds, even heavy duty prescriptions. I had more of the same on Saturday, growing progressively weaker and dehydrated. By 8 a.m. on Sunday I knew that I had to get help. We called ahead to Dr. F's office and Hubby drove me to the ER.
I have only been in the ER once before, on the day that Monster moved in and set up shop. That was six years ago. It hasn't changed much. Even though we had called my doctor ahead of time, I am an established patient at the hospital, AND I was miserable, it took more than two hours to get past triage, and I didn't see an actual doctor until I had been there for seven hours. In spite of feeling terrible, though, the wait gave me plenty of time for people watching. One quartet was particularly interesting. The gentleman who turned out to be the patient (it took me a while to figure that out!) was dressed in a heavy camouflage hunting coat. Now, we had a cold front come through DFW, but this coat was crazy. It was the I-am-going-out-in-a-snowstorm-to-kill-a-wild-animal coat, not a there's-finally-a-chill-in-the-air jacket. Coat Man was accompanied by an entourage of characters who appeared to be family members...maybe his mother and siblings? Mama was probably so distressed about her sick son that she rushed out without her bra. It was frighteningly absent beneath her straight-from-the-junior-section Tinkerbell t-shirt. Coat Man's brother might have been equally distracted, because he forgot to pull his pants all the way up. He also never removed his sunglasses. For hours. Coat Man's sister won the prize, though, because she forgot to get dressed AT ALL. She seemingly fell out of bed and straight into the car that brought her brother to the hospital. Had I been brave enough, I might have given her this nugget of advice: You might receive better service in this fine health care establishment if you wear undergarments with your paper-thin white t-shirt, don pants that are NOT decorated with flannel Cookie Monsters, and leave your bathrobe with holes in the elbows at home. Oh, and please just try to last longer than 5 minutes before you go outside for another smoke. Good grief.
I finally got called back into a tiny room. I had x-rays done, blood taken, and got fluids going. The sweet nurse gave me injections of pain and anti-nausea meds. After the second round, I felt relief. FINALLY. Turns out that I have a couple of nasty infections. Monster welcomed the visiting germs...he probably offered them lemonade and asked them to stay a while. I walked out of the ER with hefty meds to add to my collection and directions to call my doctor during regular business hours if I needed anything else.
Two days later, I am still feeling blah (but better than Sunday!). Monster and his buddies seem to have their seat belts fastened in their easy chairs in there. Lemonade, anyone?
As is my practice, I have been trying to find the proverbial silver lining. First, it was a weekend. As much as I hate it, Hubby was able to step up for full-time Cowboy Duty so I could rest. Second, there is nothing like a crisis to bring the best out in the best people. I've said it so many times, and I will say it again: We have been blessed with some amazing people. They continually stand with us, behind us, and around us--encircling my guys and me with incredible love. This is the body of Christ as it should be...Jesus with skin on.
Finally, and I know this sounds strange, but this weekend was useful as a practice run. Dr. F expects that Monster will culminate his stay by causing obstruction of some vital organs/functions. When that happens--and it is WHEN, not IF--it will be a true, life-threatening emergency. We have a plan of action ready for that occurrence, which begins with me getting to the MCD ER as quickly as possible. Now we know a little more of what to expect, and that is not a bad thing.
C is for cancer. C is also for Cookie Monster and coat and crazy and cry...and cowboys. I despise this disease that I sometimes say is ruining my life. But there are times when I think of all the things I have seen and done and learned because of cancer that I would never have encountered otherwise. And I have just enough sense in my little head to be thankful.
P.S. Highlight of the long, sick weekend: Lengthy FaceTime with Reese the Niece. She showed me her puppy dogs, she took me outside, and she read me her favorite books. The Princess was astonished that Auntie knew 5 Little Monkeys and could do the hand motions with her. Our favorite part, of course, was when "one fell off and bumped his head!" She'd bump her head, I'd bump my head, and then we would laugh at each other. I am so totally in love with that little girl!