I was blaming it on my smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and general not-in-shapeness. I’m kind of hard on myself about those things, especially since I have failed time and time again to do anything about them. I told myself “Shithead, you need to walk some of that fat ass off, and you will feel better.” But I had gotten worried that it was something more, and I decided to get an appointment with my doctor.
As part of getting a non-regular-visit style appointment, I talked to the triage nurse at the clinic about my symptoms. She was concerned, and when I told her about my family’s genetic pre-disposition to irregular heart-beat, she became alarmed. Frankly, she scared me a little. She requested that I go to the hospital. Well, I grumped and groused about that and said “fuck it” and went in.
Upon arriving at Our Lady Of Unending Needles hospital, I got settled in the ER. A quick EKG proved my heartbeat to be normal. Good news. However, about 15 minutes after they drew blood, my doctor came into the room looking unhappy.
He tells me that my old nemesis, anemia, has returned. I had a red cell count of 5.7. Normal people have a red cell count of 15 or 16. So I was down to around a third of my blood supply. Thus the easily tired, thus the pounding heart.
Last time I had anemia, I was at a blood count of about 7 when I went in. I have a hiatial hernia and erosions on the top of my stomach because of it. I thought I had it taken care of with prescription acid reducers. However, the doctor thought it was likely that I had them again and scheduled an emergency upper GI. I argued with him, I had a bunch of people in town and things to do. Couldn’t this wait until Monday?
The ER doctor looked at me and said “You probably won’t have a heart attack by Monday. 10% chance at most.”
Translation: “Stop being such a fucking idiot, you need to get this taken care of.”
He was right, it had just happened so fast I was having a hard time adjusting. Most of the time, I didn’t FEEL that bad. I relented and an hour later I was under getting an upper GI.
Big erosions again. They admitted me into the hospital where I got the first of what would be six units of the best B+ blood they had. Top shelf stuff, I gotta say. Saturday was uneventful in the hospital, and I was grumpy. I was unhappy to be there, unhappy to miss a big party, and unhappy that I was sick. I almost drove my parents from my hospital room. I have since apologized for my behavior.
Then a find out: Sunday morning, I will be having another GI. A lower one this time. Lovely. What little shreds of my dignity that were left now flew out the window.
If you have never had a lower GI inspection, let me tell you it’s not that bad. You are out for it. However, the preparation to clean you out before the procedure is something special, and I don’t mean like a Hallmark card.
They gave me a GALLON of stuff to drink, about 14 hours before the procedure. This vile liquid is called GoLytely. That’s right kids, you read that correctly. Lightly is far from how you will “go” after drinking this.
GoLytely is “Lime Flavored”. If limes had assholes, and you could grind them up for flavoring, that’s how GoLytely tasted. The consistency was that reminiscent of a light vinegar and oil salad dressing.
I was told “The faster you drink it, the faster this will be over”. Right. So I drank about ¾ of a gallon of GoLytely in the space of about 15 minutes. Did I mention that this stuff was cold?
I’m sitting on the edge of my hospital bed, in the dignity-removing backless gown they give you, shivering from the cold of the GoLytely. I can also feel stuff…….moving around down there if you know what I mean. I’m starting to cramp up a bit. The RN and NA both come in to check on me.
The RA stops and says “What happened to the rest of that?” pointing to the GoLytely.
“I drank it” I says. She looks horrified and asks in a hushed voice “Have you………gone yet?”
“You had better get ready.” She replied, looking at the four feet between me and the toilet.
“I am well aware of that” I said as my bowels made a large groaning gurgling sound.
Over the next several hours I…………complete the process and finish the GoLytely. By the time I was done with it, the GoLytely was making me gag with its texture and lime-ass taste.
The next morning, I get to drink another 20 ounce glass of it, but I can only get half of it down without gagging. Apparently when you are “all clean” on the inside, the GoLytely makes what does come out a bright neon yellow. I kid you not. You could have painted road stripes with my ass. It was frightening.
I go for the lower GI, and they have to replace my IV. Now I am TERRIFIED of needles. I have only had this one IV all weekend, but after six units of blood and who knows how many bags of saline, the IV site is just not working anymore. But she manages to get part of the drugs in me before deciding that I need a new IV feed. Finnegan, I think the drug was called.
It wasn’t enough to knock me out yet. I was enough to make me almost lose control of my emotions when she stuck me again. Four tries on my other hand before she moved it onto my arm. Two tries to get it on to my left arm. By the time she had it done I had my eyes clamped tightly shut with tears leaking through them. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was the half-syringe of drugs that was causing me to lose so much control.
They then knocked me out and proceeded to probe my nether regions. They found nothing, meaning alls well in the end, so to speak.
Later that day they released me. I might need surgery, I might not. I am on over 600miligrams of iron a day, and at the last test I am producing my own blood at a faster rate that I am losing it. Between the transfusions and my own production I am up to 11.7 for a blood count. Not too shabby.
I think that surgery to fix my hiatial hernia will be inevitable. It’s a birth defect, and it’s going to continue to give me trouble. On the upside, it looks like I will have time to loose some weight before the surgery, which will make things go better. The repair is lathroscopic, so hopefully it will go well when I have it done.
It’s taken me some time to talk about this because frankly it scared me quite a bit. At the end of the day, its probably a good thing, I am more aware now of my health.
Moral of the Story: Men, if you are sick go to the fucking doctor. Don’t be stupid like I was.
|< Talkin' Out the Side of Your Neck | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|