I have noticed I have been hugely delinquent in blogging this academic year. There is probably some cogent analysis that can be made of this. However, I think I will decline the task.
I am now among those who can claim to have experienced kidney stones. I wonder if someone will invent a little app that computes how many parts of your body has had ailments, like those maps of all the places you have been. I added a new item to my list. On Wednesday AM I awoke with a kind of burning pain on my left side. Didn’t think much of it, as I have had a similar sensation for decades on the right side, which has been identified as a colon spasm, which is activated by anxiety. As I have had cartloads of anxiety to deal with recently, I didn’t think much of the pain. I thought “Gee the spasm has just switched side. I drove on to school, I arrived at my 8:30 classroom, got the door unlocked by public safety, and logged in on the computer. While waiting for my obese profile to load, I got out some routine paperwork. BAM. I felt like I had been kicked by a mule. I then thought “Gee what WAS it that I ate last night?” I made my way out of class to the restroom.
Now I would like to pose the question: how many people take their cell phones with them to sit on the toilet? I will note that until I got the iPhone, I was not one of them. as a matter of fact, during class the cell phone is usually consigned to the handbag which is consigned to some relatively secure spot.
I sat on the toilet in the restroom (sans phone) and this ‘gas attack’ was phenomenally stationary and intense. It became so intense that it triggered a hot/cold sweat. I was there hanging onto the grab bars in the stall to prop myself up. It went on. and on. After over a quarter of an hour had passed, I began to worry. I had been gone from class for quite awhile. There were no women in my class. On Wednesday mornings, our secretary is out of office taking a class of her own. There was no one else in our office area either. The thought passed through my head “I could just die in here and no one would find me”. Then I really began to worry. not that I would die, but if my students came looking for me, the only place that they could go to ask what happened would be the dean’s office. Unfortunately, I believe the dean would immediately believe the worst of me, before getting any facts, and would assume I was flaking off somewhere. I realized, “Not only am I going to die in here, but I will be written up for dying in the Ladies toilet to boot and not delivering instruction on schedule”.
whether the gallows humor of that thought revived me, or it was just the natural nature of the ailment, all of a sudden I felt immensely better. “Gee I’m glad that’s over” I thought and made my way out of the toilet, down the hallway, toward my classroom. If the first onset of pain felt like a mule kick, the second one was like being between a crash dummy and the dashboard in midcollision. I collapsed on the sofa next to the HR office and stopped thinking about the class, the dean, my students, anything except the immediate present and how to ride out the wave of pain. I commenced deep breathing relaxation exercises that improve my migraines, but I had a hard time relaxing … duh. The sweats came back. It was pure hell. A colleague walking down the hall asked me “Linda, are you all right?” to which I croaked “no”. This lady is foreverafter to be known as my guardian angel as she just took care of everything. She had HR call my husband. When the third level of agony commenced (equivalent to obstructing the Space Shuttle during takeoff), compleat with involuntary vomiting and kicking the wall, it was decided that i was to go to hospital. And as It was impossible for me to walk, the ambulance was summoned.
I have had many moments of wonderment about this current group of students, and in retrospect I find it a little amazing that they waited over an hour before trying to figure out what the heck was going on, as I had yet to make a reappearance in the classroom. One student came out to try to find me just in time to find Public Safety officers, my spouse, my guardian angel, paramedics all right outside the classroom, and me, moaning and vomiting into a waste receptacle. It was quite a dramatic moment. Equally dramatic was the exit atop the ambulance gurney, my face buried in the trash can liner as it seems the paramedics did not come equipped with a vomitorium. or an equivalent.
I went to the closest hospital, not the one I usually go to. It was a choice between 3 minutes versus 20 minutes travel. I am going to append my commentary on how to get attention in emergency room admissions. I have discovered that continuous projectile vomiting with sweats and trembling is as nearly effective as being covered in blood. I sailed through triage and even before they found me a cubicle, I had been administered a healthy dose of Dilaudid. Now that is one serious drug. If that is what heroin or coke is like, well then I might see now a a wee bit more of why someone might be motivated to want to use it.
Wikipedia says “a drug with higher lipid solubility and ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore more rapid and complete central nervous system penetration, with the result that hydromorphone is somewhat faster-acting and about eight times stronger than morphine and about three times stronger than heroin on a milligramme basis. ”
If I closed my eyes I saw a brilliant halluncinatory world as vivid as the one I saw when I opened them. I wasn’t exactly within the realm of a stately pleasure dome a la Coleridge, but it was a singular experience. Nine hours later, I had been diagnosed with a kidney stone [CAT scan], and sent home with Vicodin, antinausea meds, and a sieve.