Monday, March 9, 2009

Hold the Ribs

It was a dark and stormy night as Tom looked over at me and said those magical words: "Crap, I'll go get the kids up - you get dressed, we're going to the emergency room."

This was Saturday, and no matter how much I didn't do, the pain in the side of my ribs was not improving -if anything, it was getting worse. But that is all it was was pain. Saturday was one of the few days that I was truly unable to do anything. I slept off and on as much as I could all day. Moving hurt and not moving hurt, there was no comfortable position. Finally late in the evening I had Tom take a look at it, but didn't tell him where the pain was...all I asked him was if he could see anything unusual. He noticed swelling right away. Drat.

We decided that since my doing nothing all day wasn't helping - the only smart thing to do would be more of doing nothing and see what happened. Turns out, it didn't help. The swelling got worse and now it was after midnight. I had to get on the phone with the hospital to find out what I should do. They told me to come in and get it checked. They didn't even care that it was nasty weather outside or that my children were already asleep.

I was already stressed about the pain. As I've pointed out in recent posts, the slightest thing will cause a cancer patient to freak out needlessly. Now I've got an insanely painful spot right below where I just had 2 cancerous tumors removed. Of course, I'm thinking cancer. I love my doctors though! They were kind enough to know that cancer people stress out and gave us handy little pills to help us relax. I took two of those neat pills just before I found out I had to go to the hospital.

With Allison, Jacob and I whining all the way, Tom drove us to the hospital. It's dark; it's raining; children are whining; and with every bump in the road I yell out in pain - Tom sure was sighing loudly. I really got the feeling he didn't want to be there. But we finally made it. And the parking lot was full. I think it was something like 1:30 in the morning. Tom mentioned how many cars there were and I tried to make a joke by saying all the cars belonged to the people who worked there. The joint was going to be empty. And you know what? It WAS!

Since it was the hospital where I just had my surgery, they had all my information and I was able to go right back into a little patient room. The nurse (whose name I wish I could remember, but can't) was wonderful. I loved her. I lifted my shirt to show her my poor little hurt ribs and she said: "Oh my God." You know that soft, quiet voice that people use when they don't realize they are actually talking out loud. That's how she said it. She said there was only one other patient besides me and the doctor was with her, but he would see me very soon.

I was feeling a tad loopy when she asked me if I wanted my family to come join me. It was a small room, people! So, I said no. Plus, I knew they had the waiting room to themselves. The nurse left for a few minutes, but returned with another nurse and informed me they needed a blood sample. My favorite nurse had a look of sheer horror on her face, while the other nurse look at the first nurse mockingly. "Problems, ladies?"

Nurse A: "You're having chemo, right, so you probably have a port?"
Me: "Tis correct, m'lady"
(Look of horror on her face grows while Nurse B starts to giggle)
Nurse A: "I can use your cath to draw blood"
Me: "Dandy by me"
Nurse B: "Nurse A is too scared to take blood through a port a cath"
Me: "Then take thee blood the old fashion way"
Nurse A: "The last time I tried to take blood through one of those, I thought I was in, but wasn't and ended up poking the poor woman several times. I felt so bad"
Me: "For the love of everything that is good in this world - use a vein in my arm to draw blood."
Nurse A: "Thank you"
Nurse B: (opens curtain to my little room and starts walking back and forth in front of my room as if she were a chicken WHILE making the "bawk bawk" sound)

This is how slow the hospital was on a Saturday night.

Anyway! Nice (and easy on the eyes) doctor strolls in to tell me he wants some chest x-rays. I leave instantly to have my x-rays. In and out of x-ray and back in my room. I asked Nurse A to get my family just before the doctor comes in, but until then I was going to text people. I wasn't sure why she looked at me like I was kidding, which I wasn't. I now know that when you text people at 2:30 in the morning - no one will respond back.

Tom and the kids come in about the same time as the doctor. He said my x-rays were clear, but if he had to guess, he would say it sounded like I had a virus in my ribs. He then wanted to know if the morphine was helping. Uh, no, not really at all. No one gave me morphine. Nurse A comes running in and shoots my butt full of morphine (please take this time to remember that before I got to the hospital I had taken two pills to relax myself.) I was feeling fine.

ER doctor called my surgeon who told him to send me home. So they sent me home. I could not walk a straight line. 3am or so, I'm not really sure, stoned as could be, so I needed a McDonald's ice coffee, hazelnut (yum!). Tom actually stopped and got me one.

It took all day Sunday to sleep off all those drugs. By the time the morphine was out of my system, I was popping percocet. My surgeon's office did call to check on me today to make sure I was starting to improve. She agreed that what I probably have is a virus in my ribs. I'll be fine to start chemo on Friday. Is this good news? I'm not sure.


  1. Whoa! A nurse that is afraid of where she has to put needles! Anyhow, glad it worked out and you were made comfortable. God Bless!

  2. I'm glad you're ok, as ok can get. I have been worried about you these last days. I had my own experience with doctors and ER between my mastectomy, reconstructiona nd chemo. Painful, but laughable in the end I guess. Humor is key to survivng the beast.

    Chemo, good news? No, but it is a necessary evil. Let me know how you do will you? By the way are you doing TAC for sure? And how long?

    Take care sweetie.

  3. Unfreakingbelievable! I didn't even know it was possible. A virus in your ribs???? Of course you do, that makes perfect sense. What a bunch of crap. I think you need to bathe in holy water and maybe drink it. lol I have a great friend who drinks it. It couldn't hurt right?

    Wow thank goodness you will be ok to start chemo I'm sure THAT made you dance. I think we need a Sheri gets a break day. Look I'm going to get that on my calendar, let me know whats good for you. lol

    Hugs, ok they would hurt so how about a kiss on the cheek. I know you're not feeling up to it so if you want I'll jump up and down and throw myself on the floor and have a temper tantrum for you, if it would help. Or I'll just get drunk and have my husband video tape me falling into holes. lol