Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Emergency Room!

Guess where I've been?

And so. To get the real issue out of the way. Everyone who wanted me to see a doctor? I saw a doctor. There is no serious emergency, just further evidence of the same old villain at work.

If you aren't familiar with the ongoing drama, part of my new identity is Dude Who Pukes. A Lot. And There's Blood.

I got to choose a lot of aspects of the emerging persona. I did not pick this one. It started off as a persistent vague feeling of nausea that would spike during moments of stress, causing me to rush from the room from time to time.

Then came Taos. Hey, everyone at Taos? I admire your forbearance in letting me stay in the room while vomiting almost constantly, but if this comes up again, I'd suggest just pitching me over the rail into the parking lot.

This was followed in July or August by the stomach flu that inspired me to a frenzy that actually ripped a little opening somewhere in my esophagus. Which is where the blood comes from.

Since then, there have been two times when a combination of drinking and overeating have caused me to go into serious pukeathons. This last one started Sunday afternoon, and the missus made me go to the emergency room today.

The Missus: That's a lot of blood. That's pretty scary.

The Oaf: I got more.

The Missus: Doesn't that scare you?

The Oaf: You're not gonna like this, but I simply do not have a healthy regard for my own physical well-being. I take care of myself so I don't screw over the people around me, but it's not like I really care.

The Missus: You're right. I hate that.

She started asking me to go in last night, but at that point my physical state was so wretched that I couldn't imagine the car ride, let alone the time spent in the waiting room.

(As an aside, the music my brain played during my delirium was the Richard Thompson version of I Live In Trafalgar Square.)

But this morning, when she asked me again, I was both well enough to imagine completing the trip, and weak enough to be manipulated. (Yes, the Oaf is as putty in the hands of a stronger will, when you can find one.)

Glad I did it. Partially, I was pleased to find out that despite feeling crappy all the time, I still am possessed of a healthy body. No HIV, no cancer, liver is rockin'.

One thing that I found interesting, was that of course questions about drinking showed up early. But then at one point the physician asked me if I was a writer, and when I said yes, the drinking questions went up about two notches in terrifying implications -- "So, how often have you experienced withdrawal from alchohol?" "Not so far, not likely ever." This came up a few times, and given that I told them what my drinking habits were, I have no idea where this came from.

The final tentative diagnosis? "There's a whole bunch of stuff in here. I think you probably have what we used to call an ulcer in your esophagus. Your drinking and eating habits are going to irritate your digestive tract. But mostly, I think it's stress and anxiety."

This is where I ask the trombone player to step out and play that familiar melody:


Basically, when I hit the point where I am in a sweat-drenched writhing delirium for hours and hours and hours? That's not so much a puking problem as puking setting off a psycho problem. I do experience those episodes as visionary though unpleasant...

I knew this. And I knew that addressing my diet and drinking more deliberately would keep me from experiencing a lot of these episodes. But hearing confirmation from a number of different medical personnel kinda settles things. I don't have the option of knowing but refraining. The missus knows I know.

Thing is, is I went in complaining about puking blood, and the medicos made it plain that my real problem is my crazy. "So, given your condition, are you able to go out at all or do you have to stay at home?" seemed a tad harsh, but actually? The combination of chronic pain and depression has kept a lot of nasty little bedrooms occupied full-time. I ain't doing that. But I'll tell you what. If I liked opiates, I could have gone that way.

They also threw some antacids my way.

As an aside, the people at the county hospital were genuinely wonderful. If it weren't for the extreme physical discomfort (they gave me morphine, and people don't believe me when I tell them that opiates agitate me), it would have been a lovely day.

But just for the record. Home remedies suck. Orally-administered anti-emetics? Are you familiar with the concept of the design flaw? And I am sorry, I don't give a shit how many pediatricians love the stuff. Pedialite is unbelievably nasty. There are moments in life that are not enhanced by the presence of artificial grape flavor. Give me blue Gatorade. It does not make you think of food even a little bit. Instead, it tastes the way those curiously appealing blue disinfectants smell. Mmmmmmmm....

Still. I preferred being the guy who could eat or drink anything without puking. Oh, well. One step closer to the grave.


Glendon Mellow said...

Please take care of your esophagus. Add me to the list of people inconvenienced when you're sick.

Sean Craven said...

Will do, dude. Thankfully, it's not as if I have to restrict myself to a pitiful range of behavior. I just have to avoid a few things, and work harder on moderating my stress levels. Man, now that's a problem to worry about...

Glendon, I don't send a card or anything, but your spectral internet presence has been on the list of those I take into account for a while now. I very much appreciate your concern, and will reciprocate by not croaking myself.