There was no warning. I had not been urged by lower extremities to dump anything for three days.
Then on Tuesday night my stomach started burning.
What I thought was a routine Tuesday night visit to the toilet, was in reality, the beginning of a brief courtship with the grim reaper.
I had sat on the throne around 7:30 Nothing happened.
The second trip to the full bath down the hall and to the left was when the pain erupted out of nowhere.
The pain in my lower abdomen was akin to the feeling of swirling red hot razor blades being flung against the inner walls of my stomach and intestines.
Then the bloating elevated its presence feeling like a rapidly expanding balloon inside my stomach.
I push, I strain, and I push. Nothing.
I couldn’t even call up the usual introductory gas before the storm.
The balloon must have deflated because now I feel a cinderblock in my stomach and the hot razorblades now feel as if they have salted edges and are slicing my intestines in a hundred different places.
I stand up, pull everything up, and leave the rest room for the back bedroom where lie across the bed.
There’s sweat on my brow and the cinderblock in my stomach feels as if its moved down.
The razor blades continue to sear my gut. I get up and go back to the restroom hoping this wretched abdominal devil had completed its hellish deed and was about to exit.Little did I know it had no plans to go anywhere, and if it did, it couldn’t have if it chose to.
This time in the restroom prayer and nausea showed up. I bought the prayer; the nausea came uninvited and certainly unwelcomed.
The thing with nausea it almost always brings its own partner in crime, vomiting.
I’m guessing by now there must be some God somewhere that’s testing my faith.
As the upchuck of nothing but fluids got underway, I began trying to remember what the symptoms of colon cancer was, or those of a busted appendix. From what I could manage to remember through the fog of pain, none of those symptoms 100% fit whatever hell this was I was going through. The pain got worse as I once again stood up and pulled everything up and this time went into to den and flopped on the sofa.
The wife at the time took one look at me and said,
“You need a Doctor”.
I was too weak and scared to argue.
“Call 911” I muttered.
Five minutes later two EMT’s were standing over me doubled up on the sofa. I quickly told them what I was enduring and punctuated it with “Let’s Go”.
With their assistance I walked to the ambulance and got on the stretcher inside.
I have very vague and foggy recollections of walking into a room with the EMTS and seeing people sitting on gray benches. I later had to rely on others to fill in the blanks after that.
After the gray benches, I awoke with three women giving me a sponge bath. Two were of Asian descent and one was Caribbean.
There was a blinding huge bright light above, and the entire ambiance was surreal. I remembered the excruciating stomach pain, people on gray benches and now this. I thought at the moment this must be what they call Heaven, and these three ladies have got to be Angels with this sponge bath thing going on.
I asked no one in particular “Where am I?” The Caribbean lady said “ICU” I remember being a bit puzzled thinking, “of course you see me”. She laughed and said “No, you’re in the Intensive Care Unit at Sinai”. “What day is this” I asked. One of the Asian ladies told me it was Thursday Night and I had been heavily sedated for two days.
No, I wasn’t dead.
The nurses filled in the details missing from my brain since the gray benches had appeared.
When I walked into the Emergency Room on Tuesday night with the EMTs I’m told the pain had pushed me to the point of going into shock. I walked in, blurted out to anyone caring to acknowledge and at that moment willing to oblige my request “Someone please just shoot me” and promptly passed out on the floor.
The EMT’s and the wife filled the Doctor in on my symptoms.
Not being sure exactly what she was looking for, the Doctor immediately began exploratory surgery and found I was being plagued with bowel necrosis.
My small intestines had managed to get themselves knotted around a lower section of my large intestines and had starved everything below that of oxygen and blood, resulting in the tissue deteriorating and dying. In laymen’s and certainly not politically correct terms, a portion of my large intestine had rotted and had began poisoning me.
The Doctor untied the small intestines, removed the affected portion of the long intestines, left my stomach opened and me heavily sedated for an additional eight hours to be sure there would be no residual infection before she closed everything up.
After the nurses filled me in and finished the sponge bath (darn it why couldn’t this be heaven) I was moved to a general room to recuperate for a week which I did and eventually got back to my normal antics, known to me as life.
I took a lot of things from this experience one being a sobering realization concerning life lines thrown to us in a crisis. In this instance, pain as odd as it may be for some to comprehend my thought process on this, was my lifeline. I’m told by the Doctor had I ignored it for a mere thirty minutes or less on that agonizing Tuesday night, well let’s just say you would have never read this. At least not authored by me.
When your body or a part of it is in pain, look at the pain as a lifeline thrown to you to do something about it. Reel it in, repair it, save it and yourself.