If there is one thing I am pretty knowledgeable about, it is my body. Not the human body, not really anatomy, but specifically how things feel in my body. I know what I can take. I know when something feels wrong, and I can usually pinpoint what the problem is. I also come from a long line of people with very high pain tolerances. We have bruises we don’t remember getting. Things that make other people cringe and cry go on noted as a “backache.” I have had 11 piercings, one tattoo and a sigmoidoscopy (the camera based rectal exam for which you are wholly conscious) and would rate them all as uncomfortable.
So when I say I have met and exceeded my pain threshold, it means something is significantly wrong. When I went to ER on Thursday night and told the triage nurse I was having extreme pain in my abdomen and I was worried it was my appendix, I thought I would be seen relatively soon. By relatively, I figured maybe within an hour. Like that the pale, obviously clammy person worried about pain complaining of nausea would be seen before the guy whose facial laceration had since stopped bleeding. I was wrong. So, after sitting uncomfortably in the ER waiting room without so much as a reassessment, I handed my ID and allergy bracelets back to the nurse behind the glass and said I was going home. Whatever the deal was, I’d suck it up and go see my doctor in the morning.
To explain what is going on in my body, the pain that I worried was my appendix is actually my ovary, encapsulated by a complex cyst, swinging around under the weight and momentum of the liquid. For those not already cringing (dudes) imagine that someone grabbing you by the vas deferens and twisting. Every. Time. You. Move.
For reference, here is a photo from my first surgery to remove cysts from my ovaries. I like to pull it out on the internet every so often to gross people out. Clockwise, we have my uterus and ovaries, the inside of the larger cyst (which was full of liquid, congealed blood and other debris), a closeup of the connection between the ovary and the cyst and the actual cyst itself. I named it Clytemnestra. For a size reference, Clytemnestra was the size of large grapefruit. And ovary is a the size of a walnut. The connection was very slim and like a straw.
Because this is not my first time at the ovary cyst rodeo, I have known for a little while that I had one growing. I had to pee more often and more suddenly, there is some occasional discomfort. There was a sharp, stabbing pain if I moved the wonrg way the last couple times.
This pain was nothing like that. I nearly passed out on the bathroom floor after dry heaving for five minutes upon return from the ER. I took my first ride in an ambulance. And, because I looked like that asshole who takes ambulance to skip the line at the Emergency Room. So, they sent me back to triage, cold sweat and all.
It took Stewart stepping in to advocate for me, after we waited another hour, while I rocked and cried while hunching backwards on a chair to get me into the actual MDs. And only another 20 minutes to see a doctor because I was losing it loudly in my corner while Stewart yelled at a series of nurses.
13 hours later, I got shipped off with a half hearted reassurance that my appendix wasn’t bursting (because I have no fever), a pile of pain pills and instructions to follow up with my own doctors. Then I threw up all over Stewart’s car from Morphine withdrawal.
This is not the most interesting new thing going on in my life, but it feels like the only new thing at the moment. I am taking submissions for names on the new cyst, but after the tongue in cheek suggestion that I call it Paul Ryan, I may just go with “2012 Republican Party Platform of Women’s Rights.”