Both of my Saturday and Sunday evenings this past weekend were spent moaning in bed, sadly, not in a good way. I couldn't really figure it out, but my stomach really hurt! I had assumed it was related to what I ate, especially the first night because I had followed an early fish and chips dinner with a bag of potato chips. I then went into a few hours of abdominal pain, similar to what I have felt with food poisoning, menstrual cramps, gas pain, or indigestion in the past. So I figured it was something along those lines and spent time lying on my stomach, or back with my knees up, waiting for it to stop. It didn't stop and I ended up throwing everything up. It was pretty much the same story Sunday night again.
I was able to get to sleep both nights but awoke to the same pain on Monday. By this point my back was hurting so I had an early morning soak in an epson salt bath hoping to feel better. Jason was really insistent that I not go to work but since I couldn't figure out the cause of it I didn't think there was any point staying home, I also wasn't contagious. Hoping that just being in the office environment would prevent me from making my exasperated pain noises. Shortly after dropping Jason off at the Subway Station I was screaming in the car from the cramping, shooting, pain in my stomach/chest and back.
An Amazing Boss
I barely made it to my desk before having to retreat to the bathroom and then my car, the pain had continued to build and at this point was excruciating. I called Jason, who contacted my doctor's office and left work to come get me. My boss brought me my purse that I had left at my desk and was quite concerned to see me hunched beside the car. We waited for Jason and she kept me company as I paced, huffed, groaned, and gritted my teeth. The theory was a possible muscle spasm in my back. Jason was able to get me an appointment right away to see my doctor, whose clinic is conveniently close to work. My boss drove me over and we met Jason there.
At The Doctor's Office
"You seem quite uncomfortable," was my doctor's opening statement, a phrase that I proceeded to use throughout the rest of my morning. By the time she was seeing me I was dripping in sweat, a new added feature of embarrassment beyond the crying and other physical and verbal reactions to whatever was going on. It was difficult to lie down on the examining table, and extremely difficult to straighten my legs. There was no way to determine what was going on because I was "too guarded." All my abdominal muscles were flexed from the pain. She decided to send me to the emergency room because she was concerned it was something that needed to be diagnosed faster than doing outpatient testing, blood work, etc through the clinic. She thought it might be a stomach ulcer.
At The Hospital With My Husband
My first experience in a Toronto Hospital was a real eye opener. St. Joseph's was a lot different from emergency rooms I have been to in Ottawa, Brantford, or Paris. However, they still did a great job, and I got to call Jason my husband which is still quite a thrill. I was seen right away by, first a triage nurse, fast-track nurse, and then doctor. The doctor had the same issue that my physician had, my stomach was too firm to feel anything and I was in too much pain to locate the exact location of discomfort. It basically hurt between my shoulder blades, the center of my chest, and around the perimeter of my stomach. She sent me over to the normal waiting area with a request that the nurses there give me pain medication, take a blood sample, and send me for an ultrasound. She wanted to check quickly that it wasn't appendicitis.
The Morphine Drip
My care at St. Joe's came to a halt and I sat with Jason in a waiting area for a long time before someone got a chance to fill the doctor's orders. It was very busy. The pain slowly subsided and I wanted to return to my normal clinic and solve the issue as an out patient. Jason made me stay. I was given an IV, blood was taken and a bag of morphine was attached. (I didn't really need any pain medication at that point, the 'discomfort' had fallen from a 9 to a 3, however I was scared of everything starting to hurt again so I didn't decline the drugs.) They got me into the ultrasound area soon after that.
The technician told me that she couldn't tell me anything and I would get the results from the doctor; the ultrasound really confused me because the wand was only moved over the top right portion of my stomach. Not where I would think the actual stomach was, and definitely not near where my mom has her appendix scar. I didn't ask questions, I was too tired and she had made it clear that she wasn't able to give answers anyway.
We were sent back to the same waiting area and I worried it would be another long wait but it didn't end up being too bad. The doctor called me over, open the chart, and simply answered, "Well, you have multiple gallstones!" I was very glad to have an answer, even if I had no idea what it meant.