We have been gambling for several years now. We have been gambling that we would not have a major medical expense during the time that we are uninsured. As most of you know, we lost the gamble in a big way. I mentioned on Sunday that I was experienced some physical distress. That was an understatement. By Monday morning it became clear that my severe abdominal pain was not due to a “stomach bug” but to something more serious. I was in absolute agony.
So, after lunch Walter drove me to the emergency room. We had been advised to go to the “new” place on the north side of town, and I think that was good advice. There was no waiting whatsoever. We were ushered through gleaming halls and seen by a doctor almost immediately. I had blood drawn and was sent to visit a very bossy CT scanner, which ordered me when to breathe and when to hold my breath.
Soon, we had the diagnosis that I had been expecting all along–appendicitis. However, with it came two more very unwelcome diagnoses: very high blood pressure and full-blown type 2 diabetes. Oh yay. And that wasn’t even all of it–I also have gallstones!
I was transported by ambulance to the main hospital for surgery. Every bump in the road was agonizingly painful. When we saw how crowded the main emergency room was, we were glad we had gone to the other one. We were taken straight to a room and our friend Joan from church met us there (she is a nurse in that hospital). My surgeon was as tall as Flynn and looked like a college student. He explained that my high blood pressure and diabetes would greatly add to the risks of surgery, yet the need for surgery was too urgent to put it off. He did not feel that he needed to do anything about my gallstones at this point, so I still have that to look forward to!
Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room and then being wheeled up to my regular hospital room. Everything happened so fast! Walter and Joan left me to rest–except that, of course, they don’t let you rest at all, especially the first night after surgery. During that interminable night, I had blood drawn three times, blood pressure taken innumerable times, temperature taken, blood sugar checked. I had inflatable sleeves in my legs, and IV, and oxygen. I was also randomly given a cup of jello in the middle of the night. So, not very restful!
Yesterday was hard day. Walter was in and out, and I couldn’t seem to stay awake. I was still in a lot of pain, and eating was difficult. My appendix had been very inflamed, and also severely infected. Joan visited me on her lunch break, and in the early evening I was greatly cheered by a visit from my friend Angela and her husband Ray. Shortly after they left, Walter returned with all four of the kids, and they accompanied me on a walk around the floor. It was good to see my family!
The second night went better–I wasn’t disturbed until 3:45 a.m. However, I began experiencing severe nausea during the night and was unsuccessful at eating breakfast. So, I got more meds for nausea and was told I couldn’t come home unless I could keep my lunch down. I had a depressing chat with the diabetes educator. Not surprising, since I had gestational diabetes in the past, but just discouraging.
Everyone I talked to couldn’t understand how my “primary care doctor” could have missed the high blood pressure and diabetes. When I told them that I hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in 14 years, they were gobsmacked. That is part of the gamble you take. We went without insurance because if we hadn’t, we would have had to go without other stuff–like food, or housing. We hoped we wouldn’t have a major medical event until we could afford to get back on insurance, hopefully later this year. Instead, we have years of payments to look forward to–but at least I am still alive!
I am home now and have already given myself my first insulin shot. Somehow I don’t seem to have the prescriptions I need for high blood pressure or antibiotics for the infection, so I will have to check into that tomorrow. At least I get to take a shower tonight and sleep in my own bed! I would really appreciate your prayers as I struggle to recover and learn how to live with my new limitations. Several dear friends have stepped forward to provide meals this week, and for that I am very grateful. And Mary and Jordan will be here on Friday, in time to help with Spencer’s graduation. Looking forward to that!