So, there we were in a town called Swellendam when we got the news that Caroline had died. (Final work team building trip and had already searched for a church in Bredasdorp) We took the children to our friends at church in Cape Town (220km trip), fetched my mother and made the long drive to Johannesburg. Because I don’t use public toilets, I decided not to take my IBS herbs early on Sabbath morning so I wouldn’t need the church toilet. I hadn’t used any on Friday either as we made the almost 300km drive to Swellendam from our home. Late Sabbath morning we were still driving to Johannesburg and IBS was not on my mind. I was just getting teary while we (mom, hubby and I) sang along to hymns like, “It is well with my soul.” Sunday, we were still driving to Johannesburg so still didn’t take my herbs. Nor did I drink enough water. NOT GOOD.
We arrived Sunday afternoon, went to see the boys and their cousin who was the first to find Caroline in the state she was in then went to leave our luggage at the guesthouse. We arranged to meet another cousin (who had been involved in the accident that killed her mom and our brother) at around 6pm back at the boys’ home. Got some lunch, took some to my mother, told her I wasn’t really feeling great so needed to go lie down.
And the pain just HIT. JUST LIKE THAT. EXTREME PAIN. IN MY ABDOMEN. BURNING.TWISTING.CRAMPY.
At first I thought it was just a bad IBS attack. Then I thought it was that plus hunger so tried to eat a bit. Nope, no can do. Poor hubby was already looking up the nearest hospital while I told him I’d be fine and to eat. Poor man didn’t take a bite. The pain wasn’t dissipating so I told him I couldn’t take it anymore. Time to cancel our afternoon visit with our cousin. She told everyone. Everyone panicked. Our older boy (he’s 18) went hysterical with fear and worry. (WHY did they tell them? Can’t they tell he’s in a delicate state? At least the 16 year old’s brain damage has removed much of that understanding of ‘deep’ stuff and their implications) My mom panicked. Wanting to come to hospital. She told my sister who wanted to immediately drive with my 85 year old father over 1000km from Cape Town to see me! (I later told her that when I’m with my husband, he’s the only human I need anyway so they should never have to worry!)
Off I went while practising my “Active Birth” breathing (breathing so you don’t scream in pain ;-)) into the car and to hospital. Got to hospital and tried to hide in a corner so people wouldn’t see the tears silently streaming down my face as I tried to stand upright. Sat down, curled over into a ball. Called into triage where I had to fill in a form. By the time I got to the section about Ebola countries, I couldn’t write anymore. Had to take a break, apologise to the nurse and pull it back after pushing it away during a particularly painful spasm.
Go into the emergency ward. Wait. Bent over in silent agony. Nurse tells me to lie down on the bed. Pain was too much. Sat up. Nurse came in. Gave me a cup. Gave my sample to her. Wait. Hear them telling the doctor there’s blood and protein in my urine. And I thought, “All this pain because of a silly bladder infection? How did my daughter not feel this terrible pain when she had one??” They organised a pain drip and said they’d like to also do an abdominal x-ray.
And that’s where the ‘fun’ began. It would have been more fun if the doctor hadn’t caused terrible pain when inserting the drip. (BEWARE of Dr. Wineburg at Netcare Milpark, she JAMS that needle as if she’s trying to get the tubing into your hand too. It was painful. And seeing as it was a second attempt in a different part of my hand,-a nurse had tried at first-it didn’t help. By the time the stomach pain was gone, I was in agony in my hand.)
So anyway, there I am wearing a long-sleeved, stretch fabric T-shirt. No buttons or zip. A male technician calls me to go to the radiology department and asks me to remove all metal. I ruefully tell him my undergarment is underwired and he tells me it shouldn’t be a problem. “Huh??” But hey, I’m not trained in that so I left it. What do you know? It WAS problem. He suggested pushing my undergarments to the side. Umm, do you know how that would still cause issues with the images??? And the other problem? I couldn’t take my top off on my own. I still had the drip attached, my arm was in too much pain from the violent insertion of the drip and angle in my hand that to just try yank the drip, tubing etc through my NOT LOOSE sleeve would not have worked. HE certainly couldn’t help me disrobe and I considered asking him to call my husband to come help me. He opted to call a female nurse instead. First one sleeve, with me unable to help in any way, then the other with lots of ‘ouches’ along the way when the tubing got pulled as we were trying to manouevre out the sleeve, pull it over my head etc. When we were done, she complained about how difficult that was and I told her I’d just keep the hospital gown on so we don’t repeat the rigmarole.
X-ray showed that along with my lovely bladder infection, I had a lovely IBS flare up going on in my intestines and on top of that, my poor stomach was enjoying a lovely inflamed lining aka gastritis. Whew, that explained the all-over pain. After we were done with directions for treatment of the infection and wondering what caused the gastritis (inflamed stomach lining) and talking about treating the IBS, it was time to leave.
Did they let me keep the hospital gown?
They didn’t let me. I had to leave my beautiful hospital gown there and get back into my boring clothes ;-)