Oh this is just great.
Yesterday I awoke feeling extra bloated, with severe pain in all of my lower abdomen, back, sides, you name it. I go to work, get sick (dry heave!) and then leave work to go home. I call my doctor, but he's booked and can't see me.
To give you an idea of what it felt like: imagine walking around with a giant poisonous bowling ball rolling around inside your belly, knocking up against your ribs, your kidneys, and your bladder. I could barely walk. So, I went to the ER at Hoag! Hoag Hospital is one of the best in the country, and I knew I was in good hands.
Long story short (I can barely write/think right now), I had a spontaneously ruptured spleen. Blood was leaking into my abdomen, which was causing the discomfort. Loose blood flowing around in your belly is not a good thing. They admitted me over night (Thursday) to monitor me because, luckily, the rupture in the spleen was a small one, and it appeared that the leaking had stopped. They did blood draws every few hours (my arm is a pin cushion) to verify that I was not losing blood from the spleen, and each successive sample they took showed I was increasingly stable.
To be sure, I was freaking out. You hear the term "internal bleeding" and you get a little nervous. Luckily, I had Ativan. Lots of Ativan. And then morphine. And then an Ambien. All the while, I was not allowed to eat, or drink, anything. No water. Not even ice. This was in case I needed surgery and would have needed an empty vessel to anesthetize. I am still not allowed to eat real food until tomorrow morning (Saturday) to give my intestines extra time to handle absorbing all the coagulated blood. I am allowed jello, broth, popsicles, and water.
The remaining question is, of course, why did my spleen rupture? I didn't fall down or get hit by anything, which is the most common cause. So they are still running tests to see if a virus attacked it, or if I have Epstein Barr. The surgeon and the internist both have a theory though, and that's this whole thing was in fact spontaneous. It happens all the time, they said.
I'll know more tomorrow. But I am finally home after spending a gross night in a weird room with no food and tubes coming in and out of me. And I can't really write anything else because I just popped another Ativan. I'm safe. Stable. Good night.
It's Sat. morning, and I still haven't eaten. Kind of afraid, but kind of just not hungry. Maybe my stomach shrunk.
I see Althouse as a post up referencing this post, and her thoughtful words got me thinking about why I whipped out my camera phone in the ER.
Well, I really did think I was going to die. The doctor told me I had a ruptured spleen and was bleeding internally, but then he walked away and said he'd "back in a few." The hell?! How can you say that and just walk away?
Anyway, as freaked out as I was, the one thing that made me happy (I laughed out loud as I was doing it, actually) was to take out my phone and start taking pictures of myself, knowing that this was bloggable material. And if I told myself that I would have something interesting to blog about, that I had something to look forward to, and that I still had something to write, then there was absolutely no reason to die.
Call this a good way of distracting myself, or call it silly self-indulgence, but it worked. I calmed down. The doctor came back half an hour later to tell me that I wasn't going to die, but they wanted to keep me overnight for observation.
UPDATE 2: Turns out I did not have a ruptured spleen after all. Read the details, here.
UPDATE 3: It was a cyst, and I had it removed. The most recent post is here. For now...it looks like this whole thing is over.