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Poking and Prodding

March 15, 2010

I’m two for two in my goal for this week of waking up by 6 AM this week. Of course, the last two mornings have both been a bit unconventional.

Saturday evening, we got in late from a wedding in Lubbock (more on that later this week). We pulled up to our house at 12:30, only to realize it was Daylight Savings Time and we had to set our clocks forward an hour. We led worship at Highland Sunday morning; there have been many times where I’ll get poor sleep before I lead worship out of fear of oversleeping. I woke up about 5:30 (right after my first REM sleep cycle of the evening) and couldn’t get back to sleep; rather than toss and turn and wake up Katie, I checked out the NY Times Sunday headlines.

This morning was a bit more intense. I went to bed last night with a really sharp pain in my stomach; I was able to sleep through it for a bit (although Katie evidently didn’t sleep because I was tossing and turning). I woke up at about 5 with the same, more disruptive pain in my stomach. I hobbled to the living room to check out the morning news and did a bit of medical research as well. I feared that I had appendicitis–the pain was in the right area of the abdomen, evidently it’s common in men between 18 and 30, and so forth. The pain subsided for about three and a half hours–so bad that I set up an appointment with my doctor (well, my friend Elizabeth, my doctor’s nurse practitioner).

By the time that I got to the doctor, most of the pain was gone (a warm shower was incredibly relaxing), but I spent about 45 minutes there doing different tests to rule out different viruses and disorders. Doctors poked around at different areas of my stomach, asking if it hurt; I wanted to say, “Yah, it hurts when you poke me there.” Elizabeth hypothesized my fear–appendicitis–and set up an appointment at the hospital to get a CT scan and blood work done.

At the hospital, I was asked to drink 40 ounces of this stomach medicine laced with ginger peach tea before the CT scan to clear out my digestive/urinary tract; needless to say, the concoction served its purpose. An hour and a half after I took my first sip, the technician guided me to the CT scan machine, where I was poked with an IV that inserted iodine and monitored my heart rate. (I’m overcoming a phobia of needles, and still have to take my glasses off whenever someone gives me a shot so I won’t see the doctor pricking me.) The CT scan took 15 minutes to complete; at one point, I found it quite painful to breathe (the technician told me to expect that). Afterwards, I was asked to return to the waiting room, IV still in my right arm just in case they had to repeat the CT scan. They sent me home about 20 minutes later hungry and a bit woozy; I scarfed down leftovers from Friday evening’s dinner at Los Arcos.

About an hour later, one of my doctor’s nurses called and gave me the results of my test. I don’t have appendicitis or any other weird thing going on. In fact, I ended up getting a physical out of the deal–the other dozen tests or so they conveniently did turned out normal as well. However, the hospital forgot to do bloodwork on me, so I was asked to return to my doctor’s office to draw blood; more poking and prodding–this time in my other arm.

I went to the doctor a bit before 9 and returned for good at 3:30. And I am exhausted–I have a headache, I didn’t eat very much tonight, and I want to go to sleep.

But, in spite of the poking and prodding, I wanted to give thanks as well.

I’m grateful that I have doctors and nurse practitioners who are compassionate, friendly, and ethical as well as extremely brilliant and practical. I’m grateful that my wife works at an organization that gives benefits–today was rather expensive, but it would have been much more without our insurance. I’m also grateful that she works in an understanding, thoughtful environment that would have been okay with her leaving and being with me at the hospital had I stayed there any longer.

I’m grateful for my health. Yah, my body has its quirks–I sneeze at just about anything that germinates, for example. But, in a weird way, I’m glad that today was uncomfortable–my body isn’t used to being medically explored and examined. I know and work with people who have chronic pain–physical issues that are beyond their control that result in doctors routinely poking and prodding them, drawing blood and performing tests. If six hours of that today was draining for me, I can’t imagine the exhaustion that the chronically ill go through. Today gave me a small glimpse of the wearying struggles of that population.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2010 9:05 pm

    Holy crap! So glad you are okay, but what a day.

    Maybe we go to a movie sometime soon to relax or something. Or find a place and eat gobs of cheesecake.

  2. March 16, 2010 11:32 pm

    Oh, man that sounds stressful. Glad you turned out to be okay. That google symptoms is dangerous. Just ask a certain David I know. 🙂

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