I recently got to spend 5 days and 4 nights in the hospital because I (used to) take Excedrin Migraine instead of my prescription migraine medication.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Excedrin is a lot cheaper and (I thought) has less dire side effects. Turns out that a steady diet of Excedrin can lead to bleeding ulcers.
I thought I was just having an extremely exhausting week. Then one morning I got out of bed and discovered that I couldn’t walk to the next room without having to sit down and put my head between my knees. I come from a long line of tough women. It takes a lot to get us to slow down.
So, off to the emergency room where they ran some tests and decided to transfuse me with four pints of blood. Seriously: four pints – as in about 1/3 the total amount of blood I would normally have. I told you we’re tough. The next day I had an endoscopy
, during which 3 bleeding ulcers were discovered and clamped off.
(Let me digress for a moment and insert a public service announcement: If you’re able to donate blood, please do so! I’ve always been a little casual about my blood donations, seeing them as simply a good deed and nothing I spent much time thinking about. Having now been on the other side of the equation, I can tell you that blood donations literally SAVE LIVES – mine among them. So if you can, get yourself in to your local blood bank and do a good deed!)
Here’s the thing: As serious and scary as all this was, I wasn’t really in any pain. I couldn’t walk across a room or breathe normally, but I wasn’t hurting. And after the transfusion, I felt better than I had in weeks.
But at this point, nobody was taking my word for anything. The lab ran blood tests every 8 hours and while my numbers initially went back up, they then went back down a bit, and it just took awhile for my body to recalibrate.
During the recalibration period, I was limited to a clear liquid diet. Yes, maybe I was recalibrating but it was also possible that I was continuing to bleed. And if that was the case, I needed to be in a state of constant readiness for another endoscopy.
A clear liquid diet is bad enough when one feels like poop. But when one is feeling great, it genuinely sucks. By the final day in the hospital, I had reached the point of counting the minutes to the next blood draw because if the readings were good, I would not only get to go home, I’d get to eat real food, too.
Throughout all of this, I was communicating with my out-of-town family and friends via text messages. I thought you might enjoy this exchange with my brother David:
Me: still waiting for 10 am blood draw. more jello for breakfast
David: …how long to get stats after blood draw?
Me: once they finally come draw the damn blood the results come back in 20-60 mins
David: and how u doing this morning?
Me: feeling pretty crabby. can’t do anything else till the lab tech gets here. i want a shower and some real food. _)&(^#%(&
David: don’t hold back. tell me how u really feel
Me: srsly losing my sense of humor here
David: wanna pic of my foot?
Me: yes please!
David: here ya go!
Now don’t you wish YOU had somebody who would go to these kinds of lengths to cheer YOU up?