Some of you who follow me on Twitter and/or are close family or friends know what I’m going to cover in the next blog entries. It’s plural, because I’m afraid that doing in all in one could cut it off for those who get the blog entries by e-mail. Those who know the basics may want to read on for a few more details. I hope to be detailed enough for interest but not for squeamishness. I wouldn’t recommend this for reading over dinner. It might be more appropriate for the bathroom.
While Phil’s health problems have been going on this summer, fall, and winter (since it’s officially spring now), I was keeping a dirty little secret of my own. Most of my secret-keeping was shame-based, but some was the rationalization that this household could really only have one health crisis at a time. I hope by writing this, perhaps I can spare someone else the shame I have experienced over the last six months. I was cutting corners on some of my shower routine, because I had a few extra things to do. I was also careful not to be out anywhere long enough that I had to use the restroom for anything more than a #1. Any additional toilet activities anywhere but my home was playing a terrible game of roulette. This is because I had what I believed to be a huge hemorrhoid. Because hemorrhoids were associated with weight, I didn’t want to tell anyone what I was experiencing. Then last fall, I had to play at church with this thing out and major protection from the bleeding it’s appearance prompted. Our cleaning person saw the blood but knew nothing. Phil knew I was having a problem, but not the extent until that Saturday of Phil’s good weekend with no dialysis port in place. Zane was very keyed into the problem during these times and tried to be closer than I like a dog to be in the shower. Remember, this is the dog who hates water, so I knew he was concerned — especially when he and I were alone in the house. I finally told my doctor what was happening and went to see her soon afterward. I also told my mother around this time. The problem was that there was really nothing for my doctor to see, except this tiny hemorrhoid she thought was my problem. This thing didn’t feel tiny, and in fact it was ggrowing! I kept using the suppository medication she prescribed, and it seemed to keep it at bay sometimes. This thing made its appearance at random, although I noted they were getting more frequent and a little more painful. It usually meant an impromptu shower, a session of imploring / bargaining with / thanking God, and an increasingly difficult attempt to put things back where they belonged. Saturday the 9th of this month brought on another of the incidents. Phil was at dialysis, and I was by myself. I almost blacked out in the shower trying and finally succeeding to make it disappear. This really scared me, and a few friends can attest that I was pretty shook up. I told my doctor, and said I’d only forgotten the medication one day. She told me that if these continued, it might be time to go see the colorectal surgeon.
Then came this past Monday night. I was unusually tired and decided to go to bed much earlier than normal. Little did I know that it would be very late by the time I got to sleep, and it wouldn’t be on my own bed. Things took the usual course as described above, except I was unable to get the desired results. I had to call Phil out of bed and ask him to call the EMT’s thinking they’d probably helped little old ladies with this problem in other situations. I kept saying to myself that somebody had to*see this! Phil could barely understand me when I asked for a towel. It felt like I was losing a lot of blood, couldn’t catch my breath because of my crying, and was basically a hysterical mess by the time the ambulance came. It didn’t look like a lot of blood loss, but they hadn’t seen all of it which washed away in the shower.
One look at the situation had then asking Phil to gather clothing. It wasn’t life threatening, but they knew they couldn’t fix this. They helped me grab my jacket, keys, and wallet, and Phil gave me my cell phone. Phil was asking them about whether it would be an overnight visit. they said it probably wouldn’t, but they weren’t making promises. Probably the worst physical pain was the bumpy ambulance ride. Observing the ambulance was more brightly lit than many city buses, I calmed down but not enough to make rational decisions. Poised to call my doctor, the EMT’s reminded me it was ten thirty at night. Attempting to text my doctor kept me preoccupied during the ride. I heard the EMT’s describe my condition as a yellow on their color chart similar to the security one many people and companies use. The wheelchair ride to the room within the ER was strangely pleasant, but I was dreading the shame to come.