Another Vacation Emergency Room Trip (sigh)…
On our last big trip, we ended up going to the emergency room twice, once for Max having a bad stomach virus, and then after Frank ran a golf cart into an electric fence while herding cows.
We’d been on the road for seven weeks for our recent trip and it looked like we were going to get lucky on this one. Unfortunately, we couldn’t avoid it. I ate Game Pie (turkey, venison and quail) at a restaurant in Gettysburg, PA a week ago Tuesday. About two hours later, I had severe abdominal pain. Over the next three days, I was getting better, then worse, then better…but it wasn’t going away. Finally, on Saturday, after it got worse, I knew I needed help. We drove to the emergency room in Groton, Connecticut, which is right near our dear friends, international best-selling horror author Doug Clegg and his partner, Raul Silva.
Richard was going to sit there with me but we had Mason and Max with us, too, and I preferred to be alone and sick rather than be sick and worrying about them running around the emergency room and possibly catching something from somebody else. So, I made Richard leave. Yes, I had to MAKE him leave. He did not want to leave me there alone. Doug and Raul were about to come to the E.R., too, but, honestly, it was already pretty full and I was a bit embarrassed by the attention. Having friends around you when you need stitches is one thing. Having them there when your digestive system is out of whack is something else entirely.
Anyway, after only 90 minutes in the waiting room, I was led to a room, ordered to strip, put on a Johnnie, and there I sat for another hour. I thumbed through the May, 2008 issue of Good Housekeeping two times.
The doc came in and was very concerned (he was very sweet), asked me a ton of questions, ruled out diverticulitis and a few other things, and then ordered a battery of tests that I won’t bother going into because you might be reading this on a full stomach. I thumbed through the Good Housekeeping issue two more times. Doc came back, needed more stuff from me to test, and left again. Thumbed through the Good Housekeeping again (sigh).
After 5 hours total in the emergency room, I had no answers and no medicine. None of the normal food poisoning culprits were showing up and they had to wait to 48-72 hours for results on the other tests.
The doctor couldn’t give me anything until/unless they knew what they were dealing with. He asked if I remembered that food poisoning incident at that large fast food chain where some children died? Yes, I remembered hearing about that. He said those children had E-coli 157 (Escherichia coli O157), and were given antibiotics. The antibiotics actually made it much worse and that’s what killed them. He added that most food poisoning cases go away on their own if you take care of yourself. He said as long as I’m slowly getting better to not worry. However, one of the items in my blood test alarmed him. He said it could be that way because my colon was so inflamed…or that it could indicate something else (don’t you hate it when they scare you like that?). Anyway, I plan to have them re-run that test after I feel better so I can stop panicking about it.
The doc said if I started bleeding or running a high fever or if the pain got worse to get to the nearest emergency room (gulp). He also said, “No more red meat until you’re well, and no more game!” To quote our teenage daughter, Ali, “Well, duh..”
I left feeling no better, but no worse (Richard, Doug and Raul had dropped off the car for me while I was in there), and decided I wanted to be sick in my own bed at home. It was too late to drive to Maine that night so we spent a very relaxing evening with Doug and Raul (they all pampered me, which was very nice), and then packed up early the next morning and drove the 300 miles back to Bangor. I honestly felt better just crossing the border. Psychological, I guess.
About a month ago, we ate at a Cuban restaurant (I had ox tail) and I got sick within a couple of hours that night, too. I had the same severe abdominal pain but I was much better only 36 hours later, so I didn’t need help that time, though I did briefly consider going to the E.R. when I was writhing in bed that first night.
I have to wait for the test results but, if it wasn’t food poisoning, I’m going to have to have a battery of tests (a colonoscopy! yea!!) to see what the heck is going on in my gut. Richard and I stopped eating most meat a couple of months ago and, honestly, after all this, I’m not sure if I’ll ever eat meat again. Every time I’ve ever had food poisoning, it’s been from some kind of meat. It just isn’t worth it to me anymore.
UPDATE: The tests for food poisoning all came back negative. Richard took me to our doctor late Tuesday afternoon and he believes it’s one of three things: Mucous Colitis, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. I can’t have a colonoscopy (yea!) yet because of inflammation (much greater risk of perforation). We’re now waiting to find out when our appointment with the gastroenterologist will be.
UPDATE #2: I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. You can read about what happened HERE
Hugs to all!
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