Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pain

I have emotional pain related to all my adoption fun and games, and physical pain, which is tangentially related to my adoption because the source of my problems is hereditary.

I spent most of Thursday in the ER at the hospital at UC San Francisco. It is a friendly, efficient ER; I got into a room within an hour and a half, was seen by an intern and got some much-needed IV pain medication. I was in terrible pain, the kind that makes you want to die if it won't go away. My abdominal pain has been chronic for about two years, with good moments and bad moments, but mostly bad moments since last March. You see, I got a new clot in the vein that feeds blood to the liver from the intestines and stomach. Clot = decreased blood flow = lack of oxygen to tissues = pain. On Wednesday I had taken 80mg of my long-acting narcotic instead of my usual 30mg, along with 80mg of my narcotic for breakthrough pain, and the meds hadn't touched the pain at all. I was lucid and writhing and screaming. I felt my body was like a prison, and I was being tortured.

I didn't want to go to the hospital because I knew what would happen. I would get IV pain meds; the MDs would order labs; I would have either a CT scan or an MRI of my abdomen: and then the MDs would say, "You have two clots, and there's nothing we can do. Stay anticoagulated. Come back if you get a fever and start vomiting." My wonderful primary care physician insisted, however, because she worried that the drastic increase in pain might be an indication that my intestines were not getting enough oxygen and were infarcting. Necrotic bowels are something I'd rather like to avoid, thanks all the same, so I grudgingly agreed to go to the ER.

I had to go alone because Mark was working and my closest friends were wither ill themselves or had small kids to take care of. I ended up not minding being alone too much, though, as I was placed in a quiet corner room and was able to read for most of the day. The IV pain meds (ah, Dilaudid) precluded me from thinking too intensely about anything, although it struck me that once again, I was facing my demons with no help beside me. I was in the hospital because of who I am genetically (a Newman), not because of who I was raised to be (an Olsen). My body is part of a web of attachments from which I have been torn and exiled. It would be nice one day to be able to fill out a family medical history form completely. Well, I can now do my maternal side, which is an improvement on a few years ago, but my paternal side is a big blank, guarded by C's nasty, insistent, "I don't KNOW." Like hell she doesn't know. She just doesn't want ME to know. And if I die as a result, that's my fault, not hers. Sigh.

A very tired intern came in to take my history and do an perfunctory exam. She sat down on my pile of clothes and didn't introduce herself, diving right into questions. My case is pretty complicated, and after about 15 minutes of half-dozing off and backtracking, she threw up her hands and ran to the attending. I didn't mind. I wasn't exactly a dragon, but I wasn't in the mood to play nicely, either. I am sure the intern went home and reread all about hereditary spherocytosis, portal vein thrombosis, and Factor V Leiden. I was a teaching opportunity! I just didn't feel like teaching her myself. She did kindly order the Dilaudid and Zofran before giving up on me, and for that I am thankful.

I have found it rather difficult to be alone with myself over the past few months, but it was a bit better that day I spent in the ER. Was it the addition of Wellbutrin to my anti-depressant cocktail? Was it that I am coming to some preliminary level of acceptance about my health and the lack of support from C and A? Was I finally finding a place within myself that seemed less restrictive and lonely than the island that I occasionally try to escape? I don't know.

So perhaps drugs, friends, and a good book can keep me going. If the clot doesn't do away with me.

And speaking of Harry Potter, I went to the midnight show after I was released from the hospital. One particular line chilled me, although it wasn't in the book. Harry is in the village where his parents lived before they were killed; Hermione asks if he wants to adopt the disguise of Muggles. He says, "This is the village where I was born. I don't want to return as someone else." I have been to the small town where my roots are, and where I was conceived. But I did have to return in disguise as someone else. How very, very sad.                                                                                                                                                          

3 comments:

Real Daughter said...

I hate that you are in so much pain, both physically and emotionally. I love you!!

Lillie said...

I would totally be there with you and hold your hand through all this shit. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

Amanda Woolston said...

I hope you are doing better now. Love you!