ER (Roger’s turn)

January 19, 2007

After a lovely morning of working, playing the piano, walking the dogs, I doubled over in pain and was taken off to the emergency room. I had no idea what was happening. Was it a perforated colon? An exploded appendix? Cancer of the prostate? Kidney failure? Death? I was nearly delirious when I left but was a bit better by the time I got to the emergency room. In my fog I had forgotten to bring my wallet, but didn’t fail to bring my Sudoku book.

Josie came and sat with my for a while and, being a nurse, speculated that it was kidney stones. She brought me some soup and I told her that I was ok from here on in. So I sat for several hours watching people come and go in the emergency room. A little boy with a bad flu. A very confused elderly man kept complaining of pain. Finally I got called into a room. Wow, what a zoo. In the next room was a crazy lady, likely a former opera star who had this bizarre habit of mumbling something like “oh let me go I’m in pain oooohhhhhh~!” and she would swoop up to some high note, and hold it with an impressive vibrato. Other phrases included “oh don’t touch me ooooohhh” “No,! you’re touching my breasts oooooohhhhh!~” “what are you doing to me oooohhh!” This went on for 5 hours. OOoooh!
Caddy corner across from me was a 30-something Filipina who, for some strange reason, they had to tie down. She successfully kept untying herself and the security guards would go in and strap her up again. Across from me was a 60ish Jewish woman who had obiously had a stroke. “What is your name?” “I don’t know.” “Do you know where you are?” “No.” “What is your birthday?” “August 22.” “In what year?” “What?” “IN WHAT YEAR?” [Door slams]. Outside my room on a bench were two gay guys, one obviously in terrible shape from AIDS.

I walked down the hall to go to the restroom. “Mr Bourland, please let me give you a cover up” as my ass was showing from those skimpy little hospital gowns they give you. I saw some 15 doctors and nurses furiously working on some guy who had just been brought in from a terrible car accident. On a gurney was a very elderly Korean lady looking as though she were taking her last breaths. As I walked back down the hall, a large Mexican family, all in tears, were bolting down the hall to see someone.

Finally, Travis, a black male nurse, and the best one I met yesterday, came in to tell me I’d be getting a CT scan soon. “Are you in pain?” Despite my desire to knock myself out and be spared this veil of tears, I said, no I’m better now.

An hour later, a patient assistant (formerly called Candy Stripers?) fetched me and took me in a wheelchair to the CT imaging room. Well, he tried to. He got lost. There we were rolling down these long abandoned corridors trying to find the CT room. Finally we did, and he delivered me to Carlos who put me into the big CT donut.

An hour later, Travis returned to tell me that they had found a small stone and it was in the bladder and would be passed “in the next 24 hours.” “Drink lots of water. The pain is as close as men get to experiencing childbirth. Here is a prescription for Vicodin.” The notion of drinking water to help flush the little bugger out, and bringing me to more and more pain was unsettling. And the notion that I’m going to have to go through a few more eyecrossing sessions is something I don’t look forward to.

I was released and joined Daniel and Wes for a martini and sushi. Then went home, drank tons of water, woke up at 3 with eye-crossing pain and moaned for a few hours. The clouds have parted for the moment, giving me the chance to write up this report. But I’m feeling it move again, so I’ll sign off for now.

UPDATE: (Saturday morning)
All is well––a bit raw, but fine.

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