Sunday, April 27, 2014

U Is For Ulcuscle

Today’s word is actually also an explanation for why I’m so far behind on the A-Z challenge.

Ulcuscle – noun, a small ulcer.

Which I, apparently, might have…although, not sure it’s a small one.

Here’s what happened:

Earlier in the week I was getting ready to go teach my evening class when I got a terrible, incapacitating pain in the middle of my chest/upper abdomen. It was like a gallstone attack, only worse. I started sweating, I couldn’t breathe…and I certainly couldn’t call Opie as this has happened twice before and he kept telling me to “GO TO THE DOCTOR!”

And I had put it off, saying “It’s probably nothing; it goes away after ten minutes or so.”

Which probably makes me sound like an idiot. 

But the truth is, I’m not an idiot, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.

And, yes, I know that this is a condition that normally makes people run to the doctor’s office.
But I’m a hypochondriac who knows she’s a hypochondriac.  So, even when I have something serious going on, I assume I’m overreacting in hypochondriac fashion and put off going to the doctor until it’s the last possible choice.

So, when the incredible abdominal/chest pains lasted for over half an hour, I did what any sane, normal person would do…I called my mom.

“I’m in Illinois!” My mom reminded me. “I can’t do much from here.  You need to call your doctor!”

“But what if it’s something stupid like gas pains?” I protested. “Then I’ll feel like an idiot.”

Then she reminded me of what my dad always says in these situations, that there are a lot of people in the cemetery who didn’t want to feel stupid.

Which kind of put things in perspective.

So I was going to call my doctor but I couldn’t seem to find her direct line, only the scheduling line. Which meant I had to call Opie at work after all.

And since I’m always completely calm in the face of an emergency and since I was now convinced that I was dying, I very calmly shrieked that I was having some unexplained attack, that I was probably seconds from death and could he spare a few minutes to look up our doctor’s number before I collapsed unconscious on the floor?

I bet he looks back on all those years he was single and alone and just weeps thinking about how interminably dull his life was then.

Anyway, since he IS calm in the face of an emergency, he got the number, gave me the number and as soon as he hung up, began making arrangements to leave work and called the neighbors to get me some help until he got here.

In the meantime, I called the doctor’s office and explained things to the nurse who said “Kimberly, I’ll ask the doctor what to do…but if you’re having severe pain IN YOUR CHEST, we both know what she’s going to say.”

“Take an aspirin and lie down until it goes away?” I suggested.

Oddly, no, that’s not what she thought the doctor was going to say.  And she was right. The doctor said I needed to go to the Emergency Room IMMEDIATELY and get an EKG in case I was having a heart attack.

Though, in my defense, I was pretty sure it wasn’t a heart attack since if it had been some sort of cardiac event, I already would have been dead.

Wait, that doesn’t sound like a defense at all!

Anyway, everyone else apparently suspected all along that I needed to go to the ER as the neighbors were on their way over to drive me and Opie was already planning to meet me there, and my mom sounded not one bit surprised when I called her back.


However, I would like to take this moment to point out that I was right, I wasn’t having a heart attack. The EKG was totally normal.

Which was relief largely because once they ruled out heart trouble they could give me the good drugs and the pain finally started to subside.

Unfortunately for Opie, I was still nestled in the sweet embrace of the dilaudid when he and my mom started a texting conversation and he mentioned to her that this has happened twice before.

“Don’t tell her that!” I yelled.  “Next thing you know I’ll be grounded and won’t be able to go to the big dance.”

I have the feeling I would make a very annoying drug addict.

Anyway, the most frustrating thing is that they still don’t know what’s wrong. All they know is what’s not wrong…no heart attack, no gallbladder attack (which I already knew since I had it removed a few years ago) and no kidney stones. 

Possibly a hiatal hernia, maybe liver trouble, most likely an ulcer that was causing stomach and/or diaphragm spasms…

“It can’t be an ulcer,” I said. “I’m too easy-going.”

“Stop saying that!” Opie said. “You are NOT easy-going. No one thinks you’re easy-going! I’m the calm one in this relationship--you freak out about everything!”

Sometimes I feel like he doesn’t know me at all.

In any case, I have an appointment with a GI specialist in 2 weeks…and I guess I have to go because when I suggested to Opie that in two weeks I’ll probably be totally fine and there was really no reason to waste everyone’s time, his head almost popped right off.

Which, pardon me for pointing out, just doesn’t seem easygoing at all.


  1. I should probably not be laughing at your health issue and traumatic event, but I can't help myself. You paint such a vivid picture of that crazy thing we call reality.

    I once ended up in the emergency room with food poisoning after insisting that it was "probably gas, and everyone will laugh me out of the ER." And then the doctor said, "...and we can't give you anything for the pain because of your pregnancy," at which point my husband and I looked at each other and said a collective, "HUH?" That's how we found out our youngest was on her way.

    I hope your appointment with the specialist yields some good results for you that are easily treatable!

    1. Thanks--should know more soon! What a funny way to find out you're pregnant!

  2. I am also the over reactor and Mr. Sexy is calm and centered. I tend to freak out when it feels like something is going terribly wrong. I watch too much Grey's Anatomy so I just know I could be dying at any moment. But then Mr. Sexy is smart and tells me it's probably gas. Low and behold Pepto fixes all. lol This happens... I won't say how often. Haha

    1. I can't watch medical shows without contracting 10 or 12 diseases! LOL

  3. Somebody needs to be calm and collected, my wife used to be a drug dealer (pharmacy dispenser) and although this tends to mean that she will always seek a drug related solution she was also usually a restraining influence on my panics.

    My Great Aunt and one "ordinary" Aunt both died from Peritonitis, my Mother and I both had it and had emergency life saving operations (the scar is not pretty!) so when my Daughter had stomach pains I took them very seriously and insisted that I took her to A & E, yes four hours later it did turn out to be wind, but would I have been able to forgive myself if it hadn't?

    1. Wow, I would have done the same thing in your shoes--better safe than sorry!

  4. It sounds a lot like a hiatal hernia, which is extremely painful and guess what? It can get worse. I waited until mine was unbearable and then had the long fifty-minute ride to the hospital, thinking I was having a heart attack and fighting to breathe. Not a good memory. Don't wait. Listen to Opie. :-)
    Your post is humorous and enjoyable to read, but it's a serious situation so I hope you don't put off your needed doctor appointment.

    1. A friend of mine suggested hiatal hernia--did you need surgery? I've been reading about all the treatment options...

  5. My brother-in-law almost died from a burst appendix that he thought was just a really upset stomach, so I'm very proactive about going to the doctor at the first sign of distress. That quote from your dad is spot on. I'd rather look like a big baby than be dead. Hope you get everything sorted out and feel better soon!

  6. Bwa haa haa haa! Okay, I feel bad for laughing, but that was hilarious. And I thought I was the only self-aware hypochondriac on Earth. I talk myself out going to the doctor for mysterious pains and problems all the time.

    Opie sounds like my man. Infuriatingly yet endearingly calm in emergencies. Loved this post!!

    1. Oh, and I hope you feel better soon!

    2. Thanks-my doc said she's the same way and I shouldn't be afraid to come in but I worry about being embarrassed.

  7. Feel better! I do love your humorous account of the whole incident.