While there may be no real connection between my very first trip to the Olive Garden and my very first trip to a hospital for an appendectomy – I’m gonna go with the correlation anyway – because it’s my blog. It’s also a very astute finding from my friend Chelsea and I thought – scientifically – it needed to be noted.
On Tuesday of last week I felt an odd pain in my stomach on my right side and a flickering pain to my lower back right side. If I think about it – that “just above the right hip” back pain spasm had been going on for quite some time. But on Tuesday, I ignored it all. I went out for dinner that night and while I complained about having a little odd pain and walked up a massive hill after eating a boat load of spicy thai food – it didn’t seem like anything that traumatic to go to a hospital and by traumatic I mean – gushing blood from an orifice because that’s the only thing that can get me to a doctor or a hospital. I didn’t sleep very well on Tuesday night – but I carried on. On Wednesday I helped my friend Jean Luc load his 800 pound motorcycle up a rickety ramp onto the back of his pickup – HIS BEAUTIFUL NEW PICKUP (he’s very proud) – and this should have been where my appendix exploded. This also should have been the moment we both fully realized what an odd friendship we have. It was like the worst episode of “Friends” meets the worst episode of “Golden Girls.” My entire body was wracked with pain after that anyway so it was difficult to determine if some other new unusual pain was mixed in as well. It was all a shit show. Note to self – you’re not 23. Stop doing things you can’t do anymore. Slow down. It’s okay. Take a minute. Breathe.
Anyway – I slept like garbage that night as well and the next day decided to start the great google search. And as we know – I’m an excellent googler. I typed in – LOWER RIGHT SIDE ABDOMINAL PAIN WITH A SHOOTING RANDOM LOWER BACK HIP PAIN. Two things came up – Appendicitis. Diverticulitis. Yeah, I’m not having either of those. I texted Dr. Freddie – my smartest bestie – who is thankfully a doctor – who, unfortunately for me lives in NYC but fortunately for him as I would be (and already am) harassing him on the daily. “I have a weird pain in my head. Is it a tumor?” This is how it typically goes. Freddie said – “Judging from what you’re describing – I doubt its your appendix. Go to the doctor.” Sigh. Doctors are so annoying. They want you to get stuff checked all the time, but I feel like the minute you find out you have something – you die. Or at least you lean in to the suck of whatever that thing is you’ve just been told, and you feel like shit and then you die. I really didn’t want to harsh my current life vibe. I mean – I’ve been chatting with a giant sized ex Marine on Bumble. I was getting stuff done!! But to my Doctor I went. Now I use the term “My Doctor” pretty loosely. He’s the lovely guy I see when something goes terribly wrong for the last 22 years. I think I’ve seen him – 8 times total? He always asks where I’ve been and I always say – healthy. I don’t even like to step foot in a house of sickness. He wasn’t available that morning and while usually I would have waited for him I said fuck it and just went to whomever was available. SHE was his physicians assistant and SHE saved me. She poked around a bit and said it didn’t feel like appendicitis but let’s take some blood and urine. Taking blood from me is cause for an entire physical breakdown. I whine and complain about how much it’s going to hurt and please give me the most gentle person to stick the needle in I’m begging you I”m a giant pain baby and I’m not ready for this why Mommy why. Inevitably they say – but look at all our tattoos. Listen people – my tattoo artist is not shoving his needle directly into a vein and I get an art prize at the end. There’s no prize at the end of giving blood. Maybe if you people instituted that I’d be more game. So blood and urine come back right away and everything looks fine. She said “Lets go get a CT scan of your abdomen just in case. ” So I drove myself to the Imaging Center. Now I haven’t eaten since 9 pm the night before and it’s now 12 and I’m super hungry but I can’t eat before the scan. They give me the world’s most horrendous liquid to drink and then I have to wait an hour and a half for it to run through my system. Why does this shit have to taste like an ass-erita? Can we not make medicine that tastes good? Give it to the flaming hot Taki or Twinkie people – they can figure it out. I finally get the scan – and again – I start to freak out when he tells me what they have to do. They have to give me an IV as well and shoot some liquid in me. Again, I’m a pain baby. Again, I get the tattoo statement. Again, I remind them that its not the same thing. Not even close. No prize. They told me to wait in the reception area and the radiologist would come tell me what he found. I was convinced that I had food poisoning or that diverticulitis thing or maybe a stone or something but there was no way I was having an appendix attack. The whole time I had been texting with my Bumble Marine. It was a full day now of texting about all kinds of things and was a super pleasant conversation. Finally a very handsome very timid guy came out and said:
“You need to call your doctor.”
“Why? What’s going on? Is it my appendix?”
“You need to call your doctor.”
“Dude, help a sister out. Is it my appendix?”
he timidly shook his head yes while he said
“You need to call your doctor.”
So I did. And she said… drive yourself to the hospital – NOW. Your appendix is going to have to come out. Looks like I got that prize after all. And that’s when I lost my shit. I burst into tears. A million thoughts rushed through my head. This can’t be possible. What do I do with my dogs. I need an iphone charger. I have three tv pitches set up next week. I have contact lenses in. I’ve never been overnight in a hospital. I’m going to die. I should have gotten a husband years ago so I’d have help. I texted the Marine “Hey this has been great but my appendix is about to blow and I have to go have it removed.” “Wait what? Now?” “Yeah, now. I’ll text you in a few days.” I haven’t texted him back yet and I’m not gonna lie – I’m waiting a few days more to make it super dramatic and a good story for him to tell his friends. “I was texting this cool chick and then she went into the hospital and I never heard from her again. Love hurts man.”
I had been texting with Jean Luc as well and updated him on my status. He called me immediately. I burst into tears. “Breathe deep it’s going to be fine.” This kid has great fucking timing by the way – as he owes me a loooooong ass playing nurse hospital stint from the time he had a hospital stay. And here he was – just back in Canada. Little Fucker. I called my friend Brian and burst into tears again. He knew what to do. “I’ll meet you at the hospital.” I arranged for my dogs to be watched. I called my friend Dan to pick up some essentials for me at the house. The most important thing – the screwdriver for my Cartier bracelet because the one thing I did know was that they would cut it off of you before surgery if you didn’t take it off and no one was cutting a 6k bracelet off my wrist. Dan had to dig through my granny panty draw. He’ll never be the same. I’m not kidding. The light has gone out of his eyes.
In the hospital I had to put all of my stuff into plastic bags. The nurse asked me if I had lost a bunch of weight recently. “No I just gained five pounds actually.” She was surprised. “Are you saying weight loss gave me appendicitis?” “No” she said. “You’re just really thin.” “Are you saying I look anorexic? Cause I”m fine if you are.” “No , you’re just very fit and thin and don’t look your age and so I’m surprised you’re here.” I asked her to marry me. They told me that I would have surgery the next day – laparoscopy – and I’d probably be home by the following night. Okay! I can handle this. My friend’s Nick and Kevin and Dan and Brian were now all there and standing around my bed and I felt very lucky and felt fine and safe and not in that much pain. I did have a raging food headache as now I hadn’t eaten for a full 24 hours. But yay for morphine. I also realized I have really good looking friends. Brian came at the end of the night to tuck me in and all was well.
The next morning my friend Chelsea came by and did what she does best – rubbed my arm and stroked my matted hair and made me feel loved and warm and protected and gave me great healing vibes before surgery. The surgeon finally came in. His name is Dr. Quilici. Pronounced like the Mother of Dragons. He said it was a simple laparoscopic surgery and I’d be in and out. I asked him if his dragons did the laser cutting for him. He wasn’t amused. He looked like an ex supermodel in his tight Italian suit. I liked him.
They finally came to pick me up at 1:30 pm and that’s when it all went to hell in a hand basket. I still hadn’t eaten since Wednesday night and my head was pounding. I was also terrified. The only surgery I’ve had was a breast reduction and that is in a fancy office where the O.R. looks just like it does on “Grey’s Anatomy” and all the Doctors are pretty and the equipment looks brand new. At the hospital they wheeled me into pre op and I joined a very long line of very old very near death looking people on gurneys. It was Dawn of The Dead. It was terrifying. I started crying. There was stuff and sick people everywhere. It looked like a storage facility for old hospital equipment. The nurse came in. “How you feeling?” “Not great. I’m scared.” “Okay good. You’ll be fine.” “I said not great!! NOT GREAT!” “Oh well don’t worry, you’re surgeon is amazing. Besides, you’re obviously fine with pain – look at all those tattoos.” Again people – not the same. I was wheeled into the OR and that was it. Don’t remember anything else except coming back to my room and being told my friend Melissa had dropped off Vegan treats. Best mommy ever. My friends Victoria and MJ came and brought me flowers and took my jeep home from the hospital for me and picked up my couch cushions from the cleaners so I’d have somewhere to sit when I got home that night. Ha!!! As if I was going anywhere. And that’s when the pain started. The post surgery gas pain. Apparently they blow your tummy up with air so the cameras can look around in there and cut and move the right stuff. I wanted to die. No joke. I really thought I would kill myself if it didn’t stop. They told me I needed to get up and walk. And so I did. Lap after lap around the hospital floor pulling my IV stand and crying my eyes out. This one poor nurse kept trying to help me but I couldn’t even form words. I thought – nothing has ever hurt this badly in my entire life. Even now – when I think about ever having to go to a hospital again – I break out in hives. This is a new PTSD moment for me. I walked and walked and passed all the other patients on the floor also walking. It was so “Walking Dead/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Everyone was hooked up to machines and looked like various stages of death and sadness and pain. Most people had other people walking with them. I didn’t want any of my friends to come visit me. If I had to speak – it would have hurt more. I was the only person walking counter clockwise though. That was weird. I eventually switched it up in a very “Midnight Express” move. Every few seconds a nurse would run up behind me and pull my robe shut because my ass was showing. I thought – I will walk this floor naked. I don’t give a fuck what I look like. I just want the pain to end. If a few people have to see my white cheeks and a very poor choice in ass tattoos – so be it. Plus, I’m skinny by the way – haven’t you people been told by that night nurse? I have a terrific physique. There was this one thing people really had down though – how to wear a second gown turned the opposite way as a robe. It was a whole double gown system to protect your ass from hanging out. I tried to figure it out but the whole snap situation was confusing to me. This was not my fashion moment. They told me I couldn’t leave the hospital until I passed gas. This was Friday. I didn’t fart until Saturday. I sweat through the night and had to be changed at about 4 am on Saturday. A new nurse helped me get redressed and told me I had a very nice physique. I asked her if she was hitting on me. She didn’t think I was funny.
I was hooked up to a ton of bags and was poked and prodded a billion times. I had to pee a million times an hour and had to unplug my machines – get my bloated belly out of that bed and sit on the toilet seat height extender. It makes your pee splash really hard into the bowl and I pissed my hospital socks and my calves on the regular. There was piss everywhere. I didn’t care. They kept bringing me jello and I kept telling them I can’t eat it and that I needed vegan food. After about five cups of jello they finally clued in and sent me Cream of Wheat. I sent all of my hideous food pictures to Chelsea who would eat industrial food every day of the week if she could. It comforts her. I didn’t want any visitors and so I just toughed it through that first day – Saturday – doing my walking – waiting to fart. And then it happened. The Great Shart Incident of 2018. I had just finished 20 of my 30 laps and I felt a rumbling in my stomach and the next thing I knew I was flying to the bathroom with poop pouring out of me down my legs and into my socks. My red socks. (They come in three colors and I had peed on the brown and the blue ones.) I had poop everywhere and it was all over my bathroom as well. Kind of like I had painted the floor and toilet with poop. I actually found the whole thing hilarious but I’m pretty sure the two nurses who had to clean me up did not find it at all amusing. They kept apologizing that they were going to see parts of me while doing said cleanup and again I reminded them that my ego was currently on the floor in a pile of poo and human wee pads and that I didn’t care if my vagina was out. I don’t use it anyway.
After my cleanup – I asked for more red socks – they must be the key to sharting!!! I was told the red socks are for crazy patients only. That’s how they mark them and keep track of them. Huh. So I’m still trying to figure out which nurse gave me the original red socks. Bitch. I started doing a lot of laps – and finally found some entertainment – in the form of a crazy man screaming from his room. “Get the fuck away from me you fucking asshole” I heard emitting from inside a room and suddenly saw a male nurse come flying out. “Fuck everyone and fuck you and you’re all assholes and I fucking don’t need this.” Boom. Crash. Yell. Rinse. Repeat. I thought – yo, I hear you bro. This place is hell. Up came the security guards and he had to be knocked out and then a nurse had to sit outside his room every second of every day. He was super quiet until later that night when I was doing laps and a nurse sat outside his room doing a crossword puzzle. “Stop clicking the fucking pen you fucking bitch.” God that made me laugh. The rest of that day was fairly uneventful except for when my nurse Debra told me she was having a bad day because the old lady with cancer down the hall said “Don’t let that N WORD – (she used the word) – touch me. She meant Debra. And she didn’t want any lousy Filipinos touching her either. I wanted to race down the hall and murder her. White people can be such assholes Donald Trump.
That night out of nowhere I spiked a 102 fever and while it went away quickly, it ruined everything. Even though I felt great Sunday morning – I had to stay another full day. Apparently my little appendicitis wasn’t caught so early. It was perforated and abscessed and totally infected and its amazing it didn’t burst and they wanted to keep an eye on me. I cried again. I missed my dogs. They were beautifully being cared for by my friend Nicole and The Pet Groupies and they were staying on their own every night. I was so proud of them. They’re like cats.
So I stayed the night and prayed that Monday morning would be the end of my prison life. Kevin and Brian brought me smoothies and I spent the day walking around trying to fart more. One nurse said – “wow you are in good shape – I guess you’re really trying to get your steps in huh.” I said “No , just trying to shit myself again. I don’t work out that much.” Seriously, it was all these people could talk about. I was finally unhooked from my machine and I finally figured out how to wear my second gown. I was killing the game… and then… I got my exit papers!! All they had to do was pull my drain out. Uh oh. This sounded bad. Does it hurt? “Well I won’t say it doesn’t hurt but most people just say it feels odd.” Turns out “odd” is just another way to say – it hurts like fucking hell. She said – “breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and…..” She yanked. I screamed and burst into tears. It felt like I gave birth to an Alien through my stomach. I could feel all the organs that had been moved to shove it in there – move back. It was hideous. The crying and shaking and shuddering continued for a solid three minutes. My friend Christian came to pick me up – wheeled me out of there – and took me shopping for food and drugs after he shot a video of me looking scary in my wheelchair. I insisted. Now I pray every second of every day that this thing doesn’t abscess again – because even though it’s been removed – it still can.
In conclusion I realize that 1) I need to let people do more for me. 2) The Olive Garden may be the super highway to appendicitis.
Thank you to my family – the real ones – my sisters and nieces and mom and dad for calling and checking on me constantly. I miss them so. And to my created family – everyone who gives a shit about me. I know I make it hard.