A week and a half ago, I had my very first adult visit to the ER.
I thought I was having a heart attack.
Let me back up.
Just a day before, The Kid and I had just returned from a very fun but very exhausting trip to Washington state. So, it was our first day back in the saddle, so to speak, and we wanted to have our first swim of the summer so we all donned our swim shirts and headed out to our neighborhood pool. The Kid had some friends there and so he took off and left me with mega-baby. Now, I was under the impression that our baby, little sack of potatoes that he is, actually likes water and tends to be more alert because of the sensory input that he gets from water. For whatever reason, this time, he was not enthused.
How do I describe this? Do you know how drunk people or activists avoid arrest by going limp? That’s exactly how my 30-pound baby acted in that pool. I would wrestle him into his floatie and he would flop forward and his mega-head would weight it down so much that his face was in the water so then I would whip his face out of the water and he would flop backwards.
I can’t say for sure, but I imagine it was an experience akin to wrestling a 30-pound alligator for two hours.
After two hours, I dragged The Kid out of the pool and we dragged our sorry carcasses across the arid parking lot and drove home.
I got changed into a mumu (my standard house dress code) and had just finished changing the baby’s diaper. I lifted him up to carry him out to the living room and felt an intense pain right under my right breast. A pain I have never felt before. I hobbled to my room and flopped on the bed.
The Kid was changing in his room and I yelled for him to call Alex. I couldn’t move without really intense shooting pain. When I talked to Alex on the phone and wept that I was having a heart attack, he told me to call 911 and that calmed me down enough for me to realize that the pain was on the wrong side of my body for it to be a heart attack.
But still…not able to move; when I got upset and started taking shallow breaths, it would hurt really bad. Some friends came to watch the boys (thanks, Ryan and Debbie) so that Alex could drive me to the ER. On the way, we called Alex’s mom, who is our family’s most-excellent nurse, and when I told her about the pain, she said it sounded like “gallbladder” stuff.
So then, of course, the drive to the ER was a question and answer period with google with such gems as, “What does a gallbladder do?” and “What do you have to do after you get your gallbladder taken out?” and “What tests do you run to check for gallbladder issues?” (I wanted to be prepared in case the doctors didn’t know).
I got in fairly quickly because gallbladder issues can be SERIOUS. We were preparing ourselves for emergency surgery. Blood tests, an x-ray, and an ultrasound with a chatty technician. I had traveled the day before and was well aware that I’d had almost no water the day of and so I was deliriously dehydrated. I brought a giant water bottle and was chugging it and the woman who took my blood was not impressed. She kept clicking her teeth at me and berating me for being dehydrated. She also said that my veins were thick and then slapped the leather arm rest of the chair so we’re still puzzling on that one.
While we were waiting for the results, Alex took over the googling and found a website that said people who have their gallbladder removed should stay away from:
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- high starch foods
I started crying. That diet won’t work. I cannot stress eat sliced bell pepper and baby carrots. I cannot be one of those people who consider fruit a dessert, okay? I just can’t.
Anyway, rather quickly, the doctor came in and informed us that everything came back normal. I was not dying. My gallbladder had not worn out its welcome in my body.
So what was the pain, then? It was gone by the next morning.
The only conclusion that we could come to was…my giant monster baby had thrashed and flopped so much that I pulled a chest muscle I had not previously known I had. Really thankful that it wasn’t gallbladder; really needing to do some push-ups and chest-strengthening exercises.
So there it is. Special needs parenting is no joke. This baby needs to learn how to sit and stand pronto or I’m going to have to get myself a back brace- the kind that will make me blend in with Sam’s Club employees.