That Time I Spent Ten Nights in the Hospital

Back in March, a 24-hour stomach bug was going around #3’s school. Being social like she is, she caught it on a Saturday. The next day, guess what… Ok, I won’t tell you, but let’s just say I wasn’t feeling my best and assumed I got the virus, too. 

The next day? Still sick, with the added bonus of a fever. Man, I felt rough. And nothing, I mean nothing, was helping. MaeMae being MaeMae, she told me I needed to go to the doctor.  “It’s just a virus,” I said. “It’ll go away.” Sunday…Monday…Tuesday…

Wednesday morning I cried “Uncle,” told Janie I’d be right back, and went to the Doc-in-the-Box. I gotta say this about my local Doc-in-the-Box. They’re awesome. Thank the good Lord, this time was no exception. They poke and prod, and finally the doc looks at me and says, “I don’t know what’s up, but you need to go to the hospital.”

Say whaaaaaaaaaat?

“We can’t get blood from you,” (more on me and needles in a minute), you could have appendicitis, you could have diverticulitis, you’re dehydrated. You at least need to go get some fluids.”

I’m driving back down the road, thinking, surely that’s not right. I don’t really need to go to the hospital, do I? I told Janie I’d be right back. I look at the clock and it’s only 9:30 or 10 in the morning. Maybe I’ll just go home and drink some Gatorade. That’s practically the same thing. But, man I feel awful. How long could it take to get fluids? A few hours max? I’ll be back home in no time. At long last I stumble into the ER and slump onto the desk like a drunk onto a bar. I tell the lady what the doc at the Doc-in-the-Box said. She sends me to the lady next to her, who fastens a bright yellow band on my arm. It was probably four days later when I finally looked at it: “Fall Risk.” Hey, they know me here!

Immediately they take me to triage. I’m thinking, wow that’s fast! Wednesday mid-morning is the right time to come to the ER! Then comes the wheelchair and the trip back into the bowels (ha!) of the hospital. There I am, feeling truly awful, and this handsome ER doc comes in and tells me I probably have diverticulitis (an abscess on my intestine), they’re going to stick a tube in me (!), drain the thing (insert green-barfing emoticon here), pump me with antibiotics, and I’ll be in the hospital three to five days (!!!).

No really, say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!?!?!?!

I mean, no one is in the hospital three to five days anymore. Have a baby? You can have one night. Knee replaced? Maybe two, but you’re pushing it.

Notice the title of this thing says ten nights, not three to five days. Yea. My infection was so bad, they couldn’t insert the drain. So, they had to pump me with antibiotics for several days, then insert the drain, then pump me with more antibiotics for several more days. Let no one say I’m not an overachiever.

So, here’s what I found out during ten nights in the hospital.

I would make a really bad IV drug addict. At the end of this ten days, I had blown four IVs and my stomach looked like a pin cushion from twice-a-day shots (blood clot prevention). Normally I’m easygoing, but I’d taken to refusing to let nurses insert my IVs. Bring me the pros, thank you. (small, deep veins=lifelong needle aversion) I think they finally let me out because I was having a standoff with the hematologist about inserting another IV. He was armed with a basket full of needles and a wickedly funny bedside manner. I was armed with ten nights of a hospital bed and missing my puppy. It was a close call.

Make sure you point the correct side of your hospital gown toward the door. That person coming in might be a nurse, or it might be your preacher. Yep, that happened.

Friends are the best medicine. They called, they texted, they visited, they sent flowers. Like these from Melinda and Eddie. Gorgeous, right?


Sometimes hospital food isn’t so bad. First get sick, then go on a liquid diet for a few days. When finally your appetite makes an appearance, you will appreciate “real” hospital food. Like the powdered eggs I was woofing down, complete with mmmmmm noises, when Neal called one time. I think he thought I’d lost my mind. You know what’s really good? The raspberry jello! They called it raspberry, but it is bright blue and, if you eat it, it turns your tongue the color of Smurf ice cream. It was so good I didn’t care at all.

Family is everything. My family visited and ran errands and did everything they could for me. MaeMae and MeMe both carried out their motherly duties. MaeMae might have done it while muttering told-you-so under her breath, but she did it (haa, kidding, MaeMae). #2 sat with me in the ER and didn’t let me freak out, and later hatched a (mama-reluctantly-vetoed) plot to smuggle Janie in because I missed her so badly. #3 brought me laughter and helped me wash my hair more than once. #1 compensated for long distance with phone calls and texts. Neal was just his wonderful self. I ♥ them a lot.

I hope you’re never in the hospital. If you are, I hope you’re not there for ten (or more) days. If you are, I hope your medical staff is as great as mine, your friends are as sweet, and your family is as attentive. Remember to keep your sense of humor for those hospital gown moments!





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