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When you kick off your evening sitting next to one woman puking in a bucket and another who’s cut off most of her thumb, you know it’s going to be a fun night.
Last night’s trip to the ER was at least a week in the making, with a series of increasingly worrisome symptoms: debilitating back pain with a lump on the side (Oh, it just from nursing Drew in uncomfortable positions! Throw me a heating pad!); night sweats and chills with a fever (Oh, it’s just a virus!); and funky-smelling urine (Oh, it’s just funky-smelling urine!). And you moms know how it is when you’re sick: NOBODY GIVES A DAMN. Not even your husband, who’s all, “So if you’re too weak to move your eyeballs, are you saying you can’t take the kids to the park today?”
But the good thing about moms is that we have moms. I am never the whiny, needy type… until I’m sick, at which point all I want is to hear my mom’s voice.
“You sound terrible!”
“I DO, don’t I? Thank you!”
That’s all I need, really — an acknowledgement that I feel like ass. But does anybody around here give me that? No! Well, not until I actually take my temperature and it registers 103.5. At which point Mr. Candy was all, Whoa! You really aren’t making up this sick thing! and blessedly went into nurse mode. I’ll tell ya, nothing perks me up like the sight of Mr. Candy in a sexy nurse’s uniform.
When my temperature climbed to 104 yesterday, I said, “Huh. Maybe I should stop being stupid and go see a doctor.” When I got there, I was so weak and delirious that I repeatedly went out the EXIT door every time I meant to return to the waiting room. And this happened a lot, as they had me come back a few times before seeing the doctor. Once to check my vitals. Then give a urine sample. And another urine sample because they didn’t like my original one (RUDE). So every time I pushed the door open, expecting to see Mr. Candy and Drew sitting there, I’d be greeted by one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles. “Wrong door, Ms. Kirby!” the receptionist would say slowly and loudly as if addressing a 90-year-old lady.
I’m just lucky I didn’t wander into traffic.
The doctor felt the lump on the side of my back and gave it an official diagnosis: “weird.” The lump, combined with a definite urinary tract infection, made her concerned that the infection may have spread to my kidney — and that my kidney could even be abscessed. Because this wasn’t her area of expertise, and most doctor’s offices were closed by now, she suggested going to the ER immediately.
DOCTOR: You may need to be hospitalized and put on an IV of antibiotics.
ME: Can’t this wait until tomorrow? I need to breastfeed the baby.
DOCTOR: If it’s abscessed, you could die if it’s not treated immediately.
ME: Oh, okay. I guess I’ll go now.
I was already weeping for my motherless children when Mr. Candy dropped me off at the ER. He couldn’t stay with me because he had to pick up Skye from daycare, not to mention I did not want the kids in the emergency room, as much as I knew Skye would enjoy using my Handi-wipes to clean the crusted vomit off the floor. I crossed my fingers they would “fast track” me, as the doctor said they might, since I could, you know, DIE at any given moment. But when I saw a woman who had cut off one of her fingers was waiting…? I kind of lost hope. That’s what you find yourself doing in the ER: looking around to gauge other patients’ ailments, comparing theirs against your own. A sprained foot? Stomach pain? Pssshhh. My infected kidney SO trumps them. I SHOULD BE TREATED FIRST!
The last time I was in the ER, I waited for six hours before even getting a room. And by “room,” I mean “cubicle with a curtain.” So I hunkered down, gave silent thanks for remembering to charge my iPhone and tried not to be bothered by the old lady sitting across from me who kept crying, “I’m in pain. I’m in so much pain!”
Seriously. Who needs The Laugh Factory when you’ve got the ER?!
I want all of you to know I was part of a miracle last night: I was in and out of the ER in TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS. Hallelujah! Right away, the ER doctor said, “This lump isn’t your kidney, but it really is weird. Let’s check it out.” There it was again: WEIRD. So then I thought, Omigod, a weird lump! Is it cancer? Um… cancer of the, uh, side of the back? (Good thing I never attempted a medical career.) However, an ultrasound revealed no mass of any sort, as well as a sexy-looking kidney, if I do say so myself. The doctor surmised I just happened to be suffering from an unfortunate convergence of ailments: a virus; a urinary tract infection; and a bad back. Yes! That’s all!
I guess that means I can take the kids to the park now.