I've had a pain that comes and goes in my lower abdomen for the past month. The best way to describe it is as a sharp jab when I move. It's always in the same spot. I assumed I was tweaking a muscle as the pain would come and go in an instant. On Sunday night the pain came but didn't stop. In fact, by Monday morning I contemplated calling the doctor. I just wanted to schedule something for that week.
After talking to the scheduler, nurse and someone else, I was told I needed to be seen today. Right away if possible. It could be an ovarian cyst, I was told. It could rupture, the nurse warned. I explained that coming in right away was not possible as I was not only home with my two little ones but I was also watching a friend's three month old on her first day back to work after maternity leave. The nurse pushed and I agreed to an afternoon appointment when my friend K was supposed to be over. The appointment coincided with Sweet Pea and Monkey's naps and we could always hope the little guy would sleep too. I left the house and told K I would be back ASAP, an hour max. Everyone was asleep and I rushed to the doctor to get the appointment over with.
As I spoke with the initial nurse, my eyes welled up with tears due to the pain. I apologized and steadied myself. She asked about my level of pain. After two kids, one regular birth and one emergency c-section; my determination on pain always goes against those memories. I said 6. Maybe less when I'm not moving. The nurse practitioner came in and started a brief exam consisting of me laying down on the table (amid a few more tears) and her pushing on my left side (my pain is on my right). She also asked about my level of pain. At this point it was getting worse, I upped it to a 7 with shooting pains of an 8. While she was still pushing on my left side I explained that it hurt on my right side. She asked how it felt when she stopped pushing and lifted her hand. I just about screamed in pain and smacked the wall next to me. Apparently I also lifted my body off the table. She looked flustered and said she would be right back. My regular doctor then came in and did some very light (according to her) touching on my right side and I bit my lip and tried not to cry. I was told they didn't have the capability to help me at the office and that I needed to go to the hospital. RIGHT AWAY. Then I cried. Because I couldn't. I had my car with the car seats with me. And K was at my house with three kids. And the baby was supposed to be picked up in a couple hours. And my husband is at work. I can't go to the hospital now. They asked if I drove myself. Of course I had. I was told again that I needed to go to the hospital. And I needed a ride or they would call an ambulance. I asked for an hour to figure things out.
Many phone calls later, RoadTripDaddy was on his way home to be with the kids, K would come take me to the hospital and my other friend's husband would pick up their little one within an hour or so. I felt sick. I felt horrible have RoadTripDaddy leave work. I just wanted to restart my day. I should have waited to call the doctor. Anything other than having people rearrange their schedule to help.
K arrived and took me to the hospital. During triage, I was again asked about my level of pain. I explained that it wasn't as bad as childbirth, but that it was continuing to get worse. An 8 for standing still and a 9-10 for shooting pains. K stayed with me until she absolutely had to leave for class. I tried to kick her out over and over again but she stuck with me as long as she could. It took 2 hours for me to get a room. It was over an hour before I saw a doctor. And an hour and a half before I got the ultrasound she recommended.
Total time in the ER was 6 hours (which actually isn't that bad I know). But it ended up that RoadTripDaddy and the kids came up. And a hospital is a rough place for a 3.5 year old and a 2 year old. Especially in the witching hours before dinner. It was stressful. The pain never got better while I was there despite the pain meds and shot of morphine I received.
In the end, I was told that the ultrasound came back fine. No cysts. No ectopic pregnancy. Blood work was fine. Great, right? But it felt like a waste to me. The stress. The changing of schedules. The ER doc said I could get a CT scan but she wasn't sure what that was going to show. She threw out a couple possible diagnoses but mentioned that some of them were unlikely. And she did this all as she was getting ready to discharge me. At this point I wanted to go home. She told me to follow up with my doctor. That's scheduled for today.
I talked to a different friend yesterday who mentioned that "we all know you have no tolerance when it comes to pain.". She chuckled and I choked out a laugh and said sure. The thing is, she doesn't know me that well and she certainly doesn't know my tolerance for pain. Before I had kids, I thought I couldn't handle pain. Two kids later, I'm pretty impressed with myself. There are times that I will say "Ow!" when I'm not hurt and I will correct myself and say it didn't hurt that much or at all. However, when it's something the kids have done, that's a different story. It's more of a warning. Especially with Monkey. He is a rough and tough little boy. He crashes cars into each other, the walls and my feet. And into Sweet Pea's feet. And her legs. And her head if he's angry at her. I want him to understand that things hurt and that it's not nice to hurt people. So while outsiders may think that's a low threshold for pain, they would be wrong.
I didn't realize how angry I was about that comment until I realized that it made me feel like my pain wasn't real or important. It made me feel like I should have ignored it. It made me feel like I wasn't worth the trip to the ER. While I know this is my issue, it's something that I need to watch. My reaction to things like this effect my children. If I think it's not necessary to take care of myself and follow my doctor's instructions, what will they think? And what will they think if other people play down the importance of taking care of yourself or others?