Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rough Week (w/ a happy enough ending)

My wife had been feeling some pains off-and-on for a while, but Monday snuck up on her like a windshield on a bug. Doubled over and clutching her abdomen in pain I took her to the Emergency Room around 8PM. We waited for forty minutes, her lying on her side and occasionally puking in trash cans - until finally she got a bed, an IV and some nausea medication. Then the testing began in earnest. Urine, blood, and x-rays were all largely inconclusive. We learned she wasn't pregnant, but nothing else definitive.

The doctor decided she needed a CAT-scan so the nurse handed me some berry-flavored barium beverages and a straw. The containers even had festive pictures on their sides - like we were going to have a cocktail party or something. Obviously it tasted awful. At first I had to urge her to drink it slowly, hoping she wouldn't just throw it all back up, but after the first few minutes I had to continually coax her to drink it at all. It took hours before she was ready for the CAT-scan.

They sent us home around 4AM - her high on morphine and a bottle of percocet in her purse, me with the business card of a local surgeon and the diuturnal mental image of an 8cm growth near her left ovary. Of course the metric units were lost on me. Ever the prototypical American, I lacked the facility to but it all in perspective - at least 8cm sounded small. She made me look it up when we got home. I wished she hadn't. Eight centimeters is big. It's huge. It's a baseball. I still don't understand why something so big wasn't visible on the surface.

Tuesday was a trip to the OB/GYN-cum-Surgeon who did an ultrasound on her and pronounced the suspect mass to be both unusually large, and dangerous enough to warrant near-immediate surgery. (Neither revelation was particularly new.) By unusually large and dangerous he explained it was ten centimeters - not eight - and crushing her ovary. By near-immediate he meant, "Come back tomorrow."

In all fairness he was an excellent doctor and did a good job preparing us for what he was going to have to do and what we should expect. He had actually given my wife the option to operate that night or wait till the next day. She chose to wait only because she needed the chance to absorb all that was happening and wanted to be able to call her family first. After yesterday's operation we learned for certain that the growth was only a monster cyst - not cancer. It caused a torsion of her left ovary - which had to be removed - but she's now returning to normal health. Thankfully nature loves redundancy - one ovary is all you really need.

She's got a big gash in her tummy (it was too big for laparoscopic surgery) and will need a few weeks before she feels normal again, but I'm just so glad she's going to be okay. And my in-laws came in yesterday too. They arrived just as I found out the surgery was a success - perfect timing. Now that they're here I'm able to go back to work during the day (I'd missed a few days) and although she was originally scheduled to be released tomorrow, she was doing well enough to be released today - so I'm especially glad to have their help.

A few days before all this happened I'd conjectured that a crisis is sometimes what it takes for us to realize what's important in life. Now I'm thinking we didn't need this at all. But I'm not complaining - I'm only happy she's alright.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear she's okay.


1/22/2006 8:43 PM  
Blogger Dædalux said...

She's still a bit sore but doing fine. And thanks for your concern Aanen. (She says hi btw)

1/25/2006 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy moly, give her my best.

2/02/2006 8:27 PM  

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