Eric was here beside me - was it an hour ago? - bringing my pain meds and the Celebrex. He set the alarm through the night. Every four hours. He wants me to stay ahead of the pain, as we've been instructed. I'm still so groggy. My arm is elevated on several pillows next to me, tightly casted. It's been almost 20 hours since my surgery but I feel like I'm on another planet. The pain meds are just scratching the surface. The slightest movement of the blanket or my body brings a stifled cry to my lips. It is 9 a.m.
By noon, I know something is terribly wrong. I doubled my meds at 1o. I can barely breathe through the pain. When I call Eric, I suddenly begin sobbing. The most he can get from me is a gasped yes when he asks if I need to go to the hospital. It's a 7-minute drive from our home to his office. He's by my side in 5. In 6, he is helping me descend the stairs. In 10, the thought of footwear finally abandoned, I am in the passenger seat of the car.
As he backs out of the driveway, the tiniest edge of curb dips the tires and I scream. My arm is on fire. I whimper, alternately audibly and soundlessly, during the short drive to the hospital.
I know this emergency room well. I have 2 sons. Many a Saturday afternoon with bumped heads and twisted ankles, many a Sunday night with high fevers and unexplained spots have been idled away here. The last time I was here, my youngest had tripped and cracked his head open on a concrete pad at the park. His head spewed blood like a furious fountain. In the two hours we spent waiting to have his head crazy-glued, he had peed all over my lap and read every book in emerg. I was able to dry my skirt in the late-summer sun before the doctor could see us.
Somehow I know they are not going to make me wait this afternoon.
Our admission begins in the usual way. Eric is talking because all I can do is moan or gasp. The triage nurse asks the standard questions but, at some point, it becomes obvious that I need care. Now. Perhaps it's the mention of post-op. Perhaps it's because I'm about to pass out. Either way, I am rushed through an astoundingly packed "inner" waiting room and directly into an examination cubicle.
Please don't ask me how I remember this or why, but 3 interns, young men straight out of prime-time hospital drama and better-looking than necessary, are instantly in my cubicle. If it is odd that they seem to come from nowhere and seem to know not a fig what they are doing doesn't dawn on me until much, much later. Where they eventually disappear to is also a mystery. Unfortunately, while they are very much in my cubicle and in my space, one of them begins to remove my cast.
I'm not quite sure where my screaming ends and my sobbing begins. This sobbing is as deep as the Earth's core. My curtain is open, so I can see all patients in the inner waiting room. I am screaming and looking at them. I am screaming at the intern to not EVER touch me again. I am pleading with Eric to help me. I can see my hand now too - it has been unwrapped and revealed - and it is massive and throbbing and purple and red. This thing is attached to my arm. I want them to cut it off.
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