I landed myself in the ER while I was in Lincoln. I didn’t know whether I’d tell the tale, but I will, because it’s dramatic and it gives me another opportunity to thank the folks who took care of me. If you’re icked out by the female anatomy, you can skip this one. The post has to be a bit longer than usual to tell the full story, but it pays off, I promise. If you keep reading, you’ll get to the following sentence: “The president of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum was holding my hair so that I could barf in her kitchen sink.”
When I let the Study Center president know I would be able to attend the opening reception for Blue Echoes, Leslie insisted I be her houseguest that night. It’s a three-hour drive from Lincoln to Winterset; it would be silly to try and drive home so late. I accepted at once and packed a toothbrush. Sleepover with the prez? Awesome.
At the party, I felt a twinge. I know a person for whom English is a second language who calls a woman’s period her “days.” As in, “I’m sorry you’re feeling unwell; are you having your days?” I love that (so German!) and have adopted it. So yes, at the party, I began to have my days. Great.
As the evening progressed, I got progressively more interested in being horizontal and putting something warm on my abdomen. My days aren’t usually too rough; I have mild cramps, some irritability — but I have had some corkers in my day. That night in Leslie’s lovely guest bedroom, my number was up, or so I thought. I slept all of four hours, waking from pain so intense I moaned. It felt like my uterus was being wrung out like a wet beach towel. It felt like a Doc Marten boot was stepping on my reproductive organs and grinding around for effect. It felt like that time I was on an airplane and projectile vomited then passed out because a cyst on my ovaries decided to burst at 35,000 feet.
You don’t have to be at 35,000 feet for a cyst on your ovary to burst. Ask me how I know.
I had planned on leaving for Iowa around 8am that day. After I barfed in the bathroom, I texted Leslie from the bedroom that I was quite ill and would have to stay in bed for just a bit longer, if she didn’t mind. And would she, maybe, quite possibly, please bring the warm Bed Buddy thing she offered last night? She didn’t mind, she brought the Bed Buddy, and I told her how bad it was. I didn’t need to tell her; I looked pretty bad. I also told her that 1) my GI doctor told me last week I need two bags of iron as soon as I can get them and b) I have a not-small ovarian cyst on my right ovary. “If things were to get, you know, worse,” I said, “That’s relevant information.” This did not feel like cramps, even bad ones.
Leslie nodded and told me St. Eve’s Hospital was just down the road if we needed to go there. She brought me the family barf bowl (it’s a really good one), and told me she’d check on me in fifteen minutes. My body was getting weaker and weaker, and I remembered what it was like when my hemogoblins once went down to four out of the standard fourteen. I did not want that to happen again and there was a lot of blood presently checking out of Chez Fons. I texted Leslie that we needed to take our field trip.
I couldn’t stand upright to get to the car, and on the way, I threw up so hard in Leslie’s kitchen sink for a good two minutes. That hurt. Leslie was holding my hair. The president of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum was holding my hair so that I could barf in her kitchen sink. I told her, in between heaves — and she will confirm this — that this was a funny way of bonding with a new board member. Don’t some presidents take their board members on retreats? She thought that was funny but also suggested that we leave soon.
We did. They were all great. I got good pain meds, an IV, and an ultrasound. There was a whole bunch of fluid behind my ovary and guess what? No cyst. The smoking gun, ladies and gentlemen! I felt markedly better as the day went on, but I stayed at Leslie’s house that night and didn’t leave till the next morning. I am still sore and my days remain. I’ll have to get my iron infusion tomorrow; it can’t wait much longer. I’m basically translucent right now.
Leslie, thank you, and your family, for everything. You can come to my house and barf in my kitchen sink anytime.