Following on my theme of having a hard time and reflecting on it, I did a thing.
A few weeks ago I got myself admitted to hospital. The hospital I work at. During work hours.
I was just sitting in Medical ED. Just admitting a patient. It was nearly lunchtime.
I had a sudden onset pain in my tummy. It was kinda painful. Kinda gnawing. I figured I was hungry. As all good doctors do, I ignored in and carried on working.
A few minutes passed and the pain got worse. It made me stop what I was doing and move to the tea room to get a glass of water. I felt nauseated. Again, probably just hungry. I’ll just get a glass of water and go get something to eat.
I felt hot. The pain in my tummy worsening. The cafe was a few hundred metres away. I abruptly sat on the couch in the tea room.
A nurse saw me. And as all good nurses do, he began fussing. He said I looked unwell and I should go lie down in the clinic room.
Pain still bad and now finding it difficult to walk, I obliged. Went to the clinic room. Sat down, lay down, pain worsening. Felt restless. The phrase “writhing in pain” came to mind.
But I’m a girl of action. I called my RMO unit and said I can’t complete the rest of my shift because I’m unwell. They wished me all the best. I told myself I would go home.
Big whoops. Couldn’t walk. Pain very bad now. More nurses fussing. Friend who heard my distress on the phone came to see me and began fussing. To my horror they called in MY consultant to assess me. At this point I began vomiting.
He watched me writhe in pain. Suggested I go to ED.
ED saw me and pumped me with 12mg of IV morphine, the approximate recommended dose to flatten an elephant.
I was floating in and out of consciousness. Answered questions. Every time I woke, I was in pain. Pumped with morphine and knocked out. Tests done in my half conscious state.
About 4h later, I was completely pain-free. Asked for some food. I was discharged happily.
My discharge summary arrived in the mail today. Diagnosis: abdo pain ?cause ?abdominal Migraine
Loosely translated that means the pain in my tummy was in my head.
I told one of my friends this story some days after it all happened. He said “that sounds like some good old fashioned stress”
I laughed. Yeah some real “stress” that was.
Until I replayed everything that happened before that day.
I was stressed as heck. I walked into work that morning feeling the worst I ever had. The weekend that had just gone by was traumatic for me. I saw and experienced things that were so confronting to my image of myself that I didn’t know how to deal with it.
A friend and I were waiting for some important, life altering news that day this all happened. I was anxious and scared and sad and I didn’t want to be at work except I had to be at work.
We got good news. The pain had just come on when my friend said he received the good news. But that didn’t make the pain go away.
Maybe it was too late and all that pent up tension was already being released. I’m not sure.
But as quickly as the pain came on, 4h later and a bunch of plum normal investigations, it was gone. And I was left feeling embarrassed for causing all that fuss.
But it was all in my head. I don’t not appreciate the physical manifestations of psychological distress, and I’ve been nauseated and sick before because of depression. But I’ve never experienced anything quite like this.
I realised I have a lot of pent up emotion that’s not going anywhere any time soon.
Things are the most wrong they’ve ever been in my life. But they’re also the most not wrong they’ve ever been. And I don’t know what to do.
Focus on the good things? Yeah. Hope for a change? I guess so.
But ultimately I don’t know. And I don’t know how much more my mind and body can really take.
But I guess I’m in the business of finding out.
But this is a public service announcement. Abdominal migraines are a real thing. Even if it is all in your head.