CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY’S BLOG POST: Pain. It’s not a contest. Or is it?
Where was I? Oh, yes. The intense stabbing pain in my back that led to my first real bad decision of this whole ordeal, which would then lead to many more bad decisions. Though, I’m not sure if “bad” is the right adjective. I just made a decision that turned out to not be a good one.
I decided that instead of getting my butt to an emergency room, I would scoot my butt to bed instead. I would then down water like there was no tomorrow, along with an oxycodone I had left over from my last surgery to get on top of the pain. I took one pill, and just like that first morphine shot years earlier, it did nothing for me. The pain only got worse, and within minutes I was on my knees in front of the toilet, dry heaving.
The dry heaving calmed for a minute, so I took another pill. Two should definitely do it, I thought. And it was after this pill set in that I realized I wasn’t in a great situation. It was almost midnight. I was high on narcotics. I was still in ridiculous amounts of pain, and if I knew anything about my personality, I was not going to ask anyone (and I mean anyone) for help.
This is where things got dangerous. I am not writing this part of the blog post in a “let’s laugh at a near drug-overdose because of stupid pride” sort of way. I’m writing it in a, “please don’t ever be this stupid or stubborn” sort of way.
Let’s see… I could have called… My mom. She would have come. My sister would have come. Any number of my siblings or siblings-in-law would have come. I have many different friends who would have dropped anything to come. I could have called an Uber driver. I could have called a dang ambulance. But instead, I was convinced over and over again that one more pill ought to do the trick. One more pill should finally get on top of the pain. And if I could just get on top of the pain, I could ride this thing out like I had done in the past.
The pain was so bad that night that I literally was rocking back and forth in the fetal position, moaning, and howling, and groaning, and even occasionally screaming. The more this went on, the more pills I took. The more pills I took, the more out of it mentally I became. The more out of it I became, the more my bad decisions made perfectly good sense to me.
I was texting my sister and my friend for a while, trying to keep some perspective. Trying to somehow take my mind off the pain. I told them both I took three pills, and that they had worked, and I was gonna go to sleep because… I didn’t want to continue bothering them. I didn’t want to keep them up any later worrying about me. I didn’t want them to know the extremeness of my situation. The truth was, I took six pills before the pain finally was manageable. Six full doses of oxycodone.
I was so high at that point I couldn’t drive. Something was so wrong inside me that I knew I should be at a hospital. I was too stubborn to ask for help. And now I was too out of it to know if any of the next steps I would take were good or not. I do know that every thirty minutes or so, a stabbing pain jolted me so hard that it broke through the pain meds, and I had to take another to get back on top of it. Then another. And another. I probably took at least 10 pills by the time I passed the damn kidney stone. Maybe 12. I don’t know.
That isn’t good. That isn’t funny. It was the result of stubbornness and bad decisions, and if I’m being honest it could have killed me. So, as my public service announcement today, let me please just implore each of you to get your asses to a hospital if you ever find yourself in so much sudden pain that an entire bottle of narcotics seems like a good idea. The hospital will give you the narcotics, and even more importantly… They won’t kill you in the process.
Anyway, I passed the kidney stone. I passed out. I woke up mid-afternoon the next day with the worst hangover I honestly think I’ve ever had. I just laid in bed all day, despising the whole of life. My body was sore from my muscles seizing and cramping whiles I tried to fight away the pain. My head was throbbing. My stomach was sick. And at around 6PM that same stabbing pain hit me in the kidney again.
“No, no, no,” I mumbled as I mentally willed the pain away. I’ve had a lot of kidney stones now, and never have I had two at once. The pain subsided after a few minutes, and I chalked it up to a swollen and sore kidney. Two hours later, the same pain hit, this time more forcefully. “No, no, no, no, no,” I mumbled again, again mentally willing it to not be another stone. The pain went away once more, and I declared it a false alarm. When the pain hit with a vengeance at around 11PM, I knew it wasn’t just a swollen kidney. That was another stone. And it seemed to be lodged in one spot.
I looked at the pills I had left on my dresser. No. Never. I knew I couldn’t do it that way again. I rush-packed a backpack with a few things to kill a few hours at the ER. I grabbed a fresh shirt and a fresh pair of undies just in case. And I drove my convulsing, shaking body to the emergency room, which was only a mile and a half away.
It didn’t take long to get there. It felt like it took forever. It didn’t take them long to get me into a room. It felt like it took forever. It didn’t take long for them to shoot me up with morphine. It felt like it took forever. While in the ER, they gave me a total of four morphine shots, none of which got completely on top of the pain that was ever-escalating while some monster inside me started doing things I had never felt a kidney stone do before.
Now, this pain. How do I explain it?
Imagine, if you will, a rabid wolverine having its clawing way with your back and side, creating open wounds and then digging into those open wounds. Imagine, if you will, grabbing the bed rail and squeezing it so violently while you shake that you’re afraid it will snap in two. Imagine, if you will, punching your thumb through the hospital bed mattress because you’re squeezing it that hard. Imagine, if you will, drenching through all of your clothes until they are sopping wet, as you try to somehow get away from the pain. Imagine, if you will, feeling like you are going to piss your pants, shit your pants, and puke everywhere all at once. Imagine, if you will, every single muscle in your body constricting at the same time as you try to not let the pain take over you mentally. Imagine, if you will, watching your heartrate on the monitor drop to almost half because you’ve been holding your breath for so long, afraid to breathe. If you can imagine that, you can maybe begin to imagine the actual pain this kind of thing causes.
Anyway, they got me back for a CT Scan between the third and fourth dose of morphine. Just as they gave me the fourth dose, they also delivered the good news that I definitely had another stone, this one between 6 and 7mm. There would be no passing it on my own. They had arranged a room for me upstairs, I would need surgery, and that was that. They shot me with morphine shot #4, and left me there for a while to process it all on my own.
Thankfully the fourth shot got on top of the pain at least enough that I only had a giant bolt of pain surge through my body every 45 seconds or so. It was just enough time to realize a couple things. One, I was completely alone when I didn’t need to be, and that sucked. Two, I was going to have another surgery. And that sucked. This was not how 2017 was supposed to go. This was supposed to be the best, most healthy year of my life. How was that possibly my reality already? The thoughts overwhelmed me, and I fought back tears, but they came anyway.
The surgery didn’t come for another 16 hours. During that time, I was hooked to an IV with a clicker in my hand that let me give myself a max dose of dilaudid every 15 minutes. Even with that, I found myself cramped and seized-up in writhing agony at least once every hour or two.
Nothing made me happier than when the nurse finally came in and said the surgeon could get me in. Literally all I knew was that they were gonna send something long, and skinny, and electric up my penis, and some other tool possibly through my back as well, and then they were going to get this monster the hell out of me.
Now, I don’t know if my brain just felt like it didn’t have to fight the pain anymore, or if the dilaudid had run out right around that time (since I was never supposed to be in that room for that long), but just before the operating room nurse came to get me, the worst pain yet began surging through my kidneys, and did not let up. I was shaking, and sweating, and moaning, and occasionally screaming all the way to the operating wing in pain that felt far worse than any I had felt at that point. Staff kept asking me things. People kept putting things in my face. People kept trying to tell me to calm down. I don’t remember much of it except a man telling me if I could sign a paper, he could put something in me that would stop the pain. I scribbled something on the paper and he shot something in the tube in my arm. Within seconds, I melted into a state of blobby marshmallow happy goo.
I woke up who knows how many minutes or hours later in the recovery room. The monster inside me was gone.
I slept off the anesthesia and insisted I was healthy and awake enough to drive myself home, so I did.
I felt so good.
I got home.
I went to the bathroom.
HOLY HELL MOTHER OF WHAT THE…
Anyway. Yeah. That’s where I still am with things. Every time I urinate, it feels like my kidney is being vacuumed out of my body. If I walk more than the distance of my bedroom, I feel as if I’ll pass out. Every muscle in my body feels sprained and strained. My sternum hurts incredibly when I breathe for some reason. This is my current life. At this very moment, it is my reality.
Oh, plenty of humorous things happened during this whole ordeal. There was much to laugh about. I think I’ll write about all of that in a separate blog post over on The Dan Pearce Blog once I get the energy to do so. You know… because funny and sarcastic things to do with the penis and whatnot were meant for that blog.
I had a point to this blog post, though. Two points, really.
First, don’t be stupid and overdose on pain pills because you’re too stubborn to seek help. That’s my one big regret in all this.
Second, please stop comparing the pain of giving birth to the pain I’m experiencing or have experienced. Especially while I’m going through it.
Pain is just pain. There’s a level of pain where it’s simply THE WORST POSSIBLE PAIN IMAGINABLE. It’s not a competition. Some births are easy and relatively pain free. Some kidney stones are easy and relatively pain free. Some births are the devil himself ripping the person to shreds. Some kidney stones are, too.
Pain is just pain. It’s all relative. I promise I won’t diminish yours, if you don’t diminish mine. I won’t turn it into some battle of the sexes. I’ll just digitally give you a soft pat on the back and say, “that sucks,” because… Whether my pain is at a five out of ten or a ten out of ten, that’s all I really want. I just want to be told, “dude that sucks. Feel better.”
Gosh, I’m ornery right now. I probably shouldn’t blog while I’m laying here avoiding taking more pain pills.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Right?
Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog