The Downward Spiral — Part 3: Sleepless Nights
So after two back injuries, I had convinced myself I was probably still okay.
Then it started, and I didn’t yet know what it was. I was still terribly afraid of hospitals and doctors. Again, I convinced myself not to go, at least the first time.
I can’t remember which happened first, but let’s just use the first major episode of pain as a starting point. At this point, I was living in Ajax, Ontario. What I can remember is that this happened shortly after switching from being vegetarian — mostly vegan for about three months.
Suppose I had an epic craving for meat, which was weird because at this point I also detested how it smelled but my instincts were telling me something over my better judgment and that was to eat it. Bacon that is, and we all know that craving for bacon — at least any of you omnivores or self-professed carnivores do.
To the best of my recollection, it started that night, I tried really hard to mentally wipe it from my memory because it was just that bad. The most I can remember is extreme pain, nausea, I couldn’t eat cause the thought made me sick. All I could stomach was water and I think as the episode came to an end some Blueberry juice.
I remember this whole episode as a series of flashes, long days in bed, struggling for pain relief and nausea. Tossing and turning — lots of it. Sweating and probably a bit delirious, I managed to fall asleep in a forward position as it seemed to be the only way my pain was numbed enough. Sleep only seemed to come in short periods, mostly I was probably mentally out of it to remember all aspects of it.
To this day I do not know if it was a gallbladder attack or a pancreatic attack, but I wish I had gone to the hospital. I really wish I knew what had happened at that point in time. From what I understand, if it was my Pancreas I could have died. Thankfully, I didn’t but I do wonder what kind of scarring or damage might have been done. There is no way to go back in time.
My body was wiped clean and basically, I had a forcible detoxification since I really couldn’t eat or drink. In a way, it had a great effect on my complexion since I also had Psoriasis. It had cleared up completely after this, at least for a while. It was about two to three days in total. If my mom was still alive, I would ask her if she could remember more details. But she passed a few years back.
I wish I could say that was the end of this, that it was just one episode but as time went on I had more and more of them. They were not exactly the same, but they were very similar, they just lasted a shorter period of time, from 4 hours to 10 hours. After having them for a while my mother seemed to think that it was probably gallbladder related since my mother had her’s removed in her thirties.
For many years I tried to ignore it, but in my working life not only did I have my back pain to contend with I also had these gallbladder attacks. Missing work was what I was known for, not because I didn’t want to work, but because working was getting in the way of feeling well when I felt so bad most of the time. Going to work meant generally leaving work in pain and sometimes even going to work in pain. I was using painkillers like candy just to get through the day and now the gallbladder attacks became more frequent. This whole issue probably spanned about 8 years of my life, possibly longer. Finally, it was removed in 2008.
All along this time, the most they ever saw on a sonogram was “sludge” in my gallbladder. No noticeable stones, nothing. Finally, enough was enough and I subjected myself to the hospital emerg. Living in Kitchener at that time St. Mary’s had one of the longest wait times. Given that I was in a large amount of pain, I’m pretty sure I was in a bed under one hour but it doesn’t mean I was seen by any more than a nurse during that time. Still, I was suffering, no pain relief, getting poked with needles, analyzing my blood levels.
Screaming, yes, I was screaming from the pain. They gave me something called Buscopan (I always ask what they give me) and instead of having pain relief I got more and it ended up feeling like a heart attack instead, or at least what I imagined one would feel like.
Panic continued, I was crying, annoying the nurses because my screams were probably not very conducive to the well-being of other patients who were also in emerg. My screaming didn’t stop, then finally they gave me something that worked (Dilaudid). Relief was had for that moment in time and finally, I was released and this time was given a referral to a surgeon.
Still, I was scared to death at the thought of having something taken out of me. Never had I been put under in the hospital.
During all this time, I had a few odd issues. I’ll be addressing them in part 4 because they are the in-congruent issues but they all add up to the actual part where it all falls down.
During all this time, I had a few odd issues. I’ll be addressing them in part 4, because they happened in between my gallbladder issues and final descent.
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