It occurred to me last night how lucky I was to be in the ER waiting to see if I need to have my appendix removed.
After waiting for 2 hours in the overflow area of the ER, and 4 hours in a room, I was finally sent to another room for the night so they could observe me and see if they think my appendix is likely to explode all over my other innards or not.
I admit to not knowing much about the appendix, even though people get them removed simply all the time, and it’s a really fun word to say.
If you be dumb like I, here is the appendix. Lookit how tiny it is. Lookit. Like a little alien worm just hanging off of that big old intestine.
Anyway, I’m still here, after a night of not sleeping, and waiting for someone to:
Come tell me something
Poke at my belly
Roll me down for another CT scan, which is really cool, by the way. Good one, GE.
Walk in a therapy dog
I am not even kidding with that last one. The nurse last night asked me a series of boring questions, and then when she asked me if I’d be interested in a visit from a therapy dog, I nearly jumped out of my bed screaming YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
So why do I feel lucky? Let’s get serious for a minute. I’m a relatively healthy woman. I care about my body, my diet, my family, my future. I face my own struggles, like indecision, disorganization, focus. But I’m trying. I’m trying to push myself to grow, learn and be a better person.
I was acutely aware of how lucky I am to be in the position I am, as I sat for 4 hours listening to the girl in the room next to me, out of her mind on whatever she shot into her veins, screaming, yelling, crying, pleading. She had the stereotypical addict voice, slurred and whiny. She made no sense. It was all pure emotion made up of pain and swearing.
One minute she was calmly telling her dad she wanted to go to outpatient rehab instead of inpatient, the next she was screaming at the nurse to let her see where he was inserting the IV so she could see where to shoot up later.
It went on. I listened. I didn’t turn on my TV or pop earbuds in because I was fascinated. I listened and thought. I felt sad for her, and I was careful to not let myself feel pity or judgment. I listened to learn, and to be reminded that people are in different places in the world, and in their lives.
This young woman has a long way to go, and I felt sad but hopeful about that. I chose to visualize her getting treatment. Lots of treatment, for a long time, working through whatever her brain is telling her, and making it out the other side. I found myself wanting her to write a memoir, or go on speaking tours to high schools, telling her story and helping others not make her same choices.
This is the romantic in me, but I also couldn’t believe that she was at the beginning of a long messy spiral downward. She couldn’t waste the entire rest of her life in self-induced pain and madness.
Later, I was rolled up to my room for the night, Christian and Fen with me, and I felt grateful to be in the hospital for something straightforward. If my appendix is removed, that’s all there is. I heal, and I don’t face years of whatever the girl and her family will face. The money we shell out for my hospital stay won’t be because I made a wrong choice one night with my friends.
I am lucid and writing this. I am enjoying writing this. I am thinking of ways to better my health through diet and more exercise, and I am generally optimistic. It feels kind of good to feel this way. I am not religious, but I believe in the power of energy sent through the world from one person to another, so I am sending that girl so much love and strength today.
And then I’ll get my appendix out.
Incidentally, you can buy a plush appendix and other guts right here.