and then 2020 tried to kill me

This year will go down in history as a complete disaster. A world wide shit show.

I’ve been floating along this first half of the year like most of you. Just going with the flow. Dealing with pandemic stuff same as you. The great toilet paper shortage, wearing a mask to appear in public, grabbing any essentials you could find from the grocery shelf.

No dining out, no shopping in stores. No movie theaters, no bars, no parks. No being in public if you don’t need to be. You know normal American of ’20 stuff.

Some of us being off work and some of us being essential and subject to virus. It is pure crazy, Covid rates are up and down and none of it makes any sense but we are all terrified. I didn’t think it could get worse but then it did.

Monday was like any day. I went to work, I did the payroll and made the calls and sent the emails. I gossiped with my office mate and begged for 5pm to roll around on the time clock. I came home and had a normal dinner, cleaned up and packed a box for our upcoming move. I went to bed with the trusty alarm set for the next day. I cussed the need to work at all and fell asleep with the assumption I would be back at it Tuesday. Little did I know.

Sometime in the middle of the night I started to feel that nagging feeling in my gut like I had eaten something bad. Like week old sushi I bought at a gas station and left in my car on a hot summer night then chowed down on for breakfast after a night of mid week drinking. You know the feeling. Like something is very wrong.

It started as nausea. Then progressed to pain so bad I called out hours before the office would need opened. I thought a good day of rest and some OTC meds would do it. Not a chance. This is 2020 after all and there are no logical sequences to life.

At about 9am I gave up trying to rest and drove myself to the ER to see about what demon had crawled into my belly. By 11am I was in a whirlwind of needle sticks and hospital gowns about to be admitted. They said something about my liver and my gallbladder. As if I couldn’t tell by the searing pain something was wrong here.

The ER doc came into my dimly lit room sectioned off by a curtain and a glass door to throw the lights on like we were heading onstage to do a bit on a Broadway show.  She announced with a bit too much excitement that I had a gall stone. I was clearly taken back as I had been napping and must have looked at her oddly with my eyes closed into slivers trying to adjust. She said the stone was nearly as big as my gallbladder and did so with wide eyes as she peered at me over her face mask. It would have to come out ASAP, she said. It was the biggest she had ever seen. I would have laughed if I wasn’t still trying to figure out what the flip she just said and who she was.

Late Tuesday morning I was moved to my own room and the surgeon came in shortly after to see me. He said “whoa, that gallbladder is nasty! Girl, what you eat?” Fine, he didn’t say it like that but he did say there was a big problem in getting that sucker out. Apparently my body was near the stage of giving up, the stone had caused a blockage and infection and thus created a swollen giant. One very angry gallbladder was coming out one way or another. He ordered an antibiotic drip, pain killers and an ice chip diet. He promised to be back the next day to see if we had any improvement before surgery.

I ate my ice chips and sulked all day on Tuesday. I was in alot of pain so sleep was a blessing. Wednesday morning the surgeon comes in and checks things out. Still not happy with the progress he orders a day of clear liquid and more antibiotics. “The swelling must come down, maybe tomorrow” he gave me hope for the next day and left. I sipped my veggie broth and ate more ice chips. I don’t remember much else. The pain was getting unbearable. Another ice chip diet started at midnight. The demon was getting cranky without chicken tenders, I guess, and my pain was unreal.

Thursday morning rolls around. Success! The swelling is down and the surgery is scheduled for noon. I let everyone know via text.

11:15 AM Thursday morning and I am rolled to surgery. Getting closer! I am shaking and nervous and very tired but I am trying to be a trooper. My IV clogs or stops working or like 2020 just gives in entirely to chaos. They need to start a new line.

Panic is setting in now because for each  time I have needed labs the poor techs have had to poke me 4 or 5 times. Rubbing and patting and sighing at each failed attempt and my hateful stare. This new IV insertion was going to be painful. I tried to be calm. I tried to be understanding. I tried not to have a full on panic attack.

At one point the nurse went to get an ultrasound machine for veins. (I didn’t know they existed either!) While she was gone I sat up straight like out of one of those horror movies where the chick is possessed and I start panting and shaking. I’m dizzy and freaking out and I can’t do anything to stop this crazy train from plowing straight into the station. The nurse comes back and calls for help. They placed a cold wet cloth on the back of my neck and requested that I lay flat. No can do I whisper, still panting and ready to spew green slime at the crowd of scrubs around me.

I ask if I may go to the restroom. I’m sure they had sent someone to get some night night meds for me by then but I needed some air and I wanted to hyperventilate in private. One nurse eagerly agreed and off I went. It did the trick because when I came back a new guy who sounded like he does puppet shows was ready to get this IV show on the road. He was successful in one pinch. I wanted to praise the almighty but was afraid they would really strap me down this time.

The next thing I remember was an oxygen mask going on and then waking up to someone standing beside me. I was still in the same place. What the heck. I wasn’t sure if the surgery was over or if they didn’t do it or what. I fell back asleep.

When I woke in my room Thursday late afternoon the nurse was asking me about my pain. It took me a minute to realize it was all over. Then someone knocked on the door, it was dietary and they had some beef broth or something for me. A few seconds later they came and took it away realizing the surgeon had not changed my diet. Still ice chips and IV pain meds. I was literally so hungry I started wondering if I could find some old stale candy in my purse. Unfortunately for my empty stomach I had sent my Dooney home. No bottom of the purse, unwrapped, lint covered who knows how old candy for me.

Finally late Friday morning my nurse is able to catch the surgeon about getting me some food. She rushes to my room with a paper to go box complete with scrambled eggs, a biscuit, sausage, and oatmeal. I barely ate 3 bites but those were the best eggs I have ever tasted. I owe that nurse a huge, huge thank you. Actually if you know a nurse just hug them for me. Nurses are the most amazing, selfless people in all the world.

I went home Friday afternoon and cried quietly clutching pillows to my belly and getting doggie kisses. Little did I know how much that stinky dog breath could be missed.

Today is day 3 of recovery. I am grateful for scars and life but 2020 has been one hell of a hateful bitch.

Can we just throw some candy at some kids, cook a turkey, decorate a tree and blow on some noise makers and call 2020 over? Please? I don’t want to know what the rest of this year has waiting for us.

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