I would love to do a fun recap of this weekend at Fitbloggin telling you how much I learned and how awesome the conference was, but I can’t. Because I would be lying to you. I have no idea how the conference part of the conference went because I didn’t go to that. Instead I went to the emergency room
Yes, I spent the better part of yesterday in the hospital. I suppose that is what you would call the bad news.
After I ran my mile and posted about it I was on top of the world. I mean, I ran a mile! I did great! Go ME! But I had some light stomach-ish pain and wasn’t sure what was going on. I just shook it off and figured it would go away. It did, but the cramping pain in my back on the lower right side didn’t. So I went to breakfast and ate with some awesome bloggers. Then I went to the first session. I didn’t feel great still, but I felt good enough to go to the sessions. After all that is what I was there for!
About ten minutes into the talk about SEO the pain in my back got 10 times worse. It was all I could think about. I was so uncomfortable. It hurt so bad that I couldn’t focus on anything else, so I got up and left the room to go walk around and figure out how to get rid of the pain. I talked to Roni’s mom who is a nurse and because of the location of the pain she told me it was possibly a muscle spasm or kidney stones. I wasn’t happy with either idea but I just assumed it was a muscle spasm, because you know, I ran a mile ealier in the day and to tell the truth I didn’t stretch enough. I walked around and laid down on the stage for a minute, trying to will myself not to cry in front of people like Carla and Benjamin.
So with an idea that I had a muscle spasm I took some medicine Roni’s mom (I’m so sorry I never caught her name…anyone know?) gave me and headed back to the session. Before I got there I ran into Lisa Johnson who helped me with the muscle spasm by doing some sort of muscle thing to release the tension. So I felt a little bit better when I went back in to sit down and listen to the presentation.
That lasted about two whole minutes before the pain was back and worse and I knew I needed to leave so I grabbed all my stuff. I just wanted to go lay down upstairs because I thought that it would help. I didn’t really need to be in the SEO session anyway since that is easy for me and I teach other people how to do it – I just went to go and meet more people. So I left and went to the elevators to head upstairs, but that is when the nausea hit me. I knew I wouldn’t make it to my room so I went to the bathrooms on the conference floor and spent a few minutes throwing up my nice $20 breakfast and all the food and drinks from the night before (sorry if that’s TMI … maybe you should stop reading?).
After that I went upstairs to lay down. I changed my clothes and tried to get comfy but I absolutely couldn’t do it. The pain in my back made everything uncomfortable, even laying down. I threw up again in the room. Around this point I started to think that it wasn’t a muscle spasm and it probably was a kidney stone, which are prevalent in my family but I’ve never had one. I looked up all the symptoms online and realized I had ALL of them (blood in pee had happened in the morning running but I hadn’t connected it til looking at the symptoms online). After doing this I called my mom to talk to her about it because she is an expert after having so many over the years. She told me that I was probably right and to drink lots of water – just force it down – and walk around so I didn’t need to go to the doctor. I tried my best to do it, but I couldn’t keep anything down, even wate
I went back down to Roni’s mom at the registration table and told her I thought I had a kidney stone. They told me I should go to the hospital, but since I don’t have health insurance I really didn’t want to. We tried to find a free clinic or anything but on Saturday not much is open. We found an urgent care place but I called them before going and the nurse there told me they wouldn’t be able to treat me if I did have kidney stones and they would just send me to an ER. So my only option was the hospital and as the pain increased it started looking like I would have to go. I went back up to my room and cried for about 15 minutes because of the pain and the fear of the hospital and how much it would cost me. I laid in my room and just cried for 15 minutes before I called my mom again and informed her of what was going on – how I couldn’t keep any food or drink down, I was getting dehydrated, and the pain kept getting worse. She convinced me to go to the ER, probably because when I called her I was in hysterics.
Once I had been convinced to go by my mom I tried to pull it together and go back downstairs to find someone to go with me or take me so I didn’t have to take a cab alone. I tweeted asking if anyone wanted to come and my roommate AJ said she would. Roni found us a local to drive us so we didn’t have to take a cab, and Kate, who I had not met previously took me to the emergency room at John Hopkins Bayview because she thought it would be a good choice and no one else seemed to know where I should go. On the drive there they talked a lot to try and distract me but I was miserable. I felt like I needed to throw up and the pain was a 9 on the pain scale, but I kept convincing myself I hadn’t drank anything so I couldn’t throw up! I don’t remember much of the drive but it worked and I got my name in the system at the hospital before going to throw up in the bathroom there.
The hospital turned out the be an AWESOME choice. I got into triage within a few minutes and she hooked me up to an iv for fluids immediately. Sadly though, right after I got the iv done is when the pain was the worst. I had just told her it was an 8-9 on the pain scale and once the nurse left me in the pre-room waiting room alone the pain became like a 20 and I was freaking out and couldn’t stop crying. I have no idea how long I was in there waiting, but the nurse assured me they were working on getting me a room. I cried while laying on the bed, while standing up, while on the phone with my mom. Then AJ and Kate came back to see me and I tried to stop crying, which I think I did, but I told them I wanted to be alone after a few minutes and then I went back to crying. The super terrible pain I’ve never felt before and would love to never feel again lasted for almost the entire time I was in that room before I got a room of my own and it was a miserable experience.
By the time I finally got a room I was feeling slightly better because pain is relative and any relief is a good relief. So the 7-8 pain felt great at that point! The PA came and saw me and told me she thought I had a kidney stone and after I could pee (thanks to the fluids they were pumping in me!) I could get the pain meds. AJ and Kate came back to the room around that time and then the nurse sent me off to pee. Eventually I got my first medicine and the world started to right itself again as the pain finally started to fade away. AJ and Kate had been talking to Alex the PA while they were in there, since Kate might be going back to school to be a PA herself.
The next step was Dr. Gabriel who came and gave me an ultrasound to try to find the kidney stones and look for other signs to confirm that’s what it was. I’ve never had one before but it was interesting to see my kidneys on the screen. Kate and AJ loved that part and asked a ton of questions, which I thought was fun. By that time I wasn’t in pain much so I didn’t mind. The doctor was really cool – he had just moved back from a year in New Zealand! So we had that in common to talk about. He also gave me a printout of my kidney to add to my other super cool (ha!) hospital souvenirs.
After the ultrasound AJ and Kate left because it was going to be a few more hours before they would release me. I already felt so bad for making them miss more of the conference than they should have. After they left I got a CAT scan so they would actually be able to see the kidney stones since they couldn’t on the ultrasound. I’d never had a CAT scan before either, so that was interesting and slightly intimidating. My main nurse while I was there was very cool and talked to me about blogging and losing weight and even calmed me down when I started to stress/panic about being in the hospital.
The rest of my time at the hospital was just spent waiting. I read a magazine, called my mom again and tried to text although my phone had issues texting in the hospital. It seemed like at least an hour passed and then the general attending doctor came by with the PA to give me the results of all the tests:
“You have multiple kidney stones.”
WHAT? Are you kidding me? Yeah. It was shocking and annoying and frustrating and even a little funny by that point. Apparently I had multiple kidney stones and one had been moving and had caused a muscle spasm in my back as well because kidney stones do that (Roni’s mom was right on both accounts). Ouch. They told me I would be released soon so I called AJ and Kate to come back and get me since they said they would. I got my prescriptions and sample pills and my discharge papers with instructions and then on the way out I asked the doctor how many kidney stones exactly I had – he told me three. Two in the kidney not moving and one that was causing the ridiculous pain.
So within four hours I was treated and out of the hospital. That is record time and would probably never happened at my home hospital where my little brother had to wait almost that long just to get in for his kidney stones. So in the grand scheme of things, even though I’m sad I got sick this weekend I could not have done it in a better place. The hospitals here rock! The only problem I had was a conflict with the pharmacy and the prescription from the PA – they wouldn’t fill it so I had to go back to the hospital today before I left to get a new prescription in order to get all the medicine that I needed.
I’ve been sick most of today because I took the pills this morning before eating and they made me sick. Luckily that has gone away and I’m sitting in the airport righting without pain and without any nausea. Thanks to medications and food I almost feel normal.
Random Kidney Stone Experience Thoughts
Thankfully I didn’t get a bill or any idea of how much all of it cost when I left the hospital because that would have ruined my weekend even more than the whole ER trip already did. Not having health insurance has been something that has bothered me for a while and now one of my worst fears finally came true this weekend when I ended up in the hospital. I know that I would never be denied help if I need it, but paying for the services is another story. I started losing weight again last year ago after being rejected for health insurance because of my weight and though I’ve come a long way but still don’t have health insurance. I haven’t even gotten the bill yet and I’m stressing about paying it. I can’t help it. Last night at dinner I had a minor anxiety attack because I was thinking about it. I was doing so well and slowly working on paying off my last credit card and saving money for my move across the world in September. It feels like as soon as some good was happening, the rug got pulled out from under me. I know that however much it ends up costing that I will get on a payment plan and just work harder to pay it off, but it just hurts to know that this happened and set me back from my other goals.
While in the respect of not having health insurance or money to pay for something like this is unlucky, the whole experience made me realize how incredibly lucky I am. While I was in the hospital I realized that besides the kidney stones I am a very healthy girl. I’m lucky. I abused my body for many years without thinking about the consequences of those actions. I’m lucky that they are no permanent consequences to deal with. I’m lucky that I’m healthy. I’m lucky that I’m not in an out of the hospital often. I just feel extremely lucky that even though it hurt and I hated being sick and in pain, it wasn’t worse. Even though I still have three kidney stones to deal with I’m still alive and healthy. It’s amazing. I’m really, really grateful.
I did have fun at the conference before this happened (obviously, as I ran a freaking mile while I was there) and even after. But I wanted to share this experience because I’m not sure I got to tell everyone what happened. I’ll post about the other stuff in the “fun recap” tomorrow when I do my weigh in. Thanks to everyone who did ask about me and helped me out during the process and took care of me afterward. I’m so grateful for all of the wonderful people that I met at Fitbloggin and even those I didn’t get a chance to meet because of what happened. This group is the most friendly, amazing, caring bunch of people alive. And quite possibly the coolest.
Read part two of my experience: Fitbloggin, the long ride home!