NOTE: Due to the graphic nature of this column, reader discretion is advised – But, hey, if I could live through it, you can certainly read through it.
Now I've had bad weekends before. We all have. You always look forward to the weekend, you make some plans but nothing really works out for you and somewhere on Sunday afternoon you just decide to pack it in, count your losses and wait it out until the following week.
I've also been very sick before. All joking aside, most of you know about my life threatening stomach illness seven years ago and ever since, I usually battle something nasty for a couple of days at least once a year.
But I've never had my two arch-nemesis, the Bad Weekend and the Getting Sick, join forces like this before.
Especially with the holy grail of all weekends, Super Bowl weekend, at stake.
It all started on Friday morning with a simple cough that turned into severe chills which turned into a severe fever which turned into me wanting to Google how ice was invented and wishing Karen Carpenter could come back from the dead and sing the national anthem at Sunday's game.
Sadly, not too far off from my normal day-to-day line of thinking.
Saturday the chills and fever turned into explosive vomiting and a massive headache that was so bad, I couldn't sleep but at the same time I couldn't see and focus on any thing or keep my balance for that matter.
Basically, I was the life of the party.
But I had no idea that the fun was just beginning as dawn broke on Sunday morning; and as I see it, the best way to tell it is as a running dairy – Bill Simmons style!
Sunday February 3, 2008
8:20 a.m. – I wake up after just a few hours of sleep only to realize that my headache is now exponentially worse than before. And you have to understand that at this point in my life, I am somewhat of a headache connoisseur. As someone that gets frequent migraines, I know every stage of every headache. I know when I have a headache because I'm too tired, I know when I have a headache because I'm too hungry. I know when it's a sinus headache, I know when it's a stress headache. So I was a little nervous because I did not know this headache and knew that I needed some serious medical attention as soon as possible.
8:36 a.m. – My Girlfriend picks me up and drives me down to the closest Patient First medical center. All I can think about during the car ride was the scene from "Groundhog Day" when Bill Murray asks his new drunk friend if he wants to throw up outside the car or inside the car, to which the drunk responds, "Both?" Yep, that was me at that particular moment
8:43 a.m. – Sign in at Patient First and sit down in the main waiting room.
8:55 a.m. – Finally hear name called, only to find out that it's just my turn to fill out paper work. I appreciate the fake out.
9:01 a.m. – Still waiting in the main waiting room.
9:14 a.m. – A nurse finally call us to the back and after getting my vitals and pretending to listen to what was wrong with me, she shows us into an examining room and assures us that a doctor will be right in to see us.
9:38 a.m. – Still waiting in the examining room.
9:57 a.m. – Have now been waiting so long that I could have gone back to undergrad and med school, become a doctor, come in and examined myself.
10:02 a.m. – Doctor finally comes in.
10:05 a.m. – After a few minutes a regular routine, the doctor declares that she is going to need to take a rectal exam and this is somewhat peculiar to me because that is currently the one area of my body that is not ailing.
10:06 a.m. – The doctor tries to touch my brain and I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she was just trying a new way to help cure my headache.
10:07 a.m. – The doctor does not offer to cuddle, but instead dashes off once again.
10:09 a.m. – While still trying to locate my dignity, the doctor comes back in and announces that there is a significant amount of blood in my stool and I need to be sent to the emergency room.
10:10 a.m. – Apparently a clown car just pulled up to my room, because all of a sudden 15 nurses rush into my room with different monitors and medical equipment. One nurse was hooking me up to an IV, two more nurses were putting those little round stickers all over my chest while two other nurses attached those to different machines. Another nurse was trying to draw some blood from my other arm and yet another nurse was asking me a bunch of questions.
10:11 a.m. – For the first time in two days, I'm no longer thinking about my headache.
10:12 a.m. – My girlfriend and I laugh out loud. Honestly we did. This was so far from what I thought was going to happen when I got there, I just could not believe it. I was just hoping for some sleep-inducing meds to knock me out until kick-off and get rid of this monster headache. Instead, here I am being hooked up to an IV and waiting for an ambulance because I have blood in my stool. Unbelievable.
10:20 a.m. – Paramedics arrive and move me over to their gurney. Since my Girlfriend won't be allowed to ride in the ambulance with me, she agrees to follow behind and let my parents know what's going on.
10:22 a.m. – Get loaded into the ambulance with a full crowd watching me. If they had ever found out that I just had a bad headache and blood in my stool, that would have been the most disappointing public viewing of something since "Transformers" came out in theaters.
10:23 a.m. – The paramedics tell me that since it's obvious that my life is not in any imminent danger, they are not going to have the sirens on or blaze down the road. This also apparently meant that they were going to take the long way to the hospital because from the bed in the back, I could see us going a certain way that I would only go if I wanted to be sure to never make it to any hospital of any kind.
10:33 a.m. – Paramedics stop for coffee and offer me a scone, I politely decline.
10:46 a.m. – We finally arrive to the hospital and are greeted by my parents who have been waiting for me for more than 10 minutes.
10:49 a.m. – Get rolled into a broom closet, er, I mean a hospital room and begin waiting to see a doctor
*We waited for quite a while so I'm just gonna skip ahead a little…
11:51 a.m. – A very tall doctor, with a physically long face walks in and pretends to care as I tell him what's been going on with me.
11:54 a.m. – He is surprised that Patient First wanted to take a rectal exam and decides he needs to as well.
11:54 a.m. – WHAT?!
11:55 a.m. – For the second time today I've been treated like a muppet (that one's for you Colin) and am now growing concerned that random people from off the street are just going to start throwing on white coats and rubber gloves to come in and see what all the fun is about.
12:13 p.m. – The doctor comes back in and confirms that there is a significant amount of blood in my stool (Geez, Ya think??) and says he wants to scope my stomach to see if there's any blood in there as well. FINALLY! I will get some meds to put me out!
Quick Note - Now we all know I like to joke around and exaggerate for the sake of a laugh but I am not kidding and I am not exaggerating when I say that what happened next was by far and without question or debate, the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my existence as a human being.
12:25 p.m. – A nurse walks in with a long tube and a bucket and tells me she is there to scope my stomach. She asks if I have any questions and of course I ask how doped up am I going to be. She turns around and with the most empathetic face I've ever seen, she says that she's sorry but I'm going to have to stay awake for this.
12:25 p.m. – WHAAAAATTT???!!!
12:26 p.m. – Trying to get my head around this information, I let her know that I have severe problems with my gag reflux and struggle getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist. There's no way I'm going to be able to stick a tube down my throat while I'm still conscious.
12:27 p.m. – She says that she understands and that she does too (aww, thanks) but that they need me awake to actually be able to swallow the tube and that it doesn't go down thrown my mouth but through my nose.
12:27 p.m. – WHHHHAAAAAAAAATTTTT? WE ARE LIVING IN THE 21ST CENTURY AND CAN LAND PEOPLE ON THE MOON AND HAVE COMPUTERS THAT ARE BASICALLY HUMAN BUT WE STILL STICK TUBES THROUGH PEOPLE'S NOSES????
12:28 p.m. – Sensing my panic, the nurse calls for some help and another nurse quickly comes in (I have to give them credit now, they were both amazing to me and really put up with a lot from me and did not make me feel like the whining baby that I was and probably am).
12:30 p.m. – The first nurse starts rattling off a list of instructions for me to do because if I have my head the wrong way, the tube could go into my lungs (I'm glad there's no pressure) and I honestly do start to freak out at this point. Thinking it will be just 30 seconds to a minute tops, I ask how long the procedure will take just to have a sense of how long the torture will last. "Oh, no more than five minutes," the first nurse says.
12:30 p.m. – I almost honestly pass out.
12:31 p.m. – Knowing there's no way out, I take one last deep breath and tell them to go for it.
12:31 p.m. – I will never be able to accurately describe the pain/alien sensation that I felt next. My family said the tube was the size of a pencil but to me it looked like one of those Big Gulp straws from 7-11. It was excruciating and when it hit my gag reflux in my throat I was ready to cash in my chips and buy the farm.
12:33 p.m. – Just feeling absolutely freaked out, I just start saying every word I've ever heard of and some that don't even exist. I think I rocked a "jaleezbeep" at one point. Like I said, the nurses were great; they told me to say anything I wanted and just let it all out.
12:34 p.m. – I am now grabbing onto anything I can to feel some comfort. I think one of the nurses could file for sexual harassment against me because I kept grabbing her arm over and over again. She obviously didn't mind but I still felt bad. I just kept flailing my arms, trying not to think about the giant tube that was going through my nose into my stomach or the blood that is now pouring from my nostril into the bucket (they said the tube was just aggravating my nose – oh, really? I couldn't tell).
12:36 p.m. – A team of doctors walk in to check my progress and comment that I'm doing great (thanks, guys) and that there is no blood and that the tube can come out now.
12:37 p.m. – the nurse tells me to relax and that she's just going to gently pull the tube out now. And again a deluge of verbage from my mouth follows the tube out of my nose as I fall back into the hospital bed, traumatized and exhausted.
After that, pretty much everything else was a blur to me. The doctor came in and said that it looks like I just had a nasty sinus infection and that the blood in the stool could be from that or could be a minor ulcer or something. He gave the name of a specialist to see this week and said that he didn't see the need to violate any other orphus on my body so I could go home for the afternoon.
He switched me over to some Sudafed which cleared my headache that afternoon and I finally passed out when I got home that night. I had lived through the weekend. And fortunately I was coherent enough to enjoy the game Super Bowl that night but stayed away from any spicy foods or sodas just to be on the safe side.
I just enjoyed some light refreshments and some Gatorade; and just in case you're wondering, I did not use a straw.