No, I came to the hospital for another, less exciting reason. The short version is that I had a gallbladder attack that made my pancreas very angry, and so I've been here for the past three days and nights, enjoying the most expensive vacation of my life (which, thanks to Aflac, which we had in place for the baby, will be significantly less expensive than it could have been).
Here are some interesting tid bits and thoughts that I would like to share with you about my stay.
First of all, after my first gallbladder attack and ER visit on Wednesday, I was not prepared for the two subsequent gall bladder attacks I would have in the three days following. And had I been properly prepared for these attacks, I would have been told to tough it out, and it really sucks, but there's nothing they can do until the baby comes. This is what I was told when we came back to the ER on Saturday, when the pain was unbearable and I was convinced that something was definitely very wrong.
Until they got the test results about four hours later and said, "Oh wait! Nope! Just kidding. This IS serious and we're admitting you to the hospital."
My take-home lesson of course, is listen to my body, use good sense, and if I'm 36 weeks pregnant and in the worst pain of my life, there is no need to let pride keep me from calling Uncle and heading into the ER, even if I'll be told for the next several hours that I was just supposed to tough it out.
During this whole gallbladder ordeal, I have reflected many times on my aunt's gallbladder removal when I was 8 years old (I am the proud FOURTH generation of women on my dad's side of the family to need a gallbladder removal---thankfully it still won't need to happen before the baby comes). There is one main reason that I remember visiting her in the hospital post-surgery, and one main reason that my memory has been the topic of much conversation over the past week. You see, when I was a sweet young 8-yr-old girl, my not-so-sweet, young, 10-yr-old brother told me an inappropriate joke. That we both thought was extremely funny at the time. So funny in fact, that I felt I should share it with my aunt in the hospital in the presence of her guests (none of us can remember who the guests were though). And the joke caused her to laugh till she was crying, and she kept saying, "Cicada! Stop! Stop telling this joke!" which I thought meant that she was REALLY enjoying it, so I made sure to tell it through to completion. Well, I'm sorry to say that the joke is entirely too inappropriate to share on the blog, so you'll never know what it was. But I HAVE repeated it to most of my family members this week as I've shared this memory with them all, and it has brought most of us to tears. Less because of the joke itself, and more because of the image of an 8-yr-old sharing the joke with her poor aunt in mixed company.
So let's talk insurance! The GOOD news is that I got lazy this year and did not change our insurance coverage, even though it would have meant a reduction in monthly premiums. It would also have meant that we would spend less during the year in overall medical expenses (baby excluded) IF we had a year like we had last year (well baby visits, a trip to the ER for stitches, and a few miscellaneous doctor's visits for me). It would have meant spending MORE in case of serious medical issues or accidents. Well, call it laziness, call it intuition, call it inspiration, I didn't change my policy. So while we still have to meet a hefty hefty deductible (rhymes with sore mouth and collars), that deductible is 1) for me and both children AND 2) for the whole year AND 3) means that everything else (baby delivery excluded) is covered at 100 percent! So now's the time to start making a medical wish-list of things that can be done this year. And if Gulliver needs stitches again, bring 'em on!
The OTHER good insurance news, as I mentioned above, is that we have an Aflac policy for me that was meant to help offset costs for the baby! We certainly didn't anticipate using it for anything else (besides baby #1, I have never needed to stay in the hospital!) but half way through this process, we realized, oh my goodness, there is a pay-out for this, too! So we can basically cut that [sore mouth and collar] deductible in half! Major bonus.
About the food. You know that people complain about hospital food. But do you know what is way worse than hospital food? No food! Because the pancreas is responsible for the enzymes needed in digestion, and because my pancreas was terribly insulted, we needed to give my pancreas a rest. For over 12 hours, that meant absolutely nothing. Not even ice chips. And then, over 24 hours after I'd last eaten anything, I was finally granted ice chips and 1/2 a popsicle every 8 hours. Wahooo! The next day, I was upgraded to clear liquids and THEN to full liquids. Bring it ON. I have never enjoyed Jell-O or chicken broth or PUDDING so much in my LIFE.
You would think that with all these restrictions, and with a baby eating away my body's stores, that I would have lost a little weight. But the bed (which has been secretly weighing me without my knowledge or consent this whole time!) reveals that I have gained three pounds. Who knew! Win for the baby, I guess!
As you're in the hospital for a few days, you get pretty bored pretty quickly. That is why the realization Sunday afternoon that it was OSCARS NIGHT was a huge and fantastic realization! Murray and I had a two-person Oscars party together, complete with 1/2 a popsicle and ice chips! In fine Murray tradition, he tried to fudge his numbers a little, claiming that he got more predictions right than he actually did, but don't worry. I kept him honest and reminded him of the ones he definitely got wrong. We were both excited that our prediction (and the favored film) won best picture. We loved The King's Speech. We are less excited that the decision has been made to censor it for American audiences by muting 2 of the 5 f-words to make it PG-13. I mean, I'm all about making it PG-13, but I really felt that in context, the language should not have made it R in the first place.
Murray's family has been wonderful to take care of Gulliver during this time. They live pretty close to the hospital, which is also very convenient. Gulliver has come to visit a couple of times. He cut his ear on his first day with Grandpa, which made me feel more sorry for Grandpa than it did for Gulliver. When Gulliver came to see me, I asked about his owie. Completely oblivious to his ear, he immediately pointed to the IV tubes in my arm, VERY concerned. We think it's funny that he knows this is an owie, because how does he know they're going into my body instead of just taped on top? Anyway, as a very concerned 2-yr-old, he made sure to give them a couple good tugs to see if he could take care of it himself. Much appreciated, Gulliver. Now I've got some good bruising there to show off as a trophy when I get out of this joint.
Speaking of getting out of this joint! I should get out of here today!! My blood work came back this morning and everything is back to normal. Yippeeeeeeee! Now it's simply a matter of maintaining a low-fat diet (and hopefully avoiding any further attacks) until the baby comes, and until I have the gallbladder surgery 2 weeks later! (So long Mini Eggs! Hello Marshmallow Peeps!)
(That is SO NOT EVEN CLOSE to an acceptable substitution, for the record, but NOTHING is worth the pain, not even my beloved of all candies, Mini Eggs.)
So that I think about wraps up my thoughts and feelings so far on my stay here! The staff have been excellent and overall, I've been well taken care of here! Now I just have to get ready to COME BACK here possibly some time this month! And I'll even share some pictures of that hospital stay with you. I think it's okay not to share any pictures of THIS hospital stay.