As the title suggests, the looming specter of pancreatitis has once again reared its ugly head. I had spent a few days at work feeling absolutely miserable and, presuming it to be a result of the trifecta of shift work, poor diet and stress, chose to ignore the problem and instead chew down antacids like they were candy in hopes that it would all just go away. After all, I’m nothing if not consistent and my late high school history teacher and mentor Fran Davis would be quick to point out at times like this, those who refuse to learn from history will be forever doomed to repeat its mistakes. After three days of heart burn and general agony I woke from a dead sleep to acid reflux and the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I knew then just how screwed I was.
Or so I thought.
Taking myself to the local ER -yes, I drove like this- I quickly found myself in a room with more tubes in my arm than the vaccuum tube television mounted to the wall. Blood was drawn, scans performed and a battery of tests were performed as an intravenous cocktail of saline, Pepcid and painkillers flowed freely into my veins. I’m very much and All-or-Nothing person and when I do something. Ido it right and I do it big. Not only had my pancreatic enzyme levels reached over 7,000 (the safe range being 20-30) but bile was now building in my system and wreaking havoc on my liver and kidneys. And what, pray tell, was to blame? While doctors last time insisted that my nearly tea total self had attempted a premature embalming on various harsh liquors, the almost horrified ER doc (and consequent doctors that followed) agreed that the culprit was a Silver Dollar sized gall stone blocking a duct inside my body.
I was admitted for a few days, given fluids and rest as my pancreas returned to a safer, less inflamed and agonized size and sent home to spend Easter Sunday with my family. The followingTuesday I found myself once more in that ammonia and lilac scented vault of disease, pain and healing talking to a surgeon who insisted that the best course of action was to remove the offending gland and prevent me from making a third attempt at buying the farm before I could make it to thirty. Anxious, as I’ve never before been the patient of a surgery, I went home and prepared. See, while I am no a fan of being left to the mercy of strangers with sharp implements, robots, and large quantities of drugs I find myself more repulsed by the idea of an early demise: something I was all but assured if I allowed these continued and escalating attacks on my pancreas to continue.
As fans of the blog (or friends and family) well know, I have a vivid imagination, a flare for the dramatic and what some might call a “pessimistic” world view. That said, I had visions of being operated on while alive (think Stephen King’s Autopsy Room Four) or of every other conceivable thing within the realm of Murphy’s Law happening to my quasi lifeless form to make it completely lifeless. I was in full blown panic mode by the time I arrived this morning for surgery. Valium and a plethora of other, more difficult to pronounce (or spell) drugs later, the edge was finally off my anxiety. The last thing I remembered was staring up at the gleaming silver lights above me. Once unconcious, I was inflated like the most grotesque balloon ever conceived and tiny metal fingers went to work slicing out the rogue gland that had made two inept and unsuccessful attempts on my life.
I woke in what seemed the blink of an eye, giddy from anesthesia and thirsty beyond belief. A few hours later, still sedated but more pained and fatigued than before, I find myself writing away and thinking about what a complete and total wuss I was leading up to the event and how, after the fact, it doesn’t seem that bad, though I may regret those words before the night is through. I’m also reminded of a quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway:
Write drunk. Edit sober.
So, coming to you from the sattelite of love orbiting this pile of B movies, books and in progress works of fiction (coming soon to a blog near you), this is Danno.