Yesterday evening started out as a perfectly normal evening. Everything was great. I met a friend for dinner. Despite the temptingly labeled “Glamburger,” I decided to be healthy, opting for a superfood salad.
That was a mistake. I just didn’t know it yet.
After bidding my friend goodnight, I went home. I called another friend. I chatted with my mom for a few minutes. I was tired, so I was going to call it a day and go to bed before 21:00. Life was good.
Suddenly out of nowhere, I experienced the onset of a headache. No stranger to migraines, I knew this wasn’t a typical migraine, but I blamed it on too much exercise and too little food. The self-described “running headache” had become my old, if not very beloved, friend over the past few months.
My normal routine for dealing with exercise induced headaches was carried out with its usual efficiency. After taking the necessary medication, I curled up in bed hoping that in the oblivion of sleep my headache would go away and I would get some much needed rest.
Alas, it was not to be.
After about two hours of tossing and turning, the pressure in my head increased. It hurt. It really hurt. It hurt more than any migraine I could remember. Additionally, I was increasingly nauseous. I had already taken all the medicine and done everything I knew to alleviate the pain. The pain continued to increase.
What’s a girl alone in a foreign country to do?
Call her mother—the doctor. To be clear, I would have called my mom even if she wasn’t a doctor, but the fact that she is a doctor makes her the perfect first call when one is biologically distressed.
While picking up the phone to call my mother, I was vaguely aware that the first thought to cross her mind would be meningitis (that’s always the first thought across her mind when I tell her I have a headache), but maybe I did have meningitis. (Just FYI, I don’t have meningitis.) She answered the phone. With clinical efficiency, she asked for the symptoms and told me that the ER might be the best option.
Or she would have told me to go to the ER, if I hadn’t hung up on her to do the unthinkable—throw up.*
Y’all, there is one thing that I hate more than false dichotomies. I hate with an undying passion getting sick to my stomach. I despise it. I have a phobia of it. A few years ago before knee surgery they asked me what anesthesia I would prefer. I told them whichever did not include the side effect of nausea. I would do almost anything to avoid throwing up. I would have declined anesthesia if necessary. I’m serious.
Throwing up confirmed to me and my mother that the ER was the best option. We just needed to make sure all our bases were covered. That it wasn’t meningitis or worse. (Not that there is much worse than meningitis. It’s terrifying.)
So here I am at 3:00 in the morning almost fully recovered from what is most likely food poisoning, writing this post. Because what else is one to do while waiting on test results? I could people watch, but people in the ER at 3:00am on Halloween Eve are not the sort one wants to stare at too closely. For many, many reasons. I’ll let you paint your own mental image. If you need a starting point, just start with the word “oozing.”
At this point, I have learned three things from this calamity.
1. Never choose the salad. Life’s too short to spend even one evening in a foreign ER. Eating heathy just isn’t worth it.
2. When you’re seeking help and the on-call person in your building doesn’t know what to do and then leaves you alone in the lobby, the best revenge is to get sick in the lobby.**
3. I don’t know what people who don’t have a doctor for a mom do to survive. I would definitely be dead by now if it wasn’t for her and her worst-case-scenario outlook on life. When other people see a lumber truck, my mother sees a potential impalement scenario. Her brain must be a sad, scary, amazing place. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.***
P.S. I uploaded this once I was back in my own room–safe, healthy, and clean. I shall live to write another day.
* My dad has an aversion to the words “throw up,” he suggested using the phrase “the contents of my stomach decided to make a full retreat.” He thought it was less graphic.
** I didn’t get sick in the actual lobby, but I thought about it. I used the lobby bathroom instead. Even when ill, I am nice person. Unlike the on-call person.
*** You can see my mother channeling her spirit animal–Eeyore–at the CCUMC Trunk-or-Treat tonight.