Nope, it's not an appendicitis.

Friday · September 05, 2014 · 10:30 PM

It winds up I have a rare “duodenal intussusception” which may or may not be caused by sitting on a dirty toilet seat. But probably not. Rumor is it’s rare enough that it was featured on an episode of House MD – while I’m sitting here, I should have enough free time to binge watch the entire series (depending on how fast I get through the Gilmore Girls DVD box set). By the way, the doctors here love when you tell them how many episodes of House you’ve watched and critique their work.

After getting poked and prodded (12 needles in the first eight hours) and hearing a lot of “it’s the sort of pain you’d expect from an appendicitis, but the appendix looks fine and there’s no fever”, they finally got a clear scan that showed some weird overlapping of my upper intestines. Hey, it just occurred to me that the number of times I was jabbed with a needle might be related to my comments about how House would run things. (I’d like to note it’s worth the pain, it gave me the idea for a medical invention that’ll allow me to retire – add a topical anesthetic to the alcohol swabs that they use on your arm before a shot.)

People like to complain about hospital food, but I wouldn’t know how good it is since I’m not allowed to eat anything. I haven’t eaten since Wednesday. I suspect some of my “GI complications” (thanks for the lingo, House MD) are caused by my stomach going after unused organs (“ooh, look, a spleen! nom nom nom”). I’m not even allowed fluids and they think I should consider myself lucky that I’ve been provided damp sponges to suck on. Just to spite them I brushed my teeth, then swallowed my toothpaste. Not sure there’s much in the way of nutrients, but it felt like I ate a minty dessert. Not drinking coffee leads to blinding lack-of-caffeine headaches, too bad pills are considered “solid food”.

An intussusception is something that usually happens in young children and the Mongolese Yak (draw your own conclusion), somehow I’ve been blessed with the affliction and they’re going to remove it in three days. In. Three. Days. While I’m trapped in a fluorescent dungeon without food or water, I’m writing some code to handle an extrusive mechanism for container data types to be used in my programming language, hopefully it’ll facilitate garbage collection. Pretty much party central over here.

The first scan that I had was a sonogram and the woman that administered it searched hard for an inflamed appendix (spoiler alert, there wasn’t one). She said “you’d be amazed how many men ask if they’re pregnant,” to which I replied “oh? Never occurred to me.” Glad I was busy trying figure out the last time I was slathered up with so much lubricating gel – I didn’t have time to say the joke.

After they didn’t find anything with the sonogram, I was asked if I wanted a CT scan. To quote Ryan’s favorite fallacy, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” When they asked about the test, they left out two facts. First off, my insurance didn’t cover it so we had to trick them by sending me to the emergency room, where I sat for three hours before being admitted and going back to the doctor that asked if I wanted to get a CT scan.

The second thing they didn’t mention is that the CT scan takes four hours, which starts with drinking 40 ounces of barium punch and ends with, well, explosively getting rid of said punch (#WhenToNotTakeASelfie). In general I don’t drink a lot of fluids (which is why I’m not tempted by the damp sponge) and there’s no way I want to drink that amount of punch unless it involves vodka or takes place on a Japanese game show. They need to work on a barium latte and I’d at least get some caffeine in me.

My operation is on Monday, I asked if that meant I could have a steak for dinner Monday night. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, you’ll be having broth for the first two days and then we’ll move you to Jello.” Move me to tears is more like it, I’m hoping for steak flavored Jello (that’s a thing, right?). Then I realized that meant I’ll be here for more than a week.

While writing this up, I was informed that I’m going to have an MRI in the morning, a process that begins with more barium punch. My life is starting to remind me of a novel I read about Bataan. I’d say it was “feast or famine” with my food intake, but this is Hawaiian Punch, not a cheeseburger. Mmm, a medium rare cheeseburger. With bacon. And BBQ sauce…