Mystery unsolved: the hernia is a swollen lymph node, but nobody knows why on earth it’s like that. I went to the hospital and got a CAT scan.

12:48 AM 1/5/2017

The Christian Scientists were right! I should have just prayed about my hernia and assumed that my body was actually perfect all along. I went to the hospital for a non-emergency.

Summary: My ‘hernia’ is just a lymph node, but nobody has any idea why I suddenly have this gigantic lymph node bulging out the side of my groin. They want a follow up, and possibly a biopsy, but I have a feeling I’m going to delay that biopsy against medical advice.

I still believe this gigantic swollen lymph node is interacting with my intestines somehow, even if only to be pressing against them.

So I went to the hospital because today when I started to eat something, I felt like I was going to pass out and possibly vomit. I had a strange sensation of something dying inside me. And no, I wasn’t pregnant – I’d just had my period. I still can’t explain why I had that sudden strange sensation.

I have a CD now with my CAT scan on it. I requested it. It seems like your scans should all be given to you by default all the time. I don’t like it that my scans are hidden away and secretive and I can’t look at them alongside the doctors. MY DAD IS A RADIOLOGIST. I am genetically born with the ability to read CT scans.

So I decided to go to the emergency room just to make sure that I didn’t have an incarcerated, strangulated hernia. There’s a hard lump that doesn’t move. I’ve tried gently palpating it and moving into all different positions and I can’t make it move or go away. It feels like a tumor. Apparently, that’s this mysterious lymph node that we have no explanation for.

I tried brushing my hair before I went. I was at the laundromat. My hair was impossible to comb because I had just washed it earlier today with only shampoo and no conditioner. I was afraid that if I didn’t comb my hair, and then went into surgery, somebody would cut off all my hair without my consent while I was under anesthesia, because that happened to one of my former coworkers. She had myasthenia gravis, if I recall correctly, and she had EXTREMELY long hair, much longer than mine, I think knee length or longer. When she was unconscious at the hospital, they CUT OFF ALL HER HAIR (Gee, who took that home and kept it or sold it for a huge profit to a hair fetishist, I wonder?) WITHOUT HER CONSENT and she discovered it when she woke up.

It is a sign of the character of this woman that she didn’t press charges or sue them, and instead, embraced her new short hair and never attempted to grow long hair again. When I say ‘a sign of her character,’ I mean, a sign of her passivity and weak-willedness. She said they cut it because ‘the nurses said it was too hard to wash it and comb it.’ So I was afraid of what might happen if I went to the hospital with my hair uncombed.

But I couldn’t really comb it, and I had weird dizzy feelings, so I just wadded it into a bun and left.

I rode my bike all the way over there, but that was okay, because the hospital is not really far from this laundromat. It was dark outside now.

So I went in and told them what was going on. I was put in a room that had a second bed with a woman already in there. She was sicker than I was. I don’t know what was wrong with her. She was lying on her side. I had to use the bathroom (for the first time out of about two dozen times), and I had to walk across her section of the room – ‘excuse me,’ I said very quietly – to go to the bathroom. I gave them a urine sample in a container. After a few minutes, they wheeled out the other woman on her bed and took her someplace else.

The doctor felt my lump and said it might be a lymph node, but he was willing to have it scanned just in case anything else was going on. I really wanted to be able to see what it was. The fact that it’s a lymph node explains why I couldn’t figure out what it was attached to.

So, first they took a bunch of blood samples. As always, he had a hard time finding a vein to use. They used one on top of my left hand. My veins are really small. They also took my blood pressure, of course, and they put that little clamp on my index finger to get my heart rate and blood oxygen level. I asked the guy, ‘So is that teal 99 my blood oxygen level…’ ‘Yep,’ ‘and the dark blue 83 is my heart rate?’ ‘That’s right.’ I saw that my blood pressure was something like 132/77. It was in the 130s. I’m pretty sure 132. I can’t remember if that was BEFORE or AFTER they started injecting gallons and gallons of salt water into my blood! I remember thinking it must have been after that. I wondered what the salt water did to my blood pressure. I knew as soon as they hooked up an IV full of salt water that I was going to have to pee again, because I had already peed three times before I got hooked up to the IV.

They took ridiculously huge amounts of blood out of me, which is surely the reason why they were giving me an IV with ridiculously huge amounts of salt water in it now.

He was fumbling around sticking the needle into my hand, in the beginning. ‘Three simple rules,’ he said. ‘Keep breathing, don’t tense up, don’t jerk away.’ ‘Okay,’ I said. I began breathing out of my mouth and focusing on my breathing to endure the pain of my hand being stabbed with a needle. At one point, I made an involuntary noise and jumped a bit and went ‘Oh!’ But I think that might have actually been an electronic attack, because it really hadn’t hurt all that badly at that particular moment. He looked up at me. ‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘It just… hurt a little bit, for a minute.’ He looked back down at what he was doing.

So this became the IV that I was getting the salt water in. When he was done taking blood, he then changed it to a plastic catheter tube inserted in my vein. ‘There’s no needle in there anymore. If you feel anything poking, it’s just a plastic tube.’ That was actually very reassuring to know. I did in fact feel a lot of poking and discomfort from this horrible plastic tube inside my vein. He taped it down so it would stay in place.

I don’t recall if that guy did it, or, I think the lady did it. Various people were coming in and out and I don’t remember their names. I think it was the lady with the foreign accent who hooked up my IV drip. She said I was supposed to get the first IV bag quickly, and the second bag slowly. I immediately asked her about having to go pee. She said it was okay, I could just pull this entire rack with the IV bags on it into the bathroom. It was like a tall coatrack and it had all this equipment hanging off it.

Shortly after this started, and after she had left, and when I was learning how to use the TV remote control, I decided I had to go for about 4 or 5 more bathroom trips. They had put some warm, preheated white blankets over me. I was comfortable. I was watching a TV show, and there was a brief moment when I noticed that I had gone about 30 seconds or so without noticing that I had this uncomfortable catheter in my hand.

I got up timidly and slowly pulled my tubes and this rack thing through the room, around the obstacles, around the other lady’s bed, around the opened door of the bathroom, and went in. I was afraid I was going to hook my IV tube on something and yank it out of place.

Oh, they also took an EKG. They stuck all these little stickers all over my body, then attached wires from those stickers to a machine, just a thing about the size of a computer. They kept them there for only a couple seconds, and then the person just grabbed all the wires and ripped them right off me all at once. It didn’t hurt. They were just hooked on the stickers. I still have the stickers all over my body. This was to look and see if there was anything abnormal going on with my heart. This was probably an unnecessary test. That two-second-long test probably costs $100,000.

Somebody came in and told me what would happen with my CAT scan. Or CT scan, or whichever it is. I don’t know if there’s a difference. They said I would be injected with a radioactive dye (did they say ‘radioactive?’ I can’t remember if that word was ever used out loud.). It was possible to do it without the dye, but they said that the doctors would complain that it was harder to read it and harder to see anything that way. I decided that this dye was okay and I would let them do it. Strange, because I actually don’t really think it’s okay to inject radioactive dye into my veins. In reality I wonder if this will have long term consequences. How does it get out of my body? I was just a sheeple on this one – fail.

They said they would put this dye into the catheter that was in my hand where I was getting the IV drip right now, and that it would be painful when it first went in, and then I would feel warmth, and it would make me feel like I had to go to the bathroom. That was actually the one thing it DIDN’T do, because I already beat them to it and I went to the bathroom a dozen times before I ever went to the CAT scan room.

Then I sat for quite a while watching TV. Some random stranger texted me and said ‘Hello.’ I had accidentally pressed a button on my phone earlier and I think I might have somehow accidentally called that number or something, I don’t know. I said ‘Hi, who is this?’ and he was like ‘Who are you?’ I was feeling paranoid and I said only my first name. He then wanted to know where I was, and I said in PA, but nothing specific. I asked him something like, ‘Did you text this number by accident?’ He didn’t answer that and then he started wanting to know more about me, like how old I was and where I was from more specifically. I didn’t tell him anything and I said again that I was curious if he got this number by accident somehow, but he said that *I* must have gotten an old number somehow. He said he was sorry if he woke me up and I said no problem, and we left it at that. What the fuck?

I also got a call from Jesse, who said his brother Charlie had made a surprise plane trip out there to see him. That set off alarms – I wondered if there had been an incident, like if Jesse had tried to commit suicide. Nope, he just went out there for a surprise visit, probably because Jesse didn’t come home for Christmas. I talked to him, told him I was in the hospital, and later, texted him to say it wasn’t a hernia, just a lymph node.

So finally somebody came to take me to the CAT scan room. They unplugged my IV drip. He then wheeled my bed out the door with me in it. I felt funny, like I was lazy for sitting in bed while somebody wheeled me. I should just get up and walk. But I let him wheel me. I felt like I was just trying to get attention.

I went into this room. There was a lady in there. She told me to get off my bed and onto the other one that I was pushed up against, and that I could even take my blankets along with me. I had my feet facing into the machine.

The machine was a big O ring that would go around my whole body, like a spacetime portal. She started putting that dye into my hand and it hurt a lot and I grunted. It didn’t hurt very long. She told me that the machine would talk to me and tell me when to breathe and when to hold my breath. There was a little light signal with a cartoon face that had an open mouth, and a cartoon face with a closed mouth and puffy cheeks. She told me to raise my hands back up over my head.

I was pulled into the ring on my bed and the ring went up to the top of my chest. The sign told me to breathe. Then it said to hold your breath. As I was holding my breath, it moved me through the machine. I forget if it moved upwards or downwards. I think downwards starting at the top of my chest. The sign counted down from 10 and then told me to breathe.

The machine was made of the inner metal things inside the ring, which started spinning and humming, just like a stargate. I’m surprised I’m still in this dimension. They started going
‘whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop’ faster and faster, a deep noise, as they spun around inside the ring. It was like the beginning of the Half-Life video game, when Gordon is in the chamber and he has to put a sample into the machine and then they get a resonance cascade and it brings all the aliens into this dimension. IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT.

So I think I had to go through it twice. And there was this loopy clear cord with liquid in it, giving me the dye through my hand. The dye –

I forgot to tell about the ‘bubbles’ discussion. The lady who originally gave me the IV bag of salt water hooked it up and just let the bubbles go right through into my blood. ‘What does it do with the bubbles?’ I said. ‘Most of the time the body just absorbs them,’ she said. ‘It’s only a problem when they’re really big, like this’ (she gestured with her fingers) ‘and then you get an air embolism.’ I said, ‘My parents used to be scuba divers and I was thinking about how when you’re coming back up, you have to wait a while or you get bubbles in your blood.’ She said ‘I’m a scuba diver too. But think of all those bubbles that are coming up from your scuba tank – imagine if ALL THAT was in your blood. It’s everywhere and it’s a lot. It’s in your brain, it’s in your organs, everywhere. This is not like that.’

I had been nervous about how she just nonchalantly let those bubbles go into me, and I sat there for a while after she left, waiting for my air embolism to happen, but it didn’t. I guess it really wasn’t a lot of bubbles, just a few tiny ones. I also felt like I really didn’t want all this salt water – it was sort of upsetting my stomach and I didn’t want it. I felt swollen because of all this salt water from the IV. I was hoping I would be able to pee a whole lot really quickly, so that I could go faster than this IV bag that was shoving a whole lot of water into me really quickly.

So, the dye. I did feel it. It hurt and it burned inside my body. I did feel just a tiny bit of burning in my bladder, but like I said, I’d already gone to the bathroom a dozen times, even though I had to do it about three times wheeling that damn IV rack along with me too. But I don’t feel a lot of lingering effects or discomfort right now. I can feel that something has happened to me – I am not as comfortable as usual – but it’s not extremely bad.

I got back onto my own bed after the two scans were done, and was wheeled back to my room, looking all around me at all the other things going on.

Then I just had to wait a while, not knowing if it was a strangulated hernia, not knowing if somebody was going to have to do surgery, not knowing if I would say ‘yes’ to surgery or if I would give the restriction that surgery would be okay as long as they didn’t insert a plastic mesh into me, or what. What would I do? I was a lot stronger when I was younger and could say no, but in my old age, I’m a weak old wimp, partly as a result of decades of electronic mind control that I cannot escape from no matter how much I say ‘no.’ Learned
helplessness is burned into every cell in my body.

I just watched TV. First I was seeing some weird Hallmark Channel show that I wasn’t familiar with, with just a family that had a teenage girl, a teenage guy, a little boy, and I think maybe another young girl. It was some stupid plot where a dog stole her trophy and took it to the neighbor kids’ house and she was trying to get it back, and then her brother was captured and kept in their garage along with some other captured kid, and they also took the Eiffel Tower that she offered them in exchange, and they also took her $50 birthday money and slammed the door in her face. This felt PAINFULLY RELEVANT to my recent events with Chris. Then, at the end, she bargained back her brother, who had stolen the trophy and took it apart and brought it out in his pockets, but apparently she lost the Eiffel Tower and the $50. The neighbor boy had demanded a kiss from her, and she said ‘Ew,’ so he slammed the door. I forget how she got her brother back. But the moral of the story was when she said, ‘I’d rather have you than that trophy.’ Awwww!

There was a moment when I couldn’t help thinking about a documentary I had just watched, about pedophilia in Hollywood – I think it was called ‘An Open Secret’ or something like that. The teenage guy in the show tended to have an excessive number of scenes where he had his shirt off and was scantily clad in just boxer shorts, at moments when it wasn’t necessary to the plot. I felt uncomfortable about this after watching that documentary, and in one scene, he was sitting on the couch in only boxer shorts with the other family members around, and he looked like he was trying to cover himself up with his arms, crossing his arms in front of his chest, not necessarily just because he was cold – why did all the other people have clothes on, but not him? – but also because he felt exposed. I really wondered.

Then ‘Golden Girls’ came on, and I couldn’t stand to watch that, so I turned on my own TV (I had been passively watching the other lady’s TV) and got up and turned hers off. I found some weird channel, I forget what, something like ‘AMD’ or ‘AMS’ or something, but I have no idea what it was. It had sci-fi type stuff. There was this desert, and there were these humanoid monsters with green skin and horns on the sides of their faces, who I guess were CGI – they didn’t seem like masks. There was some Egyptian-looking king type of guy with eyes that were glowing. They were running through the sand dunes, and then at one point the guy grabbed the girl and jumped up to the top of this big giant structure that looked like a tree, and he landed and all these cracks ran out from around his feet and were flowing with light or liquid or something, and it seemed like he had activated something, so they both suddenly drew their swords. I had the volume turned down and was probably texting people or talking on the phone at that moment so I have no fucking clue what was happening on this show.

Eventually the doctor came back and he told me it was only the lymph node. Thank goodness! No strangulated hernia! The hard lump has an explanation now. I still can’t explain why the hell my lymph node is like that. We talked about it. I said I was camping, and maybe I got bitten by a spider or an insect. He said it had actually been several lymph nodes in a row – I can actually feel that – it feels like something is going down into my leg, the strange sensations and pain and pressure.

They talked to me about how I was going to pay for all this, and gave me some paperwork about how to deal with it and who I had to talk to, and recommended CVIM, which I had just gone to this very day shortly before this happened, to sign up and get started going there. It had only escalated to an emergency because of the weird feeling that I was going to pass out and the feeling that something had died inside me.

They want me to do a follow up so we can investigate this lymph node. I am not happy about this. I don’t want to do any follow up, and I especially do not want to do a biopsy. I don’t think a biopsy will tell us anything about what in the world is going on. It will be harder for them to drag me in for a non-emergency visit if I’m not panicking about anything. I will drag my feet and it will take a lot of time, and by then, the THING will have died down and we’ll never know what it was. That’s what I’m hoping.

One of the last ladies who came in and was talking to me and asking questions – I asked her if I could have a copy of the CAT scan images, and she said she thought so. She left the room for a few minutes, and then another lady came to me and brought a CD. She asked me to sign a paper and to write down ‘where these are going.’ I was confused. I said, ‘Do you mean… where *I* am going?’ I wasn’t going anywhere. She said ‘Which doctor are these going to?’ and I said ‘Oh, we haven’t really worked that part out yet. We’re still deciding on where I am going to go for the follow-up.’ So she said I could just write ‘home.’ I felt like I was lying about something.

I felt like Edward Snowden. I’ve gotta steal this data and I’ve gotta lie about it. I’M NOT TAKING MY OWN CAT SCANS, I’M JUST TRANSFERRING THEM TO ANOTHER DOCTOR BECAUSE I’M NOT AUTHORIZED TO LOOK AT THEM. I SWEAR THIS IS THE TRUTH.

I actually don’t know what format they will be in. I don’t have a CD player. I will have to go to the library and use theirs to see what’s on this disk. It might be in some weird file format that I cannot read unless I have the CAT-scan reading software.

Well, that’s about all. I got dressed again, since I had been in a hospital gown this whole time, and somebody also took out that god-awful catheter from my left hand and put a gauze on it and then a tan colored stretchy thing to wrap around it and keep it really tight. And I walked out, cheerfully. I still have the stickers all over me from the EKG.

So I got on my bike and came here to the laundromat, and here I am. I am now officially $750,000 in debt or something, and I got lots of attention. I have a swollen lymph node, or actually a bunch of them in a row. We don’t know why. I have no knowledge about lymph or lymph nodes and no observations about what could cause it to do that.

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