To Die For

My husband took the children to the car at the silent request of the other diners.ย  I scarfed the remaining chili con queso. My stomach hurt quite a bit as I inhaled that fine Mexican feast, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

Turns out, that was the queso that broke the idiot’s intestines.

The following morning brought no relief. I dropped the boys off at my mother’s and went to the doctor. It was a check-up for a previous incident. I could barely stand up for the exam but did not mention the pain. I assumed it was gas, and I was too embarrassed to tell the doctor. I believed a nap and a good fart would clear it all up.

The nap did not help. No release of any gas came forth. I decided I had a real problem and drove to a ‘doc in the box’. When I arrived, I was hunched over and sweating. I approached the receptionist and tried not to sway. She explained that it would be best if I left a phone number so she could call me back in a couple of hours to return.

“That’s not going to work. I’m in too much pain. I probably shouldn’t be driving.”

Her glare told me she thought I was just trying to jump ahead in line. I stumbled to a chair in the waiting room. People came and went but none looked to be suffering. I hated them all.

A little over an hour later I was called back. The nurse asked personal questions about my recent bathroom habits. She had me lie down to see if the pain would ease. It did not. Finally a doctor came in and repeated the bathroom survey and physical examination of my abdomen. He then ordered a quick x-ray just to be sure.

There was more waiting and finally another appearance by the doctor. He said the x-rays were clear though there was one spot that looked suspicious.

“It could be a bowel obstruction or scar tissue from one, but that’s pretty rare. You’ve never had one of those have you?”

“Um, yeah, I have. I had one after the birth of my twins two years ago.”

Oh. That changed everything. He insisted I go to the hospital right away. I drove myself there while calling my mom to tell her she won the keep-my-kids-longer lottery. I was slumped over the steering wheel and praying for green lights.

When I arrived, I showed them my ER VIP card (yes, really) and was taken back immediately. My father arrived with a serious face. They gave me relief from the pain via an IV. There were more x-rays and more serious doctor faces. My husband arrived just in time to see me get a nasogastric tube shoved down my throat.

Then, around midnight, a surgeon cut out five inches of my intestine and my appendix for good measure.

I don’t blame the queso. I blame myself.

This post is part of the yeahwrite summer series.

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43 thoughts on “To Die For

  1. Oh my god! So was it another bowel obstruction? Something even worse? At the beginning I was thinking “Man, I have SO been there…” scarfing down food we paid good money for as fast as I could because I don’t get to eat very often with a demanding baby in my lap but that story totally took a turn for the worse. Please tell me what happened and whether you’re okay now!

    • It was another obstruction. It was probably caused by the first one never healing all the way. And yes! the need to eat the good stuff while you can is my exact problem! I feel it’s my right to eat like a pig when I get the chance. I had this surgery 2 years ago and am pretty good now. No more crazy issues, thank goodness.

  2. Oh cripes, that would be brutal! Were you in much pain afterwards? I am having some bathroom issues myself lately (Oh the wonders babies can do on a woman’s body) and so I can relate. I’m glad you got better!

  3. The pain you described reminded me of childbirth. And I can’t imagine driving myself to the hospital during childbirth! Good god, woman! It sounds horrible! Happy to hear you’re okay now and hope you aren’t still blaming yourself!

  4. “I don’t blame the queso.” That line made me laugh (I’m sorry if it wasn’t supposed to!). I felt like doubling over reading this. I can’t imagine being in that sort of pain and not knowing what was wrong or driving around trying to find out! Glad you are better!

  5. Oh man, this was intense. I second what the other commenters said: how could you drive in that condition? I love your sense of humor. The call to your mom was hilarious– I had just gotten off the phone with my mom who got that call from my sister re: my nephews. I am glad you got where you needed to be.

  6. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an ER VIP card! I totally hear you on the eating; my kids are thirteen and ten and I still sometimes eat too fast or too much when I’m alone because I can. . .even though it’s been years since I’ve had to eat with one in my lap or with someone screaming for me. Glad you’re okay, glad you didn’t have a wreck and glad you got a good story out of it!

  7. Oh, goodness! So glad you’re well now.

    I’ve done the “You take the kids to the car” thing so that I can eat a few bites in peace, too. Or finish a drink without gulping.

  8. What a scary situation! Holy smokes!
    I also think that you did a great job telling the story. The phone call to your Mom was awesome, and I may borrow that line in the future if that’s okay. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Ugh. I’m sorry you went through that. And I’m impressed / vaguely freaked out that you could drive yourself in that condition.

    I really appreciated that even though the subject matter you covered was very serious you didn’t adopt a Very Serious Tone like, “This is my near death experience so I’m going to only use dour Biblical imagery and/or attempt to sound like Sylvia Plath even though that’s totally not how I usually write.” You stuck with plain language and a sense of humor and, for me, that made the piece hit home even more.

    The last line was great too. Still, dumbjerk queso. ;-P

    • I can also drive with my knees whilst applying mascara. I’m a woman of many dangerous talents.

      Thanks about the tone. Last week’s entry was a bit forced. I was more me on this one but still playing by the rules, and it was fun.

      Sent from my iPad

  10. four years ago i had a similar situation but it was my galbladder. those moments are intense, and that i tried not to tell anyone about it and handle it myself…looking back was so silly. glad you made it through safe and sound!

  11. Oh the denial and the I-don’t-need-help. Why do we do it? And that you finally DROVE YOURSELF to the hospital and proceeded to get almost a half-foot taken off your intestines? Perfect. Just perfect. I hurt reading this. Great post.

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