Golden Girls

In syndication, "Golden Girls" is a constant companion to folks in the hospital.

Last Saturday morning, I was tootling along my normal commute, heading for Paris to get to work. I was in pain but planned on gutting through it. I thought some bone or other had slipped. Nope.

When I stopped to get some gas in Mount Pleasant. I bent down a little to unscrew the gas cap and it hit. Some of the worst pain I’ve had in my life. It was so intense I felt nauseated. All I could do was lean against the car and wait for it to calm down.

When my vision stopped blurring, I hightailed it for the emergency room. Two CT scans, an IV line and several hours later, I was diagnosed with “enlarged, lacerated spleen,” and, still in pain, was filled with demerol and antibiotics and shipped off to Christus Mother Frances in Tyler in an ambulance, where I spent the next two and a half days watching out of order episodes of “The Golden Girls” and “The Office.”

Here is a fun fact I learned in the hospital: You can find “The Golden Girls” at any time day or night. Syndication being what it is, flip through enough channels, and you will be rewarded with the refrain of “thank you for being a friend” playing soon enough.

Another fun medical fact: Though the gurney was tightly strapped in, riding in the back of an ambulance is kind of like riding in the bed of a pick-up when I was little. You feel every single little bump and still sway with every turn. Thank goodness for demerol.

A little hospital pro tip: You can ask them to move the IV line. In the emergency room, they just want the quickest, most easily accessible spot with a strong blood flow, which tends to be the inside of your elbow. This makes certain things very awkward, like going to the bathroom, changing clothes or taking a shower. Being able to bend my elbow again was a huge relief. By the way, the ER nurse that put in the first IV complimented my arm veins, telling me I had “water hoses.” It’s a weird flex, but I’ll take it.

Another medical care tip, actually more of a commandment: Get thee a primary care physician. I haven’t had one since I was a kid. I mostly just visited whatever clinic was open. The hospital set me up with a PCP. I visited her on Thursday last week and got a Tuesday appointment this week with a gastroenterologist.

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Well, after the hospital stay, I came with a clearer diagnosis: enlarged, infarcted spleen, enlarged liver and beginning stages of cirrhosis of the liver. The hospital booted me out because they couldn’t pin down an underlying cause of the issues, and it’s cheaper to do the testing outpatient instead of inpatient.

I’ve kind of always wanted to be a medical mystery, but I was planning on it being after I’m gone and my body was donated to science. “She lived how long with THAT?” I can practically hear the medical students saying. Well, my timeline was bumped up a bit. Stay tuned for more of my medical Odyssey, odd as it is.

Kim Cox is the city editor for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965 or at kim.cox@theparisnews.com.

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