I’ve always felt like I was pretty in-tune with my body, at least in regard to health. I’m the kind of person who could tell you exactly when they were ovulating or would leave a party because I was tired and sleep was more important than socializing. But, I’ve been feeling pretty rundown for a while now, and just chalked up my exhaustion up to having a less-than-stellar sleeper, moving, and trying to cobble together some semblance of a career during nap times.
Who wouldn’t be exhausted?
Except I wasn’t just run-of-the-mill exhausted. I’ve been sick for months and didn’t know it. At least, that’s what the nice infectious disease doctor at the hospital thinks. You see, a couple of weeks ago I woke up with intense pain in my abdomen and shoulder. I didn’t really understand the connection and just assumed that I had gas and had slept in a weird position and tweaked my shoulder. The pain faded and a night or two later came back with the same coupling. Still, I didn’t think much of it until I started to feel really weak, started having dizzy spells, I may have actually fainted at one point, nausea set in and some scary sweating-chill combos kept me up at night. Still I walked around like this for about a week before heading to the doctor. Because, you know, I have a baby to take care of and a book coming out and things to do.
But eventually, when my fever spiked at 102 and I could no longer breathe without wincing in pain, I went to an urgent care center. The doctor suspected my spleen was enlarged and took some blood work. Apparently, spleen pain radiates to the shoulder. Who knew?
The doctor suspected I had mono. I didn’t even know you could get mono at 34? And even though I had a diagnosis I couldn’t help but feel like something bigger was wrong, I mean the pain in my abdomen was crippling—that’s not normal mono pain. I gave in to the stubborn nagging of my intuition and decided that I’d go to the Emergency Room on Wednesday night after The Fella got home from work. My parents begged me to call an ambulance, but I told them that ambulances are for really sick people and I was just going to the ER as a precaution, so that I wouldn’t pass out while I was alone at home with The Little Fella. Luckily, my best friend is a serious superstar and spent a very long night in the ER with me, entertaining me while experienced morphine for the first time and proceeded to tell the whole ER that I was totally good now and no longer needed medical attention (a very nice resident, informed me that I would no longer feel that way once the morphine wore off). I was actually pretty surprised when the catscan showed that I had a belly full of blood and had been living with a ruptured spleen for a week. I was admitted, and after a few days of blood tests, it was confirmed that I’d had mono, and had for a long time. I just had never given myself a chance to heal, and was just running around on four hours of sleep a night like it was no big deal.
I’m lucky, the rupture in my spleen was relatively small as far as ruptures go and the doctors don’t think I’ll need surgery. Which is good because I’m seriously phobic of surgery (if you’ve read about my mom’s history with surgery, you’ll understand why), and the internal bleeding should resolve itself as my spleen heals. In the meantime I need to rest.
I’m not sure I really know how to rest anymore, but I am lucky in that I have a great network of friends and family helping out with The Little Fella so that I can sit around watching Netflix like a bum.
All this has been a real wakeup call, I need to pay more attention to myself. It’s as simple as that. And yet that is so very hard.