I'm not sure why it always needed to be a car accident in her analogy but I should have listened to that sage advice. Last Friday, I spent the afternoon in the Emergency Room, but thankfully not because of a car accident. However, I was also not heeding Granny's words of wisdom.
It all started like chaos usually always starts for me: Normal day. Minding my own business. Feeling good. Loving life. All seeming right in the world and then BAM!!!!
Someone hauled off and kicked me in the stomach. Hard. Like steel-toed boot hard.
Except no one was near me and I was in the grocery store. I instantly doubled over in the produce section, almost dropping my apples. The initial feeling of being kicked had now spread throughout my whole abdomen and it felt like someone had reached inside my stomach and was squeezing every single organ. Bones, too. I was quite sure things were imploding in there.
Now the nausea feeling was setting in and I could feel myself becoming instantly drenched in sweat. I wanted to lay down on the floor but I tried to act like my insides weren't in a death grip. An episode of Chicago Med flashed in my mind and Dr. Choi was there coaching me on some deep breathing. Great, now I was hallucinating and interacting with fictional TV characters.
I must have looked in pretty rough shape (or maybe I was moaning out loud although I'd like to hope not) because an employee came over to steady me.
"Honey, are you ok? I think we need to call you an ambulance," she said as she took the bag of apples from me and started helping me toward the front of the store.
My appendix. It had to have just ruptured.
That just ticked me right off. All I wanted to do was buy my produce, go home, and prepare for a night of snuggling cats and watching Dateline. These were exactly the thoughts that were happening in my head as fire raged through my stomach.
My internal thoughts were interrupted by more staff offering Gatorade and making the call to medics. I stopped them just in time and assured them that I was okay (LIE!) and that I was feeling perfectly fine to drive myself to the hospital (LIE!) and that I would drive there on my own. That last part actually wasn't a lie. I really needed to go.
In hindsight, I should have let them call me a ride in the ambo. I do not even remember the drive home (which I know was not safe at all). I should have driven straight to the hospital but in my mind there were a few things I needed to do before my upcoming appendix removal: I needed to get these sweaty pants off so they didn't think I peed myself and change into something drier. I needed to leave out some extra food and water for the cats. I needed to grab my book and my phone charger because who knew how long I'd be there. You know, priorities.
None of that happened. I could barely get out of my car. I called a friend and she immediately came over and got me to the ER.
I was whisked into a room, stripped down to my undies, and garbed in a classic hospital gown. IVs were started, blood was drawn, pain meds were pumping, tests were being run, and I was wheeled in for a cat-scan.
In my pain-filled delirium, my Granny's words came back to haunt me. I was not wearing good underwear. They were bad. Like, really bad. The kind of bad that you know you should toss out but you save them for when you need to do a load of laundry but you have this one last resort pair, so really why bother with washing clothes just yet? You know the pair I'm speaking of. Not a stitch of elastic left to even hold them onto your body. Embarrassing.
That poor nurse helping me from my bed onto the CT scan tray got the raw end of that deal. I could feel how far down those worn out undies and crept but by that point it was too late. Total butt crack. All I could say was, "Sorry about my underwear. I wasn't planning on anyone seeing them today."
She just laughed and told me to lay still and listen for the automated voice to tell me how to breathe.
"Breathe in. Hold it..." I could hear the machine and was following along but all I could think about was throwing these ratty old undies right in the garbage can as soon as I was well enough to go home again.
Just like that it was over and I was being helped back onto my gurney, full crack on display for the second time. I tried to reach around to save myself some added embarrassment, then I just gave up. It was too late anyway.
The good news: It turns out I get to keep my appendix (for now).
The bad news: I get to come back for another surgery in a few weeks. Apparently when you hit the old age of 33, you just start losing organs left and right. First my gallbladder checked out last year. Now my intestines were trying to escape through the same exit from that previous incision. They didn't make it and got caught and twisted (which explains the steel-toed kick to my bellybutton). I'm telling you, if I didn't have bad luck I probably wouldn't have any. But for now, the doc pressed things back into their proper place.
So when I returned home about 6 hours later, I did toss my bad bottoms. Granny would be proud. Each morning since, I've been very careful in selecting a good pair before I head out the door.
As usual, she was right- you just never know when you're going to be in a car accident or bust your guts next to the Honeycrisps, so always wear good underwear.