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The Case of the Morphine Loose Lips

August 14, 2012

It seems I’ve spent much of my life in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices having medical tests and procedures. My body sports over 15 doctor’s signatures on it in the form of scars. On average I have at least one doctor’s appointment a week. What am I trying to say here? I’m not immune to pain brought on by illness; nor, am I threatened by a guy in a white coat or his scalpel.  I do not have a passive tongue or wallflower attitude in dealing with my health issues. I tell you this in order to lay the ground work to share a little personal story with you.

Party in the Operating Room Like It’s 1999?

From what I remember, 1999 started off as a fairly healthy year for me. I had already received my liver transplant and had yet to develop osteopenia (a condition that has led to over 10 fractures in the past 4 years). Unbeknownst to my 23-year-old self, I had started to develop cysts on my ovaries (clearly, a foreshadowing of my future infertility).

If you’ve ever known a woman who has had a ruptured ovarian cyst, then she can attest to the incredibly painful nature of the experience. Imagine that someone reached inside of you from your back, grabbed your belly button and tried to pull your navel and guts out of your ass (yes that is the only appropriate word here).

My first experience with a ruptured cyst proved my most painful one to date. One morning, in the wee hours, I woke up feeling that something just wasn’t right in my stomach…almost like something inside me changed during the night.  I got up ready to greet the world with my lovely shining smile and glorious morning personality that people know me for (sarcasm, folks).  I started getting ready for work and decided that makeup, styling my hair and brushing my teeth did not fit into my chosen routine that morning.

Instead, I poured myself into a pair of jeans and headed to the hospital so my doctor could evaluate what felt like either a very bad case of gas, or the world’s worst case of spontaneous stomach cancer.  On the way I made the necessary calls to my doctor, mother, boss and jackass boyfriend to notifying them of my pending death.  While the phone call line up might not seem important now, remember this piece of information for later.

I showed up at the hospital where they whisked me back into the emergency room to have me model their version of backless lingerie. Due to my transplant status, I got to skip-jump to the front of the emergency room line — ahead of snot-nosed adults and old guys having chest pains. They put me into a room with only a curtain separating me from the 60-year-old guy on a heart monitor. Once again, note this piece of information for later. The god of all that is doctors, my transplant doctor, Dr. S (his name not given here for his protection) came in the room to speak with me about my symptoms, thump on my belly, and told me that he would send one of his fellows in to conduct a further examination.

Here’s where the story starts to get interesting.

You see, transplant surgeons understand that their patients usually have a high pain tolerance and I’m no different. So, if I say “I need pain relief drugs STAT”, I mean it and they listen. Then, within a matter of minutes, I will start to smile again due to the help of my friends, Morphine or Deluadid. On this particular day, the staff gave me two large hits of morphine within 20 minutes of each other to take the edge off of my pain.  My standard response to morphine involves an incredible desire to go to sleep as well as loss of control as to what comes out of my mouth.  A time or two, I might have said some inappropriate things while wearing my morphine lips.

Just Lay Back and Relax

My doctor thought that I might have appendicitis and, apparently, a simple, accurate way to diagnose this involves a pelvic exam. If you don’t know what a pelvic exam involves, then Google it…I’m not explaining it to you here. My doctor and I have an unspoken agreement that he will not personally perform any examinations involving my private parts. So, he sent in a Fellow to do his dirty work.  (Remember: mom, boyfriend, co-worker, and old guy next to me and two hits of morphine.)

So, Dr. McYoungfellow walks in and, of course, it’s the one time that I find a doctor really good looking – ok, honestly, he was hot. Damn hot!

I am pretty sure he felt the same about me because; all of the sudden, a little sexual tension seemed to settle in the room — or a lot of sexual tension and lot of smiles between us.  He proceeds by asking me some questions and then asks my entourage to leave the room (yep, mom, boyfriend and even my boss showed up at the hospital to watch the show).

Cute-doc-boy proceeds to pull out the portable stirrups and perform the pelvic exam.  Even though I’m high as a kite at this point, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to pain and that exam has the distinction of one of my most painful medical exams – ever.  There were tears, screams, yelling and swear words so loud that my entourage surely heard it in the waiting area and became aware of my little-known ability to use diverse, colorful language that rivals that of any sailor.

Though drugged, I heard the heart monitor on the old guy next door pick up in speed because he probably wondered if some type of ritual patient killing was taking place and if they were coming for him next.  Doctor McCutie told me about his findings, asked if I had any questions, and asked if he could do anything else for my pain.  I responded with, “Nope, and thanks for the best 5 minutes of my day”.  Yes, even during my hazy, pain-filled state, I tried to be funny and charming. Instead of returning my overtures in kind, Dr. Pretty Eyes was horrified, dropped his eyes and practically ran out of the room.

Seeking Doctor Sexy

My transplant doctor walked in a few minutes later shaking his head (which he seems to do very often with me) and asked me exactly what happened. “Yes,” I told him, “I want Dr. McSexy to hand over his digits.”  Thankfully, Dr. S has a fairly laidback personality and wasn’t nearly as horrified as his Dr. McYummy. He and his feisty wife both have a special place in my heart. In fact, I’m pretty sure he just considered it part of the initiation ritual involved in becoming a fully trained doctor. Now, do you have Dr. Sexy’s digits for me? Perhaps an email or social media handle?

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