After ten days out of the hospital, I go to see my doctor, and she promptly sends me back. "Just for some tests, for a couple of days." I'd trust her nonchalance a bit more if I hadn't thrown up right before the appointment, or if I could walk on my own, or if she didn't send me back to the hospital in an ambulance.
Arriving at the hospital in an ambulance means that you don't have to wait in the waiting room of the emergency room. You get admitted right away. This is like saying that you get to go directly to the eighth level of hell without having to hang out in the first seven before.
Emergency rooms are terrible, and I am about to spend a terrible fourteen hours in this one. Eventually, I'll get my own curtained off area. A doctor will stab me painfully in the wrist, trying to take arterial blood, and be so incompetent he is unable to find an artery. I'll spend some time crying. The paraplegic sharing my curtained off area with me will get so frustrated in bored that he'll remove his own IV with his teeth and check himself out. I'll have my own IV fail during a CT scan and spray radioactive marking fluid all over my arm. I'll eventually get a room.
All of that is ahead of me, though.
First, because it's too crowded, I'm left on my stretcher in a walkway. Half-drawn curtains separate some of the people from me, but mostly it's just me and exGiff sitting around, waiting for something to happen. We get a show, though, of sorts. Inside a curtained alcove just by my feet is an alcoholic in his mid-40s. He's polite and soft-spoken, and he's in terrible condition. He's had cirrhosis for a long time, and he was knocked off balance by the death the previous month of his mother.
He's been on a binge for the last month, despite the dire condition he's in. He has swelling of the abdomen, due to his liver no longer being able to process properly. He looks nine months pregnant; he has 16 liters of Ascites--fluid accumulated in his abdomen--while we are waiting there, two young doctors come to drain some of this fluid off of him. They use two glass liter jars to do so. Two liters is all they have the time to drain off of him while in the ER--it will be enough to relieve the pressure off of his lungs so he doesn't suffocate on the fluid.
The fluid in his abdomen, when it's drawn out, is actually beautiful. It's a cloudy yellow-green--the color of absinthe.
It smells even worse than absinthe does, though, which we find out when a doctor sets the first of the two glass vacuum bottle on the foot of the bed for lack of any other place to put it, and the patient promptly spasms and kicks the bottle onto the floor, where it shatters, and we all get to smell what fluid from the peritoneal cavity smells like.
I am in hell.
Many things are then done to me, slowly. Eventually, I get moved out of the ER into a room. Mr. Cirrhosis is my roommate.