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Totally Tubular

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Totally Tubular

Many of you know of my unique eating problem. In short – apparently sometimes my esophagus just decides to be lazy and not swallow all the way to the stomach. This happens at random and can incapacitate me for anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour, although usually not longer than a ten minute trip to the porcelain throne (or porcelain wash-basin if it is private). This has been going on since some time in college.

Thursday after work I went to California Pizza Kitchen with two friends/coworkers. Halfway through a piece of BBQ chicken pizza I felt my esophagus getting jumpy. I determined a trip to the bathroom was necessary. An hour later I was still in the bathroom and my friends had gone (after asking me if I was okay). I decided it was time to take action. I had asked my doctor at my last check-up about the condition – but he didn’t really have any idea.

I called the “24-hour nurse hotline” that comes with my health insurance (a PPO). The nurse asked me a lot of questions and recommended I go to the emergency room. The closest one was West Hills Medical. After waiting ten minutes I was brought “backstage” and told to wait. A doctor discussed a case with another doctor on the other side of the large room. Someone somewhere has epilepsy and is taking depacote. After another ten minutes I was told to wait in yet another room. After a full half hour in there a doctor came in and spoke to me for not more than 90 seconds. Another ten minutes went by and I was escorted to the Radiology department. I had to drink a Barium Sulfate solution while they took x-rays of my neck and chest. They had made a big deal about how the solution would taste “terrible” – but I just found it to taste like a chalky soymilk (note that I don’t like soymilk). Then it was back to the same little room to wait another twenty minutes. The doctor strolled up and said “I don’t see a blockage on your x-rays – you can go” as he grabbed something out of a drawer and headed back out. He was so quick to get out that he didn’t notice that the cap came off of one of his bottles and landed in my lap.

Five minutes later a nurse came in to have me sign my discharge papers. I asked him if I could speak to the doctor about my condition. He (yes, it was a male nurse) said that I couldn’t see the doctor again and they didn’t know what was wrong with me and I’d have to call my regular doctor to do anything further about the condition. I told him that I already asked my regular doctor about it and I’d explained that to the admitting…guy (don’t know if he was a doctor or not). The nurse said again that he had no idea what to tell me but I had to leave the emergency room now. “oh – well not now – you have to pay first.” So I walked over to the small counter and proceeded to get dinged for an immediate $100 co pay. Interesting that when you have insurance you have to pay NOW, but when you don’t have insurance they’ll take nothing and bill you later.

So I just blew a c-note to sit in an uncomfortable chair and watch nurses walk by for three hours.

I was still in (moderate) pain when I left the hospital. This pain lasted throughout the night and finally subsided in late morning the next day.

Now however, I’m having shooting pains in my abdomen; probably due to the metal shredding my lower intestines.

Speaking of The Shredder – Can anyone guess what movie comes out on my birthday next year? I’ll give you a hint, the original live action version was released on the same day in 1990, and when the neighborhood kids (a few of which were younger than me) knocked on the door to take me to the film I was denied access by my parents due to the R rating (or perhaps they didn’t trust Cory Feldman in a plastic suit – oops – I’ve said too much!).

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