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  • March 06, 2014
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FEATURE: "Clockwork" by Patricia Golden

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Editor's Note: The Advocate will be publishing a feature by Patricia Golden. It's called."Anywhere I Hang My Hat."  This is her first column.

CLOCKWORK
I never wanted to see the day that I would have to take an ambulance ride to a hospital. But the grand opportunity came in an unexpected rush. Other than physical pain I did not have time to feel the usual worries of getting all my ducks in a row at home, lights, water, gas stoves, my cat, clean underwear, all the fears that engulf one in a panic to leave home.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by the Advocate if I would be interested in writing a column. I felt excited to do so, but wanted to think about the commitment of extra time I would need, AND the creative moodiness it takes to write with passion.  Well, I have had a few days to think about it while convalescing. 

Prior to my emergency, I had come up with an honest title for my column; "Anywhere I Hang My Hat.” That sounds like me, and I think in the unfolding of this adventure will state that to be true.

Back to the emergency. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., I had a stomach ache. No big deal, I went to bed early. By 8 a.m. on Thursday, I realized the ache had me doubled over in pain across the belly button area. I called work saying I was sick today. I also called a few people for a better understanding of the flu symptoms that were going around. 
I only had the tummy ache. No fever, none of the other gross symptoms. By 11:30 a.m., the pain, which was pretty bad, never became better or worse. 

As toxins were gathering in one place, I called the clinic for a backup appointment. They were swamped, but wedged me in for 3:30 p.m. Surely, I thought, I would feel better by then, but NO. 

So, with much difficultly I drove myself to the clinic where the doctor examined me to find a worse pain in my lower right side where the appendix is. I am thinking, "NO WAY!” 

This is something I have no time for. I took it that it was serious as the doctor, himself, wheeled me to the hospital x-ray department.  I won’t mention a name in case it was like a captain leaving his ship. 

The doctor commenced to announce a list of tests to be done and then left me in good hands. The x-ray technician did the stand up and CT scan, the lab gal was an angel, and the attending nurse took my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. By 7:30 p.m., it was confirmed that I had a rebel appendix. 

I was given a "pleasant” catheter, an IV cocktail of antibiotics and pain meds. The ambulance was alerted, but was in route to El Paso with another lucky individual. 
So it would be a while for my turn to go. In the meantime, I was able to get to know the evening emergency staff. I tried to keep them engaged in humor as I was the only one there to entertain them. I did not call anyone for stubborn reasons, but a leak went out through heavenly channels and an angel came to me to deal with minor details like my car sitting in the parking lot and a blessed cell charger…and a couple of books.

As the hour hand on the clock was approaching 11 p.m., the ambulance was back and an EMT crew of six stood around my bed looking surprised to see me there. I am perceived to always be strong and healthy, and here I was frail and helpless. 

Upon entering the ambulance, I felt like a camera person filming a movie, all my buddies waving good luck as I was pulled in. I waved back. Inside, men and woman in neat black uniforms, tended to me during the two- hour drive to West Providence Hospital. I had been pre-admitted through divine passage, and switched to my hospital bed by midnight.

The surgeon came in by about 1:30 a.m. Surgery was about 3 a.m. I was able to tell the anesthesiologist to be sure to give me the Bud Lite and not the tequila, or I’d be out for days. I woke up from recovery by 5 a.m. I felt clear-headed and without pain. I was able to rise with no dizziness. Everything went well. Of course, I quickly found my limitations. 

So, here I am, home now, and sharing my good luck to have hung my hat in Van Horn, and live among some truly wonderful people. 

I am having a slight case of post-partum appendectomy blues, but I know my appendix is in a better place.  

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