So, what happened on Sunday after I finally forced myself out of that oh so sweet paralysis and made myself get up? A pain started in my side. I assumed it was a cramp, though, because I hadn’t been drinking much water and I’d been working hard to get all of my things packed.
Throughout the day it lingered, which I thought was odd, but we were moving stuff and so it didn’t surprise me that much. All those stairs can put a stitch in anyone’s side. That night, though, it went from lingering to throbbing.
I realized that I hadn’t really had a real meal since Friday at lunch and that the pain must be hunger. I walked down to the corner store, got something to eat, and drank as much water as I possibly could. The throbbing turned back into a dull pain.
Monday morning I woke up and the pain seemed to be gone. Greatly relieved, I went to work and made an effort to get enough water. I spent the day complaining about how far away the weekend was, wishing it were still early on Sunday morning, and trying to actually get some work done. Around lunch time I felt a stab of pain… and then I felt a few more.
I realize that at this point most people would be scheduling doctor’s appointments and such. I am not one of those people. It’s one of those left over issues from being an extremely overweight girl with depression and anxiety. When you are said girl; things just plain hurt. There’s no explanation for most of it except that you’re fat and depressed.
I used to get a pain in my side all the time just because of how my fat folded in causing a cramp. It’s hard now to change my mentality and realize that I’m not as fat, I’m not depressed, I’m mostly not anxious, and if something hurts; something is wrong.
Well, I didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until Tuesday night when I came home from work, fell asleep right away, woke up several hours later shivering in my very warm apartment that I realized my pain had a valid cause. I knew the symptoms of a fever if nothing else. So I took my temperature. 99.4 degrees might not seem high for most but I don’t get high fevers.
I wonder if my body temperature is so warm only because I’ve been sleeping next to my heater under warm blankets. I wait 30 minutes and take my temperature again. 102.4, how does someone increase in temperature that quickly? I start shaking and shivering violently and it’s making my body and head ache. I’m trying to decide whether I should go somewhere tonight or in the morning. I take my temperature again fifteen minutes later: 103.5.
I call my mom, crying now both from pain and fear, asking her to take me to the hospital. She tells me that she’ll be there soon and to keep monitoring my temperature. I call a friend just to have someone to talk to in the meantime.
In the half hour it takes my mom to get to my apartment, my temperature’s gone up again to 103.9 and we rush to the hospital. Before the doctor will even talk about the rest of my symptoms, he gives me medicine to reduce my fever. It brings me back down to a cool 103.4. At least it keeps me out of brain damage zone. After being examined they determine that I have a kidney infection.
Antibiotics, fluids, and rest… and rest. I don’t think I’ve been awake for a solid hour since Tuesday night. The thing that I’m learning here, besides the fact that kidney infections unequivocally suck, is that while my past certainly effects how I look at things now, I have to learn to move on and remember that circumstances are different now. I don’t hurt for inexplicable reasons anymore. Pain has causes and cures.
Clearly I’ve been struggling with this concept for a while. It took me far too long to realize that there really was something wrong with my IUD.
While I was proud of myself to responding right away to the fever, I probably should have known before then that the pain was indicative of more than a cramp or hunger. It’s one of the things I continue to struggle with as I work on getting healthier.
There is a learning curve for everything. You want the touchdown but we need to be patient and recognize that any movement in the direction of the goal (or whatever it is where the touchdown takes place) is progress. I know the tendency to to too hard on myself for not being at my goal already to not recognize important progress. And this all-or-none thinking can actually have more damage because we think "if I'm not 100% there, what's the point in doing it at all?" Baby steps, my dear
Also, to not be too hard on yourself. I had a roommate who was twig-thin and mistook a kidney infection for a backache and had her girlfriend rub her back. Not only was it an infection, but the back rub made things worse. The infection turned into an abcess and she spent Pride Weekend in the hospital. So while your past certainly influences how you interpret pain now, anyone no matter their past, can mistake dangerous pain for something innocuous. Which is why my jewish mom goes to the doctor for every ache and pain.