Which is where I’m writing this post from this very moment.
In a room on the intensive care unit at Virtua Hospital.
So forgive this post ahead of time. It may not flow very coherently.
Last week, my family and I flew from Israel to the States to visit family and friends, as well as to celebrate with them our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Beth El.
Just like the rest of the week, I woke up on Saturday feeling totally fine.
Nothing at all unusual.
Yet, at the end of the prayer service and the festive meal with our honored guests, I started to feel crampy in my belly.
I mentioned it to some friends who suggested it was only nerves.
Then, I started to feel light-headed and felt like I was going to faint.
I wrapped myself in my brother’s jacket and took a seat at a table.
I sipped some tea.
Minutes later, I was back home screaming my lungs out as if I were in labor.
Which I wasn’t.
But, that’s the best way to describe the pain.
Believe me, I’ve got experience with that – 4 times – and I remember the pain all too well.
The pain in my belly was so diffuse that I – the non-doctor – ruled out anything localized – like appendicitis, gall bladder, pancreas, etc.
I threw up and had plenty of diarrhea. I figured it was just a bad bug. But, when the pain didn’t lessen the following day, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst labor pain ever), I responded to the registrar that my pain I was at like an 8 or a 9.
While waiting for the anti-meds to kick in and breathing ferociously like I was about to have a baby, all I could think about how this medical mishap was going to screw up everything for my family.
My family who was looking forward to upcoming week’s daytrips:
On Sunday, a visit to my brother and sister-in-law and their new home out in rural Pennsylvania – where I still have yet to make a visit.
Monday, a fun day at Diggerland, South Jersey’s newest attraction for kids.
Tuesday, a day at Sesame Place.
Wednesday, a day at the Phillies baseball game.
And, on Thursday,preps to go down to Ocean City, for our yearly family extended weekend vacation.
You see, when my white blood count came back as abnormally high on Sunday night – a 25 – as opposed to the usual random range of 4-12 there was a cause for concern. But, the radiologist had no conclusive thoughts on the reading of the CT scan. “Remarkedly puzzled” is what he wrote.
One of the subjects of my daughter’s speech at her Bat Mitzvah was on gratitude.
So, as I stopped being obsessive with how many days this medical issue was going to cause me being away from and enjoying my family, I started to realize what instead I could be grateful for.
Grateful that the onset of the intense pain started around noon of the Bat Mitzvah day, and not 2 hours earlier while we would have still been in the middle of services, or even two days earlier which would have caused me to miss the Bat Mitzvah entirely.
Gratitude that while the hospital still hasn’t figure out what is causing my abdominal pain and why my WBC is abnormally high, they did start to rule out some of the other big options.
Gratitude for the Godsend, Dr. Bill Morowitz and all the other angels working along side him including: nurses Beth, Grace, Doug, and Amy, Dr. Malamud, Dr. Zaretsky, Dr. Weng, the radiologist (I missed his name), Dr. Alimam and lab tech Shannen. I’m missing others, but believe me, the list of thanks is long.
Gratitude for the staff’s confidence and responsible nature, their mindful listening, and their warm care, concern and compassion.
Gratitude for this amazingly beautiful hospital where I feel like I’m staying at a 5 star hotel.
Gratitude for the size of my room, which is certainly larger than the size of my living room back home.
It’s now about 9 pm and I’m staying another night.
I’m grateful to my family and friends who I may have scheduled to catch up with over these next few days and who will understand that chances are, it ain’t gonna happen.
And gratitude to G-d for allowing these sequence of events to occur, all at the right time and place.