The day before I got my scar, I told my boss, “I feel like absolute crap, so don’t be surprised if I wake up tomorrow and go to the emergency room”. Saturday morning dawned after I had been asleep for a few hours and I was awakened by my four year olds chubby fingers poking me begging for snuggles and his wet kisses being pressed against my too warm cheeks. That little round face and the intense waves of nausea sweeping like a wave over a ship’s deck are what I recall of that morning. This angry red scar that stretches from right beside my belly button to right beside my hip bone is from that day. My husband Andy told me that we should go to the hospital. “But we don’t have the money to do that,” I groaned as I curled more tightly into the fetal position. That’s when the regurgitation started. I stumbled and scurried from the bed room almost drunkenly, cursing the fact that the bathroom was down that long flight of stairs, groaning with the impact of each thudding footstep. When I reached the toilet I began retching violently with dry heaves so deep I thought my toe nails were going to come out of my mouth. Then Andy insisted, “We’re going to the ER now!” I hated his controlling and telling me what to do yet I was too weak to argue.
In the car while driving that thirty excruciating miles, I crouched backwards in my tiny black Mazda Protégé with my knees clenched to my chest and a bucket balanced on top of them which I continuously gagged and moaned into. Finally we pulled up the to the hospital. I crept through the door while bent at the waist wishing I could crawl because the upright walking made me feel almost seasick. After being settled into a room in the ER and an hour or so of trying to lay in bed and getting up over and over to barf into the sink in my room, the doctors and nurses had decided that indeed I wasn’t just a drug seeker but that I was ill. After giving me a dose of anti-nausea medication the nurse encouraged me to rest until I could go down for a CT scan. Soon I was informed that I had appendicitis and would need to go into surgery immediately. That was a scary moment. The thing that went through my mind was my little boys face and shaggy brown hair. Those pudgy arms squeezing my neck and telling me every day, “I love you mama.” I was rolled into the operating room, and after the mask was on my face, they told me to count backwards from ninety-nine.
Awakening for the second time that day was a foggy confusing moment. The room was cloudy and hazy and I couldn’t remember for a moment what was happening. Soon the searing pain in my abdomen reminded me what had happened and the nursed showed me how to work the button to get more morphine if I needed it. After staying in the hospital for two more nights, I was allowed to go home with the understanding that I was to take off at least two weeks and up to four weeks from work depending on my recovery and how I was feeling. That was the longest vacation experience I have had as an adult and I used it to the fullest. Each day I would send my son to someone’s house when Andy went to work and I would watch movies, read magazines, eat snacks, and take Vicodin induced naps.
With all that time to think and reflect I was seeing how earlier that year my marriage had reached an impasse. I would have never believed that a surgery would be the revealer of the place we had reached, yet when I was ready to go back to work, I told Andy that he had to leave, that Joshua and I would be fine without him.