...however many parts it takes to tell this sordid story, soon to be seen on Lifetime for Women starring hopefully someone like Kelly Ripa (I like Kelly, she's cute and skinny and I want to be just like her!).
Actually the whole Lifetime for Women thing is a lie because even this story would be too boring for Lifetime for Women and anyway I already got my man (I mean good old Hans, who is in sales, and I never thought for one minute that he might be a serial killer but in reality was a CIA agent!!).
It all started one December with ominous rumblings in my stomach and I just knew that my middle daughter, Vet Tech Girl (then known as Unhappy College Girl), had finally given me ulcers.
At that time, in addition to my full time office job, I was a waitress and December, for me, was always hell month. The extra hours, due to awful business/office Christmas parties, usually attended by people who didn't get out much and therefor I had to deal with, meant more tip money but really didn't make up for the fact that I had no time for gift shopping let alone wrapping anything I might be able to buy.
Sadly, in an effort to save my sanity, I quit putting up a Christmas tree, or even decorating in any other way, for many of the informative years of my children. No Mother of the Year Award here.
And it didn't help that I lived in a snow belt and one memorable December (it snowed every single damned day!) had me shoveling my driveway sometimes twice a day! First on my lunch hour from my office job and again at about eleven at night when I got home from my waitressing job. I still remember sitting in a kitchen chair at midnight after one of those shoveling marathons, too tired to get to my bed. And I had to be at work at eight again the next morning.
So when I started suffering from facial pain I wasn't too surprised when I was told I had an abscessed tooth.
In December! Gee, why not?
My dentist started me on a round of very strong antibiotics since an infection near the brain can supposedly be dangerous.
"What brain?" I asked.
About a week later when the inn, where I was a waitress, closed for the season, and it was deemed safe, I had a root canal.
During my antibiotic/root canal episode, Unhappy College Girl (the gifted child) decided after only one semester at college (and let me tell you she couldn't get to college fast enough because in college she would finally be 'understood'), that college life wasn't for her.
And my stomach started rumbling.
Then I started having episodes in the bathroom that left me weak and breathless, and thinking that I'd rather go through childbirth again because at least then you have something to show for all your efforts.
These episodes followed me to my office job and I had a couple of nightmarish moments when, as the only person in the office, I had to wait on customers all the while hoping they couldn't see me grimace in pain as I wondered if I'd make it to the ladies room in time.
After about a week of this, and realizing that the Imodium AD really wasn't helping, I broke down and called a doctor.
I was tested to see if I was passing blood.
Luckily, I wasn't.
I asked about ulcers and then bawled out the story of 'Unhappy College Girl' to the brand new doctor on staff who, God Bless him, clasped his hands behind his back and listened to me with the patience of Job, never once looking at his watch, and he made me feel like my problems were the most important thing he'd ever heard.
Ulcers? Maybe, but probably not.
Surprisingly, I wasn't dehydrated so we (meaning I) decided to wait it out.
Another week passed and I realized that I was in almost constant pain. When I wasn't emailing page after page of 'What your life will be like if you drop out of college,' to Unhappy College Girl, I was frantically surfing the Internet looking for an answer to my tummy troubles. I was disturbed to read passages on forums such as, "After six months of blood in my stool I finally went to the doctor and I've been diagnosed with advanced colon cancer which has spread to all of my surrounding organs." Or, "My horrible stomach cramps and severe diarrhea were the result of six foot worms in my bowels. If you suffer from the same symptoms as me, for $40.00 I can send you this wonderful elixir that will get rid of these parasites! When you see the results in your toilet, you'll thank me!" In the meantime I was spending hours in the bathroom, leaning against the wall in a sweat with hideous spasms that had me fearing that my insides would fall out.
I went back to the doctor.
A colonoscopy and an endoscopy were recommended but in order to get one immediately, I had to check into the hospital.
I said no way. Only old, sick, or God help us, dying people, go into the hospital.
Certainly I was none of the above, but I allowed the office to make an appointment for me with a gastroenterologist for the following week, and then I went home. That evening I finally found a reclining position that allowed me the least discomfort, and when I didn't feel like ground glass was flowing through my bowels, I stayed that way all night.
The next day I waved my white flag and checked into the hospital.
Stay tuned for Part II.
Believe me, I couldn't make this stuff up!