This post first appeared in the Blogger Idol Finale. The assignment: Choose a prompt from this list of 40 Really Awful Writing Prompts
The prompt I chose for this post was “End with the line: And that was all.”
It was New Year’s Eve and I was lying on a gurney in the emergency room discussing the likely next step in my night’s celebration: an emergency appendectomy. That was NOT how I anticipated the night would go.
Hubbinator and I had invited my college roommate and her husband over for our own intimate party. We’d have drinks and snacks while we played games and watched Dick Clark count down to the New Year. Smart planning, we thought, so we could drink champagne all night!!
Instead, I was doubled over in pain like I never felt before. It started out as a nagging ache in my stomach but became more persistent and sharp as it traveled down my side. As I described what felt like a searing knife stabbing into my abdomen, the ER nurse continued to ask questions.
“Have you had a fever?” I was a twenty-two-year-old recent college graduate. I didn’t have a thermometer. “I don’t know. I don’t think so.” She continued, “Any nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation?” Oh, yay! My least favorite topic–my pooping habits. “Um, yes to the nausea. No to the vomiting. Yes to the (mumbling) diarrrrr… and no to the other one.” She looked at me out of the corner of her eye and shot me a glance that said Seriously, sister, I don’t do “embarrassed.” This is only the beginning.
Earlier that afternoon, an hour or two before Angela and Bob arrived, I had a pretty boisterous bout in the bathroom. Years later when I watched the scene in American Pie with Shitbreak after Stiffler had given him a PentaLax Macchiato, I was sure they had modeled it after my New Year’s Eve Poopapalooza. So, to be clear, Ms. Nightingale, I definitely had experienced some diarrhea.
She said the doctor would be in to check me over, but since it seemed like textbook appendicitis, she was ordering blood work, an X-ray, and wanted a urine sample. “There’s a bathroom right there. Here’s a cup. Have you ever given a urine sample before?” Grimacing with another surge of pain, I grunted out, “Yes. I can pee in a cup.” Hunched over like a bell tower attendant in Notre Dame, I shuffled to the bathroom in the center of the triage area.
As much as I tried, I was too tense from the pain to be able to pee. I couldn’t relax enough to get even a drip. Nothing.
Feeling defeated and not wanting to have to tell my no-nonsense nurse that I actually could NOT pee in a cup, I limped back to the bed with my empty vessel. Feeling sorry for myself and the fact that this was not how I imagined the evening going, I wondered for a few seconds if I should have just toughed it out and not ruined everyone’s New Year’s Eve. Then another wave of pain came over me. Nope. Definitely worth the trip to the ER.
I was writhing and moaning on the bed as the cute, young doctor walked through the curtain. Wanting to seem polite although I thought I was dying, I wheezed out a “Hhhrrrrghghghhhiiiiii.” He made quick work of his exam and was impressed by my vocal strength when he pushed on the side of my abdomen. He wanted to get all the test results back before scheduling surgery–and he mentioned one other exam. Just then Nurse Nightingale was back carrying a long tube. “Since you weren’t able to pee in the cup, I brought a catheter.” Catheter? … Oh, yes, catheter. Also known as Tube Up The Hooha. Fantastic.
After that fun, I commented that I had to go to the bathroom. She said I shouldn’t since she just emptied my bladder. Sigh. “No, not THAT kind of bathroom. The other kind.” You know? Wink, wink. She gave me that same exasperated look from before. “You’re saying you need to have a bowel movement?” GeezLouise! Maybe you could say that a little louder so that everyone out in the waiting room will know I hafta poop!! “Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I need to go to the bathroom.”
Hobbling my way back, I realized it was right in the middle of everything. People were bustling by the door, stopping to talk and review charts right outside. I was beginning to panic. If this anything like my earlier round of the ‘rrhea, everyone will hear me. It made me think back to earlier that night. Although I needed to, there was No Way In Hell I was pooping with Ang and Bob just outside the bathroom door. Our apartment was small. You could practically hear someone breathing from the other room, never mind dropping bombs in the john. But I didn’t really have a choice this time. The issue was imminent.
To my complete surprise and total embarrassment when I opened the door after I was done, Cute Doctor was there. Areyoufreakingkiddingme??!!
In a room more private than the curtain-walled receiving area from before, he explained he needed to do a rectal exam. Rectal? … In the BUTT??! Oh God! I was concentrating on a happy little place in my mind when CutiePatootie said, “How is that?” What??! You’ve got your finger up my arse and I want to die, but otherwise… “Um, I can’t say it’s my favorite.” He stifled a chuckle and said, “I mean, is it painful?” No, not painful, just uncomfortable.
He explained that with appendicitis, a rectal exam would have made me want to jump off the table in pain. Since that wasn’t the case, he wanted to review the results of my other tests to see what they indicated.
As it turns out, everything came back normal except the X-ray. It showed that I had an “inordinate amount of gas” that was probably causing my pain. Just after Cuteness delivered the diagnosis, the nurse brought my husband, Ang, and Bob back to see me. If I thought it was embarrassing to have my friends hear me drop a deuce, that paled in comparison to the fact that I had to tell them that our festive-night-turned-lame was because I was a pretentious pooper. I gave them a wimpy smile and said, “As it turns out, it was just a fart. And that was all.”