Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Misery (Valentine's) Day! (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)


February 14th, 2012:

Sarah and I weren’t going to do anything too spectacular for Valentine’s Day. We had just gotten back from a long weekend away with the youth group from our church and we were tired. We decided it would be best to just go out for a nice dinner—Thai food, perhaps? This was the plan anyway; the plan changed.

I woke up at two a.m., feeling nauseous. I quickly got out of bed and fumbled through the darkness of our bedroom. I swung open our bedroom door without hesitation or fear of waking Sarah, held out my hands towards the walls to steady myself in the gloom of the apartment. I found the bathroom, and just in time. Thus began what could quite possibly be the worst day of my life.

I went back to my room, crawled into bed and heard Sarah’s voice.

“What’s wrong, honey?” she asked, mumbling through her words; half asleep.

“I threw up.”

Sarah pulled me in close and rubbed my back. I tried to close my eyes, to forget about how I was feeling and fall back asleep. It didn’t work. Twenty minutes later I found myself in the bathroom again. I vomited three times within a matter of 30 minutes while in the bathroom. I was sure this was not the end. I tried to stand and make my way back to my bedroom, but I couldn’t even make it through the bathroom door.

I grabbed my towel off the rack, held onto the sink for support and knelt down. I folded my towel into a pillow and placed it down. I lay down on the cold, tiled floor, curled myself up into a ball, and fell asleep. Around seven a.m., Sarah woke up and found me in the bathroom. She asked me if I wanted to move to the bed or the couch. I’m fairly certain that I mumbled and groaned through a slur of incoherent babble and remained in the bathroom for a while longer. Sarah called her boss and took the day off from work—thank God.

When I finally made it into the living room, Sarah helped me onto the couch, as I felt overly dizzy and weak from my bathroom extravaganza. She placed blankets on me and asked me if I wanted anything to eat.

“I don’t think I can eat anything at all.”

I wasn’t on the couch long before I found myself needing to be back in the bathroom. This was my routine for most of the day: Vomit, lie on the bathroom floor, vomit some more, lay on the couch, and head back to the bathroom for another round.

By four pm, I had disgorged myself 14 times, and was unable to eat anything—save a spoonful or two of Gatorade—even that I couldn’t really keep down. Sarah called our primary care provider and was able to get an appointment at 4:30 with a Physician’s Assistant. The drive to the doctor’s office—a half an hour away—was grueling. I pushed the car seat back and tried to rest as Sarah drove. When we arrived, Sarah helped me out of the car and led me inside, to which I went straight to the bathroom and threw up for the 15th and final time that day. Time to see the doctor!

The PA, Linda, explained that a nasty stomach bug was making its rounds, and that this is most likely what I had. She prescribed me Prochlorperazine—a medication used to help relieve cancer patients of their nausea due to chemotherapy—and once I began to take it, I started to feel much better.

Then, finally—sleep—uninterrupted sleep.

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