|Universe: Kim... This is the Universe speaking. I have a very important message.|
Kim: What are you saying? Are you on a dial-up because this is a really crappy connection...
Here's the story:
For years and years I've been suffering from intermittent abdominal pain that, despite a slew of invasive tests (yes, including the one in which they probe your backside) and half a dozen trips to the ER, no one has been able to diagnose. Basically, the pains feel like labor contractions (I now know this to be true ) but higher up in the abdomen. They come in waves and then disappear after a few days. They are not associated with food or emotion, and a number of nasty things that rhyme with "prancer" have been ruled out. I'm a medical mystery.
Each time I go to the gastro doc or the ER I'm filled with a cautious hope that they find something. Anything. Something with a name. I'm crossing my fingers that it's something like "twisted colon" because that would definitely be my band name, and I'd prefer a name that doesn't sound like I'm literally belly aching - so "abdominal migraine" and "irritable bowel" are out. Not that those afflictions aren't real and painful, but I want something that has a name with some gravitas. And preferably some kind of treatment.
|Here's what I pretend I look like during a "bout." Striking a pose equal parts dancerly grace and pathos. My hair is beyond reproach.|
|And here is closer to what I actually look like. (This is not me, but it's not far off...)|
Anyway, this quest had landed me in the ER yet again a few weeks ago and then to another follow-up visit to a gastroenterologist, who really seemed to listen to me and take an interest. But since I was going back to Kenya in a matter of days there was only so much he could do. So, he prescribed me something (probably just as a goody bag, so I didn't go away empty handed) and told me that the next attack I should go straight to the ER for a CT scan - literally the only test I never had done.
As luck (??) would have it, I suffered a stomach pain attack the day before I was scheduled to leave for Kenya. And as much as I hate hospitals, invasive tests and waiting, I trekked over to the ER hoping against hope to finally have some answers.
After 3 hours and a completed CT scan, I found myself waiting patiently in the ER room for the results, shivering in my thin gown and cataloging all the remaining packing I'd have to do the next morning to help the time go by. Here I was again, hoping they'd find something, even as I had one foot out of the country.
So, when the doc came in with my results, shaking her head in disbelief and excitedly exclaimed.... "You're never going to believe this!" I was thrilled. YES! You found something exotic. I'm vindicated.
"You're never going to believe"...... that you have appendicitis.
First, of all, appendicitis did not have the exotic appeal I had been hoping for (I mean how many lame 80s sitcoms had an appendicitis episode?). But secondly ... what?!?! I had none of the typical symptoms (fever, nausea, pain in the correct area) but the CT scan showed unequivocally an enlarged and likely infected appendix. It had to come out. That night.
So, instead of having acute appendicitis somewhere over the Atlantic traveling internationally with a baby and toddler, (probably the only worse scenario is having appendicitis while running from man-eating lions. Through a wall of fire.) I had it caught in a suburban hospital while staying with my parents. So, I got swift, culturally familiar and high quality care. I was allowed to heal while my children were cared for by two of the people who love them most in the world, and I was cared for by about the most nurturing and solicitous of Jewish moms on the planet. Let's just say, I ate homemade chicken soup (for the soul) my first night home.
I came into the ER for a CT scan, the one test that would definitely prove I had appendicitis, on basically a lark. A lark that may not have saved my life, but certainly saved me a fair amount of anguish.
What is the universe trying to tell me here?
But before you answer consider this:
During another recent stay stateside, the right side of my neck mysteriously ballooned like a goiter from an 8th grade science textbook and felt like it was filled with... well, pain. I landed once again in that same suburban ER room. I'll spare you the medical details, but it turned out I had stones in my salivary gland, of all places, which had been growing for years. they had to come out and also necessitated a hospital stay and follow-up visits with a specialist.
This also happened weeks before I was to move to rural Kenya, a place which it's pretty safe to say does not have an Ears, Nose and Throat guy. Again, it probably wouldn't have killed me to have salivary duct stones (I still can't believe that's a thing) far away from someone who might recognize and treat it, but it did feel like a bit of bizarre timing that it happened just before my move and not just after.
So, what is the universe trying to tell me? In the past two years, I've spent 90% of my time in Kenya, but 100% of my medical emergencies have occurred stateside.
My mother, who is not unbiased in the matter, would say the Universe is telling me to move the f*** home already! (Though f*** would be "fiddlesticks." The woman doesn't swear people. I get that from my dad.)
I might say the Universe is giving me the OK to keep traveling around to places with less adequate medical care because, don't worry, it'll make sure that all the weird and nasty shit happens when I'm home.
The Universe might say, stop bothering me already. I have enough on my plate what with all that containing all known matter and continually expanding, so please just stop crediting or blaming me for your weird coincidences.
But I think the Universe doth protest too much.
What do you think? How should I interpret these weird coincidences? Or should I?