My Hospital Adventure

Posted on April 13, 2013, in Personal by Toad · No Comments

As some of you may know from my tweets, I took a trip to the hospital today. Rather than try to explain the entire ordeal via Twitter, I figured I could get some use out of my blog (for once) and explain everything here.

I was woken up at 7:45 this morning by an extremely sharp pain in the lower-right section of my abdomen. Immediately I grabbed my phone and did some Google searching to figure out what could be causing so much pain. My first guess was appendicitis or a kidney stone, but I didn’t want either of those to be the case. I found several sources that said it could be a result of constipation, so I hobbled to the bathroom and pooped. NO RELIEF.

Not wanting to cause a scene, I went back to my room and tried to fall back asleep in hopes of waking up without the pain. Instead, the pain got worse. It was getting harder to breathe and nothing I did made the pain go away. At this point I called my parents and told them what was going on, and they told me to go to the health center on campus and said they were going to get in the car and drive down to meet me there (they assumed it was appendicitis based on what I told them).

The 5 minute walk to the health center was by far the worst walk I’ve ever endured. I was hunched over and clutching my abdomen as I tried to get there without collapsing. To make matters worse, several tour groups of prospective students were walking around campus and saw my walk of shame to the health center. Their parents didn’t look impressed with me, and I’m pretty sure they thought I was just extremely hung over. Their disapproving glares were not appreciated, especially because I was fairly certain I was dying. When I got to the door of the health center, I was greeted by a sign which kindly informed me the front door was locked on weekends and that I should use the parking lot entrance. I had no idea where the parking lot was, so I took a gamble and headed left. I was wrong.

Once I finally got into the building and made it to the front desk, I tried to explain what was going on but couldn’t even stand up straight to look the nurse in the eye. I was struggling to breathe (still), and so she took an incoming call and spent the next minute casually talking on the phone while I was basically dying. I think she realized how serious the pain was because her facial expression changed once she realized that I wasn’t joking around. Within ten minutes an ambulance was on the way to pick me up and bring me to the hospital.

At this point the pain was continuing to get worse, and the only thing that seemed to make it seem even remotely more bearable was lying on my side and curling up just a tiny bit (bending too much caused even more pain). Needless to say, I was less than pleased when I was strapped onto the stretcher on my back. The ten-minute ride to the hospital was pretty rough. Every bump sent a surge of pain through my abdominal area, and I’m pretty certain we got stuck at every single traffic light. BULLSHIT.

My parents got to the hospital about a minute after I was brought into the waiting area in the emergency room. It was at this point that the pain reached its peak. I was shaking, practically gasping for air, and trying my best not to scream. And you know what the hospital workers did? They wheeled me into a hallway on the side and told me to wait until a room was open. Clearly I wasn’t in any pain or anything, so getting immediate treatment wasn’t necessary at all. After about a half hour of absolute hell in that hallway, the pain started to subside. It was about 12:00pm at this point, so the pain had lasted for a solid four hours. Shortly after, I finally got wheeled into a room and was told to wait for a nurse to come and give me an IV.

By the time that nurse came, the pain was pretty much gone. Bending my upper body in certain ways or applying pressure to the area caused some pain, but at least I could breathe again. They hooked me up to the IV and gave me some pain medication, which was certainly appreciated, but it would have been nice to get it about an hour or four earlier. A different nurse came and took four vials of blood and a urine sample, and then I was left alone with my parents for a while.

Before the results of the blood test even came back, the doctor recommended I should get an ultrasound. Step one of my transformation into a woman COMPLETE (more on this later). The nurse got the goo all over my clothes and all over my everything, so that was cold and kind of awkward but I’m not gonna lie it was somewhat enjoyable. It was like a cool massage aside from the fact it hurt a bit when she went over the appendix area.

SO THEN I got wheeled back to my lovely room and waited for the results of the ultrasound. During this time another nurse (there were seriously a million of them) came back with my blood test results, and I had an elevated white blood cell count. I was told the range I was supposed to be in was 5-10, and mine was 17. This made the entire army of nurses think that it was most likely appendicitis that was causing the pain, since an elevated white blood cell count means there’s an infection your body is trying to deal with (like, say, an appendix). They decided a CT scan would be the best way to check and see if there was any inflammation of my appendix, so they made me drink a big container of barium sulfate in order to prepare for the CT scan. It was not yummy.

I was brought to the CT scan room, and some sort of weird cold fluid was connected to my IV (I lost count of how many different forms of medicine were pumped through my veins today). I got up from my bed for the first time in several hours and got onto the little sliding platform for the CT scan. The nurse (another new one) told me I would get a cold sensation from the stuff being pumped into my arm, and then it would make my head really hot and the heat would travel down to my toes. She told me it would feel like a 50-year-old woman’s hot flash (phase two of my transformation into a woman COMPLETE) and that it would feel like I was peeing my pants. I didn’t believe her, but OH MY GOD I was almost positive I was peeing myself. It was such a weird sensation.

After making the trip back to my room, I had to wait about an hour before I heard anything about the results.

And when they finally came and told me? Nothing.

The doctors had no idea what was causing the pain. They were almost positive it was appendicitis prior to the CT scan, but the results didn’t show any inflammation of my appendix. Even though my white blood cell count was abnormally high, they didn’t know where the infection was or why it occurred. One of them thought it might be appendagitis, which has the same symptoms as appendicitis, but it can’t really be treated (aside from anti-inflammatory medicine) in a long-term fashion. It doesn’t occur in the appendix, so you can’t just remove it. However, appendagitis isn’t an infection, so that wouldn’t explain the elevated white blood cell count. Kidney stones were out of the question at this point, so the doctors couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong. One possible explanation was that, since this was the first episode of pain brought about by my appendix, there hadn’t been enough time for my appendix to become inflamed to the point where it would be caught by the CT scan. And what does that mean? Well, it means this could happen again in the very near future, in which case I’d have to get rushed to the hospital to get my appendix removed. Obviously I would have preferred to get the surgery done right then and there (so I wouldn’t have to deal with it again), but there was just so much uncertainty surrounding the cause of the pain that removing my appendix might not have been the correct course of action.

So that’s where I stand right now. I’m back in my dorm hoping that I don’t have another episode, because I don’t think I’m ready to go through that much pain again. I was really hoping I could get some closure. I spent 7 hours in the hospital, and I’m not even entirely sure what happened or if it will happen again.

Possibly appendix-related pain? 0/10 would not recommend.


The Golden Playlist

Posted on September 5, 2012, in Editorials by Toad · No Comments

I received an assignment earlier this week for my English class, which focuses on the creative processes behind music composition. I’m here today to share it with you.

Mission objective: Prepare a list of 10 recordings that reflect the best music by Earthlings and an explanation of why humans value musical creativity.

  1. Variations on an Original Theme “Enigma” Op.36 – Edward Elgar
  2. The Planets, Op.32 – Gustav Holst
  3. Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin
  4. Pini di Roma – Ottorino Respighi
  5. Moonlight Sonata – Ludwig van Beethoven
  6. Theme from Schindler’s List – John Williams
  7. The Times They Are A-Changin – Bob Dylan
  8. Imagine – John Lennon
  9. We Are The World – Michael Jackson
  10. Exogenesis Symphony – Muse

 

Music is the universal language. It allows us to communicate and express ourselves in a way that everyone can understand. Even without understanding the lyrics (if there are any), we realize that music can communicate more effectively than any other form of communication. This is why we value musical creativity. It’s a form of personal expression that transcends all language barriers, and it’s a way we can bring people together.

The first five songs aren’t in much of an order. Elgar’s piece seemed like a good choice because each of its fourteen parts is dedicated to a person in his life. I find this significant because the variety of each of the parts shows the variety of emotions that can be caused as a result of the relationships we forge with other people. Relationships are a big part of who we are. “Rhapsody in Blue” helps show the evolution of music. It’s somewhat of a hybrid between classical music and jazz, and, to me, it shows that music is not limited to one genre. “The Planets, Op.36″ is important because, to me, it encapsulates our constant endeavor to discover new things. Not to mention it introduces other areas of our solar system, which I’m sure the aliens wouldn’t mind hearing about. “Pini di Roma” is poweful due to the sheer amount of imagery it conveys. Each movement depicts different images of Rome, which was an extremely important part of human history. I picked the fifth piece, “Moonlight Sonata,” simply because I think it’s beautiful, and I think it needs to be heard.

With the last five songs, I tried to tell a story. While it is entirely possible that whoever finds the playlist will have no understanding of our language, and, as a result, will not get the message, I think the story is important to our history. “Theme from Schindler’s List” shows just how emotionally powerful a piece of music can be by accurately capturing the tragic nature of one of mankind’s darkest moments. “The Times They Are A-Changin” can really be applied to almost any time period, but following World War II, the times were definitely a-changin. The entire world was changed. “Imagine” depicts a world in which there is no incentive for division – no religion, no possessions, no countries. Lennon imagines a world in a state of peace. “We Are The World” goes along with this sentiment. We, the ENTIRE human race, are the world, and we are the ones that need to do our share to make the world a better place. The world isn’t perfect, though, which is where “Exogenesis Symphony” comes into play. The symphony is divided into three parts. Part One (Overture) is about our acceptance and understanding of the fact that civilization will end. Part Two (Cross-Pollination) is meant to show our desperate attempt at finding and populating other planets as our last hope to successfully save ourselves. Part Three (Redemption) is when those sent out in search of new inhabitable planets realize that humanity is stuck in a cycle, and the only way it can stop the cycle is if it (humanity) changes. It’s not exactly the most optimistic note on which to end, but it shows that we humans aren’t perfect – it also has a very “spacey” feel, which is a nice touch.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I know it’s kind of random, but I had a lot of fun with the assignment, and I felt like it was worth sharing.


Graduation

Posted on May 28, 2012, in Personal by Toad · 1 Comment

Well, I graduate in less than two weeks.

Initially, I felt nothing but excitement. These last four years of high school have been hell. I thought I would have no problem saying goodbye to everything related to high school. However, as June 7th draws closer, I’m finding that isn’t necessarily the case.

I don’t think it’s been a secret to anyone that my high school experience has been highly stressful and highly demanding. I’m sleep-deprived, exhausted, and angry five days a week. So you’d think I would just want to get the hell away from everything related to high school, wouldn’t you?

That’s where things get complicated. I’m beginning to realize that I let the bad memories get in the way of the countless amazing things about high school. I’ve met some of the greatest people in the world. The friends I’ve made are simply the best, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without them. My teachers, despite causing my stress, have been (for the most part) outstanding. They have been inspirational, caring, and passionate about what they teach, and I really don’t want to forget that. I’ve had the most amazing experiences – in just the last year, I spent two weeks touring Europe and performing, and I spent another two weeks in Spain living with a host family. I’ve been able to go to Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and Boston with the school orchestra (of which I was concertmaster this year). I was given the opportunity to perform in the Kimmel Center – one of my dreams since I was a kid. I was able to participate in Relay For Life, donate blood, and perform for children in the Ronald McDonald House.

It’s so easy for me to forget the great things that have happened over the last four years as a result of my being in high school. And that is why, with only ten days left until my graduation, I just wanted to finally express how fortunate I am to have had the experiences I had. There’s not a single thing I would change.


2012…

Posted on January 1, 2012, in Personal by Toad · 2 Comments

So I just looked back at my post from January 1, 2011, and read over my resolutions. I failed all of them. OOPS.

It’s getting close to domain renewal time, and I’ll probably renew it just because I feel like I should. I really don’t have the time or motivation to keep this place running, though. Between college applications, senior year, and trying to find time to do something I actually enjoy (psh, yeah right), there’s very little time left for this site.

Having said that, I might start posting more regularly at some point… or maybe I’ll convert this to a Tumblr blog just because those feel like less work. WHO KNOWS.


I Suck

Posted on September 12, 2011, in Personal, Updates by Toad · 3 Comments

See title.

I know I promised a video slideshow, but that probably won’t happen. Between my inability to figure out a way to make it work the way I wanted with my limited resources and (now that I’ve started school again) my lack of time, the chances of my being able to finish the video slideshow are slim to none. Sorry.

As for the lack of updates on the site, that’s just a result of my laziness and lack of inspiration at the moment. This post is more of an “I’m not dead” post than anything else.

So… yeah. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things at some point in the future.