The Five-Day Battle
What a Sunday! I fought through the pain, went to church and even endured a wonderful brunch with the Campbell couple. Here comes the dreaded Monday morning. It was June 1. Oh wait, so I do remember the month of June. It was the day I was going to check myself into the hospital. But this was not possible. God couldn’t possibly be doing this me. GOD, I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE UNTIL JULY 1. You promised me you would take care of me until I could afford any hospital visit. I’ve gone four months without the need for a hospital visit; please help me hold on for one more month. Please, please, please!
When I was laid off work at the end of February this year, I knew God had a plan that I didn’t know at the time. I knew He was working behind the scenes. But the one thing I prayed for was good health because losing my job meant losing my insurance until I found a new employer. Once I found my current job in April, all I had to do was to hold and until July 1 for my new insurance to kick in. I had gone almost three months without needing any hospital visits or medication and two years without any hospitalization. Surely, God’s got my back for another month and a half right? Human logic would say, “Oh yes, you’ll be fine till July 1.” But that’s why we are not God. That’s why we are human. We will never be able to fathom why He allows certain things to happen to us. But what I have learned is that, all things TRULY work together for the good of those who love God. I love God.
Monday, June 1: I went to work with the most excruciating pain I had felt in the last two years. This Sickle Cell episode was not one that was going to be cured with two tablets of prescribed narcotics. With the thought of having a huge medical bill on my hand due to my insurance not kicking in for another 30 days, there was absolutely no way I was going to the hospital. I was going to fight God, my family, my friends and anyone who thought I needed to go to the hospital. In fact, the only way anyone was going to get me to the hospital was if I couldn’t breathe. Even then, you might have had to drag me. See, the negative thing about being so immune to pain is that I truly think I can take anything Sickle Cell throws at me. The pain I was in that Monday morning was pain that would have caused any other human to call 911. But here I was at work, as I have done many times.
Oh my goodness! It was already 5 p.m. I had made it through the day without going to the hospital. I don’t think I was very productive at work, but the important thing was that I made it through the day. I made it home, went straight to bed and woke up feeling a little better. God was not fighting me? He was actually going to let me slide out of this pain without going to the hospital? YES, YES, YES!
Tuesday, June 2: The pain was in my back, and it was bad. Even though I thought I was getting better, you could easily tell just by looking at me that I was having a tough time. Usually, no one can ever tell I’m in pain. It’s part of my “super power” (incredibly high pain tolerance). As soon as I got to work, my lovely co-workers could tell there was something wrong. Amy advised me to go see a Chiropractor her family loved, and even though I didn’t have insurance, the cost was only going to be $50. I immediately called and asked them to see me immediately. I was willing to see anyone for $50 rather than pay $5,000,000 to go to the ER without insurance. The visit to the chiropractor actually helped. I felt better after the visit and actually got some rest that night.
Wednesday, June 3: I woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. The pain in my back had returned. It was not as bad as it was on Monday, so the ER was not even on my mind at this point. I bought my favorite spicy chicken biscuit from Chic-Fil-a on my way to work, and as I bit into it, I realized I had lost my sense of taste. I literally couldn’t taste anything. It felt like I had bitten into plastic. I read later that it was a side effect of my pain medicine. Once I got to work, I was so depressed and in so much pain that the head of my department sent me home. I reluctantly obliged and left the office at 1 p.m. I got home, nibbled on a bagel, drank half of a Jamba Juice smoothie and literally passed out until Thursday morning. My lovely Kristina tucked me in, and she sat by side till I was in dreamland. She made me feel better each time she was around.
Thursday, June 4: I DID IT! I woke up with no pain. God had actually heard my cry. I woke up feeling great. My taste buds were still on vacation, but at least I had no pain. I went to work, handled my business, and even picked up Kristina after work and went back to enjoy some hot dogs and shaved ice at my company picnic. It was such a fun time. Kristina met everyone and they loved her. I mean, how can you not love the sweetest girl in the world?
Friday, June 5: This would unfortunately be the last day in June 2015 that I would be able to fully recollect. I went to work feeling great and was excited about the prospect of fully recovering over the weekend. I got through the day fine, and very quickly the clock read 4 p.m.; just one more hour before my weekend was in full swing. Just as I had that thought, I could feel my lower back tensing up. Within 15 minutes, I was in pain. I’m talking “Monday, June 1-type pain.” How was this possible? From feeling 95% fine to full blown Sickle Cell attack in 15 minutes. I knew there was no running away from it this time. Here’s the funny part: Once I got off work, I started running errands in preparation for my stay in the hospital. How crazy is that? Here I am in excruciating pain and ready to check myself into the ER, however, I was at Wholefoods buying coconut water to help keep me hydrated, and I went to get a haircut because I guess I wanted to look presentable in the Emergency Room? I also have a thing for nurses, so that might have played a part in that decision to get a haircut. (just kidding, no but really)
Once I eventually got home, I TOOK A SHOWER because I wanted to be semi-clean incase I had to stay in the hospital for a day or two. I then packed a bag and called my dad. He was at work and he lived in Norman so it was going to take him at least 45 minutes to get to me. I texted Kristina who was in class taking a test. In minutes she called me back and told me her friends were on their way to pick me up and take me to the ER. I told her I was willing to wait for my dad, but she insisted, and in 10 minutes there were two lovely ladies (Kiki and Xiomara) banging on my door. I’m actually thankful they did that, because I was at the point where the pain was unbearable. They took me straight to the ER where Kristina was waiting. My dad joined 5 minutes later.
I didn’t know why God was doing this to me. I was angry. God couldn’t just keep me healthy for one more month? Seriously! My hospital bill is ridiculous, and it’s all because I couldn’t hold on one more month. I hadn’t been this sick in two years. Great timing for my first major visit to the hospital in two years. One month before my new insurance would kick in.
In about 3 hours, I had saline fluid and pain medicine 10 times stronger than morphine going through my veins. I was starting to feel fine and ready to be back home.
BUT NOT SO FAST, RICHIE. A visit to the hospital that I though was going to be a three-day ordeal at most was going to become my longest stay in the hospital since I immigrated to the United States.
Friday, June 5: The last day in June 2015 that I clearly remember. The rest of June is a blur.
This is a five-part series. Stay tuned, because every week, I will highlight a different aspect of “The June I Don’t Remember.” I’ll talk about how three days turned into 4 weeks, how God worked through this ordeal, my new family, and what I took away from the experience.