A Dastardly Tale of Blood, Needles, and Humiliating Apparel

For the past three weeks I’ve been having what you might call stomach “issues”. To put it simply, the inside of my stomach has been trying to get on the outside of my stomach. Anytime I would eat anything of substance I would feel nauseated.

The doctor gave me a few medications which didn’t help a whole lot. This past weekend the nausea started tag-teaming with stomach pain. They make a really good team, and I decided that I should probably make a pit stop at the ER, just to make sure I wasn’t dying or about to have an alien burst out of my chest.

For some reason, being in the hospital puts me in a reflective mood. As I lay back on my ER gurney, here are some of the random reflections that flickered through my mind.

  • I’m so grateful that I live in a country where I can get immediate medical attention. This is the wonderful common grace of God. Millions of people around the world walk miles and wait days to get proper medical attention. Some can’t get it at all. I was admitted into the ER within 15 minutes of my arrival. Thank you Lord for your kindness to me and this nation. Plus, our hospital in particular is wonderful. The staff and doctors are fantastic.
  • When a nurse says “big pinch” what she really means is, “I’m about to stick you with a needle that also gets used to tranquilize bison, so try not to scream like a girl.” Sometimes I wish the nurses would just say straight up, “Look, this is going to hurt like the dickens, so don’t embarrass yourself.”
  • The guy who invented the hospital gown should be forced to wear one every single day for the rest of his life. The hospital gown is, hands down, the most degrading piece of clothing ever invented. Just trying to get the thing on is like a circus act. I never can get the right straps tied together, and, inevitably, part of my backside is left exposed. It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is.
  • The time space continuum works differently in the hospital. A minute takes an hour, and an hour takes three hours. I was at the ER for either six hours or six weeks. I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with The Matrix.

After a battery of tests, including drinking an awful liquid that tasted like sweetened dish water, having a CT scan, and giving up precious pints of my own blood, the doctor concluded that I probably have a stomach ulcer. This is both good news and bad news. It’s good news because, praise God, it’s not worse. God is kind to me! It’s bad news because it means I can’t drink coffee for weeks (I told myself I wasn’t going to cry…).

Now it’s a waiting game. Lord willing, the ulcer will heal on it’s own and I’ll be back to my coffee guzzling ways. But until then…tea. But I will suffer boldly!

Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer. I drink too much coffee and know too much about Star Wars. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook