August 10th, 2004

White Coat

Now it bothers me.

Angel called me at 0630 this morning, just after I had hit the snooze on my alarm. Surprise and bewilderment. "You know that pain in my right corner of my stomach?" he says to me. "It woke me up, and it won't go away."
There is something about hearing the man you love is in pain. I was instantly awake. And a very strange thing happened to me, O Best Beloved. The wife and lover in me went to war against the doctor in me, and I used all my own weapons against myself. On the one side, I asked all the right questions, got a history that was brief but complete enough to point to the primary on a differential. On the other, I seized onto the lowest-probability item and panicked. What if it's a perforated ulcer? It's not, he's got biliary colic, he's had this pain before. A duodenal ulcer. Or pancreatitis. O havens, he's going to die. It's biliary colic. He has a stone. "Fever or chills? Throwing up?" Rebound tenderness! Ask about rebound tenderness!

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I have been chasing problems all day - I took 20 minutes to eat lunch and an hour for noon conference and I grabbed dinner at 1900 - 12 hours after I got here to the hospital - and I have been smiling, laughing, joking. I love it.

But tonight, I do not want to be on call. I want to be at home, where my Angel is on a bland diet, low-fat, no alcohol, and I want to make him something to eat and hold him in my arms and see for myself that he is all right. I want to be a wife and a lover tonight.

Dear God: Watch over my Angel.
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