April 10, 2023

memory, test prep, & a meltdown

In preparation for my SIBO test, I haven't eaten probiotics or my protein shake since the week before I left for Ireland. Two staples. On Wednesday last week, I headed to the hospital for the 3 hour test. 

BUT FIRST:  Wednesday morning, I took 5 kids to the grocery store. Not typical protocol, but I was unsure of how I was going to find time to make our house, particularly the upstairs, presentable to house guests. Somewhere along the line, I'd miscalculated:  Easter was 10 days after Ireland, and in between I was in Milwaukee for b-ball.  

Many people complimented me on the excellent behavior of the 5 little ones. I had one in the cart, and the other 4 followed me closely, single-file. If they veered away from me, they'd land in oncoming cart traffic. My secret?  They like to play Memory.

At the store, I'd dangled the carrot they always hope for:  

if you're good, we will play two games of Memory. 

So, they avoided oncoming cart traffic. One guy picked up a tomato, but quickly put it down when I shot him the evil eye. I bought a ton.  My littles were amazed at the heap of food in my cart. 

During check out, the lights flickered. The power blip sent the computer into a tizzy. We waited. 10 minutes. Nothing. Believe it or not, I still intended to run to Costco. What can I say, I was on a mission. I had limited time, because I had to be back for the 11 am preschool bus that drops off 2 more kids. You knew that I like to live on the edge, didn't you? 

Me:  (as they started to load my groceries OUT of the cart and onto a neighboring/functioning conveyor belt) So, I need to go. I can't wait for you to re-ring this. I'll have to come back after the preschool bus. I'm not brining these guys back in here, but you can come out and grab my credit card. 

They agreed to my terms. I bolted to Costco and called Becky. ARE YOU HOME? (she wasn't sitting that day) IF I GET STUCK AT COSTCO CAN YOU RUN OVER AND GET THE KIDS OFF THE BUS FOR ME? She agreed to bail me out if necessary. 

I finished Costco in record time, I called Becky: ALL GOOD, THE EAGLE FLIES AT MIDNIGHT. 

I unloaded the Costco food and brought parts of the 5 kids' lunches out to the car to get them started. There would be no unbuckling - I'd rather take a fork to the eye than unbuckle needlessly. 

Me:  We have to go back to the first grocery store after the bus comes THEN we can come home, finish eating, and play Memory. TWICE.

Well, the bus never came. Had I missed it? Normally the school would call to say HEY DUMB ASS THE KIDS ARE BACK AT THE BUILDING, YOU MUST COME GET THEM HERE. 

I called the school. The kids were out sick. COME AGAIN? The mom forgot to call me. I was coated in sweat, hungry, sporting CRAZY windy-day hair, behind schedule, and I still needed to go back to grocery store #1, curbside pay (which isn't really a thing), get the food home and put away, feed 5 kids remaining lunch, play Memory twice, and call the hostpial to ask which building I should go to. Dang.

I raced back for my groceries - melted ice cream, anyone? Was constant motion for an hour. Coach came home early. I set up Memory, gave him naptime instructions, and gave him a good start in Memory. He was gonna have to finish up. As I raced to the car, I heard a kid inform him of their bonus game. 

Me:  Oops, I forgot to tell him. Ah, he'll figure it out. 

I drove 30 minutes, parked, got inside and asked where room 1101 was (I'd called in advance), and found out I was in the wrong building. Happens every time I go there. Back to the car. Drove 4 buildings away. Valeted my car. Was now really late. Waited in line at the wrong place. Texted Coach that I was on the verge of tears. Got to the correct place. Waited for over an hour before they called me back for my THREE HOUR TEST. 

The nurses: Have you eaten probiotics? *No.* Antibiotics? *No.* What'd you eat yesterday? 

Me:  Huh? The usual. Oatmeal. Apple. Cobb Salad . . .

Nurse:  Hmm, well . . . you were supposed to eat a bland diet. I'm sorry, we won't be able to give you this test today. 

Bottom line - I screwed up. I set the appoitment up so long ago and I do have a few notes on my calendar about what to eat the day before the test, but I didn't remember. 

Me:  I love how this hospital calls to get my credit card, but you can't tell me which building to go to or how to prepare.

Nurse:  Well, you aren't on the portal. The info is on the portal. (later she informed me that they'd sent me an email. I never saw it). 


Regardless if it was a portal, or a missed email that probably looked like junk mail, I didn't remember, or get the info in writing - I just had a few notes on a corner of my calendar. 

Something was going to fall through the cracks, since life has been a tad distracting/chaotic lately. I was READY to eat my yogurt. I've been unable to eat what I want since 2015. Additionally, since October, I've stopped eating corn or popcorn. I'm tried. REALLY tired. 

I'm on my 3rd GI. I honestly feel fine most of the time, but when things go south - life gets a little dicey. Where will I be the next time I have an episode? Who knows? 


I sobbed until my face was purple and my eyes were slits. I couldn't get a signal to call Coach. I think the nurses were close to calling upstairs:  


Eventually settled down, mostly, and rescheduled for Tuesday at 1:00. Curly has to take a half day off school to cover my babysitting (she has a light afternoon). Today I can only eat rice, eggs, chicken broth, water, baked or broiled chicken. And tomorrow, I cannot eat or DRINK ANYTHING. Like, at all - the test is not until 1:00.

I might have to ask the toddlers to flip over the cards for me during our Tuesday Memory match, because I doubt I'll have the strength. 

Wanna make it interesting:  they'll never figure out my issue at some point (not SIBO) or I have SIBO? 

Easter was lovely, BTW - and my dad shared some great family non-secrets with Mini's friends. More later, but first I'm off to gnaw on my own arm. 


Nicole said...

Oh Ernie, that sounds absolutely dreadful. I would be a mess too. After all that, and not getting the test. What a day! You are such a busy woman and then adding all these health things on top of it - ugh. I really hope they figure it out AND SOON!!!

Colleen said...

I would be a crying mess too. I hate when I use so much brain power and planning and energy and things still don't go right. When I used to bring all my little kids to the store, somebody would always ask "are they all yours?" which I always found hysterical, like why would I ever bring extra kids that weren't mine to the store? And yet, you did it! :)

ccr in MA said...

Oh, Ernie, no! After all your amazing work! I could cry with you. I hope this test goes through, and gets you some answers.

Nance said...

It's like a Circle Of Hell, really.

You have my sympathies. I hope they put you under for this test because it will be the rest you so desperately need. XO

Pat Birnie said...

Ernie I’m so sorry this happened. I’m not surprised you were a sobbing mess. I cannot believe all that you do with those littles! And brilliant that you told the grocery store exactly how they would handle the pile of groceries and your payment. I really do hope this gets sorted out soon.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It definitely felt like the last straw for me. I came unglued. I'm sure the women who were trying to talk me off the ledge were like WHAT ON EARTH. There has been a lot to cope with recently and lots of emotions and this just pushed me over the edge. I wish I knew for sure that this test, which is VERY expensive - as was the endoscopy that I had a few months ago, was going to supply answers.

Ernie said...

Colleen - Agreed. I did take a moment to think - if one thing was going to go wrong, at least it was this and not an expired passport or missed flight with all the trips to Ireland last month.

People used to ask me all the time when they saw me with 6 kids (or less) if I was done. Like, what? Why would they think I would discuss this with them? I laughed that YES, I'M THE ONE WHO DOES BRING ALL THE KIDS TO THE GROCERY STORE - KIDS THAT AREN'T MINE. I don't like to make a practice of it though. Exhibit A.

Ernie said...

ccr - Thanks. It was so frustrating. Thankfully I can get it done tomorrow, so I can SOON go back to eating my glorious yogurt. Today is rough - so MANY Easter leftovers, and I can only eat the hard boiled eggs.

Ernie said...

Nance - A circle of Hell indeed. That made me laugh. They won't be putting me under - then I'd have to have Coach with me and he'd have to take a day off of work. I did get over 7 hours of sleep lasst night. The weekend was a blur of busy. Food prep and travel ball games to rush off to and house guests. I wonder if I can nap between the breathing bits tomorrow.

Ernie said...

Pat - I've never been SUCH a disaster over something that didn't involve an actual loss, like a death. I walked out of the hospital and got looks from people and I felt bad because some people were probably really ill and I was just frustrated.

It really wasn't the grocery store's fault, but I was like OK. NOT WAITING AROUND FOR THIS TO BE RE-RUNG. I was pleasant and asked them to work with me, and I was relieved that they did. I wonder if they recognized me as the crazy woman who spends more there than any other customer.

Kari said...

Omg, this sounds awful. I'm so sorry.
So you're getting the test done this week?
I'm so glad your Easter was lovely. ❤️

Bijoux said...

How upsetting. It’s so hard to mentally prepare for medical testing, so when it doesn’t happen, crying is the only option. I’m also tired of being told to read instructions online, fill out check in information online, etc. Just hand me a piece of paper!

You are brave to shop with 5 little ones. I rarely took my 3. I need peace and quiet in my head to shop for anything.

Happy belated Easter!

Ernie said...

Kari - It was so frustrating. On the upside, at least I know where to go now. I'm doing the test tomorrow. I cannot drink water or eat anything tomorrow until after the 3 hour test that starts at 1. If I never blog again, you know that I didn't survive without food for that long. ;)

Ernie said...

Bijoux - It's so weird. It sounds like a spa day - sit and breathe into a machine off and on for 3 hours? OK. I will be so dang hungry though. I hope I have the energy to drive there. No water even? So weird.

The online stuff is irritating to me. The blood work I had done before Christmas when the doc first noticed I'd lost weight - came back to the portal and I was able to view the results without my doctor's help interpreting them. That was DUMB. The results were BAD (probably bc it turned out I had covid). Patients shouldn't be able to review that stuff on their own.

It is not a normal practice to grocery shop with them - desperate times and all that.

Thank you. Hope you had a wonderful Easter, with grandkids?

Cindy said...

Oh! My! Word! What a frustrating situation. I hope they figure out what you're dealing with, and that this crazy season calms down soon.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Oh that sounds so frustrating! I would have cried too! Actually, I'm impressed you only cried once!

Thinking of you today. I hope they find some answers -- or at least are definitively able to CLEAR you of scary things.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You've gone above and beyond to make this test happen, and it didn't. I can't imagine the stress. Frustration. Annoyance. All the feelings. :(
You took five kids to the grocery store. FIVE. You are officially my Hero.
You had me laughing: I'd rather take a fork to the eye than unbuckle needlessly.
I can't believe A mom forgot to tell you she had kids at home, sick. Ughhh....she has no idea the trouble you go through.

Wishing you all the best today. XOXO

Ally Bean said...

I'm sorry to read this and understand your reaction: "I'M TIRED OF PORTALS." Honestly anything that has to do with medical situations is awful anymore, not necessarily because of what is wrong with you but because of the dependence on computer stuff.

On a lighter note, laughing about you taking five kids to the grocery with you. You are a glutton for punishment, but a genius about creating blog-worthy events.

Ernie said...

Cindy- It was very frustrating. Especially because I really don't think I have SIBO. I feel fine most of the time but when things ramp up, well it is just unpredictable.

Ernie said...

Suz- Just when I thought I was the world champ of multi tasking. Crash and burn. It was such a bummer. I'm sitting in the chair now at the hospital in a freezing room and had to ask for a heated blanket. Meanwhile it is 78 outside. Eek. Fortunately it will be 78 and sunny again tomorrow.

5 kids at the grocery store? I could do that blindfolded. Ha!

I took 8 to the park today and I managed to skin my elbow. I believe is was caused in from a wrestling match with a carseat. The seats are jammed into the Great White really tight and crawling around in there to buckle is not my fav thing.

Not the 1st time she failed to tell me her kids stayed home from school. She also does not do a note or card or gift or baked good or ANYTHING at Christmas or end of year. I watch BOTH of her children. I assume life is overwhelming for her for one reason or another so I try to cut her some slack but that is thoughtless.

Thank you.

Ernie said...

Ally- I so agree. The nonsense with CHECK THE PORTAL and FILL OUT THE FORMS ONLINE - FIND THEM ON OUR WEBSITE is super annoying. I can never remember the name of the portal for my family doc. It isn't the name of their group. Counter productive to me.

There was a conversation at my house on Easter that blew my mind. Sometimes life causes my blogger content cup to runner over.

Ernie said...

Suzanne- we will attribute my out of order here with my lack of nutrition. A yogurt awaits me in the car in a cooler.

I will be very interested to see what the results of this test are.

Beth Cotell said...

As I am typing this, your test should almost be over! I hope it goes well and that you eat a big meal afterwards!! I am hoping that they are able to figure out what is going on with you.

Ernie said...

Beth - I feel like I just got a text from you. Hee hee. Thank you. I'm about an hour into the test, but this nurse said 3.5 hours. Boo. It took a few mintues of waiting in the waiting room and getting things set up. They took a baseline breathing thing and then had me drink some glucose something or other - a tiny takeout condiment size. I have to report how I feel every 15 minutes when she has me breathe into the bag. I have some pain in my side, is this important? Does this reveal anything? No idea, but I can't wait for the portal to tell me the results. Ugh.

Kara said...

Good luck to you today! I really hope you get answers.

I hate health portals. So much. I can't remember my logins to things I use on a daily basis, let alone things I use once every 6 months to a year. And none of the portals talk to each other. My dermatologist doesn't talk to my endocrinologist, and no one talks to the dentist. Why can't we have a universal system?

Ernie said...

Kara - Thank you. I survived. I was VERY hungry and thirsty and was so happy when the valet brought GW so I could dive into the cooler I packed. I was glad to find some snacks in the bottom of my purse while I waited.

You said it. The sign ins, the names of the actual portals. Have I set up a portal here? I don't remember. Irritating.

Bibliomama said...

Oh good lord, what a day. I would have sobbed too - actually I had a day sort of like this when I was pregnant and I did sob too, all over my midwife's office. I freaking hate the stupid hospital labyrinth and how you can never get a straight answer about anything and the stupid portal and how I can never remember the password for the portal and it all sucks. We have to figure out my dad's MyChart password for a zoom meeting at the end of May and I'm already anxious about it. I really hope you get some kind of resolution to this soon.

Ernie said...

Ali - I couldn't help but wonder when I had a different nurse the following week when I showed up to the test dehydrated and starving, as I was ordered, that maybe the other nurses asked to have the day off to avoid me. I was too weak from my test prep to be a problem though.

The portal stuff is mind blowing. I think it is NOT best practices to have mere mortals see their results before the doctor explains them. Didn't they spend years in medial school for this type of thing?

It was a day. And a half.

Anne said...

Oh, Ernie. I need to jump ahead and see if you found out your results yet. But first, I had to comment on this:

I'm on my 3rd GI. I honestly feel fine most of the time, but when things go south - life gets a little dicey. Where will I be the next time I have an episode? Who knows?

This. Is. My. Life. I'm only on my 1st GI, but I've seen multiple rheumatologists, had many scans, and still no one knows why I double up in pain several times a week/month/whatever interval my body decides it wants.

And the uncertainty of no diagnosis AND no fricking clue when an episode will hit sucks. so. bad.

I'm currently sitting here, in pain after eating something when I (as usual) have no appetite, and dreading having to go in to teach in an hour. What the hell am I going to do if it doesn't magically go away? Grit my teeth and get through it, as usual, but... omg, it sucks. It just sucks. Just wanted to say I hear you. :(