The $50 Tummy Ache

I generally like Mondays.  I do.

Starting a fresh, new week.  Flipping that page in the lesson plan book and personal planner. It’s so lovely.

But yesterday? Tried to kill me.  Or at least damage me greatly.

It started out fine.  I was on schedule and everything.

Got up, showered, made a protein shake and a cup of coffee and left for work before 6:45am.  I was even at work in time to make some copies before school started.

First hour we worked on vocab and demonstrative adjectives in Spanish.

Second hour we discussed chapter 6 from The Scarlet Letter.

Third hour, I suddenly had what I can only describe as severe gas pains.  Or at least that is what I thought they were.  They started around 9:45am and got more and more intense as the hour wore on and as I struggled to talk about those pesky demonstrative adjectives again.

At one point I had to leave the room because I thought I might vomit from the pain.  I was right.  Twice.

By the end of the hour, and by the third trip to the bathroom to try to vomit (or pass something out another way), I decided I needed to go home.  There was no way I could teach through this.

So I emailed the secretaries at both schools to let them know I was going home and would need a sub for my 2 hours at the junior high school.

At this point the pain was so bad it felt like when I had my second miscarriage, so I started to get afraid there was something very wrong.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant (or at least I REALLY HOPED I wasn’t), so I didn’t think it could be anything with my reproductive equipment, but with my history, I started getting nervous.

And so I drove home.  It’s a 35-minute commute.  When you feel like you might birth an organ, that is the longest drive EVER.

And of course within a couple miles of my exit, there was construction that backed traffic up to a crawl.  It probably only added about 4 minutes to my drive, but it felt like an hour.  I mean, I had to puke in a cup because the pain was so bad.  I’m pretty sure THOSE workers went home with a story to their families.

At this point my vision started getting blurry and I thought I might pass out…which actually sounded sort of awesome because it would give me temporary relief from the pain.  Of course, I didn’t want to crash my car, so I focused with an intensity that put me on the verge of tears.

I almost hit the lawn mower in our garage with my fast park job.  I actually had to sit on the garage floor because my knees about gave out under me after exiting my car.  I sort of wanted to lay on the cool pavement for awhile, but lucky I had not gone completely insane, and I pulled myself into the house.

I got my jammies on and hit the toilet for some more heaving–because by this time, the protein shake and 2 sips of coffee were long gone from my tummy.

During this time I was texting with Cortney about the fact that my stomach was trying to escape out of me and was ripping and tearing in its efforts.  He decided to take an early lunch (noon) and come check on me.

By this time, all the pain was on the right side.  It wrapped from my lower abdomen all the way to my lower back.  This worried Cort since seven years ago he had the same symptoms for 2 days before he admitted defeat to the ER where they took his appendix with only moments to spare before it burst.

And so we went to the ER.

I heaved in the car.  Cort was not amused.

After Cort got me checked in to the ER, I fell asleep in the waiting room.  When I woke up, I could walk and there was only a bit of cramping left.  The nurse wanted a urine sample due to the fact that it could be a tubal pregnancy, kidney stones, or any number of things.  But she for sure wanted to make sure I wasn’t pregnant.

She did assure us that most appendix cases don’t go from 0 pain to 10 that quickly.

I wasn’t sure if that was good or not since it seemed bad to go from fine to throwing up in less than an hour.

So I peed in a cup.  And suddenly felt completely fine.  Other than exhausted.

The NP gave me an exam and said it could be gas, although it didn’t sound like it since it was all on the right side.  He guessed that if the urine came back not pregnant, it was probably stones.

The urine came back not pregnant (yes, we both fell back with relief.  what?), but there was no blood that would indicate stones either.  He did tell me that 20% of stones are very small and don’t leave blood in the urine,  and since it cleared up after peeing, he would guess that is what happened.

And then he sent me home.  So we paid our $50 co-pay and I carried my no longer needed puke bucket back out to the truck with me.

I’ll admit I felt dumb.

I still feel dumb.

I went  to the ER for “nothing”, cost us $50 we don’t have, and two hours of Cort’s time away from work to take me…unpaid.

All to learn that I should drink a bunch of water and take a nap.

Cort assured me I did the right thing by requesting to go in, and that he would have done the same.

I just couldn’t believe that I was in SO MUCH PAIN hours earlier, and later?  Nothing but exhaustion.

I still feel kind of dumb…and I am crabby that I now have to go to work early today to do the copies and planning I didn’t get to do yesterday.

As someone pointed out on twitter, September has been sort of a doozy for our family.

We could use and easier October.

Until then…we will just put away Monday and try to make Tuesday better.

And less stoney.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Gah that’s awful, I’m so sorry to hear that. You didn’t do anything wrong with going in – there’s always the what if, and you had that answered, so that’s okay.

    Now, drink more water and take naps!

  2. I would not wish kidney stones or gall stones on my worst enemy, Ever. I am glad you are okay but sorry you had to go through all of that..

  3. This sounds like TMI but if your in the middle of your cycle it might be your egg releasing from your ovary. It’s called middle-smirtz (sp) it’s a real thing I swear lol . It sounds exactly what I have had occasionally and it happens pretty rare my doctor recommends taking Aleve. It is super painful!

  4. I have mittleschmerz most cycles and it’s nowhere near that bad… Anyway, I’m so sorry you had this happen! I agree that you should *definitely* not beat yourself up for going in. Don’t mess around with either possible appendicitis OR possible ectopic pregnancy. It’s good that it turned out to be nothing, and that copayment wasn’t wasted; that’s exactly what it’s for.

  5. I don’t think you should feel stupid or like you wasted anything! That fast of pain and vomiting isn’t something to mess with. Even if you’re better now, it’s good that you have the peace of mind that it isn’t anything more serious. (And ouch. Yes, an easier October for the Sluiters!)

  6. Glad that you went and got it checked out; with symptoms like that, you never know what’s going on. Years ago I ended up in the ER with K at 4 am; they sent us home a while later with pain meds. We were back that night and stayed almost a week. Felt dumb having to go back, but obviously there was an issue.

    Always trust your gut. If it says go to the hospital, go. Sucks to be out the $50, but at least you’ve got the peace of mind that you are okay.

  7. Holy crap, KT!

    I can’t believe you DROVE home!


    Promise that in the future if you ever have weird symptoms like that, first you’ll take a whiz. And then if you still feel barfy and miserable, you’ll either get someone to drive you to the hospital or call an ambulance. You could have actually hurt yourself (or someone else) by getting into an accident! So glad it was a $50 tummy ache and nothing more. Thank goodness your husband has a job where he is able to leave and come and check on you.

    So glad you are okay!

  8. Wow, that’s terrible! It does sound like stones to me. My dad had them once, and he was in the worst pain of his life, but once they passed – nothing. I hope that’s the end of it for you!

  9. You did the right thing going in. You didn’t know it was a stone and what if it was something worse. Better safe than sorry and $50 is worth that.

    Also, glad you are all better.

  10. How awful. My DH also had awful pains which in the end nobody knew what they were but they could have been kidney stones.
    Don’t feel bad about going to the ER – better safe than sorry.

  11. I had pain like that once. . .

    It started as a slight pain and then progressively got worse.

    I went to the hospital via ambulance (because the pain was excruciating and my family wanted to rush me there)

    The EMT’s all thought it was kidney stones.

    The triage nurse thought is was kidney stones and made me walk (by myself) to the ER waiting room and handed me a cup in case I had to pee to catch the stone. (I tried to pee and couldn’t because the pain was so severe).

    After finally getting into a room, I was given a big dose of pain meds. The doctor ordered a cat scan.

    After the cat scan I was told that I had a “large” cyst on my left ovary. Was then discharged and told to follow up with my GYN.

    I go to my GYN and am told that I will have to have surgery. I ask just how “large” this cyst is.

    My doctor laughed and said, “OH! It is one of the largest that I have seen. It is easily the size of a cantaloupe. I can’t believe you didn’t know it was there before now!”

    I was shocked. I had imagined it maybe being the size of a silver dollar (which is big, if you ask me). I never once considered the cyst to be the size of a huge fruit. . .

    My point? It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    You went and eased yours and Cort’s minds.

    That’s really all that matters.

  12. Flip that around and think how dumb you would’ve felt NOT going and having some seriously wrong. Whatever you had going on definitely produced some noteworthy and rather concerning symptoms. VERY glad you’re feeling better. Take care of yourself.

  13. See? Never trust a Monday; they are devil made.

    Glad you’re feeling better and yeah, the dumb feeling is normal but only b/c you were ok. If you weren’t you’d be way more grateful that you actually went in. Besides, gas can get horribly painful (I don’t want to mention stones, so I won’t. Again).

  14. Yikes!! Katie!! I’ve had some gnarly bladder infections, but never dealt with kidney stones. Glad you’re better!


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