@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
COVID, The Hospital & Things Being Okay
Hello, there! Did you miss me? I was out of commission for a few days with COVID plus a sinus infection accompanied with an ear infection. The ear infection was the most troublesome. So much so, I’m starting electrode acupuncture in hopes to remedy my chronic inner ear problems because I am done. I barely had COVID symptoms. Never had a fever nor did I develop a cough. But I was really tired. Sleeping most of the day and night.
Six days after my COVID diagnosis, I woke up last Sunday morning around 6am with a horrible pain in my abdomen just below my rib cage. It also should be noted that for about a week I was experience a dull pain in my lower right back/kidney area, a pain that was being overshadowed by my ear pain.
I was doubled over in pain. I don’t usually get heartburn/indigestion but my most logical diagnosis at the time was this. The night before I had made rice and fish with turmeric. I also had a “cooling” NyQuil. Perhaps these two things triggered this? I couldn’t be sure. I texted my brother in law who suffers from heart burn more than anyone I know (he says the best thing is drinking like a gallon of alkaline water a day and that has helped better than all the medications (he’s tried them all) the only downside is peeing all the time).
In my apartment, I didn’t have any tums or even milk. I summoned an Uber eats driver and paid $20 to get a 7-11 delivery of milk and tums (haha) that came around 7am. I tried the tums and the milk and it didn’t really help much. I fell back to sleep around 9am. Only to wake up an hour later in excruciating pain, I couldn’t stand, I was literally screaming in pain. The last time I remember my abdomen hurting that bad is when I had appendicitis and they removed my appendix.
I called my aunt who is a retired nurse. In tears, I explained what was happen and she advised I immediately go to a walk in or Hospital. Trouble was, I could barely move to change out of my pajamas (bright yellow Minions boxer shorts and a bright red Coca-Cola shirt).
I struggled to see my phone through the tears in my eyes. But I texted my buddy to cover me for my radio job, that I was going to the hospital. I also texted my boss letting him know. I phoned an ambulance and cried in my bed until they showed up, clutching my belly. I texted my neighbor in hopes she would be home to let them in, unsure if I could stand (she wasn’t). When they arrived, I managed to crawl out of my apartment sans shoes. So they made me go back inside and get shoes (haha).
This was the first time in my life I called an ambulance for myself (growing up we lived down the block from the hospital, between all of us we were frequent customers). Being in Queens, I’m also not far from a hospital, a perk when you’re in a tremendous amount of pain, you’re quite thankful for.
It was near impossible to hold back tears in the ambulance and I felt silly in my stupid pajamas I didn’t have the strength to change out of. Once in the ER, there was a (white) man, screaming at the black nurses that the judges in this country are part of a white supremacist group and they’re trying to make slavery legal again. His friend who admitted him said he ate a “weed edible” and that’s why he was acting this way. Deep sigh and eye roll. Sounds more like he’s on meth, guy. Anyway, I deeply hated that man, being in so much pain, I couldn’t really see the humor in it even though the nurses laughed about it after they were forced to subdue him.
Gradually, my pain started dissipating on it’s own. Because of my symptoms, medical history and my family history, it was assumed this was kidney stones. As kidney stone pain tends to go from 10 to 100 instantly and it mimics other pain and can just kind of come and go. I’ve had kidney stones before, so has my brother and my mom and my sister have been hospitalized for them more than once. My moms side of the family is heavily pre-disposed to them. She’s one of six kids and five of them have had stones at least once in their life (ouch, fucking genetics).
Eventually, I was put in a machine for CT scan, that proved it wasn’t my gallbladder but it also didn’t show any kidney stones. CT scans do pick up most stones, but not necessarily small or granular ones.
I was discharged, told to drink a lot of fluids and monitor my pee. The extreme pain never returned (thank god, Moses, Egyptian gods, Zues, whomever). But the dull right kidney pain persisted for days until one day, there was a little blood in my pee and the next day, I (finally) felt back to myself.
Man, life sucks when your health isn’t in order. Suddenly, just feeling normal feels like ecstasy. I was so excited just to be able to jog again. Yes, jogging I missed. And couldn’t wait to do it again. To feel strong.
What’s more is my mental health has been so good lately. Obviously, 2020 and most of 2021 were hiccuped due to world tragedy and spiraled me into a low. But things are good, if not great. I have my writing jobs, including a joke writing position for the #1 late night show in television, where, I work with friends. Stand-up has been getting some traction and I’ve been auditioning for cool stuff. I have a super sweet boyfriend with a boyish smile who laughs at all my (sometimes very stupid) jokes. Most of my family members are healthy (there are, sadly, a couple of exceptions). My favorite season is on the way. I can afford to go out to dinners and hand over my credit card without a pit in my stomach if I’ll have enough money to make rent. I drive a cool car. I have the best friends who make me laugh constantly. I wrote a movie I’m so proud of that my management is pitching to some huge and some small production companies. Life is never easy, but living right now just flows. And I know it’s only temporary. Hard times will come again. They always do. Financial distress can always be around the corner (especially with this career path). Heartbreak, whether personal or professional, is guaranteed like snow in the winter time. You don’t know for sure when it’ll come, but it will. And we’ll get through it.
So in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy it. Because I’ve been through enough troubled times, existential dread, and self torture to know that we deserve good things. Embrace it. It can be fleeting. Be there for it. Really be there, instead of worrying about the inevitable bad things. This way, the memories of these good times will save us in the future. These times will save us.