Things Fall Apart

On May 10, 2011 by Eden M. Kennedy

You’ve been waiting a long time to Internet-diagnose my latest disease or uncomfortable physical symptom, and now that wait is over.

Sunday morning I woke up around 3:00 a.m. — okay, no, it started earlier. Last month I remember lying in my bed at the Fisherman’s Wharf hotel where Alice and I were staying, and I had a weird little sensation in my lower right torso quadrant. Just a little, “Huh, that’s unusual” feeling, an intestinal princess-and-the-pea moment. I kept an eye on it, so to speak, and then I got my ladies time and the feeling went away. The consciousness of the feeling went away? I went back to my usual brain-in-a-jar, neutral body mode feeling like I’d managed to dodge, if not a bullet, then something benign but potentially inconvenient like a runaway shopping cart or a surprised skunk.

Fortunately for you, the Internet, the story does not end there.

Sunday morning, around 3:00 a.m., I got a little jolt in the now-forgotten-about lower right torso quadrant. I lay there in a pool of adrenaline and felt around my whole abdomen, thinking about a friend I ran into years ago when he was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. Standing there in his elastic-waisted pants he told me that the only symptom he’d had was that his whole abdomen had felt sore, like he’d done too many sit-ups. Was my whole abdomen sore? Well, no, not exactly, but I’d gone to a fairly vigorous yoga class the day before so maybe it was sore, but maybe I was confusing some latent core soreness with internal organ . . . huffiness.

I got up. I went to the bathroom. I got a glass of water. I came back and sat back down on the edge of the bed and I thought about the week ahead. I had to work Monday, but I could go into the hospital Monday night and get my appendix removed and be well enough to make an important meeting on Thursday. Yes, that could work. I lay back down. It was so lucky that we’d cancelled this week’s book events in Denver and L.A.! Clearly the Gods who were in charge of my monthly schedule had foreseen this bump in the road.

I finally got back to sleep by convincing myself to think about something else. I may have prayed myself to sleep. My prayers usually go a little something like this:

Hi, whoever is protecting me. You are doing a really great job, I have nothing to complain about and I am really lucky to have you looking out for me. Like when I was driving home from that party but really shouldn’t have been because once I got on the road I realized I was seeing two of everything and had to drive home with one eye shut. Thank you for letting me and everyone on the road with me that night live, I will never do that again. Thank you also for my family. Thank you for my job that I love. Thank you for letting some of my dreams come true. Thank you for all the crazy little ways you make my life work more smoothly. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And then I say “thank you” in my head a couple of dozen times and then I fall asleep because I’ve forgotten what I was worried about.

And then I woke up and it was Mother’s Day, which I spent in bed having food brought to me and watching movies cuddled up with my son. And bleeding a little bit, but let’s look at some flowers first.

These were from my mother-in-law in New York.

These were from Jackson.

These were from Jack. EDITED TO ADD: Jack would like me to add that he went to Sarah and said, “Give me a dozen roses,” and Sarah said, “No, I have something else in mind for Eden,” and gave him those. Sarah is a bro. She also sells Webkinz, Mighty Beanz, Playmobil, and Legos, so we’ve spent some time in her shop over the years.

These were also from Jack (from here). (The Buddha is full of caramel!)

And this I bought for myself. It’s a self-portrait Jackson did in kindergarten set in silver (from here).

Movies watched: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Kung Fu Panda, Galaxy Quest.

Monday morning I got up and went to work. Work, work, work. At one point I Googled the symptoms for ovarian cyst but then things got busy and I spent the rest of my work time working. I felt a little light-headed at one point, and I decided that this was the result of some badly repressed late-onset panic, and had nothing to do with the fact that I’d eaten a cookie for lunch. Then I got off of work and got into my car and started down the road and suddenly, horribly realized that neither my head lights, my tail lights, nor my turn signals were functioning. This gave me an even deeper flashback: in tenth grade we covered my friend Marcia’s car with banners explaining how our team was going to kick some other team’s ass, and we taped one of the banners over Marcia’s tail lights. We were then almost rear-ended several times until a kindly motorist got out of her car and explained to us that tail lights serve an important function in that they warn the cars behind you that you are slowing down. We don’t drive around calculating each other’s speed using astrolabes or Doppler sonography, we depend on the simple visual cue that tail lights provide.

In honor of that important life lesson, I drove home from work in the slow lane with 200 yards between me and the car ahead of me, letting everyone and their dog pass me so that I wouldn’t get rear-ended or kill anyone behind me when I got to my exit. I did not go so far as to roll down my window and use hand signals in place of turn signals, but I made it home without meeting any other cars, so.

Professional called to ask for advice about car problem: Mechanic.

Mechanic’s advice: Turn the ignition to the left, then halfway to the right, and see if lights begin to work again. (They did!)

Mechanic’s further advice: You probably need a new ignition.

My response to mechanic: What? I can’t hear you over the sound of my blinkers, which are working fine now.

Jack’s response: Sure, why not wait until the ignition goes out completely and strands you somewhere. In the dark. While you’re drunk.

My response to Jack: This is how God will continue to protect me from ever drinking and driving again.

Meanwhile . . .

Professional called to consult about abdominal abnormality: Midwife.

Midwife’s advice: Get a sonogram.

Midwife’s further advice: Or you could wait until your next cycle and see what happens.

My response to midwife: Thank you for letting me call you for free medical advice ten years after you helped my baby to be born.

Jack’s response: Do it now, while we have health insurance.

My response to Jack: I think I’ll go get a sonogram.



32 Responses to “Things Fall Apart”

  • Get the sonogram and I’m feeling good about it being something that they tell you it’s a side effect of, you know, being a woman and having a low right quadrant and that that wisdom and the sonogram will cure it totally.

    But it could be that my brain is thoroughly addled by those blazingly beautiful pictures above. My eyes, my nose and my taste buds are all violently warring about which is most envious.

  • Eagerly awaiting the results, here.

    And ohmigod, those chocolates!

  • And the flowers!

  • Fingers crossed for you here! And after seeing those pictures?? I am officially dissatisfied! You have one child? I have five…..not that you can measure love with flowers and chocolates…..but you can get a good idea…..and become officially dissatisfied!

  • Does it feel like something is pushing against your hip joint from the inside? I have that, but on my left side. I’ve had it for years and the sonogram I had last year was clear, though they did have to poke around so much to find my left ovary, I’m not unconvinced that it wasn’t up to something… ovaries are known for their trickiness, after all.

  • In my lightly educated, non-doctor mind you have a polyp. (I did when I had that problem. ) When they went in to get it they also did something called an ablation that is supposed to stop my lady time of the month. It is too early to tell if it worked, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    I got roses for mother’s day, and a promise from my kids not to bicker that lasted until 10:00. AM.

    • I got an ablation last September. Since then, I’ve used ONE tampon. Just one. Wait, that sounds like I’ve used one tampon the whole time. It was just one day…and not even the whole day…just part of the day. Anyway, where’s my wine? I mean, anyway, the ablation was the best thing ever. For real. Even the surgery was great. It was like a day at the spa. Everyone waited on me, I got to sleep for awhile and they sent me home with Dilaudid. I win.

      Eden, for now I’m going to think positive and just say that I hope you enjoy your sonogram as much as I enjoyed my ablation.

      • Momo– I love hearing your ablation stories because I’m getting mine done next Tuesday. One tampon would be a freaking dream come true. A lot better than 30 to 40.

  • How are you so hip that even your chocolates are cool?!!?! My husband did get me chocolates, though, and, in his defense, I’m fairly certain you could not find chocolates like that in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

  • I am coveting those chocolates badly. Is that one shaped like a little slip on shoe?!?! And the turtle………love them all.

  • I need a chocolate caramel buddha in my life.

  • I had a similar thing happen to me a couple months ago, so I had the sonogram. It looked like I had an entire desk set stashed in there.

    Apparently having Swinglines in your lady parts is fine, because the doc said he hadn’t seen anything untoward.

  • It’s probably nothing, but definitely worth having checked out. My body is doing all kinds of crazy shit now that I’m in throes of perimenopause; I hope that’s all it is with you. Good thoughts headed your way.

  • I’m Tivo-ing the next episode. Can’t wait!

  • Thanks, you guys, this was the sort of reassurance I was hoping for. I just made an appointment for next Monday and the nurse I spoke with asked if I’d taken a pregnancy test yet. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA oh, dear.

    • That was my first thought, but I wasn’t going to be the one to say it. It WOULD be great timing, considering you just released a baby book, no? ;)

  • OK. So I’m not an expert on cars, but I used to date one. My air conditioning went wonky a couple of times and wouldn’t blow. (Insert joke here.) My guy told me the precise combination of putting the key in and out of the ignition and turns to the right and the left, and the air conditioner sprung to life! He said that all newish cars have a combination like this that will reset a computer chip in the car and fix many problems that pop up. He said if I had taken it to the shop, they wouldn’t have told me that; they would’ve sold me an expensive air conditioning system repair.

    Get a second opinion!

  • Speaking as someone who had the fun, fun experience of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy (but I’m on the pill! How can I be pregnant? hey, OUCH! Ignore that…HEY, that really hurt! cue ambulance and twenty excited med students who never see actual ruptured ectopic pregnancies staring between my legs..”you’re lucky to be alive, two liters of blood, blah, blah, blah….”)



  • The timing is wonderful if I want to be my own baby’s grandmother, yes.

    Thank you – that made me laugh so hard!

  • Just to be safe, you better start thinking about names…

  • What if one of the Village People is in your uterus? Of course if it’s the construction worker he could do some repair work for you. He fixed my fallopian tubes for the price of a hand job. Which my husband had to give him as he doesn’t really like the ladies.

    Having said that – I await confirmation that all is as it should be.

  • Wow, you are a great writer, I love your style!

  • mmm–all your chocolates are long gone by now, eh?! Fancy and lovely!

    I love those irises from Jackson too–very sweet–you were well treated on Mother’s Day then, eh?! I got brunch out, a couple of adorable homemade cards and 2 single carnations. I felt very loved too. Your keychain is the best though and now I think I’d like my kids to do their own self portraits that I can immortalize like that….mind you, it might make my keychain a bit heavy…maybe I’ll just frame them…

  • oh, and, I am awaiting an MRI for painful issues in the same vicinity–kind of nerve-wracking–I hope all goes well for you and you just have something simple like a cyst that will pass/pop on its own and leave you feeling fine!

  • I vote for ovarian cyst. Have had one (or more?) for about 20 years now, but remember the first time I felt the lower right quadrant pain thing and remember staying up all night just waiting for another signal that I should make a date with ER doctor to have appendix removed. Lasted a few days, then went away till midcycle next month. Years later, cysts confirmed..always nice. But I would still get the pregnancy test done, just in case, anyway. After all, Picasso had kids well into his 80′s (or was it 90′s?)

  • Hahahahaha! Love this.

  • I hated hated hated my sonogram for terrifying mystery thingies on my ovary; drinking that much water and not peeing is cruel and unusual. BUT sonogram -> diagnosis of endometriosis -> surgery to remove thingies -> able to get pregnant eight months later after 12 years of infertility.

  • good luck, hope you’re feeling better soon and knowing is always better. worry is the killer. i’m assuming the bleeding was vaginal, but if not, i raise my “don’t forget Crohn’s” flag. been there, have that, wear the scar, but better for the knowing. lovely flowers, even lovelier chocolate. :)

  • I had similar stuff…had an ovarian cyst that ruptured (at Disneyland! yay! felt like I was getting punched in the side by Drunk Hulk). But essentially after the pain part, all they did was give me a light hormone pill for 10 days to get my period started again (it decided not to show up, thought I was going to be pregnant at 45). Had a bunch of ultrasounds and then they said everything was fine and haven’t had a problem since Feb.

    PS Covet the chocolates and love the keychain. Love.

  • Just in case anyone’s interested, the doc said she thought it was an ovarian cyst and that I was okay, to let a couple of cycles go by and then check in if I needed to. No sonogram or ultrasound required at the moment. That ablation sounds pretty good, though.