Hospital stay spreads doubt of readiness for adulthood

It took an overnight stay in the hospital and a saline bag for me to collect my thoughts this weekend.

The crippling abdominal pains elicited guttural, pleading groans. But by the time the pain had subsided a few hours later, doubts leaked through my consciousness to the slow drip of the IV.

After a day and a half of vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, I felt like I was getting better. I kept drinking water and ginger ale and the cereal and soup I ate didn’t resurface.

But I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Late Sunday evening I doubled over with a cross between an Olympic-sized stomach cramp and a stab wound.

A CAT scan revealed my appendix wasn’t the problem. But my intestines were inflamed because of some type of bug.

The darndest thing is the pain all but ceased when the doctors stopped scratching their heads and decided to admit me for the night.

Who the heck really knows.

So while my hospital stay didn’t include an emergency appendectomy, I did get a private room, watch “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and receive hospital fare 12 hours after my appetite returned.

One of my roommates took me to the emergency room and waited with me, by my request. Two others arrived and stayed in the ER room with me until my parents arrived.

I didn’t want my parents to come to the hospital. That is, drive nearly two hours from Cleveland to Erie in the worsening winter weather just to worry over me.

Their reason for filling up the gas tank was valid, however. “We don’t know what this is,” they said. “It’s not like you’re in here because you just need some stitches.”

I thought about that after they left for home around 10 p.m. or so. I couldn’t come up with a better counterargument.

I made it almost a full four years living away from home without checking into the local infirmary. That’s highly unlikely considering the constant stomach issues I’ve endured since senior year of high school.

But though I’m a few months away (hopefully) from adult life, I yearned for the comfort of my parents while I was writhing in pain.

For all of the walls labeled “maturity” and “independence” that I build between me and my parents, on the inside I wanted them there.

On the cusp of adulthood, I didn’t feel like a grown-up in that moment.

Even if my parents had listened to me and not come, I still asked for my roommate who dropped me off to stay in the waiting room with me, proving I didn’t want to be alone.

Perhaps it’s just a natural desire to feel cared for when you’re at your sickest, but sadly I didn’t feel uplifted or any more in touch with my inner being.

I felt like a child with a scrape on his knee.

For all the things I’ll have to do on my own in the near future – yes, even hospital visits – I hope my next performance is much better under pressure.



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