I wish I could say that the weekend got off to a good start, but I really can't. I don't know of any better way to explain what happened, so I may as well just jump into it head-first and sort it out during editing.
Sometime Thursday morning I started feeling lousy once again - pain, difficulty breathing, muscle cramps, all of the same signs from a few weeks ago when I came back from Pittsburgh. As the day progressed, the discomfort worsened until, around 2100 on Thursday night, I couldn't sit, stand, or lie down without feeling like someone had punched me repeatedly in the gut with a fistful of quarters. By 2300, Lyssa had talked me into checking myself into the local emergency room. We placed a quick phone call to Orthaevelve, so that in the event I was admitted she and Lyssa could go home using my car and work on things from their end, picked her up, and then drove to the hospital, which happens to be just a couple of blocks away.
Finding the ER was a little tricky because there are no less than five (5) entrances to the hospital's compound, and even with Orthaevelve's knowledge of the complex (because she's worked there) it took a few tries. It didn't take me long to get into the waiting room queue, though most of the evening was spent waiting and either reading or napping. When we arrived it was a fairly slow night - there weren't many people ahead of us and triage wasn't all that busy. I think the standard "who are you and why are you here" routine happened inside of 45 minutes by the clock; it might have been another half hour before I was taken back to provide a few samples of blood and have a catheter inserted into a vein in my left forearm.
Being asked how much pain I'm in is always a dicy question. I go through most of my days feeling what amounts to a two or three due to my back and the generally lousy condition of my teeth. What I felt that time after Pittsburgh and last Thursday night was probably a seven or eight, because the only thing I can compare it to was the abscessed teeth I had earlier this year. Granted, that doesn't help any, but seeing as how my body's messed up in some unusual ways and pain is a subjective topic, I work with what I've got. I've been privately advised that I should figure out how to map my sensitivity to pain into a more standard scale for use in the future, should it become necessary to make use of it.
The rest of the night went something like this: be seen by a nurse or the physician; undergo some sort of test or other; elfnap for an indeterminant period of time; wake up and listen to Lyssa and Orthaevelve talking about emergency medicine or somesuch; elfnap some more; rinse; repeat. The physician that saw me wasn't able to detect any swelling, and by the time he really examined me the only pain I was feeling was a mild headache. An abdominal sonogram showed nothing unusual. The EKG didn't detect any unusual electrical activity from the heart muscle. Bloodwork came back clean. Even a chest x-ray didn't come up with anything (for which I'm profoundly grateful, actually). By 0600 EST5EDT or therabouts, it was officially declared that something was probably wrong with me, but they didn't know what.
By the time the three of us packed up and left the hospital, I'd been given an albuterol treatment and a rescue inhaler to carry around with me. I'm told that this is rather like a party favor when you report having trouble breathing in the emergency room. Aside from waking me up enough to drive everyone home and type a reasonably coherent e-mail to the folks at work to tell them what had happened, it didn't seem to do anything useful. I fell face-first into bed around 0630 EST5EDT and slept until 1530 EST5EDT or so, at which time my day actually began.
I've got a great deal more to write, but unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of time right now, as one would imagine. I'll write about everything else that's been going on as the opportunity presents itself, though unfortunately that might take a while.