I'm experiencing abdominal pain, and would like a non-medical sounding board for how serious it sounds, and whether it's hospital worthy (given my almost non-existent lack of health insurance). You are not my doctor, etc., etc., but I'd like some non-medical advice about whether what I'm experiencing is something serious, or something that I can just push through. I think I have a low pain tolerance threshold, and I'm not good at gauging relative pain strength while in pain, so I'd like some perspective. I don't know which details are important, so I'm including them all.
posted by UniversityNomad to health & fitness (71 answers total) 163 users marked this as a favorite
This beginning bit probably has nothing to do with the entire situation, but I'm including it anyway. I very recently arrived on the West Coast for research, so I'm jetlagged. I accidentally fell asleep early, with the light on etc., so I woke up around 4-5 am. Around 6.30 am, I left my room to use the bathroom/shower, and in doing so, accidentally locked myself out (I'm in a weird cheap housing situation). I showered, and then was wet and cold because I couldn't get back into my room, and I was in fairly negligible pajamas (the rest of the house doesn't seem to be well or possibly at all heated). I was locked out for about two and a half hours, and once I regained access, I tried to warm up under the covers for a bit and then headed out to do research.
Shortly after I headed out, in other words, sometime at least by mid-morning (10-11 am), I began to feel sick. Most noticeably, this was cramps - they were mid to severe, and I thought maybe my period had come early, although I did think that they felt slightly higher up. I took some ibuprofen, which usually helps my period cramps, and it didn't seem to do anything. I also increasingly felt nauseous, chilled, and a bit dizzy. I ended up leaving my research location just after noon, because I felt so ill. I came back to my room to lie down, and almost immediately vomited. I didn't feel much better (I usually do after I vomit when I'm sick). I didn't vomit again the whole afternoon, and still felt the same. It's worse when I stand up or walk. It still feels like slightly higher up period cramps, with bloating there, and nausea and generally feeling chilled. The pain is so bad that I was in tears a couple of times (again, low pain threshold, though). I'm in a strange sketchy house with no family or friends here.
Does this sound like a routine case of stomach flu, or does it sound like something more dangerous/urgent? Googling (yes, I know) suggested possibly appendicitis, hernia, or intestinal/bowel blockage, and suggested that waiting might be dangerous if it's one of these conditions. I don't know if this is relevant, but this house seems to have some mold and possibly insects in it. I also wonder whether it could be food poisoning. Yesterday I ate some clementine oranges, some chocolate, a prepackaged protein shake, two beef tacos with lettuce and some chips, and some crackers. Today I had a few squares of chocolate and some water and other packaged soft drinks.
I would really prefer not to go to the ER if at all possible, because I really can't afford it. Does it sound like I need to? What would be the best strategy to manage whatever this is? Google suggested that if this is something abdominal like appendicitis etc., eating is potentially dangerous because it can rupture it. I really really don't feel hungry anyway. Should I drink something with electrolytes? Non-medical thoughts and advice?