It began with my intestines; that feeling that comes when your bowels are being twisted and knotted. Something was blocking them or ripping at my insides. I dropped to my knees and curled around the hand that tried to protect the precious organs in my abdomen. I couldn’t take it, it had to stop. Something was trying to tear its way out of me. I couldn’t move or breath.
GET UP, KATE! I was screaming in my head to move. I knew I had to move but, the pain was paralyzing. I would have laid there all day, crying and moaning, if the skin on my back didn’t start to scream in agony.
I was on fire. Someone was burning my back; branding me with a hot poker.
The sharp stabs of pain in my stomach were muted by the fire ants marching across my back. I tried to clear my thoughts with images of my daughters and the momentary relief of the brain fog brought the information I needed.
I had to get out of the sun and stop the burning. My back was burning where the sun was hitting it.
Every vampire I had ever seen in a movie slammed into my consciousness instantaneously. I was certain I would burst into flames soon and all of this would be for nothing. I tested my strength with one hand on the wood of the porch and did a push up. The second hand repeated the motion. Once on all fours, I started to crawl. Every movement made the man in my small intestine rip at my gut walls harder and harder. Every muscle shook. It was taking too long. I had to speed up.
God damn it, Kate, move!
The thought pushed me and my hands and knees worked as fast as they could. I screamed out loud as I crossed the doorway and slammed the door behind me. The fire on my back eased and the pain in my stomach returned with a vengeance. The terrible realization that the pain was spreading descended on me. Agony slid up my throat and gagged me but, that pain was nothing compared to what was happening in my feet. I looked down and expected to see them sitting in boiling water; expected bright red or purple toes. Instead, I saw mottling. My feet were the color of a freshly bleached sheet with streaks of blue marble. That was the assessment piece I needed to put it all together.
I knew my tissues were dying.
Every piece of my inside body was dying. The abdominal pain was a necrotic bowel. Every patient I had seen, who felt a part of their intestine die from an obstruction, or some other issue, had described the extreme agony. Unfortunately for me, I was losing my entire gastrointestinal system at once because I was dying. My toes were no longer getting oxygen because my vessels were done pushing blood because I was dying. I frantically placed my hand over my chest, then put two fingers on my jugular vein.
Nothing. My heart stopped… not figuratively. It actually stopped beating.
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