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Sudden illness at the slots

October 03, 2008|By BRENDA CLINTON, Mercersburg, Pa.

My boyfriend, Chris, and I were under an extreme amount of stress in 2007 - selling our homes in the crumbling real estate market and dealing with the frustrations of building a new home from the foundation up. We moved three times in eight months. Needless to say, we desperately needed a break.

That opportunity finally arrived this June. From June 4 through 10, we planned a mini-vacation to Wheeling, W.Va.. We both enjoy playing the slots occasionally, so we thought we would investigate the casino and dog track at Wheeling Downs. Approximately three hours of road behind us and luggage stowed away in our hotel room, we anxiously headed to the casino for dinner and a night of gambling fun.

The buffet had all the usual fare. I didn't overindulge myself, but shortly after, I started having severe stomach cramps. I was so miserable, I told Chris we were going to have to leave. That request was barely muttered, when next I was on the floor doubled up and breaking out in a cold sweat. Passersby began to notice me much to my embarrassment. A security guard called an EMT to the scene. After taking my vitals, he suggested I go to the hospital. He was concerned about my pain, and my blood pressure had dropped significantly. Reluctantly, I agreed to go.

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I was transported to the Ohio Valley Medical Center where I was diagnosed with ischemic colitis (a segment of my colon had no blood supply). I spent the entire week in the hospital undergoing various unmentionable tests. They treated me with massive doses of antibiotics via IV. Surgery was also a possibility if the medicines didn't work. It was scary, but I was receiving excellent care and had faith in the surgeon treating me.

Fortunately the antibiotics performed their magic. I was feeling better and eating a liquid diet a few days later. I was released on Saturday, June 14th. It is still a mystery how I ended up with that condition.

In retrospect, the whole ordeal was a blessing in disguise. It was a wake-up call to take better care of myself. I also had the most wonderful (hospital) roommate who helped me put things into perspective. She is fighting cancer, but you wouldn't know it from her attitude and gusto for life. Chris and I had so much fun listening to her stories. Her family and friends adopted us when they visited, since our own couldn't be there.

I am glad to report that I am totally healed now, and my doctors have assured me that I might never have another incident. As for Wheeling, Chris and I will be going back there as one of several stops on a trip to Dresden, Ohio. This time I hope we actually get to play the slots.

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