As some of you may know, I had an appendectomy last week and I’ve recovered enough to share the rest of the story. In hindsight, there were indicators this was coming, however, as with all good stories, you don’t know what you’re getting into until after it’s started!About six weeks ago, I woke in the middle of the night with terrible indigestion. At the time, I thought it was food poisoning and this passed after a day’s lay in. Then, on Thursday night, 21 June, I started to feel the same sharp pain in my lower right abdomen and decided to go to the clinic the next day if the pain persisted. The next day, the doctor said it couldn’t be appendicitis as I had none of the typical symptoms: fever, loss of appetite, constipation/diarrhea. Just sharp, localized pain. They took an x-ray, which was inconclusive, and gave me some pills. They said that if this continued on Monday, we’d try a CAT scan next. Unusually, I took the pills as the pain was pretty bad but had a good weekend, nonetheless.
On Monday, the CAT folks called to schedule my visit. As I was feeling better, I was thinking of just passing on this but decided, “Let’s just see why this hurts. There is something wrong here.” I went by the clinic to pick up the contrast and started on that Tuesday morning. Lemme tell you, this stuff is nasty no matter how much they try to dress it up. Two giant jugs of about 24 ounces that I had to choke down two hours before the appointment. Think school glue or poorly made oatmeal but not nearly as good!
So I go to this appointment thinkin I’ll go through the ordeal and sometime next month get a letter sayin nothing’s wrong. Uhm, no. Not. Even. Close. The tech asked me to wait in the lobby so he can ensure the images came out right. After about ten minutes, he called me back and said the doctor would like to talk with me. Oh-kay. As soon as I get in the room, the doc starts pulling up the images and says I have confirmed appendicitis, that he’s been in contact with the clinic and with Cape Fear ER, who are waiting for me. Needless to say, this got my attention. After getting everything changed over to Womack ER, instead, I went to get Kelly. At the very least, she’d have Maggie instead of leaving her with just Ms Spit.
In very short order, I get Kelly and we drive to Womack to sit for the rest of the day. We got there and were expedited through the triage process into the ER. Everyone’s surprised when I have no frank symptoms but evaluate the CAT scan data as true. The surgeon stopped by and said that I had ridiculously normal blood work for an appendix this bad but agrees it has to go. Eventually, I sent Kelly home around 5pm as we’re not sure exactly when I’ll go under and back. Ironically, I was taken to the OR around 1715 but I don’t know when they actually did the procedure.
The next morning, when the doc comes by, he tells me that he felt like Earnest Hemingway in Old Man By The Sea after the fight he had trying to get my appendix out. He said it was HUGE and the whole procedure took about an hour and a half, as compared to the typical 30-45 minutes for a laparoscopic appendectomy. Otherwise, everything went fine and he expects a full recovery.
Now, the so what. We’re going rafting this week and I am constantly reminded that I’d initially thought of passing on the CAT scan. Imagine being on the river Deliverance was filmed on with a burst appendix!! A whole new level of excitement, for sure!! Needless to say, I’ve been doing my “Walkies” quite regular and Kelly’s taking care of me with good food.
The take-away from this is “no pain is no pain!” Don’t ignore sharp pains, ever, and I’m really glad this was something I did or did not self-inflict.