Friday, April 06, 2007

Appendix Adventure

Please forgive me if this post ends up meandering at all...I'm currently taking Vicodin and it makes me, well, quite a bit spacey...

This past Monday was the beginning of quite an adventure (if one could in fact call it that). Monday night after dinner I started having pain in my abdomen. Not any kind of normal pain. No, the kind of pain that is located where your appendix resides...the kind of pain that makes one think "Hmm...this isn't a good sign." However, not ever having had my appendix hurt before (and not having any other accompanying symptoms) I decided to wait a bit to see if the pain really was my appendix, or if it was something else--a pulled muscle, indigestion, cramps, etc.

As Monday turned into Tuesday, however, I began to think that it probably was my appendix (not that I was too excited about this realization). This was mostly due to the fact that I no longer having pain just where my unhappy appendix was but throughout the rest of my abdomen as well (my back even hurt!). Unfortunately, Tuesday was a busy day--I had my summative evaluation interview (a graduation requirement) as well as some meetings at work. I dragged myself out of bed to get to the interview and apologized to Drs. Isaac and Rosell for a) being late and b) not feeling too fabulous. I think at that point I was still hoping that it wasn't really my appendix, but perhaps some alien that had invaded my body or something. After the interview, I made my way to work where I was subsequently miserable until finally leaving early to make my way home. I'm sure that my boss thought my parting email was a bit odd--"I feel terrible and I'm going home. See you tomorrow." It all made sense the next day when Joshua called him to let him know that I had had my appendix out.

So I made it home from work, although driving was far from comfortable. I then spent my afternoon listening to an audiobook, writhing in pain, and taking my temperature. Once my temp got to a certain point (and I realized that it was probably not an alien in my stomach causing all of my problems), I walked out into the living room and informed Joshua that it was time to go to the ER. I think I was much calmer about it than I perhaps should have been, but I didn't have much energy left to be crazy about it. We got to the ER around 7 pm and they took me back right away (the benefit of having a potentially life threatening emergency). Pretty much every nurse and doctor asked me the same questions--and they were all surprised when I told them that I hadn't felt nauseated at all. I guess that's odd for someone with appendicitis, but I wasn't complaining--I hate throwing up! I would like to take a moment to point out that my nurses (and doctors) were amazing. I have never had an operation before--no broken bones, no stitches. So I pretty much had no idea what was going to be happening to me. I was scared (understandably so), and every nurse that took care of me--whether for a few minutes or for a longer period of time--took fabulous care of me. They were kind and understanding, and each one kept me informed of what way going on, and encouraged me in every way possible. Praise the Lord for good nurses!

I had my very first IV inserted and the nurse proceeded to take some blood samples and hook me up to fluids. We then spent the next few hours hanging out in my ER room. They took me to have a CT scan at one point, but for the most part I just laid in bed while Joshua read to me. Have I mentioned what a fabulous husband I have?

Finally, the powers that be decided that all signs pointed to my appendix being the cause of all my misery (I could have told them that hours earlier) and so I was transferred to a larger hospital for surgery. Apparently the ER we went to is pretty much only an ER--they don't do surgeries, in-patients, etc. So I had another first--I got to ride in an ambulance. Woo hoo. At this point, it was about 2:30 am and I still hadn't slept at all (neither had Joshua). So I was exhausted, in pain, and ready to just get this all over with. Once we got to the new ER, we once again just hung out for a while, waiting for the surgeon to come poke and prod some more. Thankfully, we got an ER room that had both a regular exam table and a gurney, so Joshua finally had a chance to lie down and nap. The nurse even brought him a blanket and pillow (which apparently doesn't happen too often). The poor guy crashed out immediately and slept for most of the time that we were in the room. I, on the other hand, kept being interrupted by people needing to do paperwork, wanting to take my vitals, coming to poke my stomach some more--you get the picture. I think I got a mini-nap, lasting all of about 15 minutes.

Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and informed me that they were ready for me in the operating room. Yay! I vaguely remember her mentioning that it was about 5:30 am as she was injecting me with drugs. I don't really remember much else--the drugs were good and I was thoroughly exhausted. When I woke up, it was around 9:30 am (I think). Things were pretty foggy, but I sort of remember Joshua coming in to say goodbye before he went home to get some sleep. I also remember the surgeon coming in to tell me that the operation went well, and that although my appendix had been severely inflamed there were no perforations. Hooray! This news meant that, in theory, my recovery time should be much shorter because my appendix didn't wreak too much havoc on my insides.

At some point while I was still sleeping soundly, I was moved up to a regular room--with no roommate, I might add. I continued sleeping on and off until about 3 pm. Can I just say that having "room service" in a hospital is pretty cool?!?! I got to call room service and order exactly what I wanted for each meal. That was great--and the food wasn't too bad either. Wednesday was pretty much what one would expect from a hospital stay--nurses came by to check on me, they kept me full of drugs, blah blah blah. Joshua came back in the afternoon and stayed with me until bedtime. I couldn't ask for a better husband really. He dropped everything (even though he had a paper to write and a test to study for) to be with me--and he didn't complain about it once. He was so great (and continues to be so)! I also had a visit from one of our priests, Father Bart. He came and hung out for about half an hour or so, just chatting and whatnot. Before he left, he anointed me and prayed for my recovery. It was really cool. I feel so blessed to be part of a church that takes seriously the call to tend to the sick. Father Bart and our other priests regularly visit parishioners who are in the hospital or who are chronically ill and forced to stay at home. What a way to show Christ's love!

Anyway, they kept me overnight at the hospital to make sure that I was on track recovering and whatnot. I was awakened at the lovely hour 6 am by the residents who came in to take a final look at me before approving my discharge from the hospital. I ate my last room service meal, and read for most of the morning until Joshua arrived. Finally around 10:30, my nurse came by with my discharge papers and final dose of medicine. She called a wheelchair for me, and I was free!!!

So this is day #2 at home. I'm not allowed to do much of anything (doctor's orders), so I've read a book and watched a few movies. I'm hoping to talk Joshua into checking out a season or two of a few of my favorite TV shows from Blockbuster, since that will fill up more time than movies. I can't go back to work for a week, so I just have to "enjoy" my rest and let my body recuperate. Thankfully, all of this happened at the start of the week, so I'm able to attend our Holy Week services. I was worried that I would miss out on all of the Easter celebrations, which would have really bummed me out.

I've already received a care package from my co-workers. It was such a great surprise and made me feel so loved and appreciated. Our neighbors made dinner for us last night, and we have other folks who will continue to bring us meals throughout the next week. This is a huge blessing, since I am not allowed to do housework of any kind--and this means no cooking! Our community is really good at taking care of one another, though. We've had a few gals who have been really sick during parts of their pregnancies, and everyone has pulled together to take care of them in a similar way. God really knew what He was doing when He brought us here.

This experience has reminded me of a few things, mainly that life is precious and my husband and friends are amazing. And now, I'm going to watch another movie. :)


Carrie said...

I'm so glad that you are okay. You and my cousin are the only people I've known with appendicitis, and she had atypical symptoms as well. Enjoy your mini-vacation, and get lots of rest. Much love!

Samuel said...

Wow - quite the adventure. I've got a recommendation for another low-impact, non-movie, non-book (sorta) activity - listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter on CD. I've been catching up - most of the way through CoS already.