Appendicitis. Those of you who’ve had it feel my pain. That’s the key word here, pain. Holy SH*T. Appendicitis hits you like a freight train. I didn’t think that was something that happened to adults? Well, it does and it’s not great. Let me paint you the picture. Last Thursday night, I attended ladies’ night with the women in my neighborhood. We drank a LOT of wine, per usual and ate pasta at our favorite, local Italian establishment. The food was very good and I had a lovely time. The following day, I had the BEST kind of sickness, the kind that keeps you in the bathroom all day. Not puking. Hopefully you can catch my drift by this point. I assumed I was just hungover and chalked it up to that and perhaps some funky chicken. On Saturday, I was back to 100% with a mild stomach ache here and there. When I woke up Sunday, I had another stomach ache, it was more painful this time, but I just blew past it. By 11 am I was in the fetal position on the couch and couldn’t un-bend without excruciating pain. I figured I had constipation. After all that… release a few days prior, maybe I was dehydrated and now backed up? Who knows. I’ve had bad constipation pain before, gone to the urgent care only to get an x-ray and be told I’m “full of shit,” literally. It’s embarrassing and it takes up your entire day. By 5 pm, my husband and sister-in-law had convinced me to go in and see what was going on.
We went to an urgent care that also has an ER, which was a good call. Trevor, my nurse was NOT the friendliest. I care very much about bedside manner. He needs some improvement there. He also got a case of the “shakies” when he was administering my IV. It hurt like HELL and he didn’t even talk me through it. Not cool Trevor, not cool. But, then he gave me morphine and we started getting along a bit better. Oh, and it helped with the pain too. They gave me a CT scan (this is the one where you go in the tube), and I returned to my room to wait for the results. At this point I’m thinking two things: a) how much does a CT scan cost and b: I’m going to be VERY embarrassed if I just took morphine for constipation and the x-ray shows that I’m pregnant with a turd baby. Nope. Not constipation. Appendicitis. Two weeks before Christmas. My busiest time at work. Oh, AND Fletch has a double ear infection. Perfect timing.
What happens next, you’re wondering? SURGERY. Yep, emergency surgery. I had to be transferred to an actual hospital that does these surgeries. It was up to me whether I got there on my own or took an ambulance. The pain had subsided and I felt ok (how much is an ambulance ride?!) so I opted to have my sister-in-law bring me. We were on our way out to her car—I waited in the vestibule while she pulled up, and I remember getting really hot and dizzy. She helped me into her car and boom, I collapsed right in her passenger seat. They put me on a wheelchair and back in I went, back to Trevor. It was quite dramatic. Guess I would be taking the ambulance after all. Tasha left, and my husband arrived not long after. I caught him up on what was going on. After our “A Beautiful Mind” type analysis and breakdown of what the ambulance would cost us, including phone calls to insurance we decided to still take it. I say decide loosely, as the doctor pretty much told me passing out in the parking lot is something they’d like to only happen once. So, into the ambulance I went. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance before? They’re COLD. Also, the EMTs were both about 24, blonde, adorable females—which in my morphine state, I kept awkwardly telling them. I’m officially an old mom.
When we arrived, I was placed in an observation room. These are not private rooms, not that I’m bougie or anything, just giving the details. The only bad part about this is that there’s no chair or couch or anywhere for anyone to else to sleep in there. We had to beg for a recliner chair for Carter. Otherwise, they were going to only offer him a folding chair for our overnight stay. Ridiculous.
My overnight nurse, Jean, was awesome. She took such great care of me, keeping me pain free and very comfortable while we waited for the surgeon. Forever. I had to wear a bracelet that labeled me a “FALLS RISK” after my episode at the ER, so I had to call Jean when it was time to use the restroom. Jean walked me to bathroom, slowly and after I assured her I was ok, she left me alone to do my business. The SECOND I sat down on the toilet, I fainted again. I pulled the emergency cord as I went down and Jean came running in. She caught me, laid me on the bathroom floor and started screaming at the other nurses to get me a wheelchair. Again, with the dramatics. Not to mention, the nurses come into your room every hour or so to refill your pain meds, check your vitals, take your blood, who knows what. I was a zombie at that point. Finally, at around 3 am, the surgeon’s assistant came in to tell us what would be happening. He administered a VERY PAINFUL, but quick poke, that confirmed I had appendicitis. Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am. It actually happened at around 10 am.
Right before the operation, the surgeon comes in to explain what would happen and how he’d retrieve the appendix. He did a drawing on the whiteboard—Carter loved this. I received a laparoscopic appendectomy which means they make three tiny incisions in the shape of a triangle, then fill up your abdomen with carbon dioxide to make a dome-like shape, then go in with tools and a camera to find the appendix and pull it out. That’s the gist of what I heard. He also explained all the risks. Now, I was very nervous. I’ve had a D&C surgery before, but that was such a different experience. I’ve never been cut into. I’m also watching that show Dirty John right now, and if any of you are watching or have heard the podcast you’ll know why I got even more nervous when the anesthesiologist came in to explain his role in this whole thing. But basically, right before they roll you into the operating room, they give you a shot of something to get the sleepy time jumpstarted. I remember vaguely being lifted from my stretcher to the operating table and that’s it.
I woke up in a room filled with old people on stretchers, all asleep. I was sure I had died and it was the morgue. I quickly realized I was actually alive and just in the post-op room with all the other patients. They gave me ice chips and brought me back to my room. I could finally eat, so I ordered chicken strips and fries but the only thing I could stomach was chocolate pudding. They kept bringing me refills of that, which was very sweet. I went home that afternoon with pain meds and instructions that I couldn’t lift anything over 10 pounds for four weeks, which includes both of my children.
I recovered for a week at home, and am back at work today. It’s been a long, painful ride, but we got through it. My husband is an amazing angel and really lived out those vows we took of “in sickness and in health.” He did everything and I mean EVERYTHING for our two boys last week, and made sure I had everything I needed to rest and heal. He’s amazing. My in-laws and neighbors showered us with meals and well wishes. It was very kind. I can’t work out for a few more weeks, which I HATE, but overall the procedure was not too bad and I’m doing ok. If you ever find yourself in this situation, just know that you’ll be ok.