Warning: Mildly uncomfortable medical talk ahead.
This Monday morning, I woke up with a bit of indigestion. OK, more than a bit–I had very significant pressure/pain in my stomach, but figured it would pass after a visit to the bathroom and putting some food in my belly. I made a relatively innocuous breakfast of oatmeal and bananas, but couls barely get a few bites in. I was feeling nauseas, but not to the point of being puke-y.
I figured I just had to wait it out. Tried ginger ale and peppermint tea. Had Sara bring me anti-gas meds and antacids. Nothing helped. The pain was not subsiding and it just kept getting harder to tolerate. I had chills that would not go away. Finally, around 5 p.m., my desire for the pain to end won out over my stubbornness and I interrupted Sara’s evening plans so she could take me to Sunrise Hospital.
The E.R. at Sunrise is always busy, given the hospital is pretty close to the Las Vegas Strip and is one of only two trauma centers in town. I got triaged pretty quickly but then did a lot of sitting around in pain waiting for people to take all of my info, take my blood, then ask for the same info as earlier over and over, before finally getting put into a “treatment room” (really an alcove with two reclining chairs), where I was set up on an IV of fluids and given anti-nausea meds and morphine. That helped ease my discomfort immensely, to the point that when I was taken back for a CT scan, I was wondering whether it was a waste of time (and money).
It wasn’t. Around 10:30, the doctor finally told me what was wrong: I had appendicitis, and would need to have surgery to remove it ASAP. That was not what I expected to hear. I mean, mere minutes before receiving the diagnosis, Sara and I were discussing going to get soup at Cornish Pasty Co. after leaving the hospital. But hey, at least I now knew my decision to go to the emergency room wasn’t a bad call (and one that, to be fair, Sara tried to make hours earlier).
Thankfully, a surgeon was available and before midnight, I was in an operating room. I’ve never had any real surgery before, with the exception of having my wisdom teeth removed (all four at once, so I was knocked out for that, too). But I assume it went pretty smoothly. They were able to do the appendectomy laparoscopically, and while in there, the surgeon went ahead and fixed an umbilical hernia I’d been putting off dealing with, too.
Given my generally good health otherwise, it’s not surprising I was discharged from the hospital the next day, after trying to rest up in a room shared with a poor man who sounded like he was in a lot of pain (and also trying to choke down hospital food despite having no appetite and it being, well, hospital food).
So, I’ve been recovering at home since Tuesday evening with Sara’s assistance (she’s been very patient and took time off work to help out). I was prescribed pain meds, but haven’t really needed them, as I’ve been very careful to avoid stressing my midsection or using my ab muscles (I can’t even blow my nose or laugh, really). I can walk, although with a hunch, and not for long. And after catching up on sleep yesterday, I’m feeling fairly alert today, finally replying to emails and trying to get caught up on a little work (my employers and editors have been very understanding, but I really don’t want to let too many deadlines slip).
It is, of course, Christmas Eve, so holiday plans have taken a bit of a detour. We typically host a small cocktail party on the night before Christmas, but had to cancel for obvious reasons. For the same reasons, we never finished decorating. We were planning to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Christmas Day, but I’m not sure if I’ll be up for that by tomorrow (my spoiler-avoidance struggle grows more challenging every day). It would be nice to even be able to have a Christmas dinner of some sort (I’m craving Asian food pretty seriously), but that might need a raincheck, too.
At least I have my relative health for now, a chance to catch up on a lot of missed TV episodes, and hopefully at least a week until the bill for the surgery sends me back to the hospital from the minor heart attack I’ll have upon seeing the price tag for giving up my appendix for Christmas.
(Featured image by Flickr user Tomas)