I am re-posting the story of when I had my Appendix removed a few years ago. I was re-reading it last night and thought it should get back on the Internetz as it were. So with out further delay.
There is a rumbling deep in my abdomen like I have never felt before and I guess it’s just something to keep an eye on for a bit. Ok now it’s 5 a.m. and its only getting worse and I have run all of the scenarios through my mind over and over and I have boiled it down to just a three options. One: it is a rapid case of ecoli from the steak I had for dinner. Two: some kind of stone being passed. Three: My appendix! All three options are gonna hurt regardless and now I have noticed that I have a fever to add to the mess. “Honey are you up?” I ask timidly “I think I have something wrong with my stomach!” After much discussion it is decided a trip to the hospital is required but which one. St. Pauls is closer but a complete gong show with junkies and meth heads or VGH that is really not that convenient as it is not very close, so St. Pauls it is! I am going to run the junkie gauntlet and go to with close and dirty over the distant clean alternative.
We bundle up the young lad and shove off to St. Pauls junkie heaven. I saddle up to the admitting desk to get checked in. “I have a big pain in my stomach, right here” I blurt out. The unimpressed admitting nurse say’s “How bad does it hurt? I guess it must be bad for you to drag your wife and infant son here at this time of night.”. Slightly defensive i say “Ya it hurts a lot! Is the appendix here?” pointing to my abdomen. “Don’t be rushing to conclusions Mr. it could be anything.” She then rushes over to the Charge Nurse and rambles off a couple of urgent requests. When the grumpy nurse returns I am whisked to the head of the line and seated in a bed ASAP and told that the rest of my admitting questions can be handled by my wife. I guess I shouldn’t be rushing to conclusions then!
I am handed the dreaded open backed gown and told to change and that a Dr. would see me asap. I lie down on the cold emergency room bed only to hear the voice of an old woman demanding that she be “unrestrained immediately” and that “…this was unacceptable…”. She is quite agitated and is now talking to a group of people that from what I can tell are not even in the room. It fowl words that she utters to her invisible friends are unnerving and seem out of place from someone in her 80’s. To the right of me I here a psychiatrist talking softly to a guy that has just come down from a three day crystal meth binge. The question I heard from the Dr. was “Do you think is ok to expose yourself to women you don’t know on public?” WTF, this is going to be a long day and maybe I should have chosen VGH after all! It turns out the woman to the left of me had lost her mind over the weekend and she was being committed to River View in a few hours and the guy to the right looks like is going to go to jail for obscenity charges once the meth wears off.
Now the pain was getting bad and I still had not seen a doctor yet as is the usual in a Canadian emergency room but the thoughtful nurses did offer up enough morphine to send me off into a numb state of affairs. Well there goes the pain and the ride begins. The holy grail of pain killers is morphine and the feeling when you are on it is quite nice actually although the pain does not go away per say but you just don’t seem to care once the drug takes full effect.
The crazy women to my left is wheeled out and replaced by another crystal meth ‘victim’ who is also strapped to her bed and is making blood curdling screams every ten minutes or so and then falls back to sleep into a loud slumber. The guy to my right is now asleep as well and is told he must stay the night then face charges in the morning. Please someone get me into surgery it has to be better than this.
I am poked and prodded by no less than six or seven people and asked the same questions over and over again. “On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest and ten bineg the highest. How would you rate your pain?” The answers is always the same “9” as I know that means another dose of morphine. It’s like they either don’t believe you or they are only pretending to take notes.
It is finally decided that I need surgery and ‘they’ will have to “fit” me in as I was not scheduled and if I wouldn’t mind waiting here in the emergency room a little longer. Eight hours roll buy and about 5 shots of morphine for my troubles Denise and my Mum stop by to visit me and I know I must not be the best company due inability to remain awake for more than five minutes at a time and when I am awake the conversation that spews from my lips is less than engaging I can only bet. Finally I am moved up to the tenth floor in a semi private room with a very nice room mate that is just packing up to leave in the next couple of hours. The room is so quiet and a stark contrast from the last 12 or so hours of madness in the ER. Now just have to wait here until the surgery and no one can seem to tell me when that might happen maybe tonight if I am lucky. God I home my appendix does not burst before I hit the table! They funny thing about hospitals is that the staff can never tell you for curtain anything at all. No one will commit to anything, not what’s wrong with you, who can fix it, when that person will be in to fix it or when you might be able to leave. It is a whole lot of vagueness that only happens in a hospital.
10:00 p.m. and finally time for surgery. “Take off everything including your glasses” is what the nurse demands “We can tape your wedding ring on if you like, but we would hate to loss it wouldn’t we!?” “Fine tape it on then and my earrings don’t come out” I say “Ok we will tape those too then. It wouldn’t be pretty if they got torn out now would it?” she snaps. So I am wheeled down what seems to be 60 miles of corridors and left in another holding area under a very thin blanket blind as a bat because my glasses also had to be left behind. About 5 different staff members ask me if I am ok and if there is anything they can do for me. I restrain myself from being funny and only reply “no I am good thanks.” The people in blue finally wheel me into a matching blue room with bright lights and strap me down to the surgery table.
10, 9, 8………Wake up and speaking gibberish it is all over now and I am exactly one appendix lighter. The funny thing is even if I wanted to take my appendix home with me I couldn’t. I was forced to sign a release form entitling the hospital to the ownership of my appendix and anything else that they might pull out during my time on the table. Damn so much for starting my collection of dried personal body parts. Wholly crap it hurts big time now and not the deep toxic pain from before but one of being cut open and having been poked, prodded and partly removed kind of pain. I yelp something crazy that not even I understand and thrash about the gurney until the nurse shoots me with more morphine to ease the pain. I then fall back down numb and confused and the transfer to my room.
The nurse finally wheels me to my room where my angle of a wife has been waiting for me for hours and longer than normal due to my requirement of additional pain killers. I must look a mess but I could never tell from the look on her face. She is just so relieved to see me there in one piece, more or less. We chat and it is pretty fuzzy after that and I fall asleep in a morphine haze. I wake up on Tuesday and they give me another shot just to keep things consistent. Then doctors and nurse parade in to check me out and I am told that as soon as I feel ok and no longer require intravenous that I am free to go. Then my surgeon comes in at one o’clock and says “You look great and are taking to food so I see no need to keep you here” Just like that I am able to go. So Denise packs my things, calls a cab and we are off.
So if you ever get a feeling in your tummy that feels like nothing you have ever felt before follow your instincts and don’t second guess. If I had delayed it would have been a whole lot worse!