Thursday, December 15, 2011

Detour for Appendectomy

Ya know... I'm always thinking I would like to have a real reason to get off work, but I got way more than I bargained for this time...   

Thursday evening I got home and changed into sweat pants, sat down at the computer desk to check out facebook and wait for Bruce to get home from the boat.  Suddenly the waistband on my sweats was causing me pain, so off they came but it didn't help.  I had a PAIN!  And nausea! 

This can't be good, I'm thinking so I lie down on the bed and looked up sudden onset abdominal pain with nausea on the iPad.  That was a bad idea so I quit and just laid there thinking maybe it was the Chili I had for lunch.  But I knew it wasn't.  I thought about my options.  I called the office to see who was on call for my group and found it was Dr. Shelton.  Maybe she wouldn't mind if I called her and ran my symptoms by her.  I called her house but she wasn't home.  I really didn't want to bother her so I sat waiting for Bruce to come home and to see what developed. 

When he got home, I was hurting pretty badly but didn't want to tip my hand by telling him about it so I downplayed it a bit.  He went on about how his day went until I couldn't hide it any more. 

I called Dr. Shelton and told her what my symptoms were and she said that she thought it could be appendicitis.  GREAT!  She would call the ER and tell them I'm coming and get some orders issued. 

It was at this point that I left my body and began watching it all from some safer place.  I guess this is the only way that someone who is as fearful of needles and all things invasive could submit to what was in store for me over the next couple of days.

I won't bore you with all the gory details but the ER Dr did her exam and suspected a kidney stone.  I had a CAT scan and it returned the double whammy, kidney stone AND acute appendicitis.  I was hooked up to the IV and admitted all very slowly.  (By the way... Morphine feels really good)  I arrived at my room after midnight but slept well in the care of a wonderful nurse named Nancy.  She was very  motherly  and sweet.  

It wasn't for sure that I would have surgery at this point so I was still hopeful that I would be set free unscathed.  Not so...  Late Friday, I was finally examined and found in need of the Appendectomy.  I waited until after 9 pm for the surgeon to come and load me into the chute. I offered to let him off the hook for the night... go home, have a nice night's rest then come back in the morning when you're fresh and do the surgery then... but no!  He would rather get it over with so he could sleep in on Saturday morning.  RATS! 

Now before I began working for a medical practice, there was no way I would have willingly gone to surgery.  But after years seeing patients go in, I've been lulled into a false sense of complacency about surgery, especially laparoscopy.  No sweat I'm thinking, although keep in mind, I'm still out of body at this point.  So I had a couple of near panic attacks during this process but remained relatively stoic for me.  I just took a ride to another room, met some nice people, hung my arm out and went night-night. 

But it was the waking afterwards that the shit began.  Up until now it had been a piece of cake.  Now it HURT!  I felt like crap, I was cranky and grumpy and having one big personal pity party for myself and all at my poor husband's expense. 

From his standpoint, his impression is that when I returned from the OR, I looked like I had been in Guantanamo Bay Prison and had information that they wanted to know. (Thus no photos)  I feebly motioned to my lips as I begged for ice chips to sooth my tortured throat as I wavered in and out of consciousness. 

The next morning, Saturday I tried to follow instructions, walk and eat and drink lots of water.  All of these things I did and was very positive about it until the afternoon came and with it, the soreness and real pain began.  I had a downward drop fast and was barely holding it together when we were released to go home with pain meds near 8 pm. 

Sunday was another new adventure.  I still hadn't passed the kidney stone but wasn't feeling too much pain from it.  Now I did some walking around my home while Bruce made a nice healthy bland stew.  The walking did me in and I paid for it all evening.  Plus had some real kidney stone pains for good measure. 

Monday, I was unable to go to work and really fretting about it.  This is absolutely the worst time for me to be out and I have so much work to do, how can I just sit here?  My pain is less than yesterday but it's still early yet.  I'm having faint pains from the kidney stone and really starting to wonder how this will all end.  I can't imagine putting on pants with my belly all mangled.  When will the stone pass and will I know it?  (written Tuesday after the surgery)

Written post day:  Well... here I am over a week out from the surgery ( December 4th).  I'm back to work full time having worked partial days beginning Wednesday of last week.  Each day is a little bit better.  Now the only think I feel is a soreness in my belly similar to muscle pain after a new workout.  I'm wearing my pants but only my "fat pants" that don't bind too much in the middle.  Stamina is returning (although I didn't have that much to begin with) and I'm not too unhappy with the three tiny scars on my body. 

What happened with the kidney stone?  No idea.  I quit having symptoms about last Thursday but didn't see any sign of passing it.  Maybe it's lying in wait to mess me up when I least expect it.  People say I'll KNOW when it passes, but maybe the pain meds helped me out with it.  It was supposedly a "small" one... only 2 mm.  Maybe I got lucky and it's gone.  But I'll renew my efforts to drink lots of water and hope for the best.