21
Dec
09

Appendectomy appendix

Or should I call this the API EPI (as in Appendix Epilogue). Well, the last few days have been quite interesting. On Thursday, I had a normal day, played a lot of poker to get my 1000+ per day VPPs as I’m still on pace for Supernova. I went for a 2.3 mile run during the day – it was like 60 degrees here – very nice. The internet connection went out around 11:30pm so I was watching a few poker videos I had downloaded. Around 1:30am, my stomach felt upset, and I decided to go to bed.

However, I couldn’t fall asleep because it kept hurting. I spent the next 4 hours trying to lay in any possible position I could, walking around the house, wishing I could throw up, and moaning in pain. I finally decided to call the nurse hotline. They said either go in now, or wait a few hours and if it still hurts, then go in. So off to the ER I went.

The ER is only about 3 miles away, but it felt like a cross country road trip to get there. No one else was in the waiting room, and I signed in right away. About ten minutes of waiting and a nurse with a New York accent came out to get me. I walked back and I was feeling worse. She was taking vitals and I asked if I could have a cold rag because I felt like I was going to pass out. She said something like “let me just get these done and then we’ll get you what you need”. Yep, that was her mistake. About 20 seconds later I announced “I’m going to pass out”, my eyes rolled back and I started to pass out. The nurse started rubbing my chest saying “stay with me” with her New York accent dead center in my face. Apparently another nurse walked in, looked at the heart rate monitor and said “Is that his pulse?” Now, I’m no medical professional, but I can only hope she meant that rhetorically given she was looking at a pulse monitor machine.

I’ve passed out a few times before in my life and frankly, it’s not that bad. Actually it’s pretty fantastic. When you wake up 15 seconds later, you feel as if you’ve had a complete night’s sleep. After not having slept in 24 hours at this point, I was all about feeling like I had slept.

Try as they might, I passed out anyway (thankfully – imagine that feeling you get right before you puke – sweaty, icky…now imagine if you just kept feeling that way instead of just throwing up…yeah, I thought you’d want to throw up too. :) ), was transferred to a gurney, and when I awoke, there were 8 people around me (both doctors and nurses). One was shaving spots on my chest for an EKG, others were applying wires, putting in an IV, and attaching me to oxygen and another heart rate monitor.

Apparently my pulse had dropped from 109 or so to 43 when I passed out. Wowsers. I was hooked up to monitors and one of them would beep anytime my pulse dropped below 50. So basically I’d start to fall asleep and this thing would buzz and wake me back up. They eventually lowered the alarm to 40 but that was as low as they would put it.

The nurse then came in and gave me drugs. I don’t know about you but I’m not really a fan of doctors, dentists, hospitals, drugs…you name it. I’ve never had any hardcore drugs…until now. She told me what she was giving me, one was for nausea. I said I wasn’t nauseous, and she said “you will be with the morphine”. She said the morphine would tense me up for a little and then make my body feel heavy. In it went, and sure enough…tense for about 15 seconds, and then it literally felt as if every square inch of my body was being pressed into the bed by elephants. Forceful elephants at that. I couldn’t lift my head off the bed. Very interesting sensation.

The other thing I had to do was drink about a liter of cranberry juice mixed with something that would show up in the CAT scan I was scheduled for in about an hour. It tasted fine and was easy to do. Off to the CAT scan. She did two test runs and then said she was going to inject Iodine. Time for more strange sensations. She said this one would feel cold and then I’d feel warm all over. She got the first part right. And I suppose I did feel warm all over, but primarily I just felt like I was peeing all over myself. I’d have bet money on it. But after the scan, I was indeed still dry. Whew. I mean, come on, passing out and peeing yourself in one day…that’s just overkill.

Back down to the room to wait I went. We waited quite a while, and I tried to stand up to use the bathroom (which at this point is a plastic container). Ever try to pee laying down – it’s not as easy as it sounds. However, standing up, I almost passed out again. Made it back into the bed with about 3 seconds to spare as the alarm started blaring and my pulse once again dropped to the 40’s.

Finally the doctor comes in. “Well, it’s not your appendix.” My thoughts went something like this “Fantastic – no surgery. Wait. Shit. Is it something worse?” He basically said it was a virus and that was that. Ok. However, I hear him out on the phone using my name talking to the radiologist. Ten minutes later he comes in and says “Actually, something didn’t feel right so I took another look and it’s definitely swollen, so it needs to come out.” WHOA! Gee thanks for making sure before you tell me. I hope this isn’t a frequent occurrence for him.

They call the surgeon and I wait. Transfer person (read: dumb blond who yells on her cell phone and has no regard for caring of patients) comes to get me and moves me to the OR waiting area. Well, after I was taken to the wrong place on her first try. Like, duh. The nurse comes in, asks me to sign papers, then comes back and has me sign them again as they had the wrong doctor doing my surgery. (I sure hope whoever does the surgery does the RIGHT surgery. Sheesh.) Finally the surgeon arrives, talks to me for 5 seconds, and then into the operating room I go. In goes the general anesthetic, and I am out. No memory until…

I feel two nurses holding me down and all I want to do is turn over because my neck is killing me. Apparently I had a death grip on one of them. I slowly come to and get some ice chips. The nurse is basically trying to get me out of the hospital as fast as possible which I thought was a bit strange. As it turns out I was right. I was supposed to be checked by another doctor before I left who called me at home and is filing an investigation and taking it to the CEO.

So I head home – quite the painful bumpy road. Getting the prescription filled is even more complicated as it’s not completely filled out. Back to the hospital – the nurse says she can’t do anything, then just writes in the prescription. Back to the pharmacy and obviously they won’t accept it (breaking the law if they did). Back to the hospital to have a “discussion” with the nurse which ends with the nurse finally giving up the doctor’s cell phone and then back to the pharmacy to get it filled. Enjoy your job while you have one Mrs. Nurse. It won’t be long.

Back home and I’m doing okay, except my neck and shoulders have a ton of pain which doesn’t make sense to me. Oh, and it burns when I pee. Things they didn’t tell me: You’ll have a catheter in during the surgery; and we blow air into your stomach to inflate it so we can see the appendix better. This air will sometimes irritate the nerves and cause pain in your neck and shoulders. Gee, that’s great to know…a little late though.

Oh, and did I mention that I have an awkward looking half shaven chest with what appears to be 3 stab wounds? I was going to post the pic…but thought I’d just describe it in case you are eating lunch. I’ll have to make up a pretty good story to explain this one the next time I’m on a beach somewhere.

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