Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, June 14, 2015

acute appendicitis

I had been looking forward to the upcoming three-way weekend, but it wasn't meant to be. 

Friday morning, the first day off of the three-day weekend, I showed up, fasting, to my cardiologist's office for my annual stress test. I had been dreading the test, because the last three years in a row I had this test, I had a vasovagal syncope and did not want another one.  Fortunately, it didn't happen this time, but the tests dragged on from 8:00 am until noon.

In the middle of the tests, they let you go eat something, then you come back for more tests. I was so hungry I stopped in a Murphy's Deli (which I despise) and had a breakfast taco, which turned out to be dreadful.  

Finally done with the stress testing, I went home for some lunch and took a nap. The rest of Friday was nice.

Saturday morning I woke up around 4:00 am with some severe lower stomach pain.  I tried to get back to sleep but just couldn't because I was in too much discomfort.

Argh!  What was it now?  The last two weeks at work had been real hell. My boss had recently gotten a big promotion but I still was supporting her, and suddenly work was clocking at 500mph. Maybe I was just stressed out and was getting an ulcer.  

My next thought was that I had a case of 24-hour stomach flu from that nasty breakfast on Friday.  But that would have probably taken too long to manifest.

Maybe I caught a flu bug or some other nasty virus Friday because I was in the Houston Medical Center getting my stress test and had to be around all sorts of people, some of them walking around wearing masks over their faces for some reason. People catch bugs all the time when they are inside medical facilities.

Or maybe I had eaten too many Icebreakers mints Friday night.  It could happen.

As Saturday wore on, the pain lingered and lingered.  It didn't get worse, but it didn't move at all or bubble around like gas or a 24-hour stomach flu might.  I started having some diarrhea.  

The pain was bad enough I didn't feel like eating anything. Nothing tasted good.  

At one point, I had that familiar "metallic" taste in my mouth and I knew I was going to vomit, so I went to the bathroom and....nothing happened.  

Dinner?  Nah, I'm not really hungry.  

Hmm.  I searched online for "persistent lower stomach pain" but nothing seemed to produce an "aha" moment, so I tried to sleep it off Saturday night without much luck.

When Sunday dawned, I was still rolling around uncomfortably in bed and had hardly slept at all. Breakfast?  Eh, no thanks, I'm not hungry.

Still?  I didn't eat much dinner Saturday and didn't want breakfast Sunday?  That isn't me.

I had a palpable sense of foreboding. I started having some chills.  We took my temperature for the first time and it read 101.4. Uh oh.

By 8am, the pain was still intense and I looked online at a few medical clinics in the area.  We had been to River Oaks Emergency Center previously for my wife and they had done a good job.  They also had a nice array of equipment like X-rays and CT scans.  I decided we should go.

The car ride over there was murder.  Every bump hurt me like hell.  The serious potholes had me yelping in pain.  There was no other patient in the clinic, so they took me right in. The young doc wanted to do a blood test and CT scan, and go from there.

Sure enough, the blood test revealed I had an elevated white blood cell (WBC) count of 18,000, so I was fighting some kind of infection. Normal range is 3,500 to 10,500.

They performed a CT scan on me in the freezer. It felt like a freezer in there and I started shivering uncontrollably.  Shivers and chills are the worst.  Well, besides the stomach pain so bad I could now hardly walk at all.

They quickly read the CT scan and the doc told me, "You have acute appendicitis.  We need to transfer you to the hospital, NOW."

Shit.  He gave us a choice of where we wanted to go.  The wife has had some good experiences at Methodist Hospital, so we chose that, and he arranged for an ambulance to take me.  He also ensured that Methodist had a room available. Check. Good job, doc.

By 3:00 pm, the ambulance arrived and took me quickly to the hospital, sans lights and sirens. Amazingly, the ride to the hospital was smoother than the drive to the clinic.  I got checked into the hospital and taken to a private room on the 8th floor of the Dunn Tower.  

IV, check.  Blood draw, check.  Elevated WBC, check. Read the CD-ROM the clinic sent with me, check.  They set an operation for 7:00 pm. 

The staffing and services at Methodist are top-notch. This is now my preferred hospital for anything and everything. The nurses are fucking hot too. 


They prepped me for surgery and knocked me out. I awoke being wheeled out of the OR and talking jibberish. Back in the room, they filled me with dilaudid and I slept and slept.... 

to be continued...

No comments: