My Appendix

I had my appendix taken out on Tuesday night at Washington Hospital Center, I feel much better already.

Sunday night, January 6, 2013 as I sat on my bed to go to sleep i felt a weird twinge in my belly area – just found it weird, didn’t think about it too much and went to sleep.

Monday my stomach/side ached most of the day. Nothing to keep me from work or anything, just annoying. It did actually start to hurt more and more as the day went by. I ate a couple times, hoping that would help, and actually didn’t have dinner wasn’t hungry. I was just over the whole achy thing and went to bed around 9:30.

At around 12:30 I woke up to extreme pain in my right side – I went to the toilet, hoping maybe I just had gas or something, but I couldn’t go. After a few minutes of the pain not going away and the feeling of nausea a couple times I called the Kaiser advice nurse and explained what was going on – she advised me to call 911.

I called 911 and within five minutes and ambulance arrived in our parking lot. I didn’t know if I was to go out there or if they were to come into my house so I just sat here. They came in and said ok lets go, lol. They took my vitals – I was pretty freaked out not only because of the pain but being in an ambulance really isn’t a fun idea to me and the paramedic guy kept asking me to calm down but it was hopeless. They called in to dispatch and dispatch directed them to Howard University Hospital (HUH). On the way to Howard the Paramedic told me I’d be better off going to Washington Hospital Center (WHC), but they had to go where dispatch sent them.

At Howard I filled out a simple form and the paramedic told me I could call a taxi and go to WHC if I was waiting to long, he really wanted me to do that – I should have listened I guess. I arrived at HUH around 1:00 sat in the waiting room for 1 1/2 hours and then in a hallway for 2 more hours and had only peed in a cup and given blood. It was around 5:30 when I finally got a bed in a hallway in the ER and another hour or so before anyone came to look at me. I kept whispering “just come fix me, just come fix me” over and over again as I wanted to no longer be in pain so badly. At the shift change I think I finally started to get help a nurse gave me pain medication – I felt very loopy. They gave me an IV for the cat scan or the X-ray machine.

The results of the cat scan said I didn’t have appendicitis but they were going to ask for a surgery consult just in case – the surgery consult guy was right behind him and came over to examine me – honestly I think it was the first doctor to touch me during this whole time and it was around 9:00 a.m. He was so super sexy, bearded, furry chest hairs peeking through his shirt collar and he was almost positive I had “early appendicitis” and said we’d be having surgery.

Ana came to visit while I was there, that was nice. I felt like I had been there forever by that point.

As I have Kaiser insurance they had to get approval to do the surgery there, but that didn’t happen and there were orders to send me to WHC that was around 10:30 a.m. I sat and waited until 2:00 before I was transferred via ambulance. Did you know there are speed bumps on the way to WHC ER? Isn’t that a sweet thing to do to people that are in pain already? geez!

At WHC I was put in a temporary room for a few hours until they got my permanent room ready. We had a small problem with medications for me, I was in pain again but my SSN kept coming up as James J. Appel and they wanted to make sure I was who I said I was… I think it was 2 hours before I received pain medication at WHC and then they moved me to my permanent room. My permanent room I shared with a 80 year old man who’d never been in a hospital before that he knew of, nice quiet guy. My friend Donna came to visit from CNMC, that was very nice too.

They started prepping me for surgery around 6 or something. Antibiotic IVs, fluids, pain meds – I should mention they wouldn’t let me eat or drink anything since I got there, I wasn’t hungry but I was very thirsty.

They rolled me away to the surgery area around 7:30 and I met the people who put you under, they were in good spirits and seemed like nice folks. They asked me about ever having surgery before and I explained that I had lazy eye surgery as a kid and threw up after on my parents – who had tried to feed me McDonalds so really it was their own fault.

The Operating room was really very cool to look at I loved the look of the lights and the tech they had in there. I kept trying to breathe deeply and my eyes closed when I’d start to think about what was about to happen. I thought someone was pushing my socks up but she was really attaching something that massaged my legs – that was very nice, but honestly freaked me out when it first started. I remember them putting the oxygen on my face but I don’t recall anyone asking me to count backwards or anythings.

I woke up and needed to pee and cough and I hurt – and I said all those things and wanted to roll over on my side and they kept saying “no, it’s ok, just stay still” and the feeling that I wanted to pee was apparently the catheter. Then nothing.

Then I was awakened by a BEEP, BEEP, BEEP and I looking around and was in a new room and someone said I was in the recovery room and I tried to go back to sleep and then BEEP, BEEP, BEEP and again and again… apparently I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and the beeping was to get me to breathe deeper – I made an audible complaint that that was pretty rude thing to do after all I’d been through all I wanted to do was sleep – she laughed at me.

It wasn’t long before they rolled me back up to my room – 12:30 I was in my own bed. I would fall asleep and they’d come to take vitals or to change my IV or to annoy me. There is very little sleep to be had in the hospital bed – I felt sorry for my roommate.

They had given me a urinal to pee in while I was in the bed, but nothing I could do would allow urine to flow into that thing in a bed – I tried and tried and tried and nothing. So I got them to let me walk to the bathroom and then there was joyful release! Being hooked up to the IV machine made it difficult to go to the bathroom solo – and I’d press the button for help and they’d say they’d be right there and I’d wait and wait and wait… honestly, Gary Jim and Ana were there during a few of these encounters and actually went off to find someone to help me. Pushing the button was a pointless endeavor the longer I was there the more I realized that. I was really surprised the bathroom didn’t have any grab bars.

I spent most of the day in and out of consciousness that really coordinated with the pain meds. They wanted me to walk and pass gas so I walked as soon as I could. The passing gas didn’t happen until right before I went home but it did happen – I’ve since pooed too if you were wondering.

I arrived home last night, Gary came to get me and went to get me medications too. Mouse was happy to see me but not sure why I didn’t pick her up for a hug or play our nightly game. Gary sent me this email while I was still in the hospital:

“Mouser and I were talking.  I told her you were in the hospital to have surgery and she said that she was in the hospital twice for surgery but no one came to visit her.  She said that when you come home that I should put one of those hoods (he’s referring to the cone of shame) on you like you made her wear and handcuff you so you cannot touch yourself.”

Standing up, getting up, sitting down all those things currently hurt a little bit. I can sit here and type and have basically no pain at all. Oh and coughing hurts a little too. I have three little bandages on my belly and they shave most of that area, but not all of it so it looks like half of my belly is dirty and it’s going to really itch soon I know it!

I don’t know if it would have taken less time to just take a cab to WHC when I first got to HUH or not but I think if I ever end up in a similar situation I would go to WHC first.

There was an outpouring of love and comments and text from friends and family that I truly appreciated – but all of you that kept wanting me to keep you updated with calls or text used up my phone battery that much sooner – thanks! lol


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