Sunday, February 10, 2008

what side is my appendix on?!?

This picture explains how my eventful Saturday (last week) began...



This note will probably end up being quite lengthy, but there are some fairly amusing parts to read about....so keep reading...I'm glad I can now enjoy and appreciate what an ordeal last weekend was...

Last Saturday started out like most other Saturdays....I slept in, dilly dallied around the house, didn't take a shower, looked in the mirror a few times and thought, "Wow, I look like I just got hit by a truck...", and finally made it out to the gym. That's fairly routine for Saturday's where I don't have anything planned right away. And it's glorious.

I got to the gym, had a really great workout....was sweating, and was really feeling the burn from the treadmill on an incline of 13.0 (whatever that means...I just know it was kicking my butt). It wasn't until I was into my jog that I started feeling a pain in my lower right abdomen, but I figured it was just a running cramp...so onward I ran. After I left the gym, I got into the car with Laurie and we were talking about some entertaining topic of choice, and then all sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks...I was feeling extremely nauseous as I pulled into the driveway, and wasn't sure where that came from...it seemed really out of the blue. When I got out of the car I started feeling more pain in my side, and it was uncomfortable to stand up straight.

My first thought: How inconvenient! I didn't want to have the flu because I had a jam packed afternoon/evening ahead...lunch with a friend, nannying, and then visiting with other friends afterwards. I resolved to lay down for a few minutes, thinking that it would help this feeling pass. As I laid down, I started to get the chills and I was feeling even more nauseous. Then I got hit by another ton of bricks. The pain in the side turned from an "uncomfortable" feeling to a really terrible throbbing pain. It was not only hurting in my abdomen, but also shooting through and making my back feel a good amount of pain.

As I lay there, I yelled into Laurie's room, "Which side is my appendix on??" Luckily she is smart, and loves to google things, because before I knew it, I heard a whole slue of information about the appendix. It indeed was on the right side (the side where I was experiencing all the pain), and I soon found out that if my appendix was the issue, I'd be experiencing nausea, a fever, and pain. Check. Check. Check. I then talked to Koleena who is my ask-a-nurse/friend and she also told me the symptoms and her thought on the situation.

During this time, the pain didn't really subside at all. And my fever increased. Not good. However, I was really not wanting to go into Urgent Care, in the case that it wasn't my appendix at all. What a waste of time, right? I decided to sleep off the pain for a few hours. When I woke up from my nap, My temperature, again, was higher than before, and the nausea was no less. The side pain was still there, but not quite as intense as it was at one point, earlier. The only other remedy I could think of was a warm shower....that's the fix-all for most ailments, right? It actually seemed to help, once I got past feeling like I was going to puke my guts out, and laying down on the bathroom floor in the event that I did have to throw up (I know, graphic....sorry).

I was sure that I was going to be JUST FINE....however, a few loving people in my life weren't so sure. I was lovingly told I should strongly consider going in to get it checked out...because if it was indeed my appendix, it would be bad to let that issue go. By the time I had heard enough "sweet suggestions" to visit the doctor, Urgent Care was closed, which left me with only the choice of going to the ER. Oh great. Even better. I wasn't really sure how to get ready to go to the ER....never been before. I asked Laurie what I should wear, what should I bring....mostly to prolong going. Finally, I was ready to go, and she told me I could yell about it as much as I wanted....so, of course, I did:)

Finally, we get to the ER....I'm guessing it was about 9:30 PM at this point and I was surprised to see how sparse the waiting room was. It seemed like there weren't many people there. I was wrong. After sitting in the waiting room for about 2 1/2 hours, they called me back. The told me I was just going to get an IV inserted to draw some blood, and get a glass full of juice (special juice) to drink for when they did the CT scan and then I'd go back to the waiting room to wait for the lab results. I jumped up when I heard my name called and left all my stuff with Laurie, fully expecting to be back out in a few minutes. I sat down at the triage with an extremely entertaining nurse. The first thing he did was hand over a cup of this nasty drink and told me to get started. They were nice enough to mix the nasty juice with apple juice to add some flavor, as well as to give me a straw to sip out of...talk about service. As soon as I started drinking that stuff, he started looking for a vein. I quickly warned him that I was not a fan of needles, but he assured me it would be just fine. So, there I sit....sipping away, feeling more and more nauseous (this drink was just hideous) and then I felt a little poke, but that was it. I was in shock that that's all I felt! Piece of cake, right! WRONG. Within about 2 seconds of thinking I was in the clear (of pain) I started feeling the blood pumping out of my vein (sorry to those of you who have weak stomachs)...and this is where it all started to go down hill.

So I'm nauseous, and feeling blood leaving my body through a little tube and I start to realize that I'm starting to feel a little lightheaded. I mentioned that bit of info to the nurse, so he said that we should just talk to keep my mind off of what was going on. So EASY! He tried to ask me about my job....about teaching....but things only got more and more blurry through his questioning. I finally realized I should put down the cup because I was fairly sure I was going to pass out. I started rubbing my head, hoping to somehow regain some clarity...that didn't help....I told him that things were starting to get black....so he asked another nurse to come over to "catch her if she passes out..." Well, not much longer after he said that, did I pass out....BOOM. OUT COLD! I don't really remember much at this point, but Laurie said she saw them carrying a "limp Tina" from the triage to a room with a bed, hooking me up to the heart monitor (apparently my heart rate dropped a lot), connecting my IV to a bag of that clear liquid stuff to drip into my body (not sure exactly what it is), and tipping the bed down so my feet were elevated quite high. The next thing I remember was that everything started coming back into focus...slowly I was hearing voices, and seeing blurry faces...and I'm fairly sure I was starring at them with my mouth hanging open (although I couldn't shut it...I had no control of it at this point)...finally everything is clear and they all start joking with me "Isn't the ER fun....welcome back....you plopped right over....good thing you were light enough to carry...." Wow. Not the best timing for humor over my inability to have blood drawn.

They finally asked me who I was with, and had Laurie come in and sit with me. What a little trooper. She stayed by my side and helped pass the time. She even held the cup of that nasty stuff (no getting out of that....they brought it to me as soon as I was alert enough to drink) while I sipped from the straw:) The room was frigged and the lights were far too intense for any normal person at 1:30 AM. I finally got through the entire cup and told the nurse. She set the clock for 1 hour...that's how long it would take for the liquid to get through my body. Laurie and I sat there and tried to pass the time without freezing from the cold, or going blind from the lights.

An hour passed so they wheeled me, in the bed, to my "ER suite"...ooo la la, sounds so luxurious, huh? I get there to be greeted by another overly happy (for that time of night) nurse who brought me yet another cup of that drink....SICK. The first cup was bad....but the second was 100 times worse. I finally got to talk to the doctor and he told me that he had looked at my blood work and that my white blood count was high, which is another indication that something isn't right inside....he didn't want to diagnose me based on just these few symptoms, but he said it could be my appendix...but wasn't certain without seeing a scan. So a nice man named Greg (I think that's what it was), with a long blond pony tail, wheeled me upstairs. We talked about his late night hours on the way up to the scan room, and he got a few chuckles over the fact that I was "the one who passed out getting her blood drawn..." Sweet!

I got up there, and the woman running the scan was brutal....she pointed at the bed I had to lay on, and watched me struggle to get off the bed I was on, carry my blankets, and get situation on the scan bed...didn't even ask to help me. She told me to lift up my arms, and follow the directions and then she left. I was thinking, wow, I hope I do this right....basically I just had to breathe at the right time, and I decided to also close my eyes, because the CT scan goes in a circular motion around your torso which made me feel dizzy and more nauseous. Before I knew it, we were done!

I got wheeled back down with Greg, and was delighted to see Laurie sitting there admiring the 80-ish wall paper and curtains. It was good to see a face of compassion, rather than the drill Sargent upstairs. We waited some more and finally the doctor came back and told me the results. The good news....it was NOT my appendix. The bad news...I went to the ER and through all of that drama to find that out. :) Actually I'm glad I went in, because if it had been my appendix it could have gotten serious had I not gone in. The scans did show that I had an ovarian cyst (which I didn't know even existed) rupture, thus all the pain and other appendix-like symptoms. For this, all they can do is to give me pain meds and tell me that I would feel a fair amount of discomfort for a day or two.

Laurie and I walked out of the ER around 3 with a prescription for pain meds after being at the hospital for a good 6 hours...walking in the MN tundra never felt better. I was glad to be out of there, and on my way to my bed.

It was quite the Saturday evening....quite the experience....but I did learn a few things from it....

1) I never want to drink "apple juice" in a Styrofoam cup, through a straw, again.
2) If I ever need my blood drawn again, I need to tell the nurse to have me lay down through the process.
3) My appendix is on my right side!

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