Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy 4th of...Emergency Appendectomy!

I got home this afternoon. And yes here's another 'It's not always CM/SM so pay attention to your symptoms" story.

I'm home and settled into my recliner with my laptop, a drink, and the obligatory Wolfie dog.

Tuesday night was the first all week I'd actually GONE to bed. I've been having a really hard time sleeping, typical ICP pain, and lower back pain but I thought it was just from January's stuff. I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. when DH got home from work. At 1 am I woke up with a dull, constant pain the size of my fist just below my belly button, and started to vomit. The more it continued, the pain started to spread to my right side, and turned from dull pain to sharp stabbing pain.

DH got up at 6-something, having planned a 6 mile jog. I told what had happened through the night. I usually reserve ER's for CSF leaking running out of incisions, or if someone cuts an artery. But I had a bad feeling about this and since he was still planning on running, I called a neighbor and she took me to the hospital.

The triage RN touched my abdomen and I about jumped through the roof. She ordered labs right then. I got a room and a nice doctor came in. She said there's an obvious difference when people come in with a complaint of stomach pain and that's basically all they have--a belly ache--and when there's something really wrong and she said I looked like crap. She said a twisted ovary can cause identical symptoms as appendicitis so she ruled that out real quick while waiting on the blood work. My ovaries were fine--even my right ovarian cyst is gone!

My labs came back and unfortunately my white blood cell count was 19,000, double the normal level so we knew there was a bad infection. They brought me 2 cups of contrast to drink for a CT. They had to tell me to slow down or I would start vomiting again---but I was SO thirsty from throwing up all night I could have had 20 more of them.

By now my neighbor had to go home to her son so another church friend was with me. The doctor came in and said the CT report said it was appendicitis but she thinks I came in early enough that we may be able to wait until the next day for surgery so she was trying to get me admitted to a room until then.

Well in walks the surgeon and tells us she LOOKED at the films and most recent labs (the ER doc had not) and said my appendix was on the verge of rupture if it hadn't already, and we had to go NOW. DH and his mom walked in a few minutes later, hardly in time for me to head off to the OR. The OR team had a quick talk with me on not being able to hyperextend my neck to intubate, did an airway check and made sure there was an airway kit available in case of emergency, but primarily they were concerned about operating on someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

So that's why I was in longer than typical appendectomy patients. They kept me on IV antibiotics until I signed the discharge papers, and have to take oral abx for the next week (the surgeon doesn't give them to 'normal' patients when they go home) and I have to go see her in a week to check for infection b/c of being high-risk. Thanks a lot, EDS.

I talked to my pregnant SIL on the phone, who had her appendix out in January during her first trimester. Her DH had his out a few years ago when they first married. Odd how among the four of us, there's now just my DH left with an appendix. And we were surprised by how very different all three of us felt with our symptoms---her husband felt like he had indigestion for a couple of weeks and was living off Tums. SIL had severe lower back pain for a few days and had a hard time handling our niece.

I guess it just shows you have really got to trust yourself when something seems wrong, even if it doesn't exactly fit how it was for others. When the surgeon came out she told my DH and his mother that when she got my abdomen inflated and open, my appendix "seconds" from rupture.
DH bought me a soda on the way home. Inside the cap is a fortune: A sudden change in plans will lead to good fortune.

Um, right. So, let's see the good fortune. Unexpected surgery? The Medicare-required $992 co-pay? The 20% of bill we'll be stuck with? Guess I'll just be grateful for quick care, a superb nursing team, and a physician staff that really knew how to handle a surgical EDSer.

Hopefully the fortune is referring to when I go back to NY/TCI in a couple weeks.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry you had to go through yet another trip to the ER ~ glad they were able to get to you before your appendix ruptured ~ Serenity now ~ right!?! Hope you have a healthy, relaxing week. Lace