The Appendix: a Colorful Guide

Appendix DiagramThe appendix (A) is a small worm-like pouch attached to the large bowel (B) right after the small intestine (C). The function of the appendix is uncertain and there seems to be no long-term problems in living without it.

Which is a darn good thing, because I’m going to be living without mine after Thursday, August 14. Unless they accidentally kill me on the operating table, or something, in which case, you’ll have to fight amongst yourselves for my stuff, because I have no will and testament. Heh. I guess that’s not very funny, is it?

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Appendix Rupture

Appendix Diagram

Well, I Never Read the Appendixes Anyway

I’m back to work today and doing a lot better. I’m still not 100% and I’m pretty tired, but I’ll be fine if I can just get home and crash tonight. This past week and a half has been hell. I’m like a human pin cushion. I was in the hospital from Wednesday through Monday morning hooked up to an IV, and they had to move that around a bunch as well as take blood once a day to test my white-blood cell count, so my arms are bruised and full of holes and I look like a junkie. I hate the hospital with a passion and if I could figure out how to get out of going back there, I would. But there’s no way I can avoid it.

But I will need to go back in and have my appendix removed in the very near future.

The whole thing started back on Wednesday, July 2nd, when I had an upset stomach and couldn’t eat anything. But I felt better on Thursday, and the July 4th weekend was great. Then Sunday I had an upset stomach again and couldn’t keep anything down — I threw-up long after I had anything left in my system. But I still thought it was just the stomach flu at that point. By Monday the 7th, though, I knew something was seriously wrong and I went to the emergency room because I couldn’t get ahold of my doctor. I was completely doubled over and the pain in my lower right side was the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my life.

They decided right away that I had gall stones, even though I wanted them to rule out appendicitis and I kept telling them the pain was lower than where they were scanning with the ultrasound. They said the tests to rule out appendicitis were too expensive, and that with women over 30 who are overweight, the problem is always gallstones. But they decided they couldn’t see anything on the ultrasound because they weren’t radiologists, and wanted a real radiologist to give me one. They filled me up with pain medication and anti-nausea medication (but no antibiotics!!!!) and sent me home to wait for an appointment at Methodist East Medical plaza, which is way over on east Washington Street. The appointment was Wednesday morning, and Kathy drove me over there. By this point my appendix had already burst. It probably happened sometime late Monday in the hospital or on Tuesday while I was at home waiting to get an appointment.

To her credit, the radiologist at Methodist East realized what was really going on pretty quickly when I told her she wasn’t scanning where the pain was actually occurring. When she started to scan where the pain was, she said, “well that’s where the appendix is,” and then stopped to look at me, and left the room. I know she went to call and arrange an emergency CT scan at the Methodist South facility because she knew my appendix had already burst and I was probably in trouble at that point. So Kathy raced me to the south side, where they hustled me into the big donut tube and confirmed that I did have ruptured appendix. And they sent Kathy and I immediately back to the Methodist emergency room downtown with the x-rays of my oozing insides.

The first thing they said when we walked into the emergency room was “why didn’t you come in here on Monday when the pain started?” You should have seen the looks on their faces when I told them I had, and they sent me home.

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I’ve Been in the Hospital

I’ve been in the hospital all week. I went to the emergency room last Monday because I had a massive pain in my right side caused by appendicitis, and they mis-diagnosed it as gall stones. So while they were running me all over town to get tests at the various Methodist facilities, my appendix burst. So I’ve been stuck in a hospital bed all week while they tried to control the inflamation and get me in decent shape. I should go back in a few weeks to get my appendix removed.

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