Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My brush with death (or just a routine surgery)

Saturday morning started the same way many Saturdays in the past had.  We got up a little early and met Connie for a 3 mile run. It was my worst run of the week. The pace was fairly slow with lots of walking.  When we got back Erin and I did some yard work since we were already hot and sweaty.  She started pulling weeds while I mowed the lawn. After I finished I helped her pick weeds for a while longer before we went in and cleaned up. I spent some time getting a few new geocaches ready to publish and decided I would skip breakfast and have a very early lunch.  Pizza was sounding good.

After eating my stomach was getting upset so I went downstairs for a nap. When I woke up my stomach was still upset and I didn't feel like doing much of anything.  We had planned a caching trip on Sunday with Clark and Mike and I needed to get our Garmins setup for that, but didn't want to leave the couch. As the evening progressed I was feeling worse and worse. Eventually I texted Mike and Clark that I would be cancelling the caching trip.  I was really disappointed that I needed to cancel, but I knew it was the right call. Thinking I might just be painfully gassy Erin picked up some generic Walmart Gas X. That seemed to help a little with the pain.

Saturday night I decided to sleep in the basement, since it was a easier to sleep on my back with the bed propped into the corner of the room.  Throughout the night the pain persisted and switched from a general pain throughout the abdomen to the lower right side of the abdomen. I started to think this was something more serious then just something I ate.  When I got up for the morning I had Erin search online for symptoms of appendicitis. It seemed to be a pretty good match for what I was experiencing. Not wanting to believe that diagnosis I decided to see how I felt after a shower.  Standing in the shower didn't help anything and I finally decided to go in to the Emergency Room.

We decided on going to Essentia since it was close. The ride over was very uncomfortable and I noticed every single bump in the road. I was glad we didn't have to go all the way downtown. After getting checked in at the ER we killed some time in the waiting room.  I was uncomfortable, but as long as I didn't move I wasn't in too much pain.  Since they were out of rooms in the ER I wound up on a bed in the hallway next to a staff refrigerator and ice machine. The first thing they wanted to do was get some blood from me, and start an IV.  The IV seemed to go in fine, but getting blood was a bit more difficult.  The first nurse was unable to find anything in my left arm, so she got another nurse to try my right arm.  This time after some digging she finally got some blood.  After getting a urine sample they said I would need to wait for the lab work.  It came back faster then I thought it would but was inconclusive.  My white blood cell count was somewhat elevated, but not enough to indicate appendicitis.  They said they could either do a CT scan, or send me home.  This didn't feel like something that would get better by going home, and since I thought it was appendicitis I decided to get the scan.  The scan was quick, and an interested experience, and the results showed that it was appendicitis.  I was told they would schedule the operator for today, and the doctor would swing by to see me.  In the mean time I would be waiting in the hallway until they would get a room for me.  The doctor dropped by and said there were a lot of operations going on today and it would probably be sometime in the afternoon before I would go in.   He briefly described the operation and was on his way. This was the only time I saw him, although Erin said she did talk with him after he was finished operating on me. Since we were just waiting, Erin decided she would go grab a cache to keep the streak going, and get some lunch.  I waited in the hall for around an hour or so before someone can to take me up to a room.  She asked if I wanted a wheel chair, but I said I would try walking.

The trip up to the room was quick and soon I was laying in bed answering questions for another nurse. Within a few minutes of getting up to the room Erin came in. After answering the questions for the nurse I changed into the hospital gown.  She said it would still be a while before surgery and asked if I wanted something for the pain.  I was a little hesitant, but decided to try it.  I got morphine, which did wonders for the pain. The afternoon passed slowly as I waited for surgery. Around 3:00 there was some action getting me prepped, but then they came back and said it would be around 5:30 before I went down for surgery. As I waited I tried not to think too much about what was going to happen. I've never had any kind of surgery before and was a bit nervous.  Since there wasn't any other option then getting my appendix taken out I just focused on moving forward through the process.  When the time for surgery came around I was wheeled down.  We we got to the operating room I moved onto the table and was told to breath some oxygen.  I remember about 3 breaths and then fighting to regain consciousness in the recovery room and needing to cough.  I think they asked about my pain level, and I thought they game me something for it, but my abdomen was still hurting quite a bit. I didn't feel like I was in the recovery room for long before they brought me back to my room.

At least that's how I remember it, it's still a bit fuzzy.  I think Erin left after that to get a few things to stay the night. Just before she got back I remember the fuzziness suddenly fading.  It was like waking up, although I was already awake.  The nurses said that it would help my recovery if I could get up and move around.  Moving hurt, but knowing it was the right thing to do I pushed through the discomfort.  After using the bathroom I was able to walk around the hallways for a bit before heading back to my room. Lindzee had brought Erin some gummy worms when I was in surgery and I had a few of them. They were delicious.  I watched some TV to pass the time, and sometime around 10:30 I was able to eat some peanut butter toast. After that I decided to try to get some sleep.  I was hooked up to an IV which seemed to pass right into my bladder. I was running to the bathroom quite a bit before asking to have the IV slowed down.  After that I was able to get a little sleep between trips to the bathroom and being woken up to have my vitals taken.

In the morning I had some more antibiotics pumped in.  I was hungry but was hoping to get out of the hospital before having a real meal.  A doctor dropped by and let me know they could stop the IV but didn't give more details then that.  After I was unhooked from the IV I got up and moved around as much as I could. I was eager to get out of there.  Since there wasn't much on TV on a Monday morning Erin and I watched the finale of Whodunit on my Surface. Right as it finished the nurse came and in said I could go.  She gave me a prescription for some pain meds and some instructions on what I needed to do to take care of myself.  After packing up Erin and I were on our way home.

We stopped by the grocery store to get some bacon and bread.  I was craving bacon sandwiches. When we got home, Erin made the sandwiches which were awesome. Then I showered and took a nap.  I was hoping to not have to get the prescription filled for the pain meds, but later on in the afternoon I realized that I would need them. If this writing isn't up to my usual standard blame the meds.

No comments:

Post a Comment