A New Bed
There the vomiting continued. Yellow. Bright yellow, bile. Later I would hear what others heard as I reached and wrung the content of an empty stomach into the little white pail.
I was put on a new list, to be seen by a different team of doctors. This time the doctors I was to be seen by had hard soled shoes. These were unaccustomed with the halls of General ED. Nonetheless, it was their job to tend to the specifics of my conditions, to make clearer estimations.
It first came from one of their mouths, “It could be appendicitis…” I was sure an ultrasound would be ordered. Rather, I was told of two basic ways of determining appendicitis. The first was a CT scan, which I have come to understand is very seldom ordered. The second was exploratory surgery.
The First Night
I was kept in overnight to monitor the progress of the pain in my side. Perhaps aided by pain-relieving drugs, I drifted in an out of sleep. I took the occasional walk. I made a cup of tea. Around me, the sound of sleep apnea contributed to my restlessness.
At least I had stopped with the vomiting. A nil-by-mouth policy was imposed from 2 am and my name added to the surgery schedule.
I woke with parched lips, seemingly desperate for a drink. It wasn’t going to happen. In a moment of cruel mercy, I was allowed to swish but not swallow. Next came the tight white stockings requisite for those pending surgery.
A group of hard soled doctors at varying stages of their training made up the entourage of the Chief Surgeon. Her proddings, interjected by questions for her students, confirmed a classic case of appendicitis. Surgery loomed ever closer.
I called my boss to tell him I wouldn’t be into work that day, or for a few days. It was a quirky conversation. We’d speak again in the coming days, once I knew what recovery might look like.
“In the next 15 to 30 minutes, we’ll take you up to theatre….” The elevator stopped as the hospital switched over to reserve power. Reengaged, the elevator completed its journey, doors opening to the clinical white of theatres.
The mains power was now back in. A stream of individuals who would be involved in the surgery came to talk to me. They emerged from the operation theatre to me, in a sort of anti-chamber. The anesthesiologist was tasked with putting me to sleep, keeping me asleep, and managing the pain.
Theatre was ready and I got to walk in. The bed, more like a bench, was narrow.
I woke up in recovery, not knowing how I got there or how long I was out. My concerns turned to quenching a half-day thirst. I did so with abandon and an ice block.
I was still highly medicated when I was allocated to Ward 34 North. Initial visitors would bring my toothbrush and I would begin the journey back to normality – without an appendix.