Tag Archives: appendix

Beds

A New Bed

I would be wheeled to Surgery Assessment.  A doctor had seen me and was concerned that my abdominal pain was more than a stomach bug.  How much more, they wouldn’t say.  This was the better of the beds.

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.

Suspicions Confirmed

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.

Awake

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.

Fetal Position

Double

I was doubled over in pain, in bed.

The pain was centralised in my abdomen as if I had a bad stomach bug.  It seemed the internalised pressure was having a significant impact on my stools, a squeezing like liquefaction.  I was no stranger to watery stools so I was mostly unconcerned.  My mantra was This too shall pass.

I slept, in the fetal position from early evening until what would normally be bedtime on a Saturday evening.  The pain had not abated and I was to make several trips to the toilet before the clock struck twelve.  Some pills before back to bed for the night.

Double

The fetal position was employed all night in an attempt to mitigate the increasing abdominal pain.  By the next morning, the liquefaction was making an upward journey – water in, vomit out, abdominal tight.  Back to bed and the fetal position.  Two days of being doubled over in pain and discomfort that I reduced to a stomach bug.

Toil

More pills, this time with an anti-nausea tablet that would hopefully give me a reprieve from the vomiting.  It availed little.  I told a friend who proceded with caring questions of “Where did the pain start?”, “Where is the pain now?”, “What other symptoms have you got?”  Questions I would be asked multiple times in the ensuing days by those with large student loans and hard soled shoes.

She said what I had considered, “Maybe it’s appendicitis…”  I sought another opinion from Dr. Google.  It lined up.  I wasn’t confident in our amateur diagnosis, but there was sufficient reason to see qualified medical advice.

I thought the after-hours would be a sufficient stop as my chauffeur drove in the opposite direction.  The hospital.  The seemingly unnecessarily overcrowded hospital where wait times extended into hours.  The joy of joys.  Labourous waiting, discomforted and in pain.

Trouble

The vomiting continued into small white pails.  “How long would it be?” she enquired.  “I really need to lie down” I expressed.  Between enquiry and request, the nurse was to be called, but this hadn’t happened.  Soon after my request, the heavy and heavily guarded doors swung open.  “Mr Ward?”

The previous enquiry and the expression that soon followed it were in response to a rise in the numbers, where 1 is next to no pain, and 10 – the most unbearable of pains.  By the time I made it through the doors, it was approaching the upper end of the scale.  This was when the little white pail was put to greatest use as the watery yellow content seemed to force itself out of my body.   The pain causing the vomiting, by this stage, accentuated by the pain of vomiting.

I was given a bed, hard and hardly accommodating.  There would be other beds, in time and process.