If you follow me on instagram or Facebook, then you already know that I was in the hospital last week for a ruptured appendix. If you don’t know the story, then please read on…
Quick disclaimer: Always, always get checked by a doctor if you are experiencing appendicitis pain, which is generally a horrible pain in the lower right side of your abdomen. Unless, that is, you are like me and don’t have the textbook symptoms.
I thought I had food poisoning, the Wednesday before I went into the hospital. I was experiencing abdominal pain, but it was in the center of my tummy above my belly button. I also couldn’t eat and had some nausea and vomiting–nothing horrible though. I mean, I was driving the kids around, making dinner and doing my normal thing. I did have to lay down for a bit, but nothing alerted me to needing to see a doctor — I am also a nurse who knows the standard signs and symptoms of appendicitis, none of which I thought I had (this can also be interpreted as: stubborn with an unwillingness to see a doctor or go to the hospital unless ABSOLUTELY necessary). Am I breathing? – yes. Am I bleeding?- no. Then we are all good.
By Friday, the pain had eased and I was feeling better. The pain had eased because my appendix had ruptured. The appendix doesn’t always burst, it can be more like a slow leak. So there was pressure, pressure, pressure then a slow release, which was my appendix rupturing. This slow release of pressure had allowed me to no longer feel that irritating pain in the middle of my tummy, I was no longer experiencing nausea and I was keeping food down. I thought, well that was weird, but now I feel a lot better.
That is, until Sunday, when I started feeling nauseated, but this time with fevers. It wasn’t until Monday morning that I started experiencing pain to the touch, in my lower right abdomen. Ah-ha, now that is my appendix, at which point I headed into the hospital.
After a grueling 6 hours in the ER triage chain, I finally got a CT scan, initially confirming that there was indeed “something brewing around my appendix” and later confirming that it had ruptured, probably several days ago. I couldn’t believe it! Here I was, laughing and chatting with my husband, not feeling all that bad and I had a ruptured appendix! Everything I knew about appendicitis was thrown out the window.
What had happened (and what sometimes happens to other people) is that my body walled off the infection protecting me and the rest of my body. The protocol nowadays, in this particular instance, is to avoid surgery which can be dangerous with a high likelihood of exposing the rest of the body to the infection and possible loss of part of the colon. I freaking LOVE my colon, thank you very much! Thank you Dr.A for knowing not to cut into me. The new treatment includes IV antibiotics combined with fasting (no food or drinks) for a few days while getting IV fluids. This takes the burden of digestion away while allowing the antibiotics to work and the body to heal. It worked for me, because within 24 hours I had very little pain and no fevers and felt almost normal by the end of my stay. I was able to go home after 5 days and 4 nights in the hospital (which is not the best place to get any rest, btw).
I will be on oral antibiotics for 10 days and on a soft diet until further notice. At least, it is my own home-made food that I will be eating. I will happily take it. And, I will have surgery to remove, my hopefully calm, quiet and uninfected appendix in 3 months.
Now, I am trying to get back on track and deal with the side effects of oral antibiotics. I also have a ton of emails to reply to and overdue deadlines, so it will be quiet around here until and can get caught up!