Friday, May 12, 2017

Appendicitis - a post that is too long (and a lot of no make-up selfies)

Oh man.  I feel like I lost a week of my life.  Or maybe more. Yesterday was the first time I left the house in a literal week, and I have NEVER been housebound for that long before, and I had NO desires to leave the house until yesterday.  They say appendicitis is most common before you are 30, and I guess it was on my 30 before 30 to have my appendix removed, and now I can check that one off.

This story starts at the end of April.  I couldn't sleep one night and chalked it up to maybe my gallbladder being kind of weird, but who knows?  with 3 boys and a weekend trip to Utah and coming home to visitors, it was a busy week and I had a lot to do, no time to get sick.  I kept having that pain on and off, and was mostly bothered by it at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, but each day thought it would be better the next.  So we went to Utah and got to enjoy Erika's Graduation and Hiro's baby blessing with no one but Luke knowing about this pain and discomfort I was having. I was secretly googling what it could be and thought maybe appendicitis was an option, but I didn't have a fever, I wasn't throwing up and shouldn't I be in more pain? And this pain had been going on for almost a week, and usually wouldn't the appendix rupture by now? (yes, it usually does within 72 hours). Then Sunday night (still in Utah) I opened up to Jamie, Jenelle, Chet and Lincoln and debated going to get checked somewhere, but I didn't want to get stuck in Utah and we needed to get back home. So Luke got me some Advil and gas x (I thought maybe it was just trapped gas?? and I made it through the night and the drive back home to Colorado on Monday.  Monday was another busy day, I went to Costco and the grocery store and tried to get things ready for Tracen's Zoo field trip the next day, and our visitors.  I kept laying down on the floor in pain, but didn't want to go in anywhere because who has time to be sick?

The pain was getting worse and seemed to be making my back ache as well. I text Candi and asked her what she knew about appendicitis and she told me that I needed to go get checked out, and my life was worth whatever the cost might be (I am still used to Canadian health care with it's price tag of $0).  When I couldn't sleep that night, I got up and made sure Tracen's Lunch was ready for his field trip and then made Luke give me a blessing.  It said I would know what I needed to do. After a sleepless night, when morning came I reluctantly knew I needed to go somewhere to get checked out.  Luke called probably 10 offices trying to find a doctor to take a new patient with no luck.  So we found an urgent care center for me to go to.  he stayed home from work and I took a quick drink of water and took off (I didn't have much of an appetite).  I didn't take anything with me because I was sure I would be home in an hour.  

well, the urgent care place gave me the paperwork and then when I handed it back told me that I needed to go be seen at the ER.  Because of the pain where it was, it was likely that they would send me there anyways and before paying two co-pays I should just go.  Uhh...I didn't feel like it was an emergency, but I was in pain, so off I went to the ER.  

I got checked in quickly and then began to wait to be seen. They took blood and urine samples and I waited for the doctor for about an hour.  

My urine samples came back normal, but my white blood cell count was a little elevated, so they wanted to do a CT scan to get a better picture.  What a weird sensation that is when they give you the dye in your IV. It feels like you pee your pants. I was starting to get real thirsty about now, but the nurse assured me that before I headed home she would get me some water, it seemed that no one thought I was actually sick.  It took about 45 minutes to get the results and much to what seemed everyones surprise, I did have appendicitis.  My symptoms were not typical, but the scan showed it. And all of a sudden everyone started to treat me different.   So then I waited to see the surgeon. 

She came and talked to me and told me that they had a busy surgery day and so I probably wouldn't get in till about 7pm (and it was about 1 pm).  They gave me some antibiotics, which help to keep the appendicitis where it is and keep it from rupturing.  Then I was moved up to a room and waited.

Luke, Tracen, Mylo and Lincoln came and visited for a few minutes and I Nursed Mylo one last time (and then went a week without nursing him). After they left I started to get a headache from not eating and drinking and the pain was getting worse and worse.  

Finally at about 6:30 they came and got me for surgery ( I told them I could get used to people pushing me around on a bed to every place I needed to go).  I met with the nurses and the surgeon again and also the anesthetist. And then they put something in my IV and I vaguely remember hearing my nurse trying to keep me from sitting up and hearing him talk in recovery, but I couldn't open my eyes.  Next thing I knew I was back in my room and it was 10 PM.  They told me surgery would be about an hour.. where did the time go?  My nurse BInita was awesome.  And when I finally could get my eyes open again I asked her to take pictures of me (I have no idea what I was thinking, or wait, I DO, I thought my family must be really worried and would love to see these weird awkward pictures of me).

I was thrilled to be able to finally drink later that night, but the pain.  it was bad.  I was also super bloated and it hurt everywhere, especially my shoulder, which was weird but actually known to happen after an appendectomy.  

It wasn't until the next day that I actually talked to Dr. Weibe (the surgeon) and all I knew about the surgery was what Luke told my family in our family text message group.  Anyways, it turned out that my appendix was in rough shape.  It may have had a slight tear or beginning of rupture and started to fall a part a bit when they touched it.  She said it was extremely swollen and they put it like a bag thing to pull it out, but it was so swollen that it took a long time to get it through the incision and so it would probably be really sore.  She said she couldn't' believe that it didn't rupture in that week that it had been hurting, but that it definitely looked like it was infected for probably that whole time.  

How lucky that I finally gave in and got checked out before it ruptured. I really didn't want to do it. 

 I was anxious to get back home and had VERY unrealistic expectations about recovery.  I guess I thought that because I was "so sick" before and they had fixed the problem, that I would be feeling back to normal ASAP.  I had to be  able to tolerate food again, so I was trying to eat, but man, I had no appetite and struggled to eat one of those crackers over an hour. 

 But I finally was able to go home on Wednesday evening after a few more doses of antibiotic.  And seriously the next couple of days are a blur.   I was trying to get off of the narcotics so I could get back to nursing Mylo, but it proved to be too painful.  I am telling you that this was WAY WAY worse than any labour and delivery I have ever had.    And I literally slept my way through almost 4 days straight. 
 My neighbor made me soup, that I took a couple bites of the broth. 

We couldn't have been more grateful to have Jenelle and Lincoln and Reiko visiting.  They helped us out so much and Jenelle donated her extra milk to Mylo.  The boys had so much fun with them and just adore Reiko.

 The hardest part was probably having him cry and want me, and me not be able to help him or nurse him.  

we knew we would need more help so my mom flew down to takeover when they left.  I always think that she does my mothering way better than I do, in the best way.  The boys have so much fun with her and she is so great at keeping them entertained and happy. 

I am just at awe at how the timing of everything happened.  We happened to have Jenelle and Lincoln at our house at the precise time that we needed help.  I happened to go in before things went from bad to worse, and my Mom was able to fit in a visit with us before her planned adventures with Angie and her family and then Hawaii.  I know it is no coincidence and have felt the watchful care and love of God, micromanaging the smallest of things.  I can't express how grateful I am to Jenelle and Lincoln for putting up with so much, for helping so much, and just being so easy to be around. And to my Mom for all she gives to us of her time and herself.  I am so happy that even though we live far from home, our boys know and love their family so well.  

And of course HUGE thanks and love to Luke.  Who managed to manage everything while I was out of commission.  Swimming lessons, eye appointments, meals, etc etc.  He is my better half and my love for him just grows and grows. 

1 comment:

jacqui said...

Hey Alana,
I just had the thought today that I should check out your blog so I did and I was able to read this post! It had me laughing out loud by myself (when you asked the nurse to take a picture of you coming out of surgery and your comments about it) and also crying in other moments (notes from your boys). I sure love you and your stories, storytelling, your family, your testimony and your example.