My Emergency Appendectomy: The Surgery (Part 1)

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

I woke up early that Sunday to attend online church with my family. We had Macaroni soup for lunch and I ate a lot! I then went to my room and slept. An hour later,  I woke up to stomach pain. I suspected indigestion or diarrhea, so I endured the pain, thinking it will soon go away.

That night, I experienced nausea, low fever, cold sweats, a little vomiting and a constant pain just below my belly button. I didn’t sleep a wink and the sunrise brought more intense pain.

I double checked my menstrual calendar to make sure it wasn’t period-related. It wasn’t.

By afternoon the next day, the pain was severe. I was hesitant to seek medical help because at that time, there was an alarming surge of Covid-19 cases in our towns.

But it had been 24 hours and the pain was non-stop; not relieved by any painkillers or stomach medicine. So I finally agreed to be brought to a clinic. My doctor said it might be appendicitis and I needed to be confined immediately.

WHAT IS APPENDICITIS?

The appendix is a small tube-shaped pouch attached to your large intestine and located in the lower right side of your abdomen. Appendicitis is when your appendix becomes sore, swollen, and infected. If not removed immediately, it can burst or rupture. This can happen as soon as 48 to 72 hours after you have symptoms. An appendectomy is an emergency surgery to remove the appendix when it is infected.

THE DIAGNOSIS

From the start, I dismissed appendicitis as cause of my agony, because the pain was in my whole lower abdomen and not concentrated on my right side. I later learned that Appendicitis typically starts with a pain in the middle of your tummy or below your belly button, and will travel to your lower right side.

From the clinic, I was transported to the emergency ward of a hospital. Even in pain, I remembered being overwhelmed with anxiety. You see I have serious fear of medical facilities, staff and procedures.

My body sometimes involuntarily resist insertion and that leads to more pricking, crying and bruising. That is why I am very thankful for nurses who are extra kind and caring to patients like me who are extremely scared of needles.

When my other doctor arrived, he examined me and declared it may indeed be appendicitis.
“You need to go into surgery. When was the last time you ate?” he asked.
“Not in the past 24 hours,” I replied.
“Ok, let’s do it now.” He said.

The first thing that came into my mind was, “NOW?! Oh noooo! I didn’t even shave or clean down there!” Haha.

OPEN APPENDECTOMY

There are 2 types of surgery to remove the appendix. The standard method is an open appendectomy. A newer, less invasive method is a laparoscopic appendectomy. Mine was open surgery.

These are the thoughts I remembered after being rolled into the Operating Room:

My slippers are too dirty. I need to pee. Oh, thanks for the bedpan. Ooh, I’m being strapped in the operating table. I’m not wearing a bra. It’s cold! I wish someone was here to take a picture of me being cut open. It’s super cold! Now here comes my spinal anaesthesia, prepare to die! Oh, that wasn’t as painful as I expected. Thank you, anesthesiologist, I want to hug you. It’s really cold! Thanks for covering me, but I still feel cold. I can hear you talking. I’m sleepy.

After like an eternity shivering in the cold, I heard my doctor said, “it’s done!” I wanted to clap in standing ovation.

While all these was happening, my sister and my sister-in-law were patiently waiting for me outside. Back home, my whole family was in prayer alert.

AFTER SURGERY

When I was brought to my room, I didn’t feel any pain at all. But I was very sleepy. My sister Joy stayed with me for the night.

While I was sleeping, she was very busy doing this…

I woke up the next day to discover I was in diapers!

By lunch time, my cousin Kelvin came to temporarily relieve my sister of her duties. He didn’t know that he was going to be stuck by me forever, because a lockdown was issued in that town due to the rise of Covid-19 cases. I have high-risk family members, so we decided he should just stick by me. Poor kid! Haha.

Because the whole town was in lockdown, my first and only visitor was Angela, my highschool classmate. It was nice reconnecting with an old friend. So proud of what she is doing as a nurse in that hospital.

My doctors came for the morning rounds and said I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink until after I passed gas. I haven’t eaten in almost 3 days now. I was disappointed to feel that I didn’t even lose any weight. Haha.

My doctor showed me my appendix. It was inflamed with the end part beginning to rot. Thankfully, it didn’t erupt inside me. He saved me just in time! Look how big that is!

After lunch, I still felt OK. I walked around my room, sat down on the toilet bowl countless times until I finally farted. I was excited to eat and drink!

“Oh, this is easy.” I said to myself. An hour later, I felt the MOST HORRIBLE PAIN I can imagine! And that began my 7 days of torment in the hospital.

READ PART 2

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