Many of you may know about my recent appendectomy, but for those who don’t or who haven’t seen the pictures, I thought I’d tell the story. I have to warn you: I get graphic, I make inappropriate jokes (sorry, Dave!) and sometimes it might be vulgar. But you know what? Surgery, hospital, and recovery aren’t elegant, graceful, fun, or in any way allow you to keep your dignity.
(All of the pictures below were taken after I was admitted to the hospital but before I had surgery. Except for that last one.)
So last Monday evening, December 7th (the night of my birthday! What a fantastic gift I gave myself, as you’ll see.), I was feeling nauseous and had stomach cramps. I felt like throwing up, but I wasn’t surprised I didn’t because I have a really strong stomach. I’m so nauseous that I can’t sleep and don’t fall asleep until 3am, and had already decided not to go to work on Tuesday, because 3 hours of sleep? Really?
But when I woke up I had this terrible pain in my side, not a sharp pain, just an ache, and I couldn’t explain why. It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. And I know Dave had punched me in the stomach the day before, but surely it wouldn’t hurt this bad?
So I’m laying on the couch (which isn’t comfortable, by the way. NOTHING is comfortable.), and Dave calls and says I should call the doctor because it could be appendicitis. First I call my friend, Ann Marie, because she’s had every sickness from A-Z, but I have no other symptoms associated with appendicitis other than the pain in my side. So she tells me to call my doctor.
I call Kaiser, and I get a condescending advice nurse who says, Is the pain mild, moderate, or severe? If it’s mild you can still go to work, do things around the house, etc, if it’s moderate you’re home from work but can still function, and if it’s severe you’re doubled over in pain. From her tone I knew I wasn’t severe, so I picked moderate. I mean, I wasn’t at work, was I? And SHE went through all these other symptoms with me, and while she didn’t seem too concerned, she gave me an appointment with my doctor that day anyway.
So I go to my doctor, and she puts me through a battery of tests and has blood work done and has my urine tested blah blah blah. But everything’s normal. The only thing wrong with me is I have a pain in my side. But my doctor sends me home with Vicodin, which I’m really grateful for (until I take one and it gives me a massive headache, then I’m not so grateful). When I leave the doctor I’m in severe pain, walk to my car with tears in my eyes, only to find that some asshole has parked so close to me that a piece of paper barely fits through the door when I open it. I’m in severe pain and I have to be a contortionist?! If I had any energy I would have written that guy a nasty note and left it on his windshield, but I didn’t, so I gritted my teeth and contorted.
The next day I’m in severe pain. My husband is out of town at a conference, so I call my friend Becky, who so kindly spends the next 10 hours with me, though neither of us anticipated it would take so long. So Becky saved the day!
The nurse I saw that Wednesday was really nice. I hobbled in at 11:00am, stooped over, clutching my side. She poked and prodded, and everything was fine, but I told her she was poking in the wrong spot. So I poked in the right spot and immediately tears leaked out and I yelled, BUT DON’T TOUCH THERE! She ordered more blood tests, so I had those done, then I went back to get the results from the nurse, who then sent me to have a CT scan. Boy was that a party.
For the CT scan I had to have liquid inserted into my anus. Then she injected me with some kind of dye that made me feel like I was peeing, but I wasn’t (oh good! I still have some dignity left because I haven’t peed my pants). Then she suggested I use the bathroom, where I subsequently peed the liquid out of my ass. Good times. Any shred of dignity I *might* have had walking out of the CT scanning room, I left in my recovery room after the surgery. Weeeee!!
It’s now 4:00pm, and I’ve been running around the hospital for 5 hours. Finally, FINALLY, when I go to the nurse to get the CT results, I find out I DO have appendicitis, and I’m so happy I almost cry. The pain will end! Boy, was I naive.
Surgery was Wednesday evening at 7:30pm, and Dave was able to make it home so I could see him when I woke up.
I can’t even tell you how much pain I was in Thursday. The doctor who did my surgery came to check on me around 10 or 11am, and I burst into tears. She asked if I take something at home that they should be giving me at the hospital. A joke! Except, she didn’t mean it as a joke. *sigh*
So let’s just say that Thursday was intense. I had really sweet nurses who let me take my time and who helped me as much as they could. The big deal when you have surgery is peeing. When are you going to pee! So they have this hat that sits under the toilet seat to catch your pee and measure it. Thursday was all about Can Trish Go Pee?
I had the best roommate on Thursday. She was a young girl, about my age, who’d 5 days ago had her gall bladder removed. She respected my need for privacy (did I mention I was in a lot of pain?), but was helpful when needed. For example, my hospital phone rang but I couldn’t get it because I couldn’t bend to where the phone was, so after a few rings she got it for me. Unfortunately, she was discharged Thursday evening, and by 10:30pm, I had a new, white trash roommate.
This lady looked about 50, but easily could have been 40. She came tooling in like this was no big deal, she does this all the time, oh, and don’t forget to try the red jello! Her sons (late teens, early 20s) quickly follow but are booted out by the nurse who needs to admit her and ask questions. From what I gathered, the woman came in because of pain in her stomach, and the doctors in the ER found bleeding in her stomach. When you’re bleeding in your stomach, they ask you not to eat anything. This lady was obviously not happy with that, but reluctantly agreed. Finally her sons come in, one of them bearing Carl’s Jr. My roommate scarfs down the food, saying something about how she’s not supposed to eat anything, but she’s hungry. I can’t stand the smell of fast food, I’m in pain, it’s late, and I’m tired. So I close my curtain. From around the curtain I hear this lady snidely say to her sons, Well I guess you should leave since SHE wants some privacy. Her sons stay for a little longer before she finally makes them leave, and the younger one storms out.
When the nurse comes back in to check on this lady, this lady says, Can you believe my sons, leaving so fast like that? And the nurse says, But you told them to leave. And the lady says, No I didn’t. And the nurse says, YES, you DID, I heard you. So the lady says, Oh…my youngest son is a prick, though.
And the best part? At some point amongst all this, the lady has to pee, but my hat hasn’t been emptied yet. That didn’t bother her though! When I brought it up to a nurse (I was PISSED (no pun intended)…this was my whole goal all day, to PEE, and this lady peed right over mine), the lady’s like, Oh, it’s okay, I peed on top of hers. HOW GROSS CAN YOU BE???
(Yes, I *am* THAT white)
So that’s my story. I’ve been recovering ever since, and I have to admit it’s taking me longer to recover than I thought it would. I haven’t been up to working or doing much of anything except resting, watching Gilmore Girls, and sitting at the computer (sitting in a chair is actually pretty comfortable).
Anyone else got any good hospital roommate stories? Because now I can commiserate.