My Birthday was June 4th.
I am a healthy, active woman of 51 years old now!
But this year's birthday surprise was one I could live without.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the week before my birthday I was having almost constant stomach cramps and bloating. Then on Thursday they became worse and I laid in bed shivering and vomiting. After a few hours of that I felt pretty good and just assumed I had been dealing with some kind of food poisoning. The next day, however, proved me wrong. I woke up fine, had a good breakfast and lunch, even a long walk with the dogs, then it hit. Extreme abdominal pain. I remember that I even said to my husband that I thought I was dying.
Since we live in the boondocks, we went to the local urgent care center. They said my stomach was "guarded" and that is sounded like a surgical problem. They could not give me any pain medicine or anything to help at all. So, the options were to take an ambulance ($$$$) or drive to Emergency about 40 minutes away. We drove. And by God, everyone on that dang two lane highway was going at or below the speed limit! It was an excruciating ride for me.
Finally at the hospital and I have to be triaged because they don't have any available rooms. So, more waiting in extreme pain. Not fun. Took about an hour to get into a room where a nurse tried and failed twice to set an IV. I've got the bruises to prove it still. She sent in another guy to get a line in the other arm Finally some morphine! After that set in and a CT scanner was available I got the "great" news that I had appendicitis and it had ruptured. Dr. thought I was in the middle somewhere in terms of how bad it was.....Until he got in there to do the surgery which happened almost immediately. He said it was a really messy clean out and he would be surprised if I didn't develop an abscess later on due to bacteria that hadn't been able to be removed.
So, day after surgery was not bad. I felt fairly decent considering the circumstances and family came to visit and brought flowers. Then I started having reactions to all of the antibiotics. Not serious allergic reactions, but a general tiredness and constant nausea. I couldn't eat and didn't want to, either. I knew I needed to pass all of their standards to be let out - passing urine, bowel movements, eating and keeping it down. But they were still pumping me with antibiotics and fluids. At this point I had to have a Foley catheter put in because my bladder was not working properly.
The second day was the worst. I had no energy and couldn't move. The doctor came in and the only way I could describe it to him was that it was as if someone had taken a giant water balloon and covered my entire body with it. It was a huge effort just to lift a finger. I was having weird daytime hallucinations that I could reason weren't real, but could not stop when my eyes were closed. Even drinking water at this point was monstrous. Funny thing was I was barely even taking Tylenol for the pain. I was pretty out of it all day and slept fitfully overnight. During this they had changed antibiotics and when I woke up on the third day post-surgery I thought I was on the mend. But my bowels were just barely working right and still having trouble with major nausea that prevented me from eating much at all. I tried a few things but then vomited most of up again. My family came to visit as I was sitting back up again and that cheered me up and got me motivated. But overnight was horrible with self-pity and nausea.
I knew what I needed was some solid food, but the doctor still had me on liquids. If I could only get some bread, crackers, pretzels, anything to help ease the nausea. Finally, a nurse agreed and gave me some crackers! I was determined. I started with crackers and when the doctor came in I convinced him to change my diet to "regular" and he said I should eat whatever sounded good. So I had more crackers, rice cakes, cheerios with soy milk and was on my way. They took out my catheter and I could pee! They took out the surgical drain (that was shocking and weird)! I had some rice and tofu for lunch that my husband had to get across the street because the hospital does not have tofu!!! Then they took out my IV and I even had a shower and got to go home!
Happy Birthday to me!
I'm home now, 6 days post-surgery and feeling pretty good. I'll have a couple of follow up visits to make sure the abscess is not forming and all is healing well. I want to thank everyone who saw my posts on Facebook and shared well wishes for me and for a speedy recovery. I'm not completely out of the woods, but it's looking good.
This is a warning to anyone ignoring stomach cramps, bloating or pain in your lower right abdomen - have it checked out. Sooner rather than later. Lesser cases can be treated with antibiotics and a simple appendix removal and are much less dangerous than what I experienced.
So, now it's back to the real world. I'm taking it easy, but getting some easy glass things done in short increments and enjoying the early summer weather while I build up my strength and appetite.