Over the holidays this year, I was hit with my third appendicitis attack. The trouble was, I didn’t realize I had appendicitis. Turns out, the stuff is scary and even deadly if not taken care of. While the appendicitis made for a cruddy holiday and New Year, I did learn a lot of things when I finally went into the hospital.
It started with a tight, sharp pain in my abdomen, and it just never went away. It felt similar to a decent bout of constipation, so I just took stuff for that and hoped for the best. In fact, we tried several things, none of which made even a slight difference.
The problem kept getting worse and worse until it was so bad I couldn’t think or move. Both times I’ve had it before, it was over in three days. Mind you, that’s three days and nights of excruciating, mind-bending pain, but at least it went away. This last time, it never went away.
I’m not one for doctors and hospitals but on the seventh day of suffering, I had to go in, there was no question. I packed my Kindle and we swung by a fast food place to pick up a couple burgers on the way to the emergency room. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I wanted answers. I definitely wasn’t stopped up with constipation.
After the usual tests, they decided they’d better give me an MRI. The results of that showed that not only did I have appendicitis, but that the blamed thing had burst. The reason that is dangerous is because it immediately sends poisonous toxins into your body and can cause a septic state. In short, it’ll kill you pretty quickly.
After they had diagnosed me, the nurses couldn’t believe that I had eaten a couple burgers and was getting around as well as I was. I told them that after an entire week of the worst pain I’d ever felt, I was actually just getting used to it, which was scary all by itself.
I spent three days there while they watched me closely. They wanted to remove the appendix but because it had ruptured (read: I waited way, way too long to go to the hospital), they couldn’t do it right away. When my white blood cell count leveled off into the safe zone, they sent me on my way.
Now that my appendix has actually exploded, they said I have a 20% chance of reoccurrence. I can go have the thing yanked and be done with it, but that operation costs $3,000. I don’t have that kind of green lying around.
I can also wait and if it becomes painful again, an ER trip will take care of it for me. I’ve chosen to wait and be careful. I’ve always had good luck and, if my fortunate ways continue, I’ve seen the last of appendicitis.
It makes me wonder, though, what happened the other two times I had appendix attacks. Surely it didn’t rupture or I might not be here to write this article. I guess it flared up and then calmed back down.
Either way, if you suspect that you have something other than real bad gas or constipation, go to the hospital. It isn’t worth your life to wait around like I did. Harry Houdini was killed by appendicitis. Once that thing ruptures, it’s lights out if you go it alone.