Emergency Surgery, and Recovery

** If you ever think you are having a medical emergency call 911 get the help and care you need. Be a LOUD advocate for yourself. It’s better to go and nothing serious be wrong than to wait it out and there be something serious going on.**

Thursday afternoon I started to have some lower abdominal pain. I really thought I just had a regular stomach ache, that wasn’t going away and getting worse, but a stomach ache all the same. I tried all of the tricks to feel better. Tried to throw up, did a little bit but that didn’t help. Took some Pepto-Bismol with zero relief coming. I wanted to just try to sleep it off but Nach (my husband) was extremely concerned so he called the advice nurse and we ended up making an appointment for Thursday evening. We dropped the kids off with my in-laws just in case it was anything serious, and honestly just easier without the kids running around while I’m writhing in pain and trying to get in as quickly as possible to the doctor. At that point we thought it was nothing, and that we’d be coming right back home.

My pain literally was kind of all over, it wasn’t concentrated to one side or the other and this is exactly what I told the doctor. So upon examination she started pushing on my stomach, nothing, nothing, and then OUCH she pushed on the lower right side of my stomach and it was horrific pain. She called the ambulance right away. I then went to a holding room where I waited for the ambulance. I was instructed to tell my husband to go ahead and come back to the holding area because he would not be able to be with me in the hospital. I basically lost it. I’ve never had surgery before. I don’t like being away from Nach, and especially in a time like that. He is my person, I rely on him so much, I felt like I really needed him there with me. The isolation I felt was so scary, and I really can’t imagine how other people have felt that are in worse of situations than I was. After I was able to calm down, the ambulance arrived and they took me to the hospital.

Symptoms of Appendicitis:
1. Lower abdominal pain (my main symptom), not always concentrated to the right side, but when you push on it compared to the left does it hurt more?
2. Nausea
3. Cold sweats (I had this symptom)
4. Vomitting and diarrhea
5. Fever

When we wheeled into the ER it was crowded. Seriously, there were people on beds everywhere. In the hallway, multiple people per room, people sitting in chairs, and jam-packed everywhere. Since the ER was so crowded they took me to the front and said I would be seen quicker if I went through the front and was seen as a walk-in instead of as coming in on an ambulance. After going through triage I was instructed to wait in the waiting room, and my pain just kept getting worse. I was called up to registration and asked how long my wait would be, the lady helping me with registration was not sure but pointed me in the right direction of who to ask.

I found the nurse that would know, and she told me it would be 2-3 HOURS I lost it again, when I say “lost it” I mean I cried hysterically I’m a tad dramatic sometimes, she said “one second let me check something” then had me follow her to the back. They just needed to do a blood panel before they could give me any pain meds so that there wasn’t anything in my blood stream to mess up the blood test results. Right after they had me wait in what they call the RAP room, no clue what that stands for, but it was amazing. There are big recliner type chairs, I was given a blanket, and did get some pain meds. They didn’t help completely but did help with the pain. Just a side note real quick, there were about ten of us total in the RAP room and the other patients in there were so kind and helpful. I feel like the fact that all of us were alone brought us together and kind of gave us this camaraderie. We all supported each other and it really was a good experience. People are GOOD and it’s so nice to see that there are so many good people out there.

After about an hour of waiting in the RAP room I was taken back for a CT scan with contrast of my abdomen to see if they could find anything. After I was taken back to the RAP room I was given more pain medication, but this time it didn’t do anything for my pain and honestly just started getting worse and worse. I asked how long for the results of my test and was told it would be about 45 minutes to an hour wait. While I waited I asked if there was any chance I could get different pain meds or more. They wanted to wait at least 45 minutes to see if the pain meds would start to kick in before giving me more. When the doctor came back to tell me the results of my CT scan she said “It is looking like early appendicitis so we’ll be admitting you and you’ll have surgery tomorrow.” I was so relieved at this for some reason. Like thank goodness there is an end in sight I just need to make it through the night. My pain was still getting worse though, and I must have complained enough and flagged down enough nurses that the doctor came back to tell me they were prepping the OR right away and I’d be going up to surgery right away. Not sure if it was me being so annoying or if it was because the initial review of my CT scan wasn’t the final call and it was actually worse than they thought. I’ll never really know, but either way it was a huge relief to know the pain would be gone soon. They did give me a COVID test prior to surgery that did come back negative. It honestly wasn’t too bad, it just felt like when you get water in your nose.

Super glamorous picture I sent to Nach right before I was taken back for surgery.

Once I got to the OR recovery room where I waited to go in to surgery I let my husband know that I would be having surgery right away and honestly was so relieved that relief was coming that I forgot about my pain for a moment. The anesthesiologist gave me a different type of pain meds before surgery that also helped tremendously. They took me back for surgery and before I knew it I was waking up in the recovery room and felt so much better already. They did a laparoscopy so I had three tiny incisions on my stomach. This small experience gave me a tiny glimpse into the pain after a cesarian delivery and I can say with confidence that all moms who have had to have a C-Section are superheroes, no question about it, they are amazing to go through that type of pain AND take care of their babies.

After being taken to my room where I would stay the night my nurses were so kind. Like I’ve never had a better experience in the hospital. This was the same hospital I delivered both Nicholas and Emilia in and the nurse care in the area I stayed this time was miles better than the care I received in the maternity ward. So while I was nervous about the care I would receive I was RELIEVED with how helpful, kind, and nurturing these women truly were that took care of me. While in the room I was told that since I was COVID free I was allowed to be in the hospital room with no mask which was a huge relief to me as well. Now for a little funny anecdote. We all know in the hospital you sometimes end up sharing a recovery room with another person that is admitted in the hospital. I never saw my roommate but boy could I hear her. She snored like a grizzly bear all night long, and all the next morning. It made sleeping really hard, but also offered up some free entertainment.

Clip of my noisy snoring roommate.

I was discharged from the hospital around 2 PM and it just was so crazy that all of that happened in less than 24 hours from going to my doctors office. I think a lot of the swiftness had to do with how dramatic I was at points, because I really don’t think that if I would have just said “okay” when I was told I’d have to wait 2-3 hours before being seen I would have been waiting all night to get any relief from my pain. I also think all of my complaining about the pain while waiting to get a room helped in them getting me into surgery earlier than first mentioned. Maybe they were sick of me complaining, or maybe they just wanted to help me as fast as possible. Whatever it was no one ever seemed annoyed with me or frustrated that I asked for help so many times. The nurses were kind and caring the whole way through.

At home recovering.

My recovery so far is going great. I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 2-4 weeks, and have a follow up phone appointment 2 weeks post op. The not being able to pick things up over 10 pounds really made me sad, because that means I can’t pick my kids up which I do a lot. Nicholas seems to understand slightly that mommy isn’t feeling good, and we explained to him that mommy’s tummy hurts. Emilia on the other hand does not understand at all, and it’s been hard on her to come up to me and me not be able to pick her up. Nach is going to stay home with me for two weeks to help out, and take care of all the things I can’t while I recover, and hopefully after the two weeks I’ve regained a lot of my strength.

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