Oh, hey, remember me?
It’s been a really long few months. I admit that I haven’t been taking care of myself like I should. September and October in particular left me feeling ragged, magnified further by powerful migraines and chest pain. I had pushed my stress to such a breaking point that anything would set me off into a flurry of tears, tension pain, and hyperventilation. So … let’s just say I wasn’t exactly surprised when my appendix decided to secede from my body and I needed emergency surgery.
As a general side note, let me say that depression is a horrible, vile disease and not having the means to take care of it (as in, doctor-related therapy and medication) sucks balls. Owning your own business comes with a handful of perks, but it also comes with downsides such as having to figure out (and pay for) your insurance. Because of our inability to find a plan we could afford with Affordable Care Act (irony,) we went without. It was actually cheaper to pax the tax penalty than the ~$600 a month. (Now this isn’t a post to argue over the ACA. Please do that elsewhere. And yes, I realize the full irony of having a nearly $40,000 hospital visit after deciding we wouldn’t need major health coverage.)
Friday morning I woke up feeling not so great. Over the last year, I’ve developed an allergy to mozzarella cheese (but all other cheese is OK? The human body is so weird) and it causes me intense abdominal pain. I woke up experiencing those symptoms after only 3 hours of sleep. I kept waking up, too, and I just felt bad. When it came time to workout, I couldn’t get past the warm-up before I was doubled over for cramps. But because I’m an obstinate woman, I ended up going to the pub, and dealing with the inevitability that are Shark Week symptoms. I immediately retreated to the couch and assumed a fetal position. After suffering through two hours of feeling like death, I gave in and drove myself home to rest. I told Markus I would come back to take him home around 1. On the way, my symptoms got worse. I called my mom in a panic. I legitimately thought I was having a heart attack, the pain was so intense. My left arm started hurting and with my chest pain it seemed logical. She gave me a virtual slap to the face and calmed me down. One emergency drug store run for Pepto later, I was breathing a little slower and headed straight to bed.
Fast-forward to irritating abdominal pain, complimented by lower back pain, a headache, extreme chills, and a fever. Over the course of the evening, my body began its slow descent into total “freak-the-fuck-out mode” and my temperature did somersaults in the 100s. My chills continued and just when I thought I was catching the flu, I ran to the bathroom and puked my brains out. I can’t remember the last time I actually threw up so this was a giant red flag.
Being a logical 28-year-old woman, I quickly opened Google to assess my symptoms. According to the internet, I definitely had one of three things: cancer, appendicitis, or gas. I was determined to pass this off as the flu, but the wealth of Google search results started messing with my brain. Nobody wants cancer to be the actual answer, so I dismissed that and realized pretty quickly that appendicitis was slowly becoming the answer. Thanks to a handful of friends on Twitter and their constant badgering to “GO TO THE DAMN HOSPITAL,” I texted my husband and let him know I needed to get to the ER.
Unfortunately, he was still at work … and I was at home … with the car … 45 minutes away. I threw together an overnight bag because my gut told me to, kissed my dogs, and hopped into the truck to retrieve him. I drove with clenched teeth and tears staining my face. The pain became so intense, and luckily I was able to meet him halfway thanks to an employee. We immediately raced to the hospital. I tried to virtually check-in to the ER, but it denied my request, stating that my symptoms were “too urgent” to have to check in, and to GET (HERE) NOW.
I felt like what I can only imagine it is to be in labor. There I was sitting in a wheelchair holding my husband’s hand. I had to focus on my breathing while clutching my abdomen and I couldn’t stand. I wasn’t paralyzed, but I certainly wasn’t comfortable. Thank goodness for living in a small town, because at 3 a.m., I was the only person there and had an IV in my arm within half an hour. My nurse was the coolest: a guy bartender from the local Irish pub who had gone back to nursing school. He had awesome tattoos and jokes. He told me he thought I was SOL and needed surgery. I pleaded for an alternate outcome. He nabbed me some socks and a warm blanket. My doctor, otherwise dubbed Dr. McDreamy, waltzed into my room as if momentarily stepping off the set of a Grey’s Anatomy episode. His perfect complexion, million-dollar smile, and sparking eyes assessed me as he casually inquired of my symptoms and lulled us into a sense of safety.
I have T-shirts older than this guy.
WHY DIDN’T I SHAVE MY LEGS YESTERDAY?
Dr. McDreamy ordered up bloodwork and a CAT scan to confirm the appendicitis, but not before granting me the sweet serenity that is morphine.
After a long, but thankfully painless wait, it was confirmed. Dr. McDreamy whipped out that charming smile, and we scheduled up my surgery with the incoming physician. I figured maybe it was time to call my parents …
I don’t remember much about surgery, except for the fact that starting your period is probably the one thing that can make emergency surgery worst. The being said, my doctors and nurses all took spectacular care of me. I missed out on my first weekend at the bar since opening, but I enjoyed sweet rest, and some not-so-gross hospital food.
I, uh, don’t recommend having your appendix explode. They don’t even let you keep it.