In August of 2009, I was set to have the busiest week of my life. I had two weddings, two weekends in a row, and in between these two weddings, was the first week of school. I knew this would be a crazy week and a half, but with my awesome husband's help and God's grace, I knew I would survive. Later, a few events were added to the already busy schedule. First, the new portable of which I was supposed to move in for the first week of school, did not pass inspection, so I was stuck with 13 seventh graders in a tiny room, which was not my classroom, for four days. Secondly, my husband's cousin from Indiana was coming in to visit during the first two days of school. Thirdly, one of my new bride's mom was coming in from Pennsylvania and wanted me to schedule some appointments for her (to which I needed to attend) during this same, insanely busy week that I wasn't sure I would survive to begin with. On Sunday (after the first wedding and before the cousin arrived AND the first day of school) my husband began to complain of feeling a little achy and tired. By Monday, he thought he had a bad case of gas and was pretty miserable, but functional. On Tuesday (although I didn't know it at the time) he was laying on the floor at work from the discomfort. That evening, we talked to the on-call doctor, described his symptoms and the doctor said unless he had a fever, to just wait until the next day and come in. On Wednesday morning, he did have fever, so he went to the doctor to get some prescription anti-gas medicine, but our brilliant doctor figured out that he had appendicitis and he had an emergency appendectomy. Even during pre-op, he was laughing and joking with the hospital staff and everyone stated that it was a good thing we were taking care of this early. One and a half hours after he went into surgery, the surgeon came out to tell me that his appendix had ruptured and he had gangrene. It was close to a month before he began to feel semi-normal.
So fast forward to last Tuesday. My family went on our first vacation since November of 2009. My husband and I decided to purchase season passes to Schlitterbahn. My parents live in San Antonio, which is just about 20 minutes from the New Braunfels location, so we asked if we could stay with them to save money. My husband took the whole week off and we were just going to go to the park all week. On Tuesday, I woke up feeling fine and we went for our second day of fun in the sun. My 6 year old wanted to sit in my lap for one of the tube rides and we all rode on a river ride together and then my little guy and I got off. I started to feel as though I had gas and went to the bathroom to see if that would help. It didn't and I immediately thought of my husband's experience not even two years prior. However, I began to feel better, so we went on the same ride, again, with my youngest riding in my lap, putting pressure on my appendix. We rode around three times, and when I got up that time, in about 10 minutes I began to experience intense pain and went to the EMT office to lay down. I was literally breathing as though I was in labor to help alleviate the pain. After an hour or so, the pain (all throughout my lower abdomen) began to subside and so I began to press on my lower abdomen just out of curiosity and my pain level shot up again. In the meantime, my husband had put a call into my doctor, and about the time my pain subsided the third time (approximately three hours after my initial discomfort began) my doctor called back and told me to go to Urgent Care.
He said that appendicitis pain can begin as more generalized before it localizes in your right side. He also knew what had happened with my husband and knew we couldn't mess around.
By the time the Urgent Care doctor examined me, my pain had once again subsided. He stated that he didn't think I had appendicitis, but rather an ovarian cyst since my pain level was pretty low at the time of his examination. He ordered an ultrasound at a local hospital, his staff made the arrangements with the technician and they sent me on my way. He stated that if the test came back negative, then I should have a CT scan to check my lower abdomen. During the sonogram, my pain level shot through the roof (since she was putting pressure on my RIGHT ovary, hence, my appendix) and I actually vomited from the intensity of the pain. Now, I have given birth four times and NEVER vomited from the pain. So, I would say that my pain level, on a scale from 1-10 with "ten" being the worst pain I ever experienced (labor), was a 12 at that point. After that excruciating test, we were sent back down to the lobby to wait for my Urgent Care doctor to call with the test results. (the lab technician had to call her doctor, who had to call my doctor who called his nurse who called my husband) The nurse told my husband that there were no cysts and that the doctor told me to go home, take ibuprofen and go see an OB the next day. What??? What happened to my CT scan? I was practically shouting as my husband is on the phone with this woman, "Can she tell the doctor that I THREW UP from the pain from the ultrasound?" After much debate amongst ourselves, and discussing some with the hospital receptionist, we decided to try to get a hold of our doctor from home. We called around looking for his number. (I had his cell number from two years ago after my husband's surgery. However, my old cell phone was stolen at Spring Break so I no longer had that number; of course!) We finally called the office and put in a request for the on-call doctor to call us. We explained the situation to him and he said to go immediately to the ER and get a CT scan. So, we head over to the ER and got in after about 45 minutes of painstaking episodes of "Deadliest Catch".
The ER doctor examined me, and again, my pain level was pretty low because no one had pushed on my appendix in about 2 hours. He told me, "I don't think you have appendicitis, either, but we need to do a CT scan just to see what IS going on." So, I drank the oral contrast so they could get a good look at my insides, went through the extremely UNpainful scan, and waited for results. The ER doctor came back and stated, matter of factly, "You have appendicitis. I've already called the surgeon. She is great, you will love her. We need to admit you to the hospital and schedule your surgery." Wow. Within about 12 hours of feeling just a little discomfort in my gut, and then having a series of atypical symptoms for appendicitis that were strikingly similar to my husband's less than two years ago, I was being told I had the same infection. What are the odds?
Gratefully, we actually DID catch mine early, and I am recovering much more quickly than my sweet husband. I was able to leave the hospital less than 12 hours after my surgery. I went to my parents' house to rest while my husband took the kids to Schlitterbahn on Thursday and Friday.
The funny thing is, sometime during my hospital stay, one of my bride's sent me an e-mail asking me if I heard back from one of her vendors regarding a question she had. Of course, I took care of the situation in between hits of the pain meds. Hmm... I guess weddings really don't get put on hold due to appendicitis. It's happened to me twice now.