Well it's been a crazy nine days. Last Thursday and Friday I was in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area for work. Then starting Saturday night at 3:30am I had tremendous pain in my mid abdomen. It hurt enough that I didn't get any sleep Saturday night. The best way I could describe it was that it felt like something was "stuck" in my stomach. So I had lunch at Salt & Pepper on Sunday and I started to feel better after that but I still had some pain. A little bit before dinner I felt achy all over. That was a bad sign but anyway I had to get ready and head over to my sister's for dinner with my folks. Had dinner and I felt even better after that. The pains in my stomach were now coming and going so they had become tolerably. But by the time I was ready to head for bed I had developed a numbness in my lower right abdomen. My dad had appendicitis when I was kid, and even though it's not supposed to be hereditary, the thought had entered my mind more than once over the past several hours that I was in pain. I got out of bed and looked up the appendicitis symptoms on WebMD. None of the symptoms really applied exactly but still this couldn't be ignored. I called my Dad to see what his symptoms were before he went to the doctor. He told me he didn't not have the traditional appendicitis symptoms. The best way he could describe it was that no matter what position he was in or what he did, he could never get comfortable. And well that pretty much described my situation.
So I grabbed my iPod and Harry Potter part one which I had just bored from Jennifer at dinner and headed to Illinois Masonic Hospital on Wellington and Halsted at about 12:30am. After about 30 minutes that had me in a bed and hooked up to an IV and drew some blood. They told me they were going give me a CAT scan so I was going to have to drink the "milkshake." They brought my barium sulfate drink at about 1:54am and told me that an hour after I finished it, I could have my CAT scan. I finished it by 1:58am. It's definitely not something I would ever drink voluntarily, but I wanted to get this all over with as fast as possible. About 2:12 the orderly came to take me up for my CAT scan. As I was rolled past the doctor he told me that my blood test came back negative so things were looking good. The test your blood to see if your white blood cell count is elevated, as a sign that you are fighting an infection. Mine was normal. So when I got back from my CAT scan they never changed my IV bag because they figured I was going home. After an hour I came out to of my room to ask if anyone was going to do something about my IV and the doctor said probably not. It was annoying because I bleeding up into the tube. Few minutes later an orderly came and unhooked the bag but left my IV in. Then about 5:20 my nurse came in with a large IV bag and hooked up and told me the CAT scan showed appendicitis and I was going to have surgery. Around six, my to-be attending surgeon came to talk to me about the surgery. He told me I would likely have my surgery in the afternoon. I asked if I could get a phone so I could call my parents to let them know what was happening and when my surgery was going to be. He said he's bring me a phone soon. Twenty minutes later he came back with a phone and told me my surgery was going to be at 7am. So I dialed my folks and told them to move their butts because I was going under the knife in forty minutes.
Well long story short, after getting shaved I had the surgery and spent three hours in recovery. Three hours because my pain management tech couldn't seem to get it through his head that morphine wasn't having the pain reduction effects on me that it has on most people. One thing that the morphine did do was knock me out... for a while. I woke up from surgery in the most pain I believe I have ever experienced. And that was pretty much the case each time I woke up after my morphine shot over and over again. Eventually the tech gave up and just sent me to my room. Thanks a lot. Once to my room, the coherence reducing effects of morphine started to wear off and I was able to tell my nurse that morphine was not cutting it and they needed to get me something else. So finally they brought me something else. Which did work better, but only for about an hour and they would only give it to me every two. Better than nothing I guess.
With my pain killer issue some what under control, now it was time to make best of my hospital stay. Good luck with that. I was sharing my room with a Romanian gentleman that had HUGE foot long incision across the left side of his skull and probably something like eighty staples holding is head together. Yikes! Anyway, he had about a dozen visitors that day with most of them all there at once. All shouting at each other in Romanian. Now some people might find this to be a comical situation. And usually I would be one of those people except that at the time all I wanted to do was sleep and it was not going to happen with all that racket. I can sleep through pain. I can sleep through noise. What I can't do is sleep through noise and pain together. Seeing as how I didn't sleep at all Saturday night, and I had been up the entire time since before I arrived at the hospital and until they put me out in the OR and except for the moments of morphine induced unconsciousness during recovery and pure exhaustion during the day I hadn't really gotten any sleep in 60 hours. At least with all the noise and pain it did keep me awake so I could enjoy the Cubs spank the living crap out of Cincinnati 16 to 7. After the NCAA championship game was over I wanted to watch the Daily Show, but at this time the nurses came in to try and get the Romanian to sleep. If they could get him to sleep it would be the first moments of silence since I was wheeled into that room. I didn't want to stop that from happening so it was lights out for me too.
Things went good until about 2am when the Romanian woke up and started to yell the word "azzutol" every ten seconds. This marks the time when I started paging the nurses every 10 minutes asking them to move him to another room so I could sleep, and that I need more pain killers. Finally at 3:30am they moved him to another room and it was glorious let me tell you. Glorious! I could finally sleep... for a couple more hours. Then a nurse came into to mop the room. That's right. Apparently they have nothing better to do so they thought they should clean up the empty half of my room and make as much noise as possible at 5:30 in the morning. Because god forbid if I could actually get three hours of contiguous sleep. That would just be too much to ask. So finally she was done cleaning but my pain meds were completely worn off and I needed more now. So I paged the nurse and one came in and I asked for pain medicine and she said she would tell my nurse. Twenty minutes later I was still in pain and my nurse was no where in sight. So I paged the nurse again. "What? You no get pain pills?" NO! Finally forty minutes after I originally paged to get my meds finally my nurse shows up with my injection. Thank god! Things went smoother from here. Probably a because I complained to James, my new competent day time nurse, what shitty night I had.
Anyway my next focus was on trying to fart and then eventually poop. Neither of which happened that day but I did get to finally eat and drink something. Let me tell you, that serving of chicken broth that I had for breakfast was quite possibly the greatest tasting chicken broth I've ever had. Of course it could have just been the circumstances. I had beef broth for lunch. That wasn't nearly as tasty as the chicken broth. Tuesday night went much better. I was now off IV pain killers and on Vicodin. For dinner they gave me roast beef and mash potatoes with gravy. I felt nervous about eating it since I hadn't passed gas yet, but they gave me the all clear. Sleeping was great without the Romanian although when I woke up Wednesday morning, upper back pain from being in bed so long had eclipsed my gut pain. I was definitely ready for more Vicodin and the nurses could not get it to me fast enough it seemed. I finally passed gas Wednesday morning a bit before lunch and it was glorious. After lunch my dad took me home to my parents house where I plopped myself down on the couch and took a nap until dinner. Had dinner. Watched some TV. Took more Vicodin. Drank water. Went to sleep. Thursday morning I decided to go without Vicodin though until I finally took a dump since Vicodin has a tendency constipate. Granted they gave me a stool softener to go with it but I figured it could be that much more effective if I just took the softener without the Vicodin. I took a couple walks outside Thursday morning and after lunch I decided I was ready for a nap. And I knew I wasn't going to get much rest with the pain I was in so I took a Vicodin. But it was all good because I took about a four hour nap, got up and took my first dump. It was glorious! The rest of Thursday went pretty well. Had dinner. Watched some TV. Took more Vicodin. Drank water. Went to sleep. So yeah thins pretty much just get more and more boring from here. I'm watching the Cubs home opener as I finish this entry which I have been typing up bit by bit since Wednesday. So far they are winning 1 to nothing in bottom of the 2nd thanks to Lee's HR in the 1st. I like it. Well I think this is good enough. When I feel up to it, I'll write about my trip to Virginia that preceded my trip to the hospital. And now I leave you with a picture of my incision and painfully swollen gut from Wednesday night.