Reflections on my chaotic life of minivans, tantrums, deadlines, and diets ... a life I wouldn't trade for the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Appendix and Many Brain Cells Lighter

Last weekend, we headed to the Seattle area for my niece-in-law's graduation party, excited to see Bill's extended family. Before leaving, we'd waffled about whether to stay in town, as I had a bad stomachache. We decided to stock up on Mylanta and Tums and give it a go, but conditions did not improve on the 3-hour drive up. In fact, I'd also developed a pesky side-stitch, which I then attributed to my lack of ability to breathe normally because of my stomachache. Clearly, I am no doctor.

When we got to the party, I struggled to chase my son around, wincing when I picked him up. I was grateful when my daughter was ready to eat, because that meant I could finally sit down. Sweet relief. Standing up again brought such pain that I was forced to walk with my torso tilted forward at a 15-degree angle.

Finally, I got Bill to call it a day, and we headed back to his grandma's house, where I balled up on the couch. Remarkably, it took us a good 12 hours of this nonstop pain to think to look it up on the Internet. Dr. Google's diagnosis: appendicitis. I was still skeptical, but despite my fear of going to the hospital only to be told I have bad gas, we headed to Highline Medical CenterWe chose Highline because of its proximity to Bill's grandma's house; we chose wrong.

I am not even going to go through the entire list of what went wrong at the hospital. It ranged from the nurses not knowing how to read records, to a faulty blood-pressure machine, to disagreement over how soon I could safely nurse my daughter (yikes!). I felt as though I was being Punk'd. The only thing that I am *pretty* sure went right is the surgery itself. So far, I have been healing well, and have shown no signs of missing any other organs (though, strangely, there are no stitches on the side where my appendix used to reside ... hmm).

After 36 hours of these hijinks, we headed home, where I continued my recovery. The pain subsided in a couple of days, but the anesthesia hangover lasted days longer. I slept for hours on end, unable to work or take care of my kids. Bill really stepped up and took over as Mr. Mom, earning himself a guilt-free pass to CEDIA in September. Today I am almost fully recovered, though I am still not allowed to carry anything heavy (e.g. my son).

The lessons here? Never leave town with a stomachache, and research your hospital. If the emergency room is empty on a Saturday night, or the nurses indirectly blame you for the poor care because you came in on the weekend (true story), run away and don't look back.

(Sidenote: I emailed customer service at the hospital, and they have diligently followed up.)

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