Table of Contents Intact

As we said our goodbyes two weeks ago, after a very nice visit with our brand-new granddaughter, I had a heavy heart.  Actually, the pain was a bit lower.  I had a really sore belly.

The drive from Kansas City seemed longer than usual.  I unbuckled my pants, loosened my belt, and tried to get comfortable, but never really did.  I often have discomfort in that region of my belly, which I attribute to refusing to up-size my pants to match the reality that is my larger body.

I remember getting home that night.  I remember that I didn’t go to work the next day, but pretty much stayed in the fetal position on the couch – and this time, not because of the geopolitical situation.

I put on a heat pad that night, and the next day I felt a little better.  But, I consulted by phone with my favorite soon-to-be doctor, who advised a trip to urgent care.

The urgent care doctor was very good.  He pressed a certain spot on my abdomen, and asked if it hurt.  I said it did, and he suggested that I lay down again, since I was apparently clinging to the ceiling.

Then he did another test.  I think this is something they teach in medical school the same day as hitting you under the knee with the little hammer.  I think doctors never get tired of this, because they can’t believe how predictable it is in making a diagnosis.

Here’s what he did: he pressed his finger into my belly at a specific place very slowly.  It didn’t hurt a bit.  Then, once his finger was pushed in about an inch, he pulled it out quickly, and I thought he had stabbed me.  Once again he talked me down from the ceiling, and sent me over to the ER. 

Once there, I was quickly tended to, and the doctor there did the exact same poking tests with the same results.  Then they took blood, and I offered a meager amount of urine, and an hour later an energetic resident bounded up to say that my lab results had bought me the chance to have a CT scan.  Once those results were looked at, he bounded up again and said my CT scan had bought me the chance to have an appendectomy.  I felt as if I had won.

By that time it was mid-evening, and surprisingly, the operating room was hopping.  So, we hung around for a few hours as more life-threatening cases were slotted in in front of me.  One doctor was concerned that I wasn’t in more pain.  If I didn’t move, I was a “4,” which, on the pain chart, is the man’s face looking pretty annoyed.  The doctor thought I ought to feel much worse.  I thanked him.

After a trip down the corridor which was called off due to a late entry into the surgical sweepstakes, I finally made it down to pre-op around midnight or so.  After a while they wheeled me in to the operating room, where my only memory is two people looking to make sure they had enough of the “red ones.”  Twist ties?

I eventually woke up in the recovery area.  They said my appendix was ugly, and came out in pieces.  Nice.  It was surely infected.  They had me on an antibiotic that would kill anything.  That’s disconcerting.

Apparently there were several other appendectomy’s done that night, so it’s not something unique or exciting, unless it’s happening to you. 

The thing I’m proudest about is that with so many opportunities, I never once said to a medical professional that they could take my appendix, but not my table of contents.  It’s such a good joke, but given the circumstances, it was just too easy.


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