I should be blogging about the amazing time I’m having in the country of Panama but rather, I’m home sitting on my sofa, slightly buzzed with a dose of Vicodin and blogging about my recent appendectomy. Trust me, running off to another country with someone I met online sounds more exciting than what I’ve experienced in the last week.
About a month ago a travel blogger friend (whom I’ve met in person, too) invited me to run away with him to escape everyday life for a week (not in THAT way). At that time, I was between tests for my “pink limbo” situation and told him I needed additional testing and couldn’t go anywhere in the near future. Last Tuesday, I (finally) had an MRI-guided vacuum biopsy of my breast to determine whether the growth was cancer. (It’s benign, yay!)
Friday night after returning from grocery shopping, a sharp pain started around my navel and I disregarded it, thinking the pain would go away during the night. Not so. I was still getting over a cold and dry cough and as the night progressed, the sharp pain dropped to my lower right abdomen. The pain intensified with every cough but it was still tolerable.
Was it Appendicitis?
At about 5:30 a.m., when the cats began crying for breakfast, I began Googling terms as “appendix out”, “what is appendicitis” and “how doctors test for appendicitis.” I had registered for an Intro to Vegan Cooking Workshop at Worden Farm that day and was hemming and hawing whether I had appendicitis or not.
I didn’t want to be one of “those” people clogging up the emergency room with a little stomach illness but after reading information on the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, it was my best interest to go to the hospital and turns out, it probably saved my life, or at least reduced my hospital stay and recovery time.
Solo and Sick
Of course, before heading to the hospital, I had some chores to finish, just in case I was going to be away from home and heaven forbid, in case my mom needed to come down. I didn’t want her to see my apartment in complete chaos. This is when being a singleton sucks. I did the dishes, scooped the litter box, took out the trash and dropped off recycling. I didn’t have time to take the Christmas decor down and hope to have packed away by the time she and dad visit in February.
I packed bare essentials for a possible overnight hospital stay – undergarments, eyeglasses and mascara. I called my best friend in Sarasota, Zeldamae, and she was on call in case anything happened.
10:15 a.m. I checked into the emergency room and the nurse told me I had the “illness of the day.” Long story short, following all sorts of tests including a CT scan and pregnancy test, I was told my appendix was “really bad and swollen” and needed to come out. (I was also told I wasn’t pregnant – which I already suspected.)
A nurse also told me I must have a high tolerance for pain which wasn’t a good thing in this case. Around 7 p.m., I was rolled into the operating room and breathing deep into a plastic mask.
In addition to Zeldamae, Kathy Wingard, whom I met through NASA Tweetup and lives near the hospital, came by to offer support. So sweet of both of them to be there! And I’m quite sure NASA technology and research was used in my diagnosis and treatment!
Honey Badger Don’t Care About Being Sham-Wowed!
“Jennifer, wake up,” was the next thing I heard. Along with, “Honey badger don’t care!” and laughter. Then I recall hearing something about being “Sham-wowed.”
Did I want to know?
“Sham-wowed?” I asked. The technicians laughed saying I wasn’t suppose to hear that but one of the anesthesia techs sighed and replied, “Yes, my name is Shem and they say anytime someone gets the mask they get ‘Sham-wowed.””
“Oh, it’s an honor to be ‘Sham-wowed’,” I replied.
A nurse told me there were three holes in me for the laparoscopic procedure, one of which was in my navel. I asked if she could insert a belly ring but she just laughed.
As for the honey badger reference, if you haven’t seen video, view the honey badger video on YouTube. Be warned it’s not for virgin ears. Thanks to Barb over at Start the Evolution Without Me! for sending the link (and inflicting more pain on my delicate stomach area with every laugh).
Everything for a Reason
I’m contemplating the “what if” scenario. If my pink limbo situation hadn’t dragged on for nearly four months, I most likely would have been in Panama when this happened. Would I have paid attention to my body to find medical attention? Would I have tried to wait it out until I returned home?
It’s been a rough recovery but each day I feel stronger and healthier. The good thing is I don’t need to worry about my appendix bursting during my next adventure. Where that will be is still up in the air.