I’m going to try to remember everything that has happened in the last few days or so. It all began last Tuesday at work when I started feeling pains in my stomach. For two more days I suffered through these pains — at work and at home — but not once did I throw up. Thursday morning I had to leave work after only being there three hours because I could hardly stand up straight. I had to lean against the counter to find a bit of relief. The bus ride home was terrible; I think the bus hit every bump and pothole there is. I was unable to work Friday, once again due to these pains. They seemed to be getting worse. I didn’t know what was wrong with my body; it had to be something more than just a bug. Finally I woke up Saturday morning with the pains gone from my stomach, but they had moved lower and to the right side, just below my hip bone. This was not good. My mom told me I must go see a doctor because it could be my appendix…and if that bursts, that’s pretty much the end.
As soon as Jordan came home, we proceeded to go to a clinic where the doctor prodded me in the abdomen, declared the spot felt tender and I must be in pain, and announced that she couldn’t do anything but that I should go down to Hotel Dieu within the next couple hours. Alright, so we went. Once at the hospital I checked in with the triage nurse (what’s a “triage”?), told my symptoms, and then I was sent to the next lady to give her some information about myself, and then finally to the crowded waiting room.
We waited maybe an hour at the most before my name was called and I was led to a ward with a row of beds with pink curtains pulled around them. They showed me to the last bed, gave me a lovely green gown to wear (which I put on backwards, oops), and told me to pee in a cup. After maybe fifteen minutes a female doctor poked her head in with another nurse and I recited my symptoms again. She poked and prodded my abdomen and must not have liked what she felt because she said I needed to move to a private room so they could do blood-work. She thought the pain was caused by my appendix, but there was a couple other things it could be as well.
Once I lay as comfortably as possible in my new room, a peppy blond nurse came in to insert an IV into my right arm. Oh God. I think I started hyperventilating. I’m not good with needles, especially ones bent on taking some of my blood. With the IV firmly attached (ouch!) she dosed me with morphine and Gravol for the pain and nausea. As she injected the stuff my arm felt really cold. And then I was kind of floating, staring around the room, feeling quite out of it but not feeling much pain.
The doctor came back, did what she had to do, and declared she had to send me to KGH by ambulance for a CT scan or other tests just in case, and then possibly surgery. At this point they allowed Jordan to come in to see me. While we waited for a bed to be free for me at the other hospital, Jordan sat in the chair reading aloud from his LOTR book while I stared off in space.
The ambulance ride seemed pretty short. I was a little out of it and I remember telling the female paramedic that it was my sister’s birthday today and I was going to miss the cake. I think she found this amusing. 😉 I didn’t…by this point I was starving and could have done with a bit of cake! But I was not allowed to eat or drink. Jordan had gone to get some dinner and also had to drive the truck over to the new hospital. When we got to KGH, I had to shift myself, with some help, onto yet another bed. My arms were beginning to feel the strain of moving myself while not using any tummy muscles.
I was left in a room by myself. The door was left wide open because the bed was too long and blocked the door. I felt like I lay there for hours before a doctor actually came in. He asked if I had had a CT scan yet. I said no, I was just left here. (Had I been forgotten?) He asked me a lot of questions, wrote stuff on his clipboard, and said that Dr MacDonald would be doing the surgery. Surgery?! Okay, breathe. Jordan finally arrived and they let him in to see me. Then the doctor explained that the surgery was standard; three small incisions would be made (one for the microscopic camera) and since one would be at my belly button they would have to cut off my navel ring. At this point I broke down and started crying that no, they could NOT cut it off, please get some pliers and just open it up, it’s really expensive, blah blah. I don’t know why I got so worked up about it, but I guess it’s the only thing my mind could grasp at the time.
I remember being wheeled away toward the OR. I remember saying goodbye to Jordan. I remember talking to the anesthesiologist and then the male nurse. The nurse asked that I make sure I was not wearing any jewellry and I told him about my navel ring. Then I remembered the white gold earrings I was wearing. I had to take them off and he put them in a blue container and labeled it and I made him promise to get them back to me.
Not long after that I was wheeled right into the OR, switched to yet another bed, and given some oxygen. I remember seeing the male nurse place the container with my earrings in it on the bed by my leg. Then I was asleep…
My mind woke up first, I think. I couldn’t quite open my eyes, but I was aware of all the sounds around me. I could hear the low murmur of people talking. My throat was really sore and scratchy (from the tube that had been stuck in there when I was unconscious). Finally I could open my eyes into slits and sort of see around me. I asked for water and I was allowed to drink. My first question was, “Is it gone?”, meaning did they get my appendix out. They sure did!
I don’t remember the trip to the ward where I was to spend the next couple days. But I do remember being waked at three in the morning by a night nurse. She told me it was important that I try to pee because I hadn’t gone since before the surgery. It was quite difficult to get up without using any stomach muscles; I had to roll onto my side, grab hold of the rail, and push myself up. I had to travel to the bathroom with my IV kit, pole and all. I could hardly move my legs, it was sloooooow going. I felt like I hadn’t walked in ages. Don’t worry, my bladder didn’t suffer any damage, I was able to pee. 😉
Everything else is a blur of gross hospital food, uncomfortable bedding, a new needle put into my right shoulder for morphine injections every three hours that burned like you wouldn’t believe, reading, getting up every couple hours to pee, drinking unending glasses of water, and visitors. My mom and Mike came a couple times, so did Krystal, and Jordan of course, and Kendra came to see me because she was working at the hospital the days I was there.
Eventually I was taken off the morphine and given Tylenol 3s which did the trick just as well. Every morning a doctor would come in and poke at me, ask how I was feeling, etc, and then Monday morning he said I could probably go home that day. Thank God, I thought, because I felt well enough that everything drove me crazy. However, my nurse told me later in the day I had to stay another night because I wasn’t eating enough, but I was drinking plenty so she would unhook me from the IV bag (but left the needle in my arm). They also wanted to make sure I could get through the night on only one dose of Tylenol 3, which I did.
So Tuesday morning that doctor arrived again and the first thing he said was, “Didn’t I discharge you yesterday?” Frig. He said yes, I could go home, as long as I ate my breakfast. I called my mom and she arrived while I was eating Cheerios and drinking apple juice. She helped me change into pyjama bottoms and a top and a sweater, tied my shoes for me because I couldn’t bend, and packed up my things.
It was slow going getting me out of the hospital. I shuffled like a little old lady. I hadn’t been on my feet that long for a few days. Once she got me into the van, we had to drive over to Loblaws to get my prescription. That took twenty minutes so we had to sit upstairs, waiting, because there was no way I would be able to stand around. By the time we got my medicine and got into my apartment, I was exhausted. I crawled onto the sofa and lay down with my pillow and fell asleep… So glad to be home! 🙂
As for my gold earrings and navel ring? Never saw them again. The navel ring, it’s just as well, because the hole has already healed itself over. The earrings, though, make me mad. They were a gift from Jordan for our anniversary.