It was August 30th 2011, Tommy and I were still in the newly-wed phase of our marriage as evidenced by my willingness to both order and deliver his dinner when he worked late. Nearly two years later, things have changed ever so slightly: no more delivery and all dirty dishes are his domain. The only problem with the dinner for two was that I couldn’t eat a bite. Though I had been fine all day, that evening I felt strange and decided that Tommy would be dining alone. So I went home, crawled into bed and hoped to feel better in the morning. I was not so lucky; at 2:00 am I awoke to feelings of stomach pain, still I wasn’t sure that it was serious, so I decided to wake up Tommy and allowed him to join the debate – that went over really well. “Toby, do you want to go the TEREM?!” (the emergency clinic). He was exhausted and I don’t remember him offering to accompany me. In any case, I didn’t really want to go out in the middle of the night so I rolled over and went back to sleep… eventually.
That morning I probably should have gone to the doctor before heading to work. However, I prefer to go the route of ignoring it and seeing if it just disappears; it’s kind of the opposite of hypochondria. I was not always like this, as a child I used the tiniest possible ailment to enjoy a day off from school- my parents lovingly nicknamed me “Sarah Heartburn.” Nowadays, I wait for a clear symptom before I accept that something is actually wrong. More importantly, I was three days into a new job and really did not want to be sick so I willed myself to feel okay.
Then, at about noon, I sneezed and felt a horrible stabbing pain on my right side. I jumped out of my chair and yelled “ouch” -nobody heard as I have my own office. Okay, I decided (with some coaching from a few g-chat friends) I should go to the doctor- after work, of course.
After a brief exam where she put pressure on my side to see if it hurt and it did, the doctor told me to go the emergency room ASAP. She thought it was either and appendicitis or an ovarian torsion, either way I needed to go to the hospital.
Tommy and I headed to the hospital at 6:00 pm and there began six hours of debate between the gynecologists and the general surgeons. Basically, they needed to rule out a torsion to determine that it was appendicitis. As we waited between tests we called a family friend who is a doctor to get his opinion; he thought it was neither because I was far too talkative to be in pain! Do you even know me?! I managed to convince myself that it couldn’t be anything because if it was really serious, they would obviously be able to diagnose it with relative ease. At about midnight they sent me for a CT to rule out a torsion. I was convinced that I would soon be heading home.
Nope. About an hour later the surgical resident came to speak to us and appendicitis it was. He did his best to demonstrate compassion and empathy, but he was a little too excited at the prospect of being able to perform a surgery – if I hadn’t already known this from all the Grey’s Anatomy I have watched, it became blatantly obvious when he bragged to his colleagues as he accompanied to surgery! “How do you know?”I asked. Actions speak louder than words and in response he places pressure on my right side, “OUCH!” Really, I can’t say enough about bedside manner. Tommy called our doctor friend who said, “don’t worry any idiot can perform an appendectomy.”
I went into surgery with so many things on my mind: I gave all of my personal belongings to a nurse who helped me get ready for the surgery while Tommy signed a bunch of papers and I hoped that he would actually receive them; the next day I was meant to have been in charge or a really important project at work or not; I was nervous about the operation and possible infection; mostly, I was in pain.
The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room. Tommy’s was the first face I saw and I remember feeling love and relief. I would be Okay. My new colleagues sent flowers. I, however, was still not convinced that I had actually had appendicitis; maybe it was just pain from a cyst. I consulted with my family doctor who requested the pathology report. Turns out that sometimes it is just appendicitis.