Not quite the weekend I had in mind….let me start with a question. Do you know what purpose the appendix actually serves? Mine doesn’t serve any purpose now because it’s been ripped out. And good riddance.
My husband and I have had a tumultuous few weeks to say the least (see my post Shock for more info). We had to cancel a visit to stay with my sister and brother-in-law in Melbourne last month where I was to run a 5km race and see LesMis, so we decided to reschedule for the last weekend in August, just weeks before we leave on a short cycling tour of Croatia’s Dalmation Islands. We decided a weekend of catching up, a bit of cycling practice, a bit of shopping, walking, eating out, seeing the city through my sister’s eyes as she has recently relocated from Tasmania – would be good for us both. A nice change of scenery so to speak.
I wasn’t feeling well on Friday so had the day off work but we decided to continue with our plans for the weekend and drove the 5 hours down the highway to Melbourne arriving about 9.30pm. My sister decided that I really wasn’t well and immediately rang for an emergency doctor’s appointment. That started a wonderful chain of events which had me sampling some of Melbourne’s finest medical establishments with the only riding I managed to do being in hospital beds and in medical transport.
Because I wasn’t presenting with ‘classic’ appendicitis symptoms, the word is ‘atypical’ (I am now an expert on all things medical), such as fever and vomiting and I looked entirely ‘too well’ for someone with appendicitis, it was decided to give me a CT scan. This is despite the fact that the ultrasound technician and doctor had written an urgent report saying that in their opinion I had acute appendicitis. I must say here that the late night doctor’s surgery and the staff were wonderful to me, the ultrasound people were wonderful telling me to go directly to hospital, do not pass go (that last bit was mine) and produced an extra urgent report in record time to enable me to be admitted ahead of many other worthy patient people waiting in the emergency section on a Saturday morning. They also recommended a hospital nearby to go to, sort of like an accommodation recommendation really!
The Epworth hospital emergency people were great to me especially once they knew I was covered by private health insurance and I was whizzed into a room and examined, see above where I am looking far too well. The surgeon was called and decided on the CT scan to ensure they didn’t just rip out my appendix on the say so of an ultrasound and my rating of 4 out of 10 on the pain threshold. What can I say, I have a high pain threshold!
I saw an array of really nice, friendly doctors and nurses throughout the day as I was in emergency from 11.30am until 6pm. They had certainly been trained very well. I was just waiting around being ‘patient’ with my poor husband, sister and brother-in-law with me, on one of the nicest days so far this year in Melbourne. I felt so guilty for looking so well and decided at one stage that it must be all in my mind and how embarrassed I would feel when they told me I just had a wind problem. Luckily for me the results came back saying that I did indeed have a ‘cute’ appendicitis and that it should be removed as soon as possible. It was also lucky that I hadn’t eaten anything since 8pm Friday night!
I was transported to the Epworth Freemason Hospital, much to my sister’s delight as it is also the maternity hospital and she had fun informing all my friends on Facebook that the results were in and that I was maybe now expecting….something?? In our defence we had had a long day of waiting around and were a little highly strung by this time.
I was operated on by a lovely doctor who not only offered to take my place on our upcoming cycling trip in Croatia but shared his chocolate covered pretzels with my strung out family. He was delightful and explained the whole process which filled me with confidence. He also rang my husband straight after the surgery to tell him that all had gone well and stopped by my room at about midnight to see how I was feeling (not too good if I’m being honest).
My stay in the hospital was very comfortable and the nurses continued the trend from the emergency room by coming in to introduce themselves to me each time the shift changed, there was Elizabeth, Alice, Melanie, Judy, Tash, Kim…all very pleasant and capable young nurses. I felt like I could have been in one of those medical shows on TV with all the lovely young doctors and nurses around. They were all very impressed with my upcoming trip to Croatia and my story of coming to Melbourne to go riding and ending up in hospital having my appendix out instead. They were also impressed that I was such a fit and healthy person with a pulse rate to suit and figured that in their expert opinions I would be fine for our trip in three weeks time, as long as I didn’t embark on any serious running, walking or bike riding in the intervening weeks. I have been given two weeks off work to recover and feel very guilty about this as well as I have had a lot of time off recently for various reasons. But this definitely wasn’t planned!!
In hindsight, I probably wasn’t very well last week, I do remember feeling very tired, with a headache, a stomach upset and out of sorts. I even went to the doctor on Wednesday for a request for a medical certificate for a recent absence, and said to the doctor, “I’m not sick at all, I just need a certificate to cover me for a recent absence”. Did I jinx myself or what? He did ask me if I was ok so did he know I wasn’t well at the time, maybe I had the look of someone coming down with something. Who knows??
What I do know is that if it had to happen at all (which I wished it hadn’t), I’m glad it happened now, in Melbourne and not while I was merrily cycling my way around the Croatian Islands. Or at home where I would have had to wait for medical assistance and where the nearest hospital is a drive of over an hour and a half away.
I am now out of hospital staying a few extra days with my sister before we drive the 5 hours back up the highway. I have lots of time to rest, recover fully, read some books, plan for my trip and read all the blogs that I’ve been meaning to catch up on but never seem to have time. I have had lots of messages from concerned friends and family and feel very loved. We didn’t need this, especially not now, but it could have been far worse. I’m determined to be well enough to travel in a few weeks time but know that I’ll have to do all the right things for that to happen.
Cute is a word that, over the years, has been attributed to me for various reasons, cute shoes, cute clothes, cute little thing so I find the term a ‘cute’ appendicitis quite appropriate!!