The day I got my appendix removed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
I got my appendix removed on October 16th, 2007. It was a somewhat important day of my life, so I decided to recount it. If you have had a similar experience with surgery, organ removal, or hospitals, you can relate to this.

Submitted: March 22, 2010

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Submitted: March 22, 2010

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I went to sleep on October 15th, 2007 feeling perfectly healthy and normal. I slept fine, until about 3:15am. That’s when I woke up from the worst, horrible pain I have ever felt in  my life. It was a sharp, stabbing, ripping pain in my lower right side. Ever breath I took sent icy hot pain shooting through my body. I tried to sit up, but the pain intensified. I lay there in my bed, breathing shallowly. The pain brought tears to my eyes. I called for my mom, but the pain made it hard to yell very loud. After about 4 tries she finally came in. I don’t think she comprehended the amount of pain I was in, in her half asleep state. She gave me a tablespoon of stomach medicine, and went back to sleep. The pain didn’t stop but did it slightly less horrible. I managed to get a few more hours of sleep. At 6’oclock my alarm went off for school. Seeing as I couldn’t even sit up to turn off the alarm, I couldn’t go to school. My alarm clock played “All of your love” by Hellogoodbye twice before my mom came to shut it off. She asked if I was feeling any better. I remember saying “No, Ow! No.” And trying not to move. I laid awake in bed from then until 10’oclock. That’s when the pain shot from a 5 to a 10. I screamed, but I was home alone. I had to call my mom. But where was my phone? I had left it in the living room the previous night. I kicked off my comforter, took a deep breath and held it, and climb out of bed. The pain sent my head spiraling. I held onto my bed post to keep from falling. I was reduced to tears. I slowly hobbled my way out of my room. I was wearing pajama pants, and the very slightly pressure felt like a hammer on my side every step I took. When I reached my phone, I collapsed on my couch. I sat there trying not to move. My nails clutched at my leather couch. I gritted my teeth, and my jaw tensed. I dialed my mom’s work number. It rang a few times. I told my mom that something wasn’t right. The pain was unbearable. I was weeping, and talking through clenched teeth. She said she was going to call my doctor, and then call me back. She advised me to take some more stomach medicine. It took almost 5 minutes to hobble the short distance from my couch to the kitchen. I took the medicine, and as the mint flavored, thick, liquid went down my throat, my stomach did a back flip. I was going to vomit. I drank a glass of water, and waited for the nausea to pass. I nearly had to crawl back to my couch. I laid down and stayed stock still. I waited and waited for my mom to call me back. When she finally did, she said my pediatrician was out, and they were going to have me see another. She told me to be ready in half an hour. It took nearly and hour for me to shower, and dress. In the shower I had to keep sitting down to keep from passing out from the pain. When I was finally dressed in loose sweatpants, a tee shirt, and my most comfortable hoodie and sneakers, we left. Every bump in the road made me wince and let out a small scream. My mom kept apologizing. When we got to the doctors my mom helped to walk me in. It took a very long time to cross the parking lot. The October air chilled me through my hoodie, but compared to my pain it was nothing. I sat in the pediatric waiting room. The walls are decorated with fish and other under sea pictures. I stared at the fish tank and tried to focus on the little goldfish swimming around to keep my mind off the pain. After a long time of waiting there, they finally called us in. Doctor Fukes came into the room where I was laying on the examination table. He had me lay flat on my back and pushed various spot on my stomach. No matter where he pushed it hurt, but when he lightly pushed on my lower right side I gasped in pain. He then took my right foot, and pressed. This too made me gasp. “Your 14, right?” he asked me. I said yes. He typed something I wasn’t paying attention to into the computer. I felt silly still laying down, but I couldn’t sit up. He turned and talked to my mom. “I think its her appendix. I’m going to have her get blood work, and if that doesn’t show anything, I’ll have her get an MRI.” My mom nodded. My heart began to race. Appendix? The thing doctors like to remove with surgery? Tears came to my eyes that had nothing to do with the pain I was in. I hate needles. I hate blood. I hate hospitals. The next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair, and my mom was wheeling me into the blood work lab. I clenched her hand as hard as I could, held my breath, and closed my eyes. They took 4 vials. I felt woozy. The lady who took my blood pressed a Garfield band aid to my arm. I was wheeled by my mom back into the pediatrics waiting room to await the blood work results. The pain was excruciating. I tried focusing on the little fish again, but my eyes swam it in and out of focus. I ended up laying on the floor in a ball. Normally this would have been embarrassing, but at the time I could careless. I whined, and told my mom repeatedly that it hurt. She tried to comfort me as best she could. By the time I was called back in to see Dr. Fukes it was around noon. He said that the blood work didn’t show much, so he was going to order the MRI. Once again I was wheeled to the lab. This time I was led back into the MRI center. The waiting room was tiny. And filled with old people. They smiled at me and one lady asked why I was there. I whimpered something about my appendix, and she smiled sympathetically. A lady I recognized called me back. My mom and she started talking. She was my neighbor, who lived a few houses down. She explained that I was going to have to drink to large cups of a juice laced with special iodine dye that would allow them to see my appendix on the MRI. She asked me what flavor I wanted. I mistakenly picked orange. I went back into the waiting room, and she brought me 2 huge cups of orange liquid. An elderly man sitting across from me said, “You picked the orange? Shoulda picked fruit punch!” He was halfway done with his second cup. I took my first and smelled it. It smelled no different then orange Kool-Aid. I took a huge gulp. It was awful. It tasted like fire, and burned my tongue and throat. The flavor was disgusting, like vomit. My eyes watered. My stomach flipped. It did have a slightly orange after taste. My mom and the old man laughed. They thought I was just disgusted by the flavor. They didn’t know that my throat felt like I had swallowed a red hot coal. I didn’t know that this was abnormal so I drank on. I finished the first cup. My breathing got fast. My head spun. I smashed the Styrofoam cup in my had. My stomach lurched. I ignored the pain in my stomach and ran into the bathroom. I vomited. My mom ran in, and held my hair. I rolled over and sat on the bathroom floor. The room spun before me. Things swam in the air. They were about 3 inches big, different colors, the shape of tadpoles, and they were swimming! I started swatting the air. My mom looked terrified. “What are you doing?” she asked startled. “Tadpoles!” I was just as horrified. My mom suddenly looked amused. “What do you mean tadpoles?” “THERE SWIMMING!” I didn’t know what to do. My mom helped me back up, and walked me to the waiting room. She knocked on the door to the back and told the woman who answered that I was having an odd reaction to the drink. The lady looked worried. The old man laughed while I swatted the air in front of me. Now I see this as very funny, but at the time I thought it was the scariest thing ever. I was wheeled into the back. The woman said that it seemed as if I was having an allergic reaction to the iodine. She said it was good that I had thrown up. She gave me a large cup of apple juice and told me to drink it quickly. I did as I was told. When I was done the dizziness, and the burning had calmed. The tadpoles were know longer in my vision. She told me to go to the bathroom and try to get all the iodine drink out. When I was done she told me she had to give me some special water drink that would substitute for the dye. After I had drank it, I had to put on a gown. When I was done, a young man helped me into the MRI machine. He warned me that the machine caused a feeling of needing to urinate, and a warm fuzzy feeling in the stomach. He left, and the machine was turned on. It rolled me into a tube like space, with a blue neon light. The feeling started immediately. I thought I was going to pee my pants, even though I had just gone. I said this, and the lady’s voice came over the intercom to tell me that I wouldn’t and to stay still. I did. When they were done, the man came back and helped walk me back to my mom. Once again I was wheeled back to pediatrics. I laid back on the floor and waited. And waited, and waited. My mom called my dad frequently to let him know how I was doing. Finally, at around 4’oclock I was led back into a room with Dr. Fukes. He said that my appendix looked extremely inflamed, and that it looked on the verge of explosion. He said I had to be transferred to the local hospital to have my appendix removed. I began to cry. My mom held my hand. She called my dad to let him know, he said he was going to head to the hospital. I told him to bring my beloved blue, penguin pillow. My mom quickly wheeled me to the car, and we headed for the hospital. Luckily it’s not very far away. My aunt works in the reception center of the hospital. She came out to meet us with a wheelchair. She joked with me, and tried to make me laugh. I was wheeled into the reception center, where my mom filled out paperwork, and my aunt introduced me to her friend. My aunt and mom wheeled me to the elevator, and then into pediatrics. I was put in a room, and told to put on a gown, get in the bed, and cover up. My aunt introduced me to all the nurses, whom she was friends with. Two older nurses came in with a machine, and a bucket with needles in it. I began to panic. The took my temperature, which showed I had a fever. They kindly explained that I had to get an IV. I had never had one before. They cleansed my left hand, and tried to find a vein. My veins were so little they couldn’t find one. They used a heat pad to try and get one to pop out a bit. While they heated my hand, my surgeon came in. He was a large, young man, with a beard. His name was Dr. Williams. He was smiling, and asked what I was getting done. I nervously told him my appendix, my voice shook. I kept looking back and forth from the nurses at my hand to the Dr. He noticed this and as they began to attach the IV to my hand, he told me a story. He said that every year in the fall he would grow his beard out, for warmth. Then on Easter he would shave it off. He said his wife hated the beard, and that Easter was her favorite, because he would have a clean shave. I could tell he was trying to distract me, and it worked for a bit. But the nurses couldn’t get the needle to go into my vein. Blood seeped out of the two holes that they had tried. I looked and saw this, and nearly passed out. I started to cry. Dr. Williams decided to intervene. He took the needle, and told me to hold my breath and look away. He quickly slipped the needle into my right hand. He said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” as the nursed hooked an IV to the needle in my hand. I shook my head and tried to smile, even though I was crying. He talked to my mom a bit about the surgery. He said I couldn’t eat anything. As he said this, I noticed how incredibly hungry I was. The last real food I had eaten had been spaghetti the night before. Throwing up all the contents of my stomach probably hadn’t helped. My dad arrived, and my other aunt came down from her job on maternity. We all waited for the surgeon to come back to get me. My head was dizzy, my stomach was flipping around with anxiety. Every time I  glanced at my IV I felt sick. The pain was excruciating, but I was panicking for fear of the surgery. I felt like I was in a daze. 24 hours earlier, I had been doing my homework, eating spaghetti, and not even thinking about my appendix. At 45 minutes after 6, the nurse told me Dr. Williams was ready for me. My Aunt, and my mom wheeled me down, in my bed. The elevator ride took me down into the surgery center. A man came and took my glasses, and put a hair cover on me. He asked me a series of questions. I was so out of it, it took all my brain power to answer him.
“What is your name, sweetheart?”
“Stephanie….Rivera.”
“And how old are you?”
“14?”
“Who’s your surgeon?”
“Dr…Williams.”
“Good. And what are you having done today?” In my haze I thought he said, what haven’t you done today.
“Eaten?” I said sheepishly. He laughed.
“Close enough.” He smiled. My mom said goodbye. My breathing became fast. I wanted her to stay with me. She gave my hand a squeeze, and said everything was going to be ok. The man rolled me in my bed into the surgery room. It was circular, and white. The lights in the high ceiling were blinding. There was a flat bed in the middle of the room. Two nurses helped to transfer me into the bed. They put warm blankets over my legs, but left my stomach and up uncovered. I shivered in my loose fitting cotton gown. A woman came and told me I was going to be given anesthesia. She placed the clear plastic cover over my mouth and nose. She asked me to count back from 100. The last thing I saw was her hand holding the cover to my face. When I drifted back into consciousness in the recovery room, I had no idea how much time had passed. A woman with short black hair, and red scrubs stood at the bottom of my bed smiling.
“Hello dear. Your surgery went well.” She handed me my glasses. My mouth felt so dry.
“Where’s my mom?” I asked my voice was scratchy and soft.
“She’s waiting for you in your room.” I nodded. I started to feel. My legs were constricted in wraps that pumped. I thought this was for circulation, and I was right. I was wrapped like a burrito in the itchy hospital blankets. The internal pain from my appendix was gone. But I felt a new pain. It was a pressure, achy, sore pain. I wondered what my stitches looked like, but I had no strength to look. I felt weak, tired, and hungry. The nurse with the short black hair, came to check my vitals. I was out of it.
“You know what I want?” I asked.
“What?” she smiled kindly.
“Some of those…you know…Lego shaped candies. They have them somewhere. My grandma will get me some soon I think.” I didn’t remember saying this until my mom told me later on. In my head I had simply told her I was hungry.
A little while later the nurse brought me back to my room. My parents, my sister, both my aunts, and my grandma were waiting for me. We talked, they asked how I felt, and my aunt brought me a cherry popsicle. I drifted in and out of sleep, due to the morphine drip I was receiving. When I finally became fully alert, it was 9 at night. Everyone had left, except my mom. I was in a room alone, so she was going to sleep in the bed next to me. She asked how I felt, and brought me some water. Nurses came in and out to check my vitals. My temperature was still pretty high, so they gave me some medicine through my IV to help, and gave me more morphine. I instantly fell asleep. I woke once in the night, and panicked forgetting where I was. My mom woke up, and told me I was ok. I fell back asleep. The next morning, Dr. Williams came in. He asked how I was doing, and wanted to check my stitches. It was painful and difficult to maneuver my gown up, so he could check. It was the first time I had seem my wound. My whole stomach was dyed orange from the cleanser they had used. I had a large piece of gauze tapped to my lower right side. He gently peeled off the tap, and gauze. It looked so horrible. I had a two and a half inch incision. I had twelve small black stitches running the opposite direction. It had dried blood on it. It made me sick to look at it. Dr. Williams said it looked ok, and reapplied new gauze and tape. I was only allowed to have water, juice, popsicles, and some nasty flavorless soup that day. I slept a lot do to the high morphine levels I was receiving. Later that day I realized I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Two nurses came in and slowly helped me out of the bed. I was doubled over, and limped with their help to the bathroom. I felt like my stitches were going to pop as I walked. It was a terrible, unexplainable pain. I managed to go to the bathroom and get back to my bed. Since I didn’t like the soup I ended up having several popsicles for dinner. I slept better that night, but the urge to roll onto my preferred sleeping position, my side, made it difficult. The morphine helped. The next day at 11 I was allowed to go home. I had thick, warm, blue hospital socks on over my own. I put my sweatpants on, and had to where them really low so they wouldn’t bump my incision. I pulled my hood up over my messy hair. I was wheeled down to the main floor, where both my aunts gave me hugs goodbye. When I got home all I wanted to do was shower. I shower everyday, and I had already missed a day. However, the doctor told me I couldn’t shower for 3 days. This was torture. I laid on my couch, and used wet washcloths to wash as much as I could. My hair was a disaster. It was all snarled, and messy from sleeping in a hospital bed. I only could get up to go to the bathroom. I could eat very small portions. My first real meal back was waffles. The pain medicine they gave me made me sleep a lot. On the first day of coming home, my best friend came to see me. He hadn’t known I had been released from the hospital, and had skateboarded to three different hospitals to find me, and then skated to my house. I laid on my couch and he sat on the floor next to me. My dad watched the movie 300, and my best friend made jokes. Laughing nearly made my stitches pop, but it was worth it. I took a week to recover and then I could go back to school. A week after that I got my stitches removed. I’m 17 now, and it has been 2 years and 5 months since my surgery. I still have a thick, pink scar to remind me of my experience. Every once in a while I get a sharp pain beneath it, but it feels nothing compared to the pain I felt the morning of the 16th. Through the experience of getting my appendix removed, I learned I was allergic to iodine, not as scared of needle as I thought I was, evidentially in love with novelty candy, and a lot braver then I thought.  



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