Friday, March 27, 2009
My Appendix Says Farewell
I've been pretty healthy person most of my life, with just a glitch here and there. Much to my surprise, I now speak to you as survivor of an emergency appendectomy. Yes, that scary situation, where you rush to the ER in excruciating pain, hoping against hope they won't have to cut on you, hoping it's only gas pains...only to discover that yep, the pain in the right lower quadrant of your abdomen, which has grown increasingly worse over the last 12 hours, is indeed an inflamed and already perforating appendix.
Fortunately, nowadays there is surgery by laparascope, in which you get only two or three little incisions instead of a big one; the surgeon goes in by remote control, snips away the offending vermiform remnant, suctions out the nasty pus and fluid, glues rather than sews closed any openings that shouldn't be there, then neatly withdraws and seals the tiny incisions with butterfly bandages. Tah-dah! Except for a few hours of agonizing gas pains on the day after surgery, recovery is amazingly fast and you're ready to go back to work within a couple of weeks.
Whew! I'd like to leave it all behind as among my less-favorite memories...but alas, during the presurgery testing, they discovered a problem with one of my kidneys, so I'll have to undergo another surgery in a few weeks. Sigh.
I am comforted to realize that if I'd been born fifty years earlier, I probably would have died of the appendicitis. I'm profoundly grateful to live in the world of modern medicine, with CT scans, laparoscopies, and -- last but hardly least -- really effective pain medication. Heh heh heh.