By Wyatt Earp | October 31, 2008
Did you even know I was gone?
Well, I was. I had been a little under the weather for the past couple of days – four, to be exact – and I was unable to provide you with the usual top-notch entertainment. (I will now stop typing to wait until the laughter stops.) Thankfully, RT was nice enough to cover for me. I hope y’all treated her with the same respect you treat me. Scratch that: I hope you treated her much better.
On Monday, I came home from work and wanted to take advantage of the mild weather. I got changed, laced up the sneakers, and was about to go cycling . . . and then it happened. I bent over to tie my shoes and felt a sharp pain in my right abdomen. I didn’t think much of it until the missus saw my pained face. She asked what was wrong and I told her. She replied that I should call the doctor.
“Nah,” I replied. “It’s probably nothing.”
She was persistent, so I looked up “appendicitis” on WebMD. I didn’t have any of the symptoms listed except the pain in my side. Still figuring it was nothing, I asked the missus to call the doc. They told me to come right in. When I arrived, I saw the doc immediately and he asked me the basic questions. I said I had the pain, but no fever, nausea, etc. He nodded his head and asked me to lie down on the table. Before he did anything else, he asked me to rate the pain from a 1 to a 10. I said, “It’s like a 2.”
The doc pressed on my right side and I screamed like a banshee. He smiled at me and said, “That’s a little more than a 2. I think you may have appendicitis, and I want you to go to the hospital immediately. I’ll call ahead so they’re waiting for you.”
While driving to the hospital, I called the missus, told her what the doc said, and I could hear the “I told you so” in her voice. She met me there. They took me to the ER at once and eventually started the tests. A CT Scan revealed what I feared: my appendix was inflamed, and it was going to have to come out. They wheeled me to my room and we played the waiting game.
The next 18 hours were miserable. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, because I was going in for surgery “at any time.” The family came by to visit, as did my friend bill and my partner Doris. Ironically, she was there when the nurses came in to take me to the OR. One nurse said, “You’ll have to take all of your clothes off and put on this gown.” I looked at Doris, and she giggled, saying, “Oh, this is going to be fun.” She was summarily dismissed before the embarrassment, but stayed outside to wish me luck as they wheeled me to my doom.
They took me to the OR and sedated me. I was panicking because I knew I would be “that guy.” The guy who wakes up in the middle of surgery. The last thing I remember was the doc arguing about my high school alma mater (Archbishop Ryan – the surgeon went there, too) and the anesthesiologist’s alma mater (Father Judge). “Great,” I thought. “They are going to fight and leave me open on the table.”
Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and I woke up a while later. The first thing I thought was, “Jesus, someone shot me in my right side!” Even before the anesthesia wore off it hurt like hell. The next day and a half was spent in agonizing pain – with the exception of the nice painkillers that I received every four hours – and immobilization.
I still hadn’t eaten anything or had a drink in two days, and when I asked the nurse when I could get burgers, fries, and a shake, she told me that my surgeon was the resident “Nazi.”
“He said you can have something to eat or drink when you get up and walk the corridors.”
She’s frakkin’ kidding, right? That’s never gonna happen, because I am in excruciating pain, and I have no will power. The hunger, though, won out. I got up the day after the surgery, walked to the door, and threw up. After effects of the anesthesia. When I cleaned myself off, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Holy sh*t, I have 12 giant staples in my side!”
Overcome by hunger, though, I started walking the halls. It took me ten minutes to walk down one hallway. I was taking baby steps, but I was moving. I figured I would never play hockey again. This was bad.
The next day was better, and I was told I could leave on Thursday. The surgeon told me that I couldn’t play hockey – or much else – for three months AND until I could walk three miles. Rehab is going to be a bear.
Before taking his leave, the surgeon left me with a scary tidbit. He told me that my appendix was about to burst when they took it out. he said a few hours more and it would have popped. That would have kept me in the hospital for weeks, not days. (Kids, if you have symptoms, GET CHECKED OUT, A.S.A.P!)
The bottom line is that after a real scare, I am sufficiently out of the woods. And while I am nowhere near 100%, I should be in a few weeks. Unfortunately, ice hockey and other contact sports are out of the question for a while, but at least I can sit and type the live long day.
Any hoo, thank you all so very much for the well-wishes, and I should be posting regularly here from now on. That is, of course, if the person holding the Wyatt Voodoo Doll stops sticking me with pins.
Again, thanks for the thoughts. They are much appreciated.