So last weekend I had my appendix taken out. Friday night I started to feel nauseous, but didn’t think anything of it since I had just returned from a large Chinese dinner with important people. (Large Chinese dinners with important people means lots of strange food.) The pain endured until the next day. I still wasn’t too concerned at this point as I figured my body was just indecisive on how it was going to get rid of the food.
By Saturday morning my body did make its decision and I threw up 5 times over a 10 hour period. Each time I was expecting some relief of the pain in my stomach, but none came. After about 10 hours of this and becoming paler and weaker each moment, I started getting concerned that there was something more serious going on. That’s when it hit me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen alot of ER and House episodes or what, but I suddenly thought “appendicitis”.
I looked up the symptoms online and confirmed that I had most: Lowish fever, abdominal pain (that was quite obvious), loss of appetite. So I headed to an international clinic (Bellaire) where I was given antibiotics. (Chinese try to control it before removing it.) After several hours on the IV, they sent me home to wait for an ultrasound in the morning. At that point they would make the final diagnosis. It was about 8pm when I got home.
I didn’t make it to the morning. As soon as I got home I threw up again – this time a scary green. Also, the pain had quite localized itself to the lower right quadrant. We called a friend of ours who is a nurse. After discussing our various options, we called back Bellaire to say that I needed emergency help.
The overnight nurse came and picked us up in a taxi and accompanied us to the emergency room. While she was running around paying our various bills (which if you know Chinese hospitals, can be quite a challenge), an endless amount of people poked at my abdominal area each confirming that I was indeed in pain when they did that. They sent me up to the ultrasound room where they confirmed that I did have an infection. Blood results also confirmed it.
At one point the the doctor asked, Are you ready for an operation? I was thinking, yeah!, Get this thing out of me before it explodes! So, the Bellaire nurse paid some more bills and then we all headed to the operation room.
In the elevator, the doctor asked me if I wanted general or local anesthesia (Chinese usually do local, but he knew foreigners preferred general).
Jacquelyn wasn’t allowed to accompany me beyond the operation room doors. At the doors, the operating room nurses asked, “Where’s your patient clothes”? I said, “You haven’t given them to me yet”. This is when I learned that when you go to the hospital for an emergency operation in China, you should first stop at the hospital store and buy patient clothes…which at that hour was closed anyway. So, I stripped down to my skivvies.
In the operation room all the people made their preparations. At one point the doctor said, “Don’t worry, I’ve worked on alot of foreigners. Just recently worked on a German.” Truth be told, I wasn’t worried. With 7 million people in our small city, I’m sure the doctors have taken an appendix or two out before. Eventually they started the anesthetic via an IV. I panicked for a few seconds because I lost my ability to swallow and I thought that was important. Then I relaxed thinking, surely, swallowing isn’t a necessity.
I woke up being wheeled to the recovery room. My friend Nathan Greene flanking one side and my wife the other. Jacquelyn’s friend was also there, but my vision was so blurry and she was standing in my periphery that I couldn’t see her. I said quite a few funny things coming out from anesthesia. I decided that the word appendix was too difficult to remember and renamed it to my “adidas”. I kept calling myself sexy and sang, I’m too sexy for my ladies when JK and her friend walked out of the room.
The next day we signed out of the hospital and went back to Bellaire to recover in a better environment.
I’m hoping to get the stitches out on Sunday.