Thursday, July 23, 2009

Appendicitis just means "slow down!"

Sharon and Matt had quite the interesting and unplanned Monday evening. Matt's stomach was not cooperating with him on Monday morning and it got worse throughout the day. By about 2:30 his boss told him to go home and Matt thought that was a pretty good idea. Sharon made it home around 5 to find Matt curled up in a ball on the bed and thought that maybe they should take him to the doctor and once again, Matt recognized the wisdom of the suggestion. They didn't make it past the waiting room of the clinic before the nurse had them sent off to the emergency room. Matt described his symptoms in detail to each nurse who asked and each one would give this knowing little nod and suggest we plan to stay for the rest of th evening. When they'd pass each other in the hall they'd describe specific symptoms to each other and give little looks as if to say, "yup, this guy is getting cut into tonight." Finally, after a glorious IV with even more glorious pain medications was administered Matt asked one of the nurses what he thought the chances were that the diagnosis was appendicitis. The nurse said, "oh, about 99.9%." Matt then asked, "are you sure it isn't just gas?" It wasn't just gas.

After the CT scan Matt and Sharon received the diagnosis that he did in fact have an angry appendix that needed to be removed. After the full day of grief that his appendix had caused, Matt was perfectly fine with seeing it go. The surgeon came in and advised that it would be removed laproscopically, sometimes called key-hole surgery, in which three holes would be cut into Matt's tummy, it would be filled with carbon dioxide like a balloon, and then the appendix cut out and removed with little clamps, knives, etc. It's really a quite cool surgery, however as this is a family blog there will be no posting of videos or pictures of similar surguries (although if one were to Google "laproscopic appendectomy, one could learn quite a bit!) The advantage of laproscopic surgery is of course the shorter recovery time, smaller amount of scaring, shorter hospital stay, etc. But, the surgeon assured Matt, it'll still hurt a lot.

Surgery started about 12:30 in the morning on Tuesday and took about 30 minutes. After recovery room time Matt and Sharon were back in their room by 2:30 a.m. Matt was out of the hospital by noon and, except for a fever for the rest of the day, in relatively good shape. Now there's just a lot of resting and occassional pacing around the house (walking helps dissipate extra carbon dioxide, which is extremely uncomfortable) and checking out the wicked-looking staple sutures. Everyone at church and at work have been extraordinarily kind and gracious and conerned and accomodating to Sharon and Matt and they are both extremely grateful. Both their lives were running at a fever pace this summer with all their various responsibilities between work and church and school, it has been amazing how an event like this reminds you of how important the important things are, and how sometimes life requires you to slow down, if only for a week or so of post-operative rest.