Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Appendix out!

In a startling moment of completely bad timing I got appendicitis last week and so had to have it removed in an emergency operation on Thursday evening. Everything went smoothly and Alice and Anneli are coping with the generous support of the two Mums and Em.

So on Wednesday morning I had a stomach ache and it seemed to get increasingly bad throughout the day with me continuously wanting to go to the toilet but with nothing coming out. By 3pm I had had enough at work and drove home which initiated a period of vomiting which lasted on and off until 9pm. After a fitful night of pain and strange dreams (I convinced myself that I, along with the duvet cover, was the centre of some con involving cars or something) we decided that something needed to be done. By know the pain had moved to the lower right of the abdomen. So we phoned up NHS direct, who we have used a lot in the last year, and they suggested to take a paracetamol(!) and if that didn't do anything go and see the GP. At a 4pm appointment with the GP confirmed our worse fears, Ann raced us off to St. Helier's.

After seeing the casualty nurse who took some blood for tests and 1.5 hours wait I managed to see a very nice surgeon who quickly diagnosed me with acute appendicitis and from then on everything went very rapidly (there must have been pretty worried about the test results etc.). By 8pm I was under the knife with the surgeons on call removing a black gangrenous appendix! The ironic thing is that by the afternoon I thought that the pain was subsiding!

There were apparently no complications in the surgery and early the next morning I managed a walk to the toilets. In fact apart from a bit of pain the wound was fine. My biggest problem (and still is) was that when I had a tube down my throat for the general anaesthetic it caused a bit of damage giving me a swollen uvula. This is pretty uncomfortable. At one stage I was able to cough it up onto my tongue. This provided an interesting identification test for one set of medical students (well I hope they were students), set by the head surgeon. They failed miserably with the worse answer being that it was "a bit of thyroid", bloody medics. My appetite was slightly reduced but I still managed to eat all the meals from Friday. Amusingly, because of the way the food works at one stage it looked like I was going to have haddock with beans for lunch on Friday! I managed to wangle this to chicken korma and mashed potato, but I am still not convinced curry is the best thing to have after gut surgery.

As the appendix was in a very poor state when they opened me up, they have been pumping me full of antibiotics, first by IV and then by tablet. Apart from that it was just paracetamol (the wonder drug) and another pain killer (Diclofenac sodium). My current antibiotics are Cefaclor and Metronidazole.

I managed to get home on Saturday evening, which is a relief as I must say I can't stand hospitals. How anyone can get a good nights sleep in those places I just don't know ... I suppose needs must.

I have had a pretty good crop of visitors both in hospital and out: Ad, Em, Alice, Anneli, Ann and Trevor and my parents. One of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this event was that my mum and dad were away in south east Asia without mobile reception. It must have been quite a shock to hear I had had my appendix out when they got to Bangkok on the way home. Thankfully, due to the combined efforts of Em and Ann, I managed to see Anneli and Alice for quite a large chunk of the time in hospital.

So now I am just recovering at home. Yesterday, I went for a very short walk which normally takes 5 minutes but took me more than half an hour! Obviously not there yet. Not sure how long I will be off work but it is bound to be a couple of weeks.