I don’t know if all of you have heard by now, but last week me and my appendix had a show down. Spoiler alert: Appendix-1, Whit-0. But I thought I’d share with you how a normal Friday of my life turned into hilarity, a hospital stay, and a sure fire angel encounter!
How It Started
Duane and I were house sitting for some friends that week, and I woke up with some sharp pains and bloating in my tummy on Thursday morning. I thought I had just eaten something that didn’t agree with me, so I grabbed some over the counter drugs to help and went on about my day. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t unbearable. By Friday morning, I thought the meds had done their job because I was much less bloated and still had some pain, mainly on my right side, but nothing that would keep me from my day. I was so excited on Friday, because my main goal was to get ready for an awesome lake weekend with friends. Duane and I had rented a double decker pontoon boat, complete with a slide from the top deck for all day on Saturday. Our FAVORITE kind of day with friends. (Of course!! You know where this is going, don’t you?) So, my first order of business was a pedicure (let’s just say– no one wanted me on the boat without one), and then off for more errands. As I sat for my pedicure, I just couldn’t relax, and I couldn’t get comfortable in the chair. When I stood up, I kind of pressed on my stomach on the right side and the pain was NOTICEABLY worse. So naturally my first stop was Dr. Google, and he concluded I either had gas, a bad appendix, or cancer. Exciting choices that really escalated quickly. I, being the sane, calm, logical person that I am, decided it was definitely cancer and low key panicked. Obviously. Our good friend Lacie, a Nurse Practitioner, who I have now deemed my personal medical staff– was the first one I texted. She told me that since the pain had gotten worse, to go ahead and try an urgent care and they could run some tests and let me know if it was anything more serious.
Action Plan #1
I walked into my local Urgent Care and they ushered me right back to a room when I told them I was starting to have really bad abdominal pain. But, don’t get too excited, because once I was in the room, I sat for over an hour. I totally understand they were crazy busy, but apparently my appendix is just like me (a little “extra”) and waits for no one. #dramatic. By the time I saw the provider, I was getting nauseous and my right side was ORNARY. She examined me, and when she pressed on that area, she sent me so far through the roof that I was certain I was ready to meet Jesus. After the exam, the NP told me she was sending me to an imaging center for a CT scan just to rule out a cyst or kidney stone. The imaging center was 20 minutes across town, but luckily they said they were able to get me in late on a Friday afternoon. I was texting Duane and Lacie and told them both not to come, because at that point as long as I was sitting as still as possible, my pain wasn’t intense. Only the walking, sitting, breathing, thinking, and pressing caused me pain, but you know… not that intense.
Action Plan #2
At this point, I was just thankful I wasn’t headed to the ER. We have health insurance, but being self-employed, it’s not the greatest (whose is, really) so I was trying to avoid the ER at all costs. Basically, unless my appendix exploded into thin air and reincarnated itself as a neon flashing sign pointing me there… I had made my mind up that the ER was not for me. So, off across town I headed. I was gripping that steering wheel so tight with both hands, breathing like I was in labor, and begging someone to try and pass me or pull me over because… NOT TODAY SATAN. By the time I got there, I was in tears. Now here’s the part where you think I called my husband… Nah, bro. I don’t know. I just… don’t know. Anyway, they took me back to CT, sweet little angel baby Radiology Tech tried to make me drink a GALLON of something to help them “see my stomach better” or some somethin’ like that… I will save you the details, but we’ll just say– that didn’t work out for him so well. He finally got me on the table to place an IV for the dye to pump through for the CT. Note to self…. when someone repeatedly says, “AWW shoot, honey” as they’re trying to stick you– NOT A GOOD SIGN. After he and another nurse unsuccessfully tried to stick me FIVE times (I’m actually not exaggerating this time.. literally FIVE), I had HAD IT. Y’all. On a scale from 1- Can’t… I CAN’T EVEN. We are now to the point in the story where I finally decided to call my husband. He heard my talk/crying on the other end of the phone and just said– “I’m on my way NOW, send me the address.” I also spoke to Lacie and she said, “I can get to you faster, we’re going to the ER, do NOT let them stick you again!” Okay queen, okurrrr! I somehow pulled myself up from the table, collected my things, limped out to the waiting room, and at the same time pulled out my Xena Warrior Princess and demanded (mumbled through tears) the guy walking me out to give me a refund. LOL. Thinking back on it, I’m certain he was a radiologist and had nothing to do with billing. I’m laughing out loud at myself as I’m typing this. I mean, I love that my appendix is tryin’ to relocate and I’m concerned about the fact that they made me pay in ADVANCE for that CT. Mama hates wasting money, y’all. In my defense, that visit wasn’t cheap and all they did was make me drink Pepto buttermilk and poke holes in me. Ain’t nobody got time for that! After my multiple meltdowns— something REALLY cool happened. When I was sitting in the waiting room, I was visibly in pain. I’m sure I had black tears all down my face, and I couldn’t stop swaying/gripping my side for dear life– willing with all my might for my appendix not to rupture. I made eye contact with a sweet older lady sitting across the room. I think she was waiting for her ride, but she leapt from her seat and came over to me repeatedly asking me if she could do something for me. I kept thanking her and telling her No and that my ride was on the way. She finally said, “Okay then honey, well the Bible tells me that I’m supposed to pray– and so I’m gonna pray!” Without waiting for my permission (which she didn’t need), she placed her arm around my shoulders and her hand flat on my head and honey WE. WENT. TO. CHURCH! She prayed in the name of Jesus that He would heal me, that He would take away my pain, that He would move the traffic out of the way for my ride to get there quickly and safely, and that I would know Jesus in my heart and that we would see each other in heaven one day. Y’all– I am typing this in tears because I know the Lord put this lady in that office FOR ME. After all the poking and the pain and the way it was escalating so quickly, I was starting to panic. It was a God wink, a reminder, a bold representation that no matter what our day holds, no matter the struggles or the pain, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… He’s got you. He heard me in my muffled mumbles of crying out to Him that day. He wasn’t surprised by what was happening to me. He was holding me even though I felt totally alone. I was gonna be okay, and the Lord sent this angel to remind me. I couldn’t really lift my arms because of the pain, but had I been able to… I would have been waving my hanky and screaming Amen and “Won’t He Do It!” so loud that mama and daddy woulda heard me clear in Oxford, MS. Thank you Lord for that beautiful soul!
Our Final Stop
After Prayer Meetin’, my friend Lacie picked me up and took me directly across the street to the ER to meet Duane. We walked right in, they put a bracelet on me and took me right back to a triage room. Sidenote: If you live in Chattanooga, just know that I have had two of these emergency type situations in severe pain– one at Memorial in Hixson, and one at Erlanger East. Erlanger was LEAPS and bounds more efficient and more accommodating. Not to mention, the nurse stuck me ONCE and got a BIG ole vein. I mean, for the love. I was changed into a glamorous (although drafty) couture gown, and taken straight back to CT. Less than 45 minutes later the ER doctor informed us that I would be making some reservations with a very specific surgeon that very night. It was already past 7pm, so they were calling in the troops for an emergency appendectomy. So so so so gratefully, we caught it in time and it had NOT ruptured. I’m convinced that my angel’s prayers were the reason why. We had enough time before surgery for Duane to run out and grab some BBQ for supper, because… priorities… nobody wants a hangry nurse. I was given the Jesus Juice in my IV to ease my pain and then wheeled back to Pre-Op. I kept apologizing to the surgeon and the nurses for my appendix and it’s stubborn intention of ruining everyone’s Friday night. I even volunteered for the job since I had seen about 100 “Appy’s” on Grey’s Anatomy… so I’m basically a surgeon. He wasn’t amused, not sure why– I was a COMEDIAN on the Jesus Juice. I’m almost certain I also told him to grab anything else while he was in there that wasn’t needed because I’m OVER these slacker organs. (See Emergency Gall Bladder removal circa 2016) Anyway, I sailed through surgery and since it was so late, they settled me into a room for the night. It was a long, sleepless night of the Grim Reaper/Nurse coming in every hour to check my blood pressure and oxygen levels. Also, let it be known that my husband is a regular snorer, but on the Barbie sized hospital couch… they can’t even quantify that sound as “snoring.” I don’t know what it was, but may the Lord look lovingly on my husband and protect him from the wrath he’ll feel if I ever experience it again. All in all it was a successful reservation at Erlanger East, but the next day I was so ready for my “A-Ok” from the doc, so I could shake the dust of that place and never look back.
This last week has been a hard recovery. Just the soreness and aftermaths of surgery are never fun. I woke up on Tuesday and made the decision that “I’m fine now,” tried to drive to the store, and almost passed out on the way home. Let it be known, I can’t be trusted with decisions like that. But even so, I am so grateful that everything went smoothly, I’m so grateful for my precious husband and so many friends that went out of their way to help us and check on us, and I’m so grateful for great doctors and nurses that did their jobs well and with excellence. Most importantly, I’m grateful to the Lord for protecting me on what should have been a normal Friday that turned into something much more serious. And even more, I’m grateful for such a powerful reminder, in the form of my sweet anonymous friend, that God is GOD and He answers prayer.
Have you ever had an experience like this? Tell us in the comments! Wishing you and all your pesky appendixes a safe and happy week!