Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Ruptured Appendix Can Be An Opportunity

It took me much longer to get to this than I'd expected. Having two surgeries within 13 days took it out of me and I've been recovering slowly--and now surely.

After coming home from Joseph, Oregon after the wonderful opportunity to share with ladies from Baker City about how we can be friends to those in need, I was tired but extremely fulfilled. We had a great time and my husband who drove me had a great time as well--he needed a break and got it while I "worked"!

But only two days later I felt ill, the following day I felt worse, and on Friday May 8 I told Ray he needed to take me to the doctor. My own was out that day so the new physician I saw asked Ray if the pain that had me doubled over was common. He said he'd never seen me this way before (and I've had a lot of pain with a cervical spinal cord injury--thankfully I've forgotten how bad some of that was). She said, "Go immediately, straight to the ER! I'll call ahead to get you in front of others!"

We're so thankful to her, I have taken the energy to write her a letter of thanks. The surgeon I saw said the CAT scan revealed a need to check out my appendix and abdomen, so I had surgery about 1:30 am. My appendix had burst and I had a drain to remove infectious toxins. One of the worst affects though was the "ileus," a result of anesthesia making the gastro-intestinal track go to sleep! Which means, you can't have anything but ice cubes until something wakes up! Hence, I was in the hospital eight days.

On my sixth day there we had a fire in our garage which my husband put out himself, braving blinding black smoke to open the doors by hand and find the source. Nothing like adding more stress to his life! The garage was covered in oily black residue since it was an electrical fire--he was charging a radio control battery for his airplanes and the charger shorted out! Apart from his job, the cleanup with professional crews has consumed his time.

Now home, I began running a low grade fever and eventually went back to the ER on Memorial Day, May 25. I had two abscesses due to the rupture. I won't go into the surgery I had to drain this . . . to say it would gross some out is an understatement! This time I was in the hospital another eight days!

I've been recovering ever since, and in this past week I've seen a marked change in how my energy level has been growing. I am back to doing some of my exercises! My neurologist said last week--with much relief and happiness due to all my body has been through--that I haven't progressed with the MS since he last saw me. YEAH!

How does one see all this as an opportunity? Well, for me, every hospitalization has been an opportunity to share my hope and faith with nurses and doctors and other personnel I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. The stories I could tell about seeing a smile spread when I simply said a genuine "Thank you" abound. Listening to nurses tell their own stories and being able to encourage them, or as was the case one time actually say, "You did all you could" as I looked into a face filled with despair and guilt and watch that beautiful face relax and tears fill her eyes, made my day. Then there was the student nurse I got to encourage before her professor and her training nurse--what joy that brought me! I was saddened to learn many patients are belligerent and even mean!

Would I have preferred to not have gone through all this? Definitely a big "Yep!" as our granddaughter would say. But I would not have had the blessings I did in being kind to others or experiencing the blessings of others providing meals, praying, and being available when Ray had to leave town for three days during my recovery. Nor would I have had the opportunities to encourage my husband in certain ways as he did me.

Even a ruptured appendix can be an adventure with living!

To every adventure!