Here's what happened late in January. Ernie and I went on a lovely hike (as you can tell from my dusty pants in the photo), and I felt great physically. However, by the time we were driving home, I experienced the first symptoms of what would turn into a life or death situation: a tummy ache. I've had a lot of tummy aches in the past 10 years or so, and I have to wonder if my appendix was acting up this whole time, not to the level of crisis, but enough to make me think I had food poisoning or some intestinal bug. The incidents increased in the last 5 years or so, and I thought it was just part of getting old.
By 8:00 p.m., the pain had become so uncomfortable, I knew I was going to be in for a rough night. By 10:00 p.m. I was barfing. There was quite a lot of that, but it brought no relief, and the pain just got worse. I lost track of time after that, and thoughts of getting Ernie to call 911 started to present themselves. I have no insurance, so I thought twice about that. But at one unbearable point, I remembered the symptoms for appendicitis, and I pressed on my lower right abdomen to see if the pain was worse there. It was, and I realized what I was dealing with, so damn the torpedoes, call 911, and it's off to the hospital in an ambulance.
In fact, I was off to 2 hospitals in 2 ambulances, because the first place confirmed my diagnosis, but they don't do surgery there. Fortunately they did do antibiotics, morphine, and anti-nausea medication. It was a much more cheerful Em who arrived at the second hospital. The money situation will be difficult, but I can't complain about the care I got. From ambulance to check-out, I got top-notch care. I was never afraid, and I knew my problem was going to get fixed. It probably helped that the whole thing went down between midnight and 9:00 a.m. (Tuesday morning), because traffic in those hospitals was light.
The surgery was laparoscopic, so it was minimally invasive. I'm taking it easy for a couple of days, and then I'm allowed to gradually resume my old routines.
The finance lady came to talk to me once I was close to check-out, because they knew I didn't have insurance. I didn't qualify for the state version of Medicaid, but they signed me up for their budget version of billing. A fabby offered to set up a Go Fund Me for my bills (many thanks to Jeff Edwards), and I said yes. Here’s the link.
I'm really grateful for social media at times like this. Your fabbies can commiserate with you and offer help and advice. I think this was part of the reason I didn't feel alone at the hospital. I could post a pic of my feet in the hospital bed and tell everyone what was going on.
One last thing – there was something new at both hospitals, something I had never seen before: heated blankets. OH MY GAWD.
The pinnacle of Western Civilization.