The Appendicitis Story, Part 1

In some ways, this post is a long time coming. In the beginning of September, I had to have my appendix out. It was all very dramatic, and most people got a version of the story that went something like this: “Yes, I went to the hospital and had to get my appendix out! It was very scary but recovery has been quick and we’re just lucky we caught it in time.” What all those people didn’t know was that I was 10.5 weeks pregnant at the time of the surgery. Because I was still in my first trimester, (almost) no one got the whole story.

Until now.

Eventually I’d like to write a  bit about the beginning of this pregnancy, because I think it’ll be especially helpful for those who might require a little bit of help from the doctors to get to where we are now. But for now, we are leading off with the big story! If you don’t want to read semi-graphic descriptions of illness, surgery, recovery, stop reading now.

So, a bit of background: for the first 8 or so weeks of my pregnancy I had pretty constant morning sickness. I never really puked for real, but I felt miserable for most of the day. The “morning” in morning sickness is way deceptive. I also was just constantly bloated and burping ALL THE TIME. So much so that our nickname for the baby is Burpy. Around week 10 I was finally starting to feel better; small bursts of feeling nauseated a few times a day, but the constant need for ginger candies and saltines was abating. The burping never went away though. That week we bought a new car (family friendly! red!) and  to celebrate went out for salads and milkshakes (it’s all about balance). That was Wednesday night.

7am Thursday

Thursday morning I woke up feeling pretty wretched. It was like the worst morning sickness I’d felt yet. Plus really terrible bloating pain across my entire abdomen. I immediately chalked it up to the milkshake the night before and somehow managed to drag myself to work. Once I got there I knew that being there was a big mistake. I puked twice in the office bathroom, which was when I realized that this was probably different than my usual morning sickness. I also, and pardon the TMI, had very loose bowels. I knew if I stuck around at work I’d spend most of my day in the bathroom, so after less than 2 hours there I grabbed a cab for home. It was a rough ride, but I managed to make it all the way home without spewing bodily fluids in the cab.


Then I spent a whole lot of time in the bathroom. It started off with 20 minutes in bed, 20 minutes in the bathroom, and got to the point where I just dragged a blanket and pillow into the bathroom and rested on the bathroom floor in between vomiting spells. At this point I wasn’t even keeping water down. I would take a few sips of water and then retch it back up within 5 minutes. I was VERY worried about severe dehydration and somehow harming poor Burpy. I texted my sister the nurse to see what she thought, but she took more than 10 seconds to respond so I called the OB’s on-call doctor line.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how  to convince me to switch from your OB practice to a local birthing center with midwives:

  • (I describe my symptoms to the nurse on call and sit on hold for about 5 minutes)
  • Doctor: “Well, Nicole, you are vomiting, bloated, and have diarrhea. Sounds like you’re pregnant!” (har har)
  • Me: “No no no this is much worse than any of the last 10 weeks have been. This is BAD. There’s something wrong. I haven’t been able to keep any liquids down in 8 hours and am worried about the baby. And the bloating in my abdomen is really painful.”
  • Dr: “The baby is a parasite. It’ll take what it needs from you. Don’t worry about the baby. Have you tried a popsicle?”
  • Me: “What?”
  • Dr: “You need a popsicle. Since it has to melt you’ll be able to keep it down.”
  • Me: “I don’t think a popsicle will work. At what point do I need to go to  the hospital and get IV fluids? I can barely stand up right now. And I don’t think this bloating pain in my abdomen is going to be fixed by a popsicle. It’s really bad.”
  • Dr: “We don’t need to talk about the hospital yet. I gave you a suggestion and you haven’t taken it yet. You need a popsicle.”
  • Me: (summoning all my patience) “Okay, I will try a popsicle. But since it is the end of the day and your office will close soon, can I ask, theoretically, if the popsicle doesn’t work and I wind up unable to keep it down, how long should I wait before going to the hospital?”
  • Dr: “Two to four hours. But the popsicle will work.”

We were in the car on the way to the hospital within an hour.

I am not faulting him for not realizing that I had appendicitis. I didn’t have the main appendicitis symptom yet, it looked for all intents and purposes like a stomach bug. But the fact that he continually disregarded my insistence that something was really wrong was really disheartening. I wish I could capture the tone of his voice in this post because it was the most condescending, patronizing I think I’ve ever been spoken to by a man.

Immediately after I got off the phone with Dr. Butthole I called Josh at work and asked him to come home. I then proceeded to eat a damn popsicle. And then puke half of it up. As soon as Josh got home we packed up some snacks and our phone chargers (WE ARE SO SMART) and headed off to the hospital. Even though there is a great hospital relatively close to us, we went All The Way Across The City to the hospital where my OB practice has privileges, just in case.


We got to the ER, checked in, and were practically the only ones in the waiting room. Sweet! I thought we’d get in there, pump some fluids into me, and be home in time for a good nights’ sleep (and a long-awaited baseball game with friends the next day.) HA.

(This is a long-ass story, so it’s only Part 1. Part 2 shall come within the next few days. Stay tuned!)


9 responses to “The Appendicitis Story, Part 1

  1. Pingback: The Appendicitis Story, Part II | Grape Soda

  2. I think one of the most fucking irritating things to me about medicine is that MALE DOCTORS can tell women bearing children (something men can’t do!) that they have no clue what’s going on with their body.

    And I learned in May that the first appendicitis symptom is general soreness and flu-like stuff. When I didn’t believe that something was wrong with C. 🙂 So, ya know.

    • Josh and I have a running joke now that every medical symptom he has is automatically appendicitis. But really, most flu-like symptoms do NOT lead to appendicitis.
      And yes, I’ve yet to find a male OBGYN who isn’t a total douchenozzle. Pun very much intended.

  3. Pingback: The Appendicitis Story, Part III | Grape Soda

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  5. Wow, I do not blame you for leaving the OB practice! I had the exact opposite problem, the MALE OB’s were the nicest, most patient, least condescending! I was SO happy thats who we talked to when we had questions about inducing and who was there when we went into the hospital. What the heck is wrong with some of these docs?!

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