When we last left our heroes, they had arrived at a near-empty ER, confident that they were now in good hands and could relax, get pumped with some fluids, and head home soon.
After a quick stop in triage to explain my symptoms and get some vital signs, they set us up with a big room in the ER. A very young nurse came in to get an IV started. It took her more than three tries. Our doctor came in, checked out my chart, and said she’d be starting me on lots of fluids and also Zofran, which is a pretty strong anti-nausea medication. I proceeded to throw up the rest of my red popsicle into a plastic container. The nurse freaked out for a minute until I explained I had eaten a strawberry popsicle. She thought I was vomiting blood. She said “No more red popsicles before hospital visits.” I tried to blame it on the awful OB doc but was too busy throwing up.
Then a new, older nurse came in, and she was AWESOME. At the time Josh and I were like, “We need to send her a nice card once this is over” but of course we never did. Her name was Mandy. The next few hours consisted of Mandy checking in on me about every ten-fifteen minutes and us having the following conversation: “Any improvement?” “Not really, no.” “Are you SURE?” “Yes.” Followed by Mandy giving me either another heated blanket (I was FREEZING), changing my fluids bag, or giving me another dose of a stronger anti-nausea medicine. Yet I continued to vomit while I caught up on the entire season of Project Runway to date. Even through the pain and vomiting I was very upset with Ven for how he treated his client. (PS how awful is the “Real Women” challenge, always? Are the everyday models not “Real Women”? Gah.)
Then two key things happened: I started to feel my abdominal pain migrate to a very suspicious spot in the lower right quadrant, and the doctor came back to check on me since I was apparently impervious to anti-nausea meds. I immediately pointed to the spot where the pain was focusing itself. This doctor would have none of it. She insisted that I just had a terrible stomach bug, that I must be feeling better since I’d already had like 3 bags of fluids and a whole slew of anti-nausea meds. I found myself again insisting that no, this isn’t just a bug, something is really wrong. Finally she pressed down on the spot I said was hurting, and when she let up I let out a huge gasp of pain. Sort of like how a toothache hurts less when you bite down, but then hurts a LOT when you let up on it.
Then we had this conversation:
- Dr: “Well, it MIGHT be appendicitis, but since you’re pregnant we can’t do a CAT scan to confirm. We’ll probably have to keep you overnight for observation and just see if the pain gets worse.
- Me: “I don’t really want to be feeling this pain overnight. It’s bad and it’s RIGHT HERE. Can’t we do an ultrasound or something?”
- Dr: “The appendix is very hard to see on an ultrasound. You can only find it in something like 5% of ultrasounds.”
- Me: “I still like those odds better than waiting overnight. I think we should go with an ultrasound.”
I think we can all see a pattern emerging, and that pattern is this: listen to your gut. My gut, it turns out, was infected and in danger of bursting.
So, after some hemming and hawing, we got our ultrasound. Burpy was jumping up and down in there, which was crazy because this was the first time we’d seen him/her moving. And also a huge relief. Then the tech said the usual “I think I see your problem but need to discuss it with the doctor.” Ten minutes later the ER doc returned, this time with a surgeon. He asked me a couple questions, did the same pushy-down thing on my abdomen that made me screech, and said “I’m almost positive this is appendicitis. You need surgery. If somehow it’s NOT appendicitis, we’ll take your appendix out anyway.” Great, thanks.
What went through my mind in the next minute is rather funny, because I assumed that general anesthesia is not okay for pregnant ladies. I don’t know why I thought this. But what I pictured was essentially me taking a swig of whiskey and biting down on the handle of a wooden spoon while they ripped my appendix out. Ha ha. Ha. Um.
It turns out that general anesthesia, morphine, and vicodin are PERFECTLY FINE for baby! The surgeon said he could get us up to the OR in about half an hour, which seemed shockingly soon to me. So it was obviously time for me to make one of the strangest phone calls of my life:
“Hi, Mom? I have bad news and I have good news, and you should let me finish telling you both before you say anything. The bad news is I’m in the ER, the doctors think it’s appendicitis, I’m about to go into surgery.
The good news is I’m 10.5 weeks pregnant.”
Look for Part III tomorrow, I hope!