Appendix surgery far from home.

Yesterday morning, Thursday, in the wee hours Joe was having some discomfort in his right lower abdomen which radiated from his belly button to near his hip. He thought it was gas or an odd indicator he had to go to the bathroom. We were staying at the Comfort Inn at Casa Grande, Arizona.

From 2 am onward the discomfort worsened until he felt bad enough, by 7 am, for me to ask the hotel desk clerk to extend our stay another day. The woman at the desk spent about 45 minutes juggling reservations in an attempt to allow us to remain another night. The hotel was fully booked for Thursday night.

In the meantime I was looking online for any information I could find to give us a clue what may be wrong with him. First I thought it might be Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) until I looked up the symptoms of Appendicitis.

Joe and I discussed the ramifications of ignoring his pain, which by 9 am had eased to no pain, and leaving the hotel for our destination of McAllen, Texas.


Knowing the route we would travel and the likelihood of his ailment becoming worse the prospect of being out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service sometimes would be a foolish thing to do.

Turning back 30 miles to Chandler, Arizona where we have family and a safe place to leave our trailer seemed the more prudent option. It was decided we would go to the emergency room at Chandler Regional Medical Center to have Joe seen and diagnosed.

By the time we dropped the trailer at Jaime’s business Joe was beginning to have doubts about the whole thing. He was no longer in pain and he felt pretty good. Able to continue on to McAllen, Texas anyway. “Let’s get you checked out” was my waffling contribution to our quasi dilemma.

Once the decision was made to go to the hospital I sent out a flurry of text messages to all of our kids. Not meant to worry them but to let them know that Joe would be under medical care for an unknown ailment.

I have an irrational fear. If I don’t tell the kids when their Dad is in distress and in need of medical assistance they would come for me with fired torches, pitchforks, and baseball bat like clubs as the villagers did for Frankenstein.

While Joe endured the blood draws, a trip down hallways and corridors to the Ultrasound lab, back to the cubicle to await the next trip to be hustled out for a CT Scan and back, I texted the kids at each interval.

Our “Dr.” Loreli peppered me with queries of the medical findings and what to ask the doctors and, more importantly, telling the doctors of Joe’s recent medical issues with Pulmonary Embolism and his Warfarin dosage.

Heidi Jo was the first to arrive at the ER to be with us.


The three of us chatted together between Joe’s treatments and tests. Later in the early evening, after 5 pm, Carissa and Jaime arrived to keep us company.



At 7:30 pm, yesterday, Joe had a diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis that would require surgery. Around 9:00 pm he was taken to the Pre-Op area then later whisked off to the operating room.

Less than 45 minutes later the doctor came out to the waiting room to give us the news that all was well with Joe. An Umbilical Hernia was repaired and the appendix removed. Joe would be in recovery for about an hour before going to his hospital room.

Heidi Jo used the house phone to the surgery center just before the hour passed. She was given the room number where we would find Joe being set up.

Upon arrival to Joe’s room I saw a sight that truly heartened me and plastered a goofy grin on my face.


Seeing Joe be Joe after a surgery was the best thing! No complications leading to care in the ICU hooked up to a breathing machine keeping him alive as had happened after his last surgery. Awesome!

For the next two weeks Joe has restrictions. No lifting or putting any strain on his abdominal muscles. No vacuuming or shoveling 🙂 either. We have to keep watch for infection at the incision sights.

What this means for our work I’m not sure. Personally I think we could be borrowing trouble being out in the wilds, unfamiliar desolate territory, with little towns along the interstate highways that don’t make me confident of any necessary medical treatment should the need arise.

Of course, another fear pops up. Septicemia, or a severe infection brought on by dust, dirt, sweat, and any grubby stuff left by the previous truck driver that could find its way into one of Joe’s wounds.

I lobby for caution. If that means spending two weeks here with Carissa and Jaime or driving 1,000 miles to recuperate at home would be the wise choice. After all, Joe isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 73 in a few days.

Before the surgery Joe was given two units of FFP (fresh frozen plasma) to dilute the Warfarin levels in his blood. Didn’t need him to spring an unstoppable leak during surgery. Now we have to get instructions and treatment to get his INR level back up into the 2.0 to 3.0 range.

Probably the best thing for Joe is we get home to schedule appointments with his team of doctors during the two week recuperating period to ensure he is in good health to return to work.

If you have wondered what Appendicitis is I can say that it is cramping pain that begins around the belly button area and moves down to your right hip, near your groin. Pressing on your abdomen in the lower right area will be tender and painful. Disregarding the pain after it lessens could be folly. If, or when, the Appendix bursts you could end up losing several feet of your colon due to the infection that sets in. Prolonged neglect of the symptoms can be fatal.

Now that I have made your hair stand on end I’ll wish you a good day. Time to go tend to my husband.


About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

12 responses to “Appendix surgery far from home.

  • Jann Gray

    So glad that you all acted on the side of caution! It is always best! Rejoicing that Joe is up and well enough to DANCE! That made me smile! Praying for wisdom as you all make decisions as to what is best for you all for the next few weeks…and for continued healing and speedy recovery for Joe! Hugs! Jann

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Jann 😀 for your words of comfort.

      Joe was delightfully giddy from the anesthesia. Evidently he promised the nurse, numerous times, he would dance with her when they got to the room. Best thing I ever saw 😀

      Congratulations are in order! Woo Hoo! Tim Holtz acknowledged your fantastic fall cards using his blueprint stamp set. Totally AWESOME!!!!

      Love you my friend – Leslie

  • Maureen Mathis

    Well, the vacuuming and shoveling restrictions should be NO PROBLEM for Joe AT ALL, since he NEVER DOES ANY OF THOSE!

    I thought your twitter pic was just Joe getting his regular lab work done. I had no idea it was an ER visit! I’m so glad that you have family nearby to help with Joe, and more importantly to help you with the decisions ahead. I know that you guys will make the best decision possible about where to handle his recovery.

    When the appendix finally bursts, the pain is relieved, and many people continue on with their lives, but it can cause additional infection and greatly prolong the hospital stay and resulting recovery time. It was indeed the smart thing to do to get things checked out when you did.

    I’ll be in touch!

    • Message In A Fold

      Wow! I didn’t know people survive a burst appendix. Our oldest son, Joseph, had his burst and the surgeon had to remove 4 feet of his colon.

      Thanks for clearing up my misinformation. I really do appreciate you doing that. No sense in spreading junk when knowledge is better.

      You made me laugh, thank you for that. You are correct. Vacuuming and shoveling are things Joe doesn’t acquaint himself much with 😀

      Love you my friend – Leslie

  • tina kuhlmann

    glad to hear joe is once again ok…will u please tell him he’s NOT a cat. he does not have nine lives…gee! altho dancing with the nurse was a priceless photo glad u caught that moment. always in my prayers

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you Tina. I’ll pass on your admonition that he is not a cat :D. I’d say more like a wild man than a cat 😉

      That surgical nurse was great and I so appreciated her humor in the situation. I’m sure she has had worse propositions

      I have been trying to leave comments on your blog. I really love the stuff you are doing. Unfortunately the updated IOS on my iPhone has made letting you know I’ve been seeing your creations impossible. Grrrrr.

      Love you – Leslie

  • shar

    hi Leslie!!! long time no comment. im so glad to hear Joe is on the mend. big hugs to you both
    get well soon Joe

  • pati

    Oh my goodness, back at the hospital again. So glad it was all taken care of, he is ok now. Lol, got to dance with a nurse, he is up and going soon. Will keep joe in our prayers, hopefully no more scares for you both. Take care, am watching your blog, keeping up. Love you both

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you Sis for your prayers, I appreciate you.

      I’m beginning to wonder if Joe is competing with the excitement of the road. Maybe he thinks it is not exciting enough! Sheesh!

      You and Les take care of each other.

      Love you Sis

  • gardenpinks

    OMG that man knows how to cause trouble doesn’t he????? So glad you over ruled the ‘let’s carry on, I feel fine’ nad got him to hospital. Rod ended up with peritonitis ( burst appendix) when he was in his teens and it damn near ended his life. He had to have an emergency operation and was very ill for sometime afterwards; also happened to my dad when he was 9 years old – it wasn’t until he was rolling around the floor screaming that the doctor decided he ought to be in hospital!!

    I’m surprised that with a hernia repair and appendix surgery that you were told only 2 weeks – here in the UK any abdominal sugery means no driving for 6 weeks! And your insurance is null and void if you go against that advice.
    A friend of ours has just had surgery to repair an aortic bulge and he isn’t allowed to even lift a kettle for 8 weeks and no driving for 6 weeks – his wife is going to be about ready to hit him over the head with something because he is a very bad patient 🙂

    Stay safe and healthy both 🙂
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      For Joe the hernia is six weeks of no lifting and only two for the appendectomy. Still we are going to err on the side of caution and take the six weeks.

      Men are the worst patients! Joe’s nurse told him there were three 20 year old men that had appendectomies around the same time Joe did. These young pups won’t get up and walk around. It hurts too much. Big babies.

      Wow, Rod and your Father had a miserable experience with their appendixes….or is it appendices. Tell Rod I’m so glad he survived it. You probably more than me but I’m still glad of it.

      I won’t remark on our stupid “Obamacare” we are f***ed over with. I’ll become a card carrying lunatic if I get started.

      Love you – Leslie

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