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.