Friday, January 21, 2011

The Other Side of the Coin

As a medic, it is not uncommon for me to pick patients up and take them to the hospital for treatment of what ails them.  But now I find myself admitted to the hospital with a perforated diverticulum, and I gotta say, being a patient is no fun.

It all started on Sunday with a little tummy ache.  No big deal, I had eaten some fast food crud, and I figured this was just payback from my body.

Monday I awoke all gassy, but again - payback is a bear sometimes.  By suppertime on Monday My GI tract was hurting pretty good.  After supper and kiddos going to bed, I curled up on the couch and watched some TV, all the time the gassy feeling getting more intense.  The Wife became concerned and I made a deal with her that I would call our family physician in the morning if it did not clear up.  Of course, I thought that perhaps it really was just gas.

I fell into a restless sleep around midnight.  Next thing I was aware of was an intense pain in my gut, like someone had just stabbed me with a fire poker.  As I woke up, I heard some idiot scream in pain nearby and thought "Hey dummy.  If we are being attacked the screaming won't help."

Then I realized the voice was mine.  That's a discouraging thing at two in the morning!  Per the Wife's instructions. I rechecked my temperature.  It had spiked to 101.7.  Four more times that night I was awakened to my own grunts of pain.  Throughout the next day the Wife became more and more resolute about getting me to a doctor.  Finally I relented and called my local Doc.  She was full up, but scheduled me with another doctor because my "condition" sounded serious.

On the way to the doc, I did a little self assessment.  Pain... lower left quadrant and lower center line.  Pain level...6-8 out of 10 depending on the bumpiness of the road.  Fever.  Chills.  Nausea.  If I were a medic with a patient like that I would suspect they were rather sick.  But in my head I was still denying that anything was wrong.

The doctor I saw did a few tests and fond two significant things.  One was a White blood Cell count up around 15.5.  Normal is 10.  So I had a BUNCH of extra white blood cells running around, fighting infection.  The second finding was upon palpating, or poking my right lower quadrant.  So painful was it that my knees shot up to the fetal position.

We both immediately suspected appendicitis with that one.  Though I told hi it really did hurt more in the lower left and middle.  He referred me to the Emergency Department to do a CTscan to rule out the appi.  What else could it be? I asked him.

"Well, you're a pretty young guy.  But it could be Diverticulitis.  I'm almost sure it is one of those things."

So off I went to the ED, to find out what was going on.

More Later

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