September 5, 2010
How Do You Say Appendix?
This Friday morning I (Christie) woke up to excruciating pain in my lower right side, and thought I'd vomit. Stomach viruses are way too common here, so I knew just what to do. I got up and walked a few yards to our bathroom. The pain became so intense that I just knew I'd pass out, so I tried to make a noise and alert Ken. He got there just in time to catch me. After a few phone calls and arrangements, we decided we should make the two-hour trip into Asuncion in case it were something serious. The public hospitals here handle serious things, but I wasn't so sure I wanted them to, you know?
I spent that time trying to think of medical vocabulary, and how to pronounce all the words I learned in medical terminology, only with a Spanish accent. By the time we got there, I was in too much pain to tell the ER staff anything. They took me straight to a bed where a doctor began to poke around, said I had all the classic signs of appendicitis, and then explained that the only cure for that is surgery. Ugh. While he was talking, the pain literally just went away. I mean, it was just plain gone. I said that out loud, but I'm not sure any of folks in the room believed me. They had seen me barely able to walk in, unable to talk, and, according to Ken, so white I was almost blue. The doctor jabbed me a lot in the belly again, which was sore, but didn't cause pain. Now everyone was a bit perplexed. Dr. Confused said it could be a stone in my urinary tract (ouch) since the pain was coming and going, but that it really presented just like appendicitis. Either way, he said we'd see it plainly in an ultrasound.
They tried to extract a few tubes of blood from me, but I don't hand that out too freely. I just don't have much, it seems, and what I have is a little thin. So after several attempts by a few different people, they whisked my blood off in one direction to be tested, me off in another for an ultrasound, and Ken off in yet another because here one must pay BEFORE the tests are performed.
The ultrasound lady checked me out thoroughly, and when she pressed that wand over the offending area, I knew it for sure. "That's it! That's what hurt!" She said it was my appendix but that it wasn't horribly inflamed, only a bit. She said I was probably in the beginning stages of appendicitis, but we'd have to wait and see what the doctor in the ER thought after the blood tests came back.
Again, the doctor came and pressed around all on my belly, and I reacted to all the appendicitis tests. He said he expected the blood work to confirm it. Still, the pain did not return. My blood work came back "innocent" and they all stood around scratching their heads.
After conferring with another surgeon and taking more blood, they decided that I was probably in the beginning stages of appendicitis and I'd be more serious within the next 24-hours. He said to expect a fever to set in, and the pain to return with nausea. He promised that when the pain came, we'd do immediate surgery to avoid a rupture and the spread of the infection. I got settled into a room upstairs and hoped that the people who said they pray for us were REALLY praying hard that day.
So we waited. Nothing happened. All evening. Nothing. All night. Peaceful sleep. The next day, they finally let me eat and I got a bit sick, but still no pain. By the afternoon, the doctor sent me home, not having a clue what had happened or why it had just suddenly gone away, but with his personal cell number. He asked us to stay close to town that next night "just in case." So we enjoyed a night with our friends, the Mortons, who had rescued the girls the night before.
I'm back home resting today. Tomorrow we'll head to the capital again to secure a few more things for our trip, and to add the girls and me to Ken's health insurance plan. Lesson learned. So for those of you who were praying with us, for us, thank you. The healing could not have come at a better time. :)