When you hear appendicitis, one usually associates sharp pain on the right side, high fever, and getting sick, but this is not always the case. As with any condition or illness, different people experience different symptoms and pain. It is important not to disregard pain you are not familiar with, because while appendicitis is quite common, it can be deadly if not treated in an appropriate time.
DON’T IGNORE ODD PAIN
When I woke up feeling bloated, with an uncomfortable ache in my abdomen, appendicitis never crossed my mind. I went about my normal routine without much alarm. I assumed something I had eaten was not digesting well.
Within a few hours, I was still experiencing the same ache, but it had gotten much worse and seemed to be moving around my abdomen with a sharper pain on my right side. My new conclusion was that I was coming down with the stomach flu. It was not until I could no longer stand up straight that I knew something was terribly wrong!
FIGHT FOR PROPER TREATMENT
As the emergency room doctor examined me, he mentioned appendicitis but quickly dismissed it when I couldn’t identify if it hurt more when he pushed in on my right side or when he released the pressure on my right side. He was under the impression I was simply constipated and recommended a laxative. I maintained that something was very wrong, and at my insistence, he ordered a CT Scan. That scan saved my life. After a quick apology, the physician ordered me prepped for an appendectomy to remove my appendix that was already leaking toxic bacteria into my body.
HEALING AND LESSONS LEARNED
I ended up spending five nights in the hospital while they monitored my high fever and an infection that had set in. For months, I was reminded of my surgery every time I participated in any activity that included using my abdominal muscles, which turned out to be quite a few, but looking at my scars reminded me that I was alive.
Looking back, I realized I should never have waited so long to seek help, especially when the pain was odd and unfamiliar. I also realized the importance of being persistent when seeking treatment. I no longer hesitate to ask for additional testing, because my life could depend on it.