On the morning of April 20, 2009, the last thing on my mind was taking a trip to the emergency room to have my appendix removed. I had only had surgery twice before, and I have always been reticent to visit any healthcare professional. However, when my boss noticed me holding my lower right abdomen, she asked me what was wrong.
I had been experiencing dull pain in this area for about a week, along with a slight fever. Her mother had been a nurse and she said these were symptoms of appendicitis. She knew the warning signs of this condition, and she ordered me to leave work and go straight to the emergency room.
After arriving at the hospital, the emergency room doctor did not believe I had appendicitis. In his opinion, I did not possess enough of the classic symptoms of appendicitis. I did not have visible abdominal swelling or constipation. However, since I was at the hospital, he decided to run me through a series of tests. When he was done, he said, “Well, I’m actually quite surprised. You do have appendicitis. In fact, it’s about to rupture. You need emergency surgery right now.”
Nine years earlier, I had had double hernia surgery and the pain I felt after surgery was very similar. My recovery time was made worse by the fact that the surgery was more difficult than anticipated. The surgeon told me my appendix had become so large and deformed that it had begun to wrap itself around nearby organs. So he was unable to perform the less invasive laparoscopic surgery.
Looking back at my case of appendicitis, I may have had another symptom that I did not associate with the disease at the time. For a long time, I would get intense abdominal pains after eating certain foods. I remember tomatoes and bell peppers were often the cause until I stopped eating them. These pains would only occur two or three times each year, but all I could do was lie down in excruciating pain for up to six hours. I never associated this condition with appendicitis because the pain was not near my appendix. However, I have never experienced this pain since I had my appendix removed.
An appendectomy is a relatively simple surgery and I felt fine a week later. If you experience these symptoms, please visit a doctor. A ruptured appendix is much more serious and not worth the risk.