In 2009, I awoke the day after Thanksgiving to nausea and severe abdominal pain. Thinking that it was my gluttony from the previous day coming back to haunt me, I swallowed some Pepto and waited out what I believed to be a mere sour stomach. Hours later, I was in the emergency room with a fever and vomiting. The physician assured me that I only had the stomach flu and would be fine within a day or two. He was wrong. What neither of us knew at the time was that I was suffering from appendicitis.
The next day the pain had moved directly to the lower right side of my abdomen. I felt as if I was being stabbed repeatedly. Foolishly, I continued to take Pepto. This was a huge mistake, because it only helped to aggravate the situation. Later that day, I had to be taken by ambulance back to the emergency room with a fever, vomiting, and excruciating pain. I was given a CT scan where it was discovered that I had an inflamed appendix and needed surgery. The doctor was able to remove my appendix and save my life. Had I not returned to the emergency room, my appendix could have ruptured and killed me.
The problem with appendicitis is that early symptoms can easily be mistaken for a simple stomach virus or other less severe stomach ailments. “According to Emedicne Health, Early symptoms are often hard to separate from other conditions including gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the stomach and intestines). Many people admitted to the hospital for suspected appendicitis leave the hospital with a diagnosis of gastroenteritis; initially, true appendicitis is often misdiagnosed” To make matters worse, people attempt to treat the symptoms with antacids, pepcids and magnesium based medicines that could actually cause the appendix to rupture.
I was lucky, but hundreds of people die each year from appendicitis. Here are some warning signs:
- Pain in the lower right abdominal region
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Fever with one or more of the above symptoms
Seek medical assistance if you experience any of these symptoms. Surgery is the only treatment option for appendicitis. Early detection and removal of the inflamed appendix is literally a matter of life or death.