Appendicitis in the age of COVID-19

My friend David* is deathly afraid of spiders. It doesn’t matter how small they are, he’ll run to the ends of the earth to avoid them.

One day while driving, he noticed a spider in his car. I’m not sure where in the car the spider was, but it was in his line of sight, and that was enough. With panic on the brain, and I’m sure a prayer in his heart he managed to pull his car over and jump out. Being alone, he had to manage on his own. Which he did by destroying the menacing creature and apprehensively getting back in the car to get home.

When he told me this story we laughed so hard we could barely speak for minutes. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

It feels a little like we’re all hiding from a spider in the age of COVID-19. The difference being, our spider is deadly to our most vulnerable and we’re not yet sure how to destroy the menace.

Social Distancing

On March 12, 2020 our school district asked that the kids not return to school the following day, Friday, March 13. Then on Friday we learned that school would be closed for two weeks for “social distancing” due to the COVID-19 virus spreading across the globe. My daughter is home-schooled so no big change there. But having my son home all day. . . I love my kids.

“Mommy, can I change my color?”

Social distancing is testing us in ways we’ve never been tested before. We’re pushed to spend time with ourselves, our kids and our stuff in a way we’ve never experienced or imagined. In our case, knowing it would only be two weeks gave a light at the end of the tunnel. Then the Governor pushed it to May 6. . . I love my kids.

Calling The Doctor

Two weeks in, on Sunday, March 29, my daughter comes into our room in the morning with a bellyache. Kids get bellyaches especially when diets are on hiatus and schedules are non-existent.

So we send her to use the bathroom, have some tea and take it easy. By the afternoon there’s no change so we give her some children’s Tylenol, and cross our fingers. No one wants to go to a hospital right now, let alone an emergency room. So we decide to call her doctor in the morning to go to their office instead, if the pain persists.

In the morning, I call the doctor’s office. They ask me a list of questions then the nurse says “I think you need to go to the emergency room because it sounds like appendicitis. Don’t worry, they have separate entrances for COVID-19 patients and regular patients.”

She read my mind.

The Hospital

I throw on some clothes, get my daughter in the car and drive to the hospital. When we get to the hospital, the scenario is eerie. There’s almost no activity, a huge sign out front flashes “NO VISITORS”, the drive in front of the emergency room is blocked off, and there’s no one in sight. I hang out for a moment and a valet happens to walk by so I ask if I can park in front of the emergency room so he clears a space for me. He’s wearing a mask.

We go through the emergency room doors and we’re instantly greeted by a nurse in full protective gear. “Hello, how may we help you?”

“Our doctor told us to come because my daughter is having abdominal pain and believes it may be appendicitis.”

“What’s your daughter’s name?”

Reinventing Yourself – Self Directed Coaching

I tell her and she sees it in the computer so she promptly hands us masks and guides us through. Everyone in the hospital is wearing a mask from the valet to the barista at the internal Starbucks. No one is walking around without a mask.

We get to a room and I notice that no one is shaking hands. I didn’t reach out, nor did they. They’re only touching my daughter as needed to get her IV in and examine her belly. Later, when I need to make a phone call I step out of the room and am quickly directed back into the room, no one can walk the halls, everyone must stay put. Okay, no problem.

Appendicitis in the age of COVID-19

Appendicitis

As we’re waiting the doctor comes in and informs us that they’re going to need to do an ultrasound to see what’s really going on. They give my daughter Tylenol, Motrin and Morphine so in a short time she’s feeling “happy.”

After the ultrasound confirms our suspicions of appendicitis an appendectomy surgery plan is rolled out.

Now, in my day, developing appendicitis and having an appendectomy was something that would put you down for a few days.

The doctor begins to explain to me how they’re going to go through my daughter’s belly button with an instrument that has a camera on the end. They’ll find the appendix and pull it out to examine it, tie and snip it off. Basically, a laparoscopic procedure that comes with very low risk.

We got to the hospital at 10:15 am and we were home by 6:30 pm post op.

Gratitude

Life doesn’t always cooperate with our plans. What’s that quote “Man makes plans and God laughs.” There are things we just can’t anticipate because they’re not how we think things need to go. But flowing with life feels a lot better than pushing against it.

I got nothing I “planned” to do on that Monday done. What was most important was I get my daughter taken care of. The timing of this emergency may not have been ideal but I’m so grateful for:

  • Health insurance so we didn’t have to worry about how to pay
  • Health professionals who are working everyday despite the threat to their health
  • Modern medicine and it’s efficiency in our case
  • Being able to take my daughter to the hospital in the morning and she being relieved of her pain by the evening
  • Hospital protocol to keep everyone safe
  • The timing could have come during the anticipated ‘surge’ of COVID-19, it didn’t

Life also, keeps moving. As our health professionals continue to fight the good fight, it’s up to us to follow the protocols in place to help keep them safe. They’re not only dealing with COVID-19 patients, they’re also dealing with regular cases, like my daughter’s appendicitis, that won’t stop because of this pandemic.

I wish you health and peace as we stay home and do our part against this deadly spider.


*Names changed to protect the innocent šŸ™‚


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