Appendicitis in the age of COVID-19

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

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?”

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚


Are you indulging in premeditated stress?

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

You’re driving. A car on the right looks like it’s about to cut you off. . . .

You’re in line at an amusement park. A woman and her child look like they’re about to jump the line to join the rest of their family. . . .

You heard your friend say something rude about you. . . .

I’ll bet you started thinking about what you’d say or do in each of these situations didn’t you?

If you were wondering what “premeditated stress” is, that’s it. Anticipating a situation and deciding in your mind how and why you’ll respond in a certain way. Most of the time, it’s a negative response that creates stress in your body without the actual event happening.

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If you’re honest with yourself and us, you’ll say yes, you’ve indulged in premeditated stress. We all have because it’s a way of protecting ourselves from being taken advantage of, being hurt, abused, or manipulated.

Stress is a killer

But why create unnecessary stress? Stress is worst for your body than eating badly. Why? Because the hormone, Cortisol, it creates in your body was only meant to be in response to “fight or flight”. Once a threat was over, the levels would go back to a normal low ‘healthy’ level.

Stress is like being in a sustained ‘fight or flight’ situation that keeps the cortisol levels high. High cortisol levels are associated with lower immune function and bone density, increased weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, depression and lower life expectancy.

That means, the conversation you have in your mind about being cut off is actually killing you slowly. Because every time you indulge in that premeditated stress conversation, you’re elevating your cortisol level and keeping your body in a state of readiness to ‘fight or flight’.

Premeditated Stress relief

There are hundreds of reasons to be and stay stressed in our society today. Between family, work, bills, aging, world events, and so much more, it’s no wonder there are increasing cases of mental illness, cancer, depression, heart disease and so on.

So, in an effort to help relieve some of the stress, here are a few ideas to help curb premeditated stress syndrome so we can let go and start enjoying our days more.

Breathe deeply – Whenever you feel something begin to creep up on you and take your joy. Stop, breathe ten deep breaths then move on. I know it sounds ancient, but it really does work to just breathe deeply. It allows your body to know that you’re not in a state of stress and relax. Helping you think clearer.

Exercise – Yeah, I’m like you, this is not my favorite thing either. But, moving your body helps you expend the energy needed to relieve stress. Don’t think of it as trying to lose weight or as a mandatory thing. Think of it as a release from the stress of life. Exercise as often as you need without regard for the benefits beyond just relieving stress. You may find you like it. . .

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Change perspective – When you’re looking at a situation, instead of only seeing your perspective, try to see things from the other side. Doing that will slow down your reaction, help you think of other possibilities for a given situation and calm your stress. This isn’t going to work for every situation (if not try the first to suggestions) but, you’d be surprised how quickly you can calm yourself if you shift your perspective.

Conclusion

Those are suggestions to help you in the immediate, but there are a ton of other things you can do to prevent premeditated stress getting the best of you.

You may be the best at your diet and exercise routine, but if you’re always in a state of stress, you’re doing more damage to your whole system than you realize. So, don’t indulge, release. Your body will thank you.


Uplift Your Body and Mind Invest in Health

Sedruola Maruska | Leisure Life Coach

Focusing on wellness doesn’t mean cutting out huge swaths of free time to care for ourselves. There are ways to focus on your health without sacrificing downtime. Let’s chat about a few.

Play a Sport

Getting a hearty dose of exercise doesn’t mean going to the gym every day. Instead pick up a sport either alone or with a group, swimming, field hockey or baseball are a few great options. The benefits of a sport extend to your emotional health, too. Not only can they be a way to socialize and develop new relationships, but playing a sport can boost confidence and relieve stress, even if it’s by yourself or with family.

Your copy of โ€œSleep: The Secret to Increased Productivityโ€ is waiting for you

Check Your Dental Health

Our mouth health affects nearly every other area of our wellness. It can fuel depression, lead to illness, and even cause heart complications later in life. With so much riding on your teeth, regular dentist visits are highly recommended. It’s important to look for a practitioner who’ll do in-depth work. So, check reviews online and call to ask about the dentist’s philosophy when it comes to treating whole-body wellness.

Meditate Every Day

An excellent way to lower stress levels is to meditate. Meditation, which comes in many forms, can nurture positivity, focus, and compassion. There are different ways to develop a practice, including yoga as a physical, more hands-on discipline for those who have a hard time sitting still. No matter what you think of meditation, there are amazing benefits that make experimentation worthwhile. Not every form will work for you, and that’s okay, find one that works for your lifestyle.

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Sedruola Maruska | Leisure Life Coach

Eat Better

Eating healthy can seem hard when we work long days, but it’s not impossible. By adding a few helpful gadgets to your kitchen you can put together healthy dinners quickly and easily. For example, salad choppers make eating raw vegetables more fun, a steamer can cook your food with no added fats and only a few dishes to wash. Prepping ahead on weekends means you can have food ready to cook on weeknights, with only the small job of throwing in a few ingredients for dinner.

Socialize More

Humans are social animals and require contact with those we love to maintain good health. It doesn’t matter who we are or how much we value our alone time. It isn’t something you need to do every day, and you should never lose sleep for other activities, but finding space in our schedules to see loved ones is important for wellness. After all, socializing de-stresses us, brings us joy, and reminds us of the power of laughter. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee or running errands together, find a way to be with your loved ones each week.

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We all need to focus on our well-being. While a healthy body looks different on everyone, each of us knows how we feel when we invest in caring for ourselves. There’s no reason not to look after yourself and focus on your health first.


“Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library (http://publichealthlibrary.org/) to write about health and wellness topics. She wants her writing to help make the world a better, healthier place by making it easier for people to find high quality health information on the web. “