Well I survived my hellish vacation. When we pulled into the driveway at home yesterday afternoon I was so happy I almost cried. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. It great to spend time with my husband’s family and the beach wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be (pale skin and beach don’t mix well).
The drive halfway across the country to get there wasn’t fun since I’m still dealing with back problems but it could have been worse. The beach house we stayed in with Justin’s family was so awful it became comical after a while but it had comfortable beds so that was fine.
I had four days of hot sand, cold water and relaxation before it all went downhill. It started with a trip to the boardwalk. I had specific goals since walking for long periods of time was painful. I wanted to go to the large surf shop to buy my youngest daughter a hoodie to replace the one she got there last year (and wore every day – including in the summer), a place that has awesome caramel corn, a Christmas ornament store (always looking for dragons) and Shriver’s to get fudge and taffy. We managed to get to all the above and I found a little shop with dragon goodies. I bought a cute little box that looked like two books stacked and a dragon ripping itself out of the one on top.
A few minutes before finishing up my shopping the pain started. Every part of my abdomen and my back felt like it had been smashed together. Not something one feels everyday but I assumed it was really my back with pain radiating out because of all the walking. We parked a few blocks away and by the time I got to the car I was hurting more than I ever had and I was becoming aware that I was feeling two different kinds of pain. One was my back, which was bad, but the other felt like it was my stomach. I remember thinking maybe I had food poisoning from dinner or something. We made it home and went to bed soon after.
After sleeping for about an hour I woke up thinking I was going to be sick but I didn’t actually throw up. This started a once an hour, sometimes more, pattern for the night. I never really went back to sleep because the pain. In the morning my ‘stomach’ hurt so much I could hardly stand it but I was convinced I’d eaten something bad. I told my husband to walk down to the beach and enjoy spending time with his parents. He didn’t want to go but I finally convinced him. I figured once I actually threw up everything would be fine. HA!
I stayed in bed but couldn’t get comfortable. I was unable to play on my phone or computer. I couldn’t sleep. Hell I couldn’t even read. Finally I got nervous and went to webmd. It wasn’t helpful because my symptoms pointed to too many problems, however, after answering three questions in a row that made a red alert message telling me to go to the ER I got really scared. I called a nurseline from back home and told the woman who answered my symptoms. She asked me several questions and then in the calmest voice I’ve ever heard told me that everything she seeing on her computer is saying I should go to the hospital. She added: “You should go now.” I sent a text to my husband and started looking for clothes because I didn’t want to go in with pajamas on. When I realized how stupid it was to even think about that I noticed my husband hadn’t answered so I called him. I don’t remember what I said but I heard from my mother-in-law that Justin dropped everything and ran. He was definitely out of breath when he got to me.
We had a hard time finding a real hospital but managed to get to one within a half an hour or so. A doctor came in and poked my belly, which caused a dramatic reaction. Until that point I hadn’t considered appendix really, or at least I had refused to believe it. I had noticed that I didn’t feel any stomach pain by that point; I never really had, only rebound pain. I was in the emergency room for eight hours. They took lots of blood, gave me an IV (ouch) and did a CAT scan. A different doctor came in afterwards to tell me I had to have surgery and he was calling the surgeon immediately. Around 10:00 pm they took me into the operating room and I woke up maybe an hour later.
I only had to stay overnight. I was in a shared room, which was a totally new experience that I don’t want to repeat. After leaving the hospital we went back to the beach house for one night then drove three hours to my in-laws’ house. That part wasn’t fun but at least most of my recovery time was spent in more comfortable surroundings.
That week was awful. I was on two very strong antibiotics that made me nauseated constantly. Also Percocet made me feel horrid so I only took two half doses before stopping it entirely and relying on naproxen. Eating had the same effect so it was a vicious cycle. I barely ate at all and when I did I would spend thirty minutes trying not to get sick. I could only sit up for twenty minutes at a time and that didn’t happen often. Luckily I had to go upstairs to sleep and shower so I was forced to move around, which is good for recovery. If not for that I would have gladly spent every second on the couch.
We finally left for home on Wednesday. I was glad to spend the time with my in-laws but I was thrilled to go home. Having surgery so far from home and being forced to recover there was so hard. It doesn’t matter how much you love your family, when you’re hurt you want to be home and have your own stuff and your own bed.
The drive wasn’t too bad. I finished the antibiotics by the second day so nausea wasn’t too much of an issue. It was extremely difficult to get comfortable because I was contending with three incisions and the ever-present back pain but I was able to eat more or less normally. The first day I ate three-quarters of a six-inch sub and felt like I had won a marathon!
I slept better than I had for two weeks and I managed to keep my dogs from hurting me in their excitement to see us. The kids were happy too but they didn’t really know what to do so each one hugged me very gingerly and left me alone. We ordered pizza so we didn’t have to cook and I overdid it so I also had pizza for dinner last night (yay to no cooking).
I feel better now although I’m not completely recovered yet. I can’t press anything against my abdomen at all and have to be careful when lying down or getting up from the bed.
Hopefully I can get back to writing soon. I did have a few ideas on the way home. I got no work done during vacation so anything I write for now will be welcome. I managed to take a few photos, if they turned out decent I’ll post some soon.
Sidenote: Hearing my husband laugh out loud (which is rare) when I spotted some brown cows during the drive and yelled “HOW NOW?” was the best thing that happened on the whole trip! It’s a good thing it didn’t startle him too much. 😉