Just last weekend, I was still eating a lot and enjoying the weekends till Sunday. The fateful day.
3rd consecutive Sunday to play badminton with a group of enthusiasts. In the morning, we went to have some porridge nearby my place and little will i know, that was my last proper meal for a good 2 days.
After having that, we were on our way to the sports hall for badminton when i felt a sudden onset of tummy pain, somewhat crampy kinda pain right around the belly button area. Thinking it was probably just some ingestion, i didnt took it too seriously. Maybe i will just need the toilet and all will be fine. so that pain persisted for a while.
Following that, I still managed to play for like 2 hours of badminton despite the pain. So the pain wasnt very bad, just a dull pain. negligible pain.
after that i went home and the pain got worse and its on the right lower abdomen. and its been rather constant. i am not new to abdominal pain. gastric pains are those on the upper left of the abdomen. Sharp pain. Pain after eating cus of gastric pain will on the left side but slightly lower and sharp pain as well. then you have the too much gas in abdomen pain. relieve by going to toilet. :X then also GE pains, crampy pains right in the middle on the abdomen. But this pain, its been constant and migrated from somewhere around the belly button to the bottom right side. I couldnt stand up straight, worsens when walking and moving, relieves a lill when you curl on in bed lying down. As a surgical nurse, i am trained to recognize signs of appendicitis. Let's walk through it together.
Of course right lower side pain (McBurney's point)
I also tried the rebound tenderness on myself. meaning, pressing down at the Mcburney's point and then letting go immediately and that should give you more pain.
I listened to my bowel sounds using my sethoscope, indeed very diminished. l
But in all denial, i wanted to find a GP to verify that that wasnt appendicitis. i found a clinic after walking quite a distant ( it was a Sun ) and paid a hefty $58.80 just for the doctor to tell me well, nothing. He didnt even gave me a proper assessment. I was sitting on a chair when he tried to do some palpating. oh yea, like you can get an accurate assessment by doing that. he didnt even alcohol rub his hands. i was so angry. >:( he couldnt answer any of my questions without the word " depending". i left the clinic, refusing any of his prescribed medications.
Still in denial, i intended to go home, sleep the pain off and tomorrow will be a better day only that Alex didnt allow me to do that. Came over and forced me out of bed to SGH A&E. good thing that was done although against my wishes. i didnt want to go cus being a nurse myself i know what are the standard procedures when you present at A&E with this kinda symptoms. you get a drip, you get many scans, you get drawn tubes of bloods. and really, getting warded was the last thing on my mind MUCH LESS A SURGERY.
So at the A&E it was a start of a looooong waiting time. First was the screening station, no wait for that cus there wasnt any Q. Then to triage where we waited for about 10minutes. Then to registration where we waited for about 5minutes. Then to waiting to see the doctor. We waited for about 1hour 45mins?????? :(
then when i got to see the doctor, was examined and bloods taken, plug set. the standards. Was told to go for an abdominal xray and then to await review by a gynaecology to rule out any gynaecology problems. Standard procedure for all abdominal pain in woman. took about 15minutes to finish the xray and was again waiting at the waiting area. in about another 20mins, the nurse came to me with a pint of drip. and she was like " the doctor said you did not drink water, you have 3 pints to run" and she gave me like a shocked face.
Lesson no. 1 learnt : do not scare your patient. if i dont have prior knowledge i will think i really have some serious problems.
Then Alex had to leave for a while to get battery packs from a friend as both of our phones were running low on batt. so he went to get battery pack from a friend who stayed nearby. while i was left alone with the drip on. then after a while the same nurse came back to me and was like, "you need to be started on anitbiotics now. your total white blood cells is 20k!" and gave me another 'this is very serious' look.
lesson #2 : try not to scare your patient with your expression.
So following that, i was put on antibiotics rocephine and flagyl. and wheeled back to the doctor's room this time with another doctor there. i assumed he's the consultant? so they told me most likely it could be appendicitis but hospital protocol is must be cleared by gynae first and that the gynae doctors were in the operating theatre and not due till like another hour later maybe? i have already waited for like 2 hours plus by then. :(
Then Alex came back with his friend jie yong. He was nice enough to stay around with us to wait. and it was already pretty late. and they finally wheeled me to the gynae clinic for an ultrasound to be done. after the gynae confirmed that i was cleared, they proceed to admit me into the surgical ward and then the nightmare started. D':
so i shall skip the process of informing my family members cus its always hard to break this kinda news and im really bad at it. i left the job to poor Alex who had to inform my sister and my mother. :X
and all of them came down for my admission to the ward. haha.
it was pretty late by then. about 12am already. so after admission was done my parents, jie jie and jie fu left for home. Alex left after awhile too and i was left alone. Doctor took a while to come. ( some more waiting) and it was about 1 plus when they did. and after they confirmed it to be appendicitis, they scheduled me for the surgery the same night. boy, i was scared. :S
Called Alex immediately and had him to coordinate that with my family members again. Poor Alex again. but i was too like scared to like ease my family members of their worry. i was worried myself what.
and i waited again. As 'Emergency-op' has no timing, all i could do again was wait. then 215 am i was called to the OT. Texted Alex that i was going in to the OT and my phone will be handed over to the nurse so i could not contact them anymore. Told him not to come down as he just reached home not long ago plus i will be in the OT anyway. but he insisted.
Then again came the looong wait, i waited till about 415 before going onto the OT table. that 1 hour plus was the most agonising of the whole journey. with nothing to entertain me, my thought went mtf wild. D: i even regretted not writing a will. that Operating theatre is where i had my attachments during my student days and had witnessed quite a few surgery and have seen the horrors of it and how the surgeries were carried out. knowing this much only made me more worried. :( so all i could remember was, i was given oxygen to pre ventilate before the intubation later on. D: and they gave me the anesthetic agent through the plug and then within seconds i was knocked out.
The next thing i could remember, people were calling my name and then i felt like i was choking and something very uncomfortable in my throat as they told me they were going to remove the tube. D:
and then the next next thing i knew, i was slowly gaining consciousness and felt really restless. i felt a lot of pain every where, esp in my abdomen. there were pain in my throat as well. and then the anesthetist were telling me a lot of things i couldnt even register. she was saying i had some marks on my face caused by the taping of the tube. and then my eyes were puffy maybe due to the medication. whatever blah blah blah. i was just concern about the pain man. and relieve at the fact that i was still alive. they gave me morphine for the pain and i think i knocked out again for a while and then i was quite awake after i woke again though still sleepy.
finally after looong waiting, they sent me back to the ward. that was already about 8am! after they put me back in my bed in the ward, took my vitals and all, all i wanted was to see someone i know but......Alex wasnt in sight. :( so i called a nurse into get him here.
and he finally came! honestly at that point, i never felt that happy to see him. never felt so relieved to see him. I guess he wasnt that good with words or consoling me , (or maybe he was also scared? haha) he did not say much or do much but just there with me. and i couldnt help but cried. :'(
and then i was falling in and out of sleep. like i wanted to stay awake but i kept falling asleep and then waking up and then fallling asleep. and repeat. from then on, things became better!
After being through this, i realised there were so many many many people that cared about me. :D
Of course, Alex, my family. and many friends.
my sisters at work and colleagues in NDU came to visit me that afternoon with a fruit basket from the department. :D i felt really humbled they came. then there was SGH friends, Clara, Doris, Angie, Weiqin who came by. Then Weiling who dropped by after work. :D chatted with me and made me laugh cus its really painful to laugh with wounds on ur tummy. then my lao peng yous, Ginger, Yanling liting and agnes, bringing me cute things, there was a handmade balloon, a magazine and a cute pooh which accompanied me through the night! Hui luan who came by but couldnt come up because of the tight security. My xiaoyi and xiaoyi zhang. :D
This hospitalization has really really made me see how damn fortunate i am and appreciate my work as a nurse more.
Apart from those who came to visit me, there were many others who dropped me messages asking how am i. im really good, recovering very well with all your love. really. all your love, prayers and thoughts. i am damn lucky. :)
Day 3 of post op, im eating very well ( thought i could lose some weight but at this rate im gona put on more weight then before)
Thank god for this experience although not the best but learnt so much from it.