Thursday, June 06, 2013

My experience with Appendicitis (and surgery)

What is Appendicitis?

Main symptom includes a pain near your navel
Appendictis is an inflamation of the appendix. It's located in the lower right-hand side of your stomach, and doesn't hold an important role so is not dangerous to remove. Most people who get appendicitis are between 15-30 years old, and will require surgery to remove the appendix before it ruptures. Nobody is sure what causes appendicitis, but it is usually a small piece of faeces which is blocking the entrance of the appendix, causing it to swell.

How do I know whether I have Appendicitis?

According to, appendicitis typically starts with a pain in the middle of your abdomen (tummy) that may come and go. Within hours the pain travels to the lower right-hand side, where the appendix is located, and becomes constant and severe.
Pressing on the appendix area, coughing or walking, may all make the pain worse.
If you have appendicitis, you may also have other symptoms, including:
  • feeling sick
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • a fever of 38ÂșC or higher
  • diarrhoea


 What should I do if I think I have Appendicitis?

If you're experiencing abdominal pain that's gradually getting worse, contact your GP or local out-of-hours service immediately. If these options aren't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. If the pain is bareable, try to see your doctor or go to a walk in clinic so you don't have to wait hours at A&E to be told it's constipation or something which doesn't require emergency care. If they suspect you may have appendicitis, they will recommend you to the hospital and ring up for you so you don't have to wait hours. You should call 999 for an ambulance if you get a pain that suddenly becomes worse and spreads across your abdomen. These are signs that your appendix may have burst. If the appendix bursts, it will release bacteria, which can cause serious infections, such as swelling of the inner lining of the abdomen and blood poisoning. Leaving appendicitis can lead to the appendix rupturing, which can cause an infection and ultimately death.

My experience with Appendicitis

On Saturday May 25th 2013, I started to experience abdominal pains near my belly button in the morning. I assumed it was just general pains from gas or indigestion, which will pass. It did go so I thought nothing of it, until it returned a few hours later with even more pain. I wasn't sure what it was, my boyfriend suspected it could be appendicitis from where the pain was located, but I wasn't too sure. Throughout the day, the big pain would come and go around my belly button, but the dull ache was constantly there. I felt sick and uncomfortable, I didn't eat much and just wanted to curl up and sleep.

The Saturday night the pain got really bad, I agreed to go to the walk-in GP clinic near to my house on the Sunday morning to see what it was and maybe get some pain relief. I filled in the form and waited for roughly 60-80 minutes before being seen. I went in and explained my symptoms, the lady assessed me and suspected appendicitis. I was sore and swollen with a high temperature. She rang up the hospital and said that I needed to be seen straight away. I was given a letter and sent to A&E where I waited for another hour before being seen by a triage nurse. She also suspected appendicitis from my symptoms and said her son had his appendix removed and was playing football 5 days afterwards.
About 2 hours since I came into A&E, they put me into a cubicle, two doctors individually assessed me, blood was taken and I was given pain relief. About another hour I was moved into a females ward with the majority being elderly ladies. I felt slightly better knowing it most likely was appendicitis and they could do something about it to stop the pain. I was told not to eat or drink anything until the morning when I would have the surgery, so I went 24 hours without food or drink and was so thirsty! They also put me on 2-3 drips to keep me hydrated and get me regular pain relief. By 11am I was going into surgery, I was slightly nervous but before I knew it I was back in the ward. I had the laparoscopic surgery procedure where they make three incisions and insert a camera, they then fill your stomach with gas so they can see what they're doing, move some of your intestines around to find the appendix and then remove it if it's infected or inflamed. I was told mine was inflamed and was going to rupture, but I didn't have much of an infection so didn't need antibiotics.

This was one of my incisions which is super bruised and painful!
After the surgery in the recovery room, I apparently had an asthma attack. I say apparently because I cannot remember what happened. I slightly remember not being able to breathe and not being able to open my eyes and coughing a lot, but then I remember waking up in the ward with an oxygen mask on my face. My oxygen levels were low so I had to have oxygen for the next 12 hours or so until they rose to a reasonable level. It was so uncomfortable to sleep with! My mother came and saw me a few hours after the surgery. It took roughly 4 hours for the surgery and the little incident in the recovery room, longer than I expected. I was very tired and swollen. I was then allowed to eat and drink, although I wasn't in the mood to do so, I knew I had too and I'd feel better for doing it. I had to buy 24 hours of TV in order to watch something and keep myself occupied. It was hard sleeping at night in a ward full of people coughing, walking around, talking, throwing up etc. They were all lovely, but all very unwell.
I was in hospital for a few days recovering. I had a fever most of the time and was sweating night and day. I started to recover well and my cough was getting better, so I started asking to go home as soon as possible. They changed my dressings, gave me prescribed medication to go home with, and my mom came and picked me up. I was told to keep the wound clean, be on bed rest for at least 4 weeks (this didn't happen. It happened a week ago and I'm at college right now!). I am going on holiday next week so will have to take it easy. I am in a lot of pain. It took me roughly 3-4 days after the surgery to have a bowel movement. Going to the toilet even for a simple pee hurt, because I couldn't push down on my stomach muscles in order to help the pee come out. At times I had to just sit there and wait for it to come out itself. I ended up waiting until I was about to burst then I'd go. I was meant to stay in bed, but I ended up doing house work and gardening to keep busy. I stayed in my pajamas all day for over a week and was dying to get outside and enjoy the nice weather whilst it was here. I walked home from college yesterday, a 30 minute walk, and by god it felt like dealth. I was in so much pain with every step, my stomach is so sore and bruised, that made it even worse. Last night I was up feeling ill and couldn't sleep. I've been told this pain can last up to 6 months. I can definitely feel myself getting better everyday, but it will take time to fully recover. This morning I was speaking to a woman whilst waiting for the bus and she was so surprised I was walking around so quickly, but in all honesty I have no choice but to do so.

If you've had appendicitis or an appendectomy, I hope you're recovering well!

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