Thursday, March 12, 2009

Appendicitis surgery

It was early February a couple years ago and I had just finished
eating dinner with my host family in Kobe. I went to bed with a bit
of a stomachache, but nothing too serious. I woke up a few hours
later with severe stomach pains and, well, I spent a fair amount of
time that night hovering over the toilet bowl. I finally got to bed a
couple hours later and woke up feeling much better. Just a case of
food poisoning I thought.

I had a glass of water and in an instant, as if it was the catalyst
for a complete bodily meltdown, I was back repeating the same scenario
during the night before but feeling even worse. My Japanese host
mother drove me to the hospital down the street. When we arrived, the
nurses helped me on to a stretcher and I waited about twenty minutes
or so before they started taking my MRI and a few tests, I don't
remember too well. I remember there was a massive machine that
injected a giant syringe of warm fluid into my blood stream so they
could take pictures of my abdomen. A little bit after, the doctor
looked at the results and decided I had appendicitis.

Unfortunately, they couldn't do surgery on me because they were
already busy through to the next day. "So this is how it all ends" I
remember thinking for a few moments.

But the doctor came back to me a few minutes later and told me an
ambulance was waiting outside to take me to a nearby hospital that
could do the surgery right away. I arrived at the hospital, the
nurses brought me in, the anesthesiologist anesthetized me, and I woke
up in a bewildered state sometime later. The doctor came into my room
and said that it had burst so he had to disinfect the entire stomach.

Thus, instead of the normal quick twenty minute or so surgery that it
normally takes for an appendectomy, mine lasted about two hours. "It
was a little difficult," the doctor told me that night.

In Japan it seems they like to keep you around in the hospital for a
bit longer than the states, so I was kept for ten days, just to make
sure I was all well and ready to enter back into society. It wasn't a
wonderful experience, but the nurses were nice, and the doctor came in
to give me exceptional explanations of the procedure, with plastic
models of the body and everything. I ended up paying about $1,900


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