Ah the appendix! Hey little buddy! You're so small and cute. I bet you're so useful to the general running and performance of the human body. What do you get up to, huh?
Oh. Okay. Well that's uh-
GOD DAMN IT.
Whether you're arguing for intelligent design or evolution, I believe that the appendix can stand as evidence for either. On one hand, what kind of intelligent being would put a useless tube inside of us that occasionally explodes? On the other hand, evolution believes that the appendix is a hold-over from when we ate grass, and when was the last time any of us did that?
|Not for weeks now|
Roughly last year my appendix decided to do an explosion, but the fine doctors at the hospital were able to slice it out while it was still in the "severely inflamed" stage - though it had decided to stage a little coup de tat by wrapping its way around my intestines.
This meant that I wasn't suffering from the classic Right Side Of The Stomach Your Appendix Is Exploding pain. No, instead I had pains on the left side of my body, and thus for most of the night was under the impression that I was undergoing a bit of extreme indigestion.
I was trying to hold it together until 8a.m. so I could wake my family at a reasonable time, but it got to the point where I was lying on a blanket beside the toilet shoving my fist into my side in because it felt like something was rupturing, dry-retching and vomiting, so you know. Screw those guys.
I'm not 100% certain why I left things go on as long as they did. Could it be because I'm Irish, and we as a nation could find ourselves in a horrific car accident leaving us as nothing but a severed bloody torso and head lying on the side of the road, and if anyone asked us how we were doing our first and immediate response would be "Erah shur, I'm grand"?
An Irish person could have a leg caught in a bear trap in the middle of a forest, their only hope of survival picking up the phone and asking for help, and all they'd have to say for themselves would be "Yerah, I'll give it another hour. I'm fine out, tis only the one leg. Shur fuck it, I don't even like this leg that much."
It's pretty much accepted that we're not good at asking for help, we're not good at talking about feelings, we're not even good at selling ourselves when the situation calls for it. Essentially we're not good at anything which can be summed up with a toss of the eyes to the heavens and the damning description of "American shite".
Aaaanyway, I was in a bed in the ER at around eight or nine in the morning and when they asked how long the pains had been going on the nurse almost brained me with a bedpan for waiting over twelve hours to come to the hospital. Some mention was made about an extremely high pain tolerance, but unfortunately I was too delirious to get someone to write that down and sign it so that I could frame it and gesture to it grandly hanging over my fireplace while sipping cognac.
Yes, I would say casually to my guests, made up of famous novelists, explorers and ambassadors. Extremely high pain tolerance, that's what they said.
Of course I care nought for such things, I would continue, straightening my velvet smoking jacket as the crowd murmured with astonishment and admiration. 'Tis nothing but a reminder of my amazing journey through my appendectomy.
You can read all about it in my 5,000 page novel, I would finish, leading the crowd past my collection of stuffed tropical birds. My Appendectomy and Me: A Journey Through Touching God.
I don't hold with eating grass you know, absolutely filthy stuff, you have to drown it in Sriracha sauce just to blot out the taste of green- Ah, here's Jeeves with the Ortolans! Open wide everyone!
High pain tolerance or no, the good folk at the hospital pumped me full of that sweet, sweet morphine - which, even though it only took the edge off the pain in question, is still a whale of a good time. I highly recommend it. Anyone who received text messages from me during my stay in hospital can confirm that the highlight of my stay was the morphine, and indeed it was more or less all they heard about.
At this point I feel that it is necessary to mention that they still didn't know what was wrong with me. The pain had traveled from my left side across my abdomen, and now my entire lower body was Not Having A Fun Time. I say this because it meant that I had to go through a whole barrage of tests, involving one that almost made me set fire everyone in the surrounding vicinity including myself.
They had done an X-ray and found nothing, so the next means of peering into my squishy bits was to be by ultrasound. I was in a lot of pain at the time, and waiting on a hard examination table for a consultant was not particularly fun. Nevertheless, I suffered through it like some sort of amazing ethereal saint-like individual.
When I say suffered, I mean suffered. I hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and while my new best bud morphine was trying its hardest, it was still only taking the edges off pain that literally had me audibly vocalising with loud groaning when I first landed in the ER - think 'lowing cow'. Ever prone to dramatics, I had done a little bit of a collapse in the waiting room and had to be carried to a bed. So you know. That's where we're at, for reference.
At some point in the long wait for the UltraSound Man (good superhero name or best superhero name?) I realised I badly needed to pee, an action which had become a three man job due to my inability to move anywhere unless hunched over and staggering along like a fortune-telling crone. The nice nurse waiting in the room with me confirmed that I could pee, and indeed helped me perform this action.
What a pity then, that when the UltraSound Man arrived he told me that in order to perform the ultrasound he needed me to have a full bladder, so I was going to have to be hooked up to a drip for another forty to fifty minutes to fill the tank again.
I almost started crying with tiredness and fury. "WHY DID YOU LET ME PEE?" I asked the nurse, the twitch in my arms the only indication that my weary body was attempting to leap from the bed and throttle her.
"I didn't know!" said the ultrasound nurse who worked in the ultrasound department who was apparently unaware of how ultrasounds work, I mean my sweet jesus christ.
Swinging in on 5pm that evening, they let me know that it wasn't a twist in the 'ol Fallopian tubes, but other than that they weren't quite sure what it was. Could be gallstones, could be the appendix, could be something else entirely. The only thing left to do was open me up and take a peer around the place.
At this point - after being kept awake by pain for what was swinging up on over 48 hours and not allowed to eat or drink anything for fear I'd be whipped into surgery at any moment - I was pretty much like "Hey. I have an idea. Maybe just shoot me in the face like a beloved childhood pet. Maybe it's time for that now. Maybe we're there."
However, my spirits lifted hugely when what looked like a little glass full of lollipops appeared at my bedside.
|oh how lovely|
|mmm delicious I bet it's refresher bar flavour|
As many of you have probably guessed, they were not lollipops. They were lies.
Spongey tasteless lies.
That's all I have to say about that misuse of my trusting nature.
In a grand finale they operated on me, which I don't recall much of, except I had to wear a stupid puffy cloth hat and maybe in a drug-addled state explained to the anesthetist that the surgeons were about to see me more naked than anyone would ever see me again. I can't remember her response but I can only imagine it was something along the lines of "You're a genius and I can't wait to read all 5,000 pages of My Appendectomy and Me: A Journey Through Touching God."
And finally, finally, in the end they discovered that the 'ol Appendix was 'severely inflamed' and had wrapped around my intestines, so they whipped out that motherfucker and then refused to give it to me in a jar to take home.
I kind of thought I'd have a bitchin' scar after it was all over but instead I have a neat little treasure map on my stomach. It has two X's and one inverted Crucifix under my bellybutton just like all good treasure maps do.