There we were having the time of our lives driving along the Great Ocean Road in Australia’s south when, one night I was struck with a splitting pain in my stomach. The pain was searing and spread all the way from my stomach to below my intestines. I had no idea what it was – perhaps gas, diarrhea, a urinary infection?
A quick check of the thermometer from our first aid kit showed no sign of fever, so believing it to be nothing too serious, I went back to bed hoping to be better in the morning. Slowly but surely, the pain subsided and by morning I almost felt normal again – just a little discomfort here and there.
The following seven days were up and down – the majority of which I hardly felt much pain. I wasn’t as spritely as my normal self and sometimes I felt discomfort, but seeing as we live inside a tiny van where comfort isn’t abundant, I thought everything was more or less normal.
Eventually I started to feel super tired – so tired that I actually stopped the car while driving from Ballarat to Geelong to have a nap. Michaela noticed this was an extremely rare thing for me to do and so placed her hand on my forehead – I was burning up.
The thermometer scared us when it displayed almost 39 degrees on its LED screen – this was something serious.
We went to hospital were I was checked, sent for a C.T scan and hurriedly admitted as an emergency patient. We had no idea what was going on until a doctor finally came and explained to us that my appendix had ruptured, oozing clumps of poisonous puss into my abdomen. I needed to be operated on immediately to stop the spread of infection and remove the bits of appendix that remained.
How could this have happened? I always though that appendicitis was an excruciating pain that left its victim in obvious hell even before it ruptured!? Well, according to the doctors, once an appendix ruptures the pain and symptoms can completely disappear – not very handy for when you’re trying to decide to go to the hospital or not!
The majority of appendix operations these days are quite simple thanks to keyhole surgery. If the patient seeks medical help before the appendix ruptures doctors only need to make a small incision into the abdomen to dissect the useless appendage and remove it form the body. A 30 minute procedure with recovery time of 24 hours.
Unluckily for me, this was not the case. The normal 30 minute surgery turned into 3 and a half hours where the surgeons cut from inside my belly button to my pubic bone, pulled my intestines out, cleaned the entire cavity and removed any bits of appendix left.
Michaela was already in panic wondering what was going on. We were told later that it was the worst case of a burst appendix the surgeons had ever seen. Thankfully, they were able to work wonders and clean me up entirely. I spent the next 6 days recovering in hospital with morphine, a drip and a surgical drain that sucked out any last yucky bits from my belly into a ‘handbag’ I had to carry with me everywhere.
I think its fair to say that those 6 days battling the last bit of infection in hospital were the worst of my life.
Its been 2 weeks since I left hospital now, and although I’m far from being back to 100%, I’m feeling much better. The support, messages and prayers we received from our followers and friends was unbelievably and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the encouragement.
I wanted to share my experience with you so that if something similar ever happens to you or someone you know, you can be smarter than I was and head straight to the hospital. My delay in seeking medical help ended up turning a simple 30 minute procedure into a risky surgery that almost cost my life.
Your health and freedom to live your life are priceless – don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you. If you think something isn’t right then get it checked out!