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So at the end of the previous post, I was just going into the hospital (a teaching hospital that is) with a few mild symptoms of appendicitis. But the real reason I went into the ER was because 2 or 3 days prior I had had a dream telling me explicitly that I had appendicitis!
By the way, if you have not read the first post, I highly recommend going back and doing so! It provides a lot of context which I might not touch on here.
There I was, on the sterile white (?) linen of the Emergency Department, freezing my butt off while trying to convince an MD that I actually in fact had appendicitis. He poked and prodded my lower right quadrant for a minute or two, which was not very comfortable. But I guess when I didn’t wince or scream out, he said, “You don’t have appendicitis, if you did, and I palpated here, like this…<insert manipulations on my abdomen here> You’d be howling in pain.” Well doc, for once in your pretentious life… you are wrong.
I explained how I had ridiculously high pain tolerance (which also makes sense from my birth – which I will mention another time) and how I had had the dream, which at that time was an extremely rare occurrence. I asked, is there any other test we can do to see if in fact, I might actually have appendicitis?
“Well yes, we could draw your blood and get a CBC.” Go for it!
By that point, my mother had arrived. She checked in and kept me company. She probably knew some of the ER staff actually as she was a practicing RN at the time.
She was talking to me when two EMTs in training (?) – remember good ‘ole teaching hospital – came up to me and asked if they could draw my blood. They explained how they were training and that they needed “X” number of blood draws. So not knowing what I was agreeing to, I said “Sure.”
Again, I went back to talking with my mother and purposely looking away from my right arm where they were taking the blood sample. I can do smaller needles – like vaccination type – but the large needles of the blood drawing type make me feel faint. Not what I needed at that point!
Well, needless to say, a minute or two goes by, and I feel them fiddling with my arm the whole time. So I finally look over – like what the hell is taking you so long?
And I gasp audibly when I see the white (?) linen covered in my blood – not a lot, but they obviously messed something up in the process. Hell after my getting through half of nursing school (another story for another time or go back through my previous posts to see more on this topic), I could probably take blood better than them!
I made a little fuss so thankfully an experienced nurse came and actually got my blood drawn. Not sure what those novices were doing but count me out (my veins stick up overtly over most of my arm so they had plenty of options for easy veins but I digress). I was not feeling up to par at that point to begin with.
At this point I think the doctor had put me on a back burner of his mind. Here is this young man who claims he has appendicitis but no pain whatsoever over the appendix… actually if he had pressed too hard that may have been very serious as this next part will show…
Two hours later – the lab takes some time to count all the different types of blood cells and proteins etc – the same doctor who dismissed me so casually earlier came in. He was calm but I could tell he was a little ruffled under the collar. “We uhh… have to wheel you back to the Operating Room now..”
“What? So the CBC came back?” My mother asked.
“Yes his white blood cells are way off the charts, we’re going to remove his appendix laparoscopically.” That meant they would put more holes in me but they would be smaller holes, tiny in fact – not the big gaping scars you see on people who had this surgery 40 years ago.
They had me sign the necessary paper work and off I went. (Shows that doctor!)
All I remember over the next eight hours was one dim dream-like memory of seeing my step-father and sister through a door peering in at me. Then they moved me shortly thereafter. I woke up pleasantly enough though, on morphine.
So yeah, I was basically day dreaming about rainbows and unicorns and flying through the clouds! I’ve got to be honest, I was enjoying that. That is until a nurse came in and told me I had 10-minutes to manufacture urine and produce pee out of the usual place. She was gruff! And she threatened to put in a catheter if I didn’t pee. I didn’t quite get it at the time (morphine) but my mother told me I had better go pee in the bathroom – I definitely did not want a catheter put in! Fortunately I was able to go.
Then the surgeon came in. He ran through about 60 seconds of his usual schpeel until (and I was still feeling the morphine) he mentioned something about my having a reaction to the anesthesia and developing an arrhythmia. And then they hyper-oxygenated me and then proceeded to stop my heart for a few seconds to get it restarted on a normal rhythm…
Again, on morphine I was like, “Oh gosh, stopping my heart, well that sounds odd. But I’m dreaming of unicorns! Don’t interrupt my reverie!”
Thankfully my mother was there and concerned and a nurse, “So the appendix is way down here..<pointing to her LR quadrant> why’d you have to stop his heart again?” So she made him go through his little description again and he said that this happens in about 5% of appendix cases. He also mentioned that my appendix was 2-3 times its normal size and that it was good they got it out as it was not far from rupturing.
Scary words. So at the time, I really thought nothing of it. Turns out though, that just stopping someone’s heart for a few seconds (may have been 10 or 20?) is enough to kick a conscious out of the body and into other realms…
That particular day I did not realize that that had happened to me. It would take three years and about 7 – 8 specific operating-room-related-dreams for me to begin to realize what had transpired that night in the OR.
See my next piece on what that was!
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