The Experience of Appendicitis

After driving down to Santa Cruz to visit my friend Rosie, I experienced three bowel movementless days, the cause of which is unknown. It could have been the change in climate, diet, or perhaps some kind of psychological signal from my environment. Strangely enough, my lack of poo-poo didn't concern me whatsoever, and I went about my days normally; flying kites, chasing butterflies in sunny fields.

The next day, however, I awoke with a tremendous pain in my abdominal region. At first I thought I had a simple case of gas, and took a delicious, cherry Gas-X. However, the pain got worse, so I ended up at my doctor's. He poked around my stomach with one cold, stubby finger, and I was reminded of an old EGA game where you had to diagnose patients and then operate on them. The most common ailment was always an appendicitis. Suddenly, the doctor told me to rush to the hospital while he called a surgeon, golf-buddy of his - I had an inflamed appendix.

With the pain in my gut worsening, I checked in at the hospital, changed into an embarrassing gown and lay on a wheeled bed. I was gased. When I came to, there was a huge bandage over my lower right-hand stomach area. Also, I was on Heavy Painkillers. All day long I recieved nervous visitors and read Cryptonomicon. At night I heard a crazy person two floors up scream for someone to kill him.

Thanks to modern medical techniques I could go home the very next day! Hooray!

Plus, I was more efficient, not having a superfluous organ in my body. All this, plus training and natural ability, have led to me winning the Olympic Gold Medal for Skiing and Shooting!

Having just stood in for an appendicectomy today, I feel I can comment on this disease.

The classical picture of appendicitis is one where a vague, colicky epigastric pain turns into a sharp pain in the right iliac fossa. The right iliac fossa pain is moderate to severe, often unremitting and is worsened by movement. Anorexia is another classical feature whilst fever may or may not be present.

If the pain has progressed to being very severe and is now located all over the abdomen, it means that the appendix has perforated and there is peritonitis in the patient's belly.

An important lesson I learnt from the surgeon whilst holding retractors for her on the operating table was that having diarrhea or blood/white cells in the urine does not exclude appendicitis. Appendicitis can sometimes cause diarrhea through irritation of the nearby ileum and similarly can cause irritation to the ureter if it passes next to the appendix (the location of the appendix is variable).

Appendicitis, a disease caused by inflammation, suppuration, and consequent gangrene in the tissue of the vermiform appendix, usually due to insufficient circulation of blood in the part itself.

Appendicitis usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 50 years. It is rare above or below those ages. It is more frequently among males than females, the exact proportion being unknown. The probable cause of this difference is of very recent discovery and is not even known generally among the medical profession. Dr. Clado, a French surgeon and investigator, sought an explanation of the comparative immunity of the female sex from the malady and discovered that the appendix in woman has an extra blood vessel (a branch of the ovarian artery) that does not exist in man. This discovery was not only a bit of new knowledge of great value, but was an additional proof of the theory that disease of the appendix is often due in part to its want of vital resistance.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Ap*pend`i*ci"tis (#), n. Med.

Inflammation of the vermiform appendix.


© Webster 1913.

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