Thursday, August 22, 2013

Admitted to the Hospital?!?

So we drove back from Colorado in one straight, 20-hour shot yesterday. I will definitely be posting more about our impromptu Colorado road trip later.

We drove back to Michigan pretty fast, mostly because I'd been having abdominal pain since Monday morning, steadily increasing all week. I thought it might be appendicitis due to the nature (rebound tenderness, positive Rovsing's sign) and location (right lower quadrant around McBurney's point, though extending a bit higher) of the pain. Before you start let me say I know. I know - a med student trying to diagnose himself. Soooo stereotypical, right? But seriously, it's kind of hard to NOT do this as you drive across half the country with not much to do other than recline your chair and palpate your abdomen... I didn't have some of the other stereotypical symptoms (fever, lack of appetite, etc.) but with a slightly elevated white blood cell count, appendicitis was still a possibility, I thought - and one with a simple solution (surgery).

So thought the nurse practitioner at the Urgent Care center I went to this morning. As did the Ultrasound Technician who was awesomely nice while at the same time one of the most sadistic people I've ever met, pushing with the probe the way she had to... She was more on the fence, but they were pretty sure overall that it was appendicitis. They were so sure, they did this to get some blood tests going:


Pretty soon afterward, this was my view on the way to the hospital:


I then drank some nasty delicious oral contrast and went in for a CT scan. Just before the scan, they also injected some IV contrast. If you've never had it, that stuff is WEIRD. The first sensation was a strong, cloying, metallic taste in the back of my throat. This was followed quickly by the simultaneous, warm sensations of wetting my pants and going diarrhea, as though they were pooling around me. Even though the tech warned me about it, I still had to touch my boxers to make sure it wasn't really happening... Apparently the sensations are caused by the warm flushing effect that the IV contrast has when it moves through your tissues. Whatever the reason, it was decidedly odd.

After the CT, the ER doc tentatively decided that it is NOT appendicitis. Apparently the appendix looks fine in the CT, but there's something wrong with my ascending colon. There's some flem-like swelling in the walls of the intestine that look like the beginning of an abscess, but they're not sure whether it's due to an infection or Crone's Disease or ulcerative colitis or possibly any number of other things. I've been admitted to the hospital for tonight at the least, hopefully to narrow things down more tomorrow.

And just now the attending came in, percussed & palpated my abdomen, and decided to call a surgical consultation because she did NOT like how it felt. Basically, she put appendicitis back on the table WITH the colon inflammation, stating that I basically have a "surgical abdomen." The surgeon came in, did the same palpation, and said he wasn't sure - that he is going to schedule another consultation with a radiologist to look at the CT scan before deciding one way or another on surgery. It's all up in the air right now.

Orientation for second year starts tomorrow morning, so THAT won't be happening... Bummer. But hey, at least my appendix didn't explode while driving through the cornfields of Nebraska, right? And hey, this way I can take some time and edit all the time lapses and sweet photos of the Colorado trip, getting it all neatly posted on here before the school year starts on Monday. Wish me luck!

4 comments:

Jamie said...

Eek! Not fun! We'll be praying for you.

Susan said...

Get better, get better, get better! Many prayers being said for you!

Joshua said...

Praying for you my friend

Jill Thomas said...

I will say a prayer that the doctors will have the right wisdom and that you will recover soon.

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