It started in the wee hours of August 29th, 12:45 am to be exact. I awoke with a startle to find him slung over my body, whispering into my face briskly, “I have to go to the emergency room. But don’t worry. You stay here. I Googled the closest ER and Wills Eye hospital is the closest.” I stopped him. “What is wrong with your eye?!” And so it began. Nothing was wrong with his eye. But he was not lucid, and was in fact suffering from acute appendicitis. I called the boys’ dad who rushed to our house immediately to watch over them while they slept and Scott and I began our journey, which started in the Pennsylvania hospital ED. I think they initially assumed it was food poisoning. I mean, in all fairness, I promptly emptied the contents of my stomach into the unsightly red biohazard bin immediately upon being lead back through triage and into the ED. Hours of fluids later, Scott was still in major pain with nothing but Toradol to soothe him as we do not take narcotics in our household. A CAT scan was ordered, seemingly to “just make sure it wasn’t his appendix.” and the bariatric contrast drink was drunk by the patient. His counts were normal, but the scan 2 hours later showed acute appendicitis. No one was more surprised than the ER attending doctor. And Scott. Poor guy kept thinking and saying that he was a wuss. Well, we would find out time and again that, in fact, he is one of the strongest men in the world. Yup. In. The. World.
(Pre and Post Op)
Scott had his appendix removed laparoscopically the following morning at about 11am. The doctor reported at the time that it had not yet perforated and was a simple straightforward removal. Scott came home that afternoon at about 4pm. He experienced no complications from the start and we were able to visit his parents in Massachusetts the following weekend.
He was sore and a bit weak but otherwise on the mend. Two weeks went by. We received no report regarding the pathology of the appendix and were told that we would receive a call if anything abnormal was revealed. We never received a call. We would later find out that his appendix was partially perforated at the time of removal.
Three weeks post-op, Scott began presenting with low-grade fevers and systemically feeling “off.” We thought it might be related to our petri dish kids; a bug he was fighting off as he was not experiencing any specific pain.
A few days later, I ran the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. My “cheer squad” was waiting, among them, my Scott.
I took one look at him and knew I needed to speak with a doctor immediately. From the finish line, I attempted to reach his surgeon. I called three times and was rerouted to the main hospital line all three times, dead-ended with no one who seemed to care, let alone help us. With no other options, I called Scott’s general practitioner who practices within Jefferson. I immediately received a call back from the physician on call who advised us not to wait in the emergency room, but rather to see Scott’s surgeon the FIRST THING Monday morning (the next day). The doctor also advised that if Scott’s fever spiked or the pain became unbearable (at this point it was just a constant annoying pain at a 3 or 4 level) then we SHOULD go to the ED. He stayed in bed for the remainder of the day. I tried the surgeon once again, only to be rerouted to the hospital’s main line once more.
After an unrestful night of sleep I called the surgeon’s office the next morning starting at 7:58 through 8:13, approximately 19 times. They were supposed to open at 8. In the meantime I called his GP an made an appointment with them for 10AM if I could not get a hold of the surgeon once again. Finally at about 8:15 I reached the receptionist and explained the situation, asking the nurse to call me urgently. I asked when she could talk to me, offered to wait on hold, was denied and told she would call me “shortly.” 15 minutes later (shortly, in my opinion) the nurse still had not called back so I called again. This time the receptionist yelled back to her in the room that I needed to talk and the nurse said that I needed to make an appointment for the following day (Tuesday) because she was “busy.” She refused to speak to me. I asked the receptionist what I should do. Should I go to urgent care? Should I show up at the surgeon’s office and demand to be seen? Should I go to the ED? She said, “Ma’am, I cannot tell you what to do.” I hung up and we headed over to Scott’s GP. I called the surgeon ONCE again and was refused care, advice or even a phone call. FYI: the nurse NEVER called me back until the surgeon TOLD her to, and as Scott was being wheeled in for emergency surgery (spoiler alert?).
We went to Scott’s GP at 10am. We saw a lovely doctor who was more than concerned. She immediately sent us over to the Jefferson ED as she is within the Jeff Health system. We arrived and waited. Of course. Scott ended up laying on the same gurney in the same ED room (thank heavens he wasn’t one of the ones in a bed in the hallway) for over 24 hours. And over the course of these hours, we spend many of them awaiting “transport,” begging doctors for consult and wondering what the hell was taking so long. The fear of an abscess bursting is fierce. Something is wrong with our system. Scott was sent to CAT Scan at about 2pm.
to be continued…