Well, my fellow port swillers, it’s been an interesting 24 hours here at Port Swiller Manor, to say the least.
Flipping through the archives, I can’t see that I posted about it at the time (because HIPAA or sumpin), but last fall teh Middle Gel lost a lot of school time due to a malaise that manifested itself in fatigue, frequent intestinal discomfort, acid reflux and general blah.
Over the course of a couple months, we made frequent trips to our local GP. Then we started seeing specialists and counselors. Finally, she had an endoscopy and a CAT scan done. Nobody could find any definitive physical cause of these symptoms.
We went through a whole punch list of theories: Maybe it was Mono. Maybe it was an ulcer. Maybe it was stress over her demanding schedule. Maybe she was just a hypochondriac and there really wasn’t really anything wrong with her. We tried all kinds of therapies and drugs, but none seemed to make much difference. Eventually, after about 8 weeks or so, the symptoms seemed to die down on their own. We finally reached the conclusion that she must have been whanged by an especially bad stomach flu, and that it simply took her a longer time than usual to get back on her feet.
I may say that I was never really satisfied with this explanation – not that I’m a doctor or that I play one on teevee – but I had to accept it because no better ones had been offered by anybody.
Fast-forward to yesterday afternoon. In the middle of working out with her teammates at school, teh Gel was suddenly stricken with pain in her lower right abdomen. The trainer took her in hand, noted that her BP was all a-hooey, and recommended that we get her to the ER, which we did.
Well, I won’t detail all the diagnostic steps taken last evening and this morning, but bottom line: Acute appendicitis.
The Doc went in and took out teh Gel’s appendix this afternoon. In doing so, he also noted that there was considerable scarring, as if the thing had enbiggened itself previously and been beaten back by teh Gel’s system.
Now Mrs. R and I had always supposed that once the appendix goes dicky, it commits itself to an automated buildup to detonation like the Genesis Device and it’s only a matter of days or maybe weeks before the thing ruptures. Not necessarily so, said the Doc this time (who seemed a heck of a lot more competent than the G/E doc we consulted last time around).¹ The body sometimes can, in fact, fight it off. At a price, of course.
Now naturally we had considered the Gel’s appendix as a possible villain last year and had sonogrammed it then, but had found nothing. Turns out that it’s a difficult organ at which to get a good dekko, and the Doc’s theory is that last year’s flare up probably was just not quite severe enough to be spotted, even if it was the culprit which spawned all the Gel’s reactions.
So there we are.
The Gel is resting at the moment, worn but in good spirits. She may come home from teh hospital this evening, but more likely tomorrow morning. Of course I’m happy that the operation was a success (which, it being routine, I didn’t seriously doubt), but I think I’m even happier that we hopefully seem to have put this whole biznay to bed once and for all.
I hate the word “closure” but, well, you know…..
So speaking of medical mysteries, did I ever tell you about my college roommate my last two years at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT? We couldn’t have been more different had the matter been designed by a committee. I was a hidebound conservative from South Texas and, by then, a varsity oarsman. He was a skinny little pot-smoking, left-wing Jewish kid from New Jersey. We disagreed with each other in almost everything. Except perhaps the most important thing: We had nearly identical senses of humor.
One of the ways in which this sense of humor manifested itself was in our practice of watching Quincy, M.E. reruns on weekday afternoons. We quickly got into the habit, when finding fault in something around the dorm room, of falling into our best Jack Klugman impersonations and yelling, “What kind of a CRUMMY doctor would let this happen??” Good times. Good times.
I mention this memory because it was just about the first thing that flashed across my mind today when considering all the song and dance we went through a year ago while failing to spot the Gel’s problem then.
¹ Now no gratuitous swipes at doctors as a class in the comments, please. The Old Gentleman was one (a pathologist) and my brother is another (an internist), so I know a goodish bit about the profession from the inside, as it were. Of course they’re not infallible, but, as in all fields, some are better than others.