As entertaining as sixth grade plant science was, I could not bring myself to pay attention. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I am a good student and I enjoyed learning, even in sixth grade. The problem with my lack of attention had nothing to do with my lack of interest, but rather a sharp pain in my right side.
Before I could realize what was happening, my face was wet. Tears were pouring down my cheeks from the excruciating pain. I distinctly remember one of my friends raising her hand to say “Mr. Righter? Abby is crying.” If I am being honest, I was totally embarrassed, but I was also thankful because I didn’t want to interrupt class any more than I already was. I was excused to call my mom, and she immediately came to pick me up. My understandably paranoid mother took me to Borgess Urgent Care.
After waiting for a solid half hour, a nurse took us to a private room where they forced juice upon me. I hate juice. Juice is disgusting. I took cranberry juice, and then they put me into a donut-shaped spaceship thing. I think it took MRI’s. I never saw the x-rays, I was too busy back in my designated room puking up the disgusting purple juice they forced down me. Later I was told that the purpose of the juice is to make things show up more clearly in the x-ray, but only for a short time because then your body naturally pukes it up. Why would you shove disgusting fruit concentrate down my esophagus, all the while knowing that it would only stay in my body for roughly forty minutes? Okay, I’m sorry that got a little graphic.
A short while later, as I sat in my drenched hospital gown, a short little doctor came into the suite and blatantly said that I needed an appendectomy. He also said, I am eleven years old mind you, that a great majority of the kids diagnosed with appendicitis typically don’t survive it. I’m sorry, but what? I give you five stars on the diagnosis and negative three stars on your delivery, sir. That was probably, no you know what it is the worst thing he could have said. This is a ROUTINE PROCEDURE, I’m not even a doctor and I knew it was not fatal. Granted, at the time, just hearing that I needed a procedure terrified me, and I cried even more than I did in Mr. Righter’s (normally) upbeat sixth grade plant science classroom.
My mom and Dad and I drove to Bronson, because Bronson knows how to talk to a patient, no I’m not still upset. We had to sit and wait in the waiting room for only about twenty minutes. My parents both seemed very calm and reassuring as I stared at the giant fish tank. There were a lot of fish in there. Do fish have appendices? They brought me into a new room at Bronson with about nine people in there. Hi, I’m the girl you will be cutting into. Each of them was either making my operating bed, putting a bracelet on my hand, or asking my parents questions. Before I could comprehend what was actually happening to me, they gave me sleeping gas and my parents were gone.
What seemed as only five minutes later, I was awake in a brand new room again, my dad holding one hand and my mom holding the other. I don’t remember much from here because I was on laughing gas of some kind. I did “flirt” with my man nurse. What can I say, I may have been under the influence, but I’m a shark. I would pay money to watch a video of eleven year old Abby flirting with handsome thirty something year old nurse. I was eating ice chips and licking a popsicle. Yes, double fisted. Some nurses took my rolling bed to the pediatric wing where I got my own room with tigers on the walls. Thinking about it now, I got a nice room. Spacious.
It took about a week to partially recover and about three weeks to recover fully. I looked like The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the first few days when I had to go to the bathroom. That is the only procedure I have ever been through, but I remember it well enough to know that I owe a thank you to all of the doctors that operated on me. While I’m at it, I want to thank all doctors that have the sole goal of helping people feel better. The experience gave me such a newfound respect for doctors. In fact, my specific surgeon was not supposed to work that day, but came in to operate on me anyways. My biggest takeaway was the reminder that there are people in the world that give up their free time and family time to help someone else’s family. It is truly a selfless profession, thank you for helping heal my body. Thank you to everyone except that one guy who said I would die.