1. “Which side is the appendix on?” That’s what BigBob asked me this morning about 10:45 a.m. At the time, I was unsure but told him, “I think it’s on the right side. Why?”
2. A few minutes later, we were in the car on the way to the ER.
3. He was in excruciating pain.
4. He could not walk up the steps going into the hospital, so I called, told them I was pulling into the ambulance bay, and asked them to send someone out with a wheelchair.
5. Note to hospital administrators everywhere: Make sure that the first person family members see when they bring a loved one to your ER has a pleasant attitude, does not make faces that look like he/she just drank a bottle of vinegar when the family members do not know the answer to every ridiculous question thrown at them, and does not announce his/her displeasure with the family member when learning that the family member has his/her own insurance cards with him/her, but not the patient’s. The man was in pain and I did not stop to ask him if he had his wallet with him. He did not stop to pick it up and put it in his pocket. We didn’t care about his wallet. All the information the officious clerk needed is printed on the insurance cards I gave her, so she’s just lucky I didn’t tell her to shut the hell up. I really wanted to. Guess what? I had her job when I was in college, so I know how it is supposed to be done.
6. It is really hard to pinpoint what I love most about hospitals, but I know for a fact it isn’t the way you hurry to get your loved one there so they can receive treatment but end up waiting hours and hours and hours for them to receive it.
7. Yes, I will “pull a Shirley MacLaine”* if the pain medicine isn’t administered promptly, especially when BigBob — the guy who is never sick, has missed work only a handful of times in the 22 years we have been together, and is not a wimpy, wussy whiner — says that on a scale of 1 to 10, the pain level is 9. Note to nurses: Believe him. Get the drugs. Now. Thank you.
*If you saw “Terms of Endearment,” you get this. If not, go rent it.
8. By about 5:00 p.m. — six hours after our arrival at the hospital — when the first dose of pain medicine was wearing off (see #8 above), he had developed a fever. That really worried me. (The nurse never noticed and wouldn’t have taken his temperature had I not brought to her attention the fact that his face was flushed and he was perspiring.)
9. “He’s a tough guy,” in the words of the surgeon who couldn’t believe that BigBob just thought he had the flu for the past couple of days, but did not develop pain in his side until this morning. Not only had his appendix burst, it was gangrenous which means that this has been coming on for a few days.
10. The worst is over. The surgery went well. He will be up walking around in the morning, per the doctor’s orders. And, hopefully, home soon.
11. We are all a bit freaked, especially Matthew who has asked me at least a dozen times, “Is Dad going to be all right?” But he’s not as verklempt as Buddy, who is utterly lost and sitting here looking at me as if to say, “Well, where’s Daddy?” Buddy is BigBob’s dog. He loves all of us (especially when we have food to share), but he is really devoted to Bob.
12. Thank God BigBob told me to take him to the hospital when he did. I shudder to think what might have happened if he had delayed in an effort to tough it out. He’s in good hands and since I am exhausted, I am now going to go crash.
13. Prayers for an uncomplicated recovery will be happily accepted.