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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life, Plans, And Such

Yes, I've gone even longer without blogging than I did before.  Why?  Honestly, I can't say.  I keep getting ideas and emails, but haven't sat down to write in months.  I still get comments on blog posts (after 5 years of blogging, I have enough out there for people to find) and I know of at least a couple of people who want to see me keep going.  Maybe the time has come for me to move on.  I don't know and part of me hates to completely give this up.  So I'm going to give it another go.  I have several days of pretty much staying in bed, so now is the time to do it.

Why am I in bed?  Great question!  You see, I should actually be in Nashville, Tennessee right now, attending the 2014 ACVIM Forum.  This evening I should be in a hotel room after a day of absorbing information on internal medicine and nutrition for veterinarians, and looking forward to two more days of such events.  I had planned this for several months, as I normally do for continuing education.  But life had other plans for me.  That's why I'm sitting at home recovering from surgery.

Yesterday morning at about 5am I started having abdominal pains.  At first I thought it was bad gas or a gall bladder problem.  But after a few hours of it worsening I decided to have my wife take me to the local urgent care clinic.  The pain had reached a 9 out of 10 and I was starting to vomit.  The doctor thought I had gastritis, gave me injections for pain and nausea, made me drink a "GI cocktail", and let me go home.  I felt better enough to sleep for over an hour, but when I woke up I started hurting again.  The doctor suggested that if it didn't go away I should visit the ER for further diagnostics.  And that's what I did.

After some lab tests and a CT scan I was told that I had acute appendicitis.  This took my by surprise because I didn't have pain in the typical area of my abdomen and wasn't running a fever.  My case didn't fit the typical one for appendicitis.  But as a doctor myself I should have realized that not every case reads the textbook.  My particular anatomy had my appendix curving back behind the cecum, which meant that my symptoms came up as central abdominal pain rather than lower right pain.  This slightly abnormal positioning is why the true problem wasn't obvious to me or the urgent care physician, and why there was a delay in the diagnosis.  But thankfully the staff at the ER knew what to do, made the right diagnosis, and got me into surgery.

I'm currently 44 years old, and until now the biggest surgeries I have had were a tonsillectomy when I was six and having my wisdom teeth removed when I was in high school.  I've seen my wife have two children, a gall bladder removal, a bladder sling, and a hysterectomy, but I didn't expect to be under a surgeon's knife myself.   Most of the time I was sleepy from morphine and other pain medications, and I don't remember anything from being wheeled down the hall to surgery until I woke up in recovery.  The doctors and nurses did a great job and I was home by 9:30pm, just a couple of hours after surgery started.  

And that's why I'm not currently attending a veterinary conference.  Honestly, I feel blessed by this experience.  Why?  If all of this had happened 24 hours later I would have been dealing with this in a hotel room three hours away from my home.  My appendix hadn't ruptured and I had my wife to help me.  I already had arranged to have time off from work, so I'm not having to rearrange my staff, clients, or cases.  Other than missing a conference, the timing couldn't have been better.  And I'm sure that God knew that.  I don't think this was a coincidence.  

Now I have a few days to take it easy and heal, as well as look for another conference to attend later this year.  While I'm somewhat home-bound, I'm going to try and get caught up on blogging, answering questions that have been sent to me.  Rather than the typical blog-a-day I've done in the past, I'm going to post several per day as a way to get caught up.  And then let's hope that I can continue to keep it up!  After all, my life as a vet hasn't slowed down at all.