The Appendix Comes Out

Last Sunday, I woke with a gut pain that migrated right and down to where the appendix lives. Realizing this was no ordinary stomachache, I drove to the nearest ER, where I received a CAT scan that confirmed my diagnosis. I had surgery that night, and spent the next day hooked up to IVs.

This was only my second surgery, and it was by far the worst one. Back at home, I suffered horrible pain because I was given no painkillers. I was also not given post-op instructions on how to take care of myself. I had to go online to find out what to do about my incisions.

How did this happen, you ask?

My doctor wanted me to stay an additional night. I’d already been cleared by the surgeon to return home Monday afternoon, so I refused. A battle of wills ensued, and I ended up checking out against medical advice. That’s their term for it anyway. When you do that, they withhold ALL support, including drugs and instructions. In other words, “Go home and die then. You signed. We won’t be responsible.”

I was angry. The reason my doctor gave for wanting me to cough up money for another night was because he thought he saw fluid around my heart on the scan. Well, that fluid, a very thin layer already noted well over a year ago on a different scan, hasn’t bothered me and isn’t a problem, and I saw no reason to go further into debt over something he could discuss with me in his office.

A tech did an ultrasound in the hospital room before I left. I didn’t need to remain there to hear the results. So I signed myself out and went home.


I suffered, but I survived. Fuck them. The medical industry is not holding me hostage. As it is, I’m going to owe thousands and thousands of dollars, despite having Medicare. I can’t afford the additional gap insurance, so I’m responsible for 20%. That’s the same amount I would have paid under the ACA, which cost me a lot less in premiums per month.

I am not happy with the state of healthcare in this country. You shouldn’t be either. Fight for single payer! Fight for national healthcare! We deserve it. It’s a human right under the constitution: pursuit of life.

Now I’m going to lie down again. My incisions hurt.

About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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12 Responses to The Appendix Comes Out

  1. Allison says:

    I’ve said this elsewhere, but I’m glad you got it taken care of so quickly, and that you’re doing well. Take care, hon.

    • Fenraven says:

      It’s not something I want to do again–having surgery, I mean–but I’m glad it was handled quickly. Originally, they wanted to wait until the following day, see how things went. Taking a second look at the scan persuaded them waiting was inadvisable. 😉

  2. AJ Rose says:

    I didn’t realize they withheld pain meds because you left AMA. What fuckers!

    • Fenraven says:

      Yeah, they’re really assholes about it. Turns out my doctor did send the discharge… an hour after I fucking left! Well, too late then, as I was already gone. I’m still pissed about it.

  3. Janet Ellinger says:

    You’re better off at home than in the hospital during peak flu season anyway. Plus you rest better. Pain sucks but I know you can power thru it. I hate the way they drag out the whole release process. They say you can go home then you wait for hours and hours. Then other people who NEED to stay, they kick out in 24 hrs.

    • Fenraven says:

      Yup, I’ve noticed that too. It’s been long enough, I’m pretty sure I avoided the flu, but I took steps to make sure of that by wearing a mask when out of the room. I washed my hands a lot. I was only there one day, which helped. When I went to the doc’s office Thursday afternoon, I wore a mask in his waiting room and office. I feel crappy enough without screwing up my lungs on top of it!

  4. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    I hope you feel better soon not given you pain meds is so wrong.

  5. Helena Stone says:

    I’m just glad that this is a ‘all’s well that ends well’ sorta story. Still, it sucks that you have to fight your doctors AND spend a small fortune. I’m convinced that medical staff (sometimes) take advantage of the fact that people in hospital are usually in no position to think clearly enough to defend themselves against ‘medicaleeze’ (yes I made that up). Personally I hate proper pain meds and have always insisted on taking paracetamol rather than anything else as soon as possible after any operation, but that’s just me. Either way, we shouldn’t have to fight for what we need, never mind do without. Just continue to take it easy. The dangerous time starts when you are feeling so much better that you forget you’re not quite there yet. Trust me, talking from experience 🙂 ❤

    • Fenraven says:

      Every patient needs an advocate, and I acted as my own. Fortunately, I wasn’t incapacitated by my illness. When the nurse came in with a filled needle in the middle of the night, I asked her what it was. “Heparin, a blood thinner.” “Why do I need that?” “So you don’t get a clot.” Well, I was up every couple hours, going to the bathroom, thanks to their IV drip, so I wasn’t worried about getting a clot. I promised to walk around frequently, and she took her needle away. I turned down several things they offered by rote, and here I am, still alive and healthy. When the bill comes, you can be sure I’ll be going over every line item, to make sure I’m not being charged for shit I said no to.

  6. Aniko says:

    I’m glad you’re okay. It’s insane that you’ve ended up in debt, especially for what is an emergency medical surgery. My mother had her appendix out last year and was in hospital for a week due to the appendix bursting as she was being taken into surgery. It didn’t cost her a cent and it was completely through the public health system, no private health insurance. I just can’t wrap my head around the American-style health system.

    • Fenraven says:

      I am seriously jealous of your logical, caring system. I haven’t been in debt for years, but now I will be until I die, and all because a tiny useless organ in my body decided to get infected. 😦 In America, it’s assumed to be MY FAULT. I must have done something horrible for this to happen, and I must pay. And pay and pay and pay.

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