One of my goals while here in Nepal was to witness a hands-on hospital experience. I had no idea that the experience I would witness would be my own. I will share my culturally shocking experience in a series of blog posts. But let's start with the reason why I ended up in the hospital.
What Is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is inflamed due to a blockage that causes the appendix to become infected. Your appendix can be found at the end of your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. This little guy actually has no real purpose but from experience, he can cause a lot of pain!
When the appendix is inflamed many people, including myself, feel a sudden pain in the navel area that moves to the lower abdomen region. The pain becomes more severe as time passes. For me laying down was excruciating! Sitting up with a slight lean felt better.
Anyone anywhere can experience appendicitis no matter where you are in the world, what race/ ethnicity you are or what your economic status is. Appendicitis usually occurs in people between the ages of 10-30.
Signs and Symptoms:
Sudden pain that begins around your navel and often shifts to your lower right abdomen
Pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make other jarring movements
Nausea and vomiting (blood in vomit)Loss of appetiteLow-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses
Constipation or diarrhea
Yep, I experienced all of these including barley being able to speak! Check, check, and check!
When Things Get Real- Complications
Ruptured appendix: when medical attention is not sought for the symptoms listed above, over time the appendix can rupture (peritonitis). The infection can then spread throughout the abdominal cavity. Immediate surgery is required and the abdominal cavity must be cleaned.
A pocket of pus: an infection pocket may develop. The pocket will first be drained and then the appendix will be removed. Sometimes the doctor waits until the infection is cleared or they perform both procedures immediately.
Thankfully this did not happen to me!
Physical exam: your doctor, will apply gentle pressure to your pain area. I had several doctors do this and some were NOT gentle, I’m just saying!! When the pressure is released the appendicitis pain will feel worse. I 100% confirm this message!Your doctor, or in my case doctors, will test your guarding reaction. This is when you stiffen your abdominal muscles in response to pressure over you inflamed appendix. This is not fun at all!!!!
Urine test: This is done to rule out kidney stones
Imaging tests: An X-ray, and abdominal ultrasounds or computerized tomography (CT) scan may also confirm appendicitis. This did not work for me for some reason. I was told that my tests came back negative. I got lucky someone did not just trust the tests!
For more information about treatment methods, medicines, and lifestyle practices after the hospital click here: Mayo Clinic
I will share in later blogs my personal experience. Having this happen in a different country where I do not speak the language was far from fun to be completely honest. I am so thankful to have survived this experience!
Special Thanks To
God- For seeing me through this!
My mom and dad- For responding quickly and helping me get the help I needed!
My Father- For also responding quickly and helping me get the help I needed!
My Family and Friends- For all the love and support from far away!
The Advocacy Project- For stepping in and making sure all logistics were handled!
Dr. Om and his surgery staff- For being the best part of my visit and taking the time to explain to me what was going on in English! And answering all of my questions!
Devendra Thakur- For volunteering to take care of me and serve as my translator during my time of need and becoming my Nepali brother!
Keshika Neupane and nursing staff- For taking great care of me and talking to me when I was alone!
चेतन सापकोटा- For staying in the hospital after my surgery, getting more minutes on my phone, offering to feed me, and being a nice friend!
Caroline Armstrong Hall- For getting me from the Kathmandu airport and being an awesome supportive friend!
Nity, Shruti, and family- For welcoming me back into their home, feeding me amazing meals, and taking care of me as I recover!
New York University- For checking in and confirming that all logistics were being handled.
The Nepal US Embassy- For checking in and making sure I received the care I needed.
Dr. Sunil Sharma- For making sure I got admitted and received the care that I needed.
Nobel Medical College Teaching Hospital- For providing the care that I needed!
Indira Thapa- For taking me to the best hospital in the region, letting me use her phone while mine was out of minutes, getting things I needed, and helping me fly back to Kathmandu.
Anyone else that supported me and helped me through this experience!