You might have noticed that this past Monday, I didn’t post a Weekly Training Recap. There’s a pretty good reason why. Last Thursday morning I ended up having an emergency appendectomy and have been on couch duty/bed rest ever since! Needless to say, I haven’t worked out or ran since my half marathon in Tucson on March 4th. I am starting to go stir crazy, but I wanted to update you all as to what happened and what my plans could be for Pittsburgh.
Last week I was in Phoenix for a work conference. On Wednesday morning I woke up and seemed okay with no issues. I headed to the airport early and got some breakfast in the Admiral’s Club Lounge. Just before leaving to board my flight, I got a little sick and had a feeling it was going to be a long flight home. As I boarded, I could tell my stomach was upset, but I thought maybe it was just something I ate and figured it would go away. Oh, how I was wrong!
The flight was better than I expected. I didn’t get sick, but as we headed back East, I did start having more stomach pain. All of my pain was just a few inches above my belly button. It was a odd placement for my stomach pain, but I didn’t think much of it. Leaving at 9:30am MST and not getting home until around 4:30 pm EST, my eating schedule was also off. I took some hearty snacks on the plane, but a real lunch was certainly out of the question. I got home that evening and was still in pain. Since I had been gone since the Friday prior, I had little to no viable food options in the apartment, so I ordered out. I figured I was just hungry and a good meal would help. Again, I was wrong.
After dinner, the pain picked up a lot. I was pretty exhausted from some later than usual nights out in Phoenix and all of the travel, so I actually headed to bed around 8pm. Grandma status. I know. Well, shortly after trying to sleep, the pain intensified. For hours, I lay in in the fetal position crying in pain. Finally around 11:30pm, I chatted with a friend to see what maybe this could be. From what I knew, since it wasn’t on my right side, my appendix was okay (laughing at myself right now) and that maybe this was just really bad gas or something else. I even called the 24 hour nurse line with the health insurance. That was a waste of my time and energy. Finally around 12:45am, I couldn’t take it anymore. I changed into some other clothes, grabbed my wallet and drove the 4 blocks to the hospital by my apartment. I almost didn’t make it. Driving there and walking into the ER was the hardest thing I’ve done lately.
No one was in the ER, so within 3-5 minutes, I was in triage getting my vitals taken. I was sent back out to the waiting room and maybe 5 minutes later, I was called back in to get an IV started. At this point I was struggling to walk and I felt that I was going to just collapse. After getting the IV, I was again sent back out to the waiting room. They told me a room was being cleaned out and it shouldn’t be long. For once, they were correct. About 10 minutes later, the same nurse called me to head back. She started walking back and had to turn around 2-3 times to make sure I was still upright and following her. Once we turned into the ER room area, I started to stumble and almost fell on a Port Authority Police Office standing outside a room. Not sure why she didn’t get a wheel chair, but that might have been the longest walk of my life. I made into the ER bed and went right back into the fetal position.
I got situated with the nurse and it was maybe about an hour later the doctor finally came back. The first one to come back was a resident. He examined me and quickly jumped to the first diagnosis of pancreatitis. This made sense based on my symptoms and pain. He ordered me some pain killers and once they were administered, I finally had a little relief and nodded off a little. At some point another doctor came in and examined me. Maybe the senior resident? Is that a step in the doctor world? Sometime in the 3am hour, the original resident came back and said they do think it’s pancreatitis, but with the amount of pain I was in and how ghostly I was looking, he wanted to push for CT Scan, but hesitated since I was a young female and he would have to get approved. I told him do whatever, I did not care. Well, he pushed hard to get it done and at 4am, I was wheeled back to for a CT Scan.
At 4:30am, 3 other doctors who I had not seen before walked into my room and said you’re coming with us because guess what – My appendix was torn! Thankfully due to the persistent resident, they were able to see that it had partially torn! Thankfully it had not ruptured yet. I can only imagine if they sent me home with the pancreatitis diagnosis what would have happened. I was dumbfounded. Literally I think my jaw dropped to the ground. As soon as the doctors introduced themselves and explained what was going to happen, things went from 0 to 60 really quickly. I was given more pain meds and antibiotics and had to change into a gown. I left on my underwear though. Totally didn’t even think about it and you’re probably asking why am I telling people this, but you’ll find out in a bit. It’s actually funny.
Within the hour, I was being wheeled from the ER to the OR. I had sent messages to my boss and a few friends to let them know what was going on. They were taking my belongings, so I did’t know when I would have access to my phone, but I needed to let a few people know what was happening. By 5:30am, I was officially being wheeled into the OR and was moved to the table. From there, I remember them extending my right arm out and then nothing until about 10am when I was starting to wake up in recovery.
Apparently I was taken back to recovery at 6:40am. The plan was for me to be there a few hours and then I would move into a bed. There was a chance I would have to stay the night, but since they only had the go in laparoscopically, those chances diminished and I just needed to be monitored. Well, this is when things got frustrating! Around 10am or so, I started coming to and being a little more alert. I was still in a lot of pain, so they pumped me with some pain meds which made me just pass out again. At one point when I was still half out of it, I looked over and saw a “biohazard” bag sitting on my table. My first thought? OMG – they gave me my appendix. Yes!! I actually thought that and got so excited to see it. Sadly, it was just my underwear. It was a dramatic let down.
At some point later, they said I had visitors and Lauren and her dad stopped in! They could only stay for 5 minutes, but it was so great to see them! They ended up waiting around all day for me and helping me get settled back into my apartment once I was released. At this point I was pretty alert. I kept asking the nurse when I would be moved to a bed and they never had an answer for me. Around 12pm, I finally got my stuff (which was an ordeal), and I was able to update everyone that I was okay. I was started to get agitated being in recovery now for almost 6 hours, so I told them to just release me to go to home. They didn’t like that, so I told them to get me a bed ASAP. We went back and forth and I finally just gave them the only option was to release me. I was pretty frustrated at this point because being an alert person in recovery is actually not very conducive to recovering. It’s stressful. At least when I was passed out, I had no idea what was happening around me.
Nearly 8 hours after I was wheeled into recovery, I finally got wheeled into recovery 2. I don’t think the nurse was too happy with me, but I wasn’t too happy with her either. They missed a few things in patient care that really upset me. Once I got there, the nurse assigned to me realized what had happened and instead of making me wait the normal time there, she quickly took a set of vitals, went over my discharge information and set me free.
So, since then, I have pretty much been in bed or on the couch. I have read two books already and ashamed to admit how much Netflix I have watched since Thursday. On the plus side, I have lost almost 10 lbs! I haven’t had much of an appetite until yesterday and even now, nothing is truly appealing. I have been working from home and honestly taking it as low key as I can. Wednesday was the first day I didn’t wake up with major pain, but unfortunately pain came on from sitting in my office chair after a bit, so back to the couch I went to work.
I am on zero activity for at least 2 weeks and lifting nothing heavier than 5-10lbs for at least 4 weeks. As someone who lives by themselves, this is a struggle! I can’t grocery shop. I can’t take out my trash. I can honestly barely take care of myself. I have asked a few friends to help me with things, but that’s hard. Like really hard for me.
So where does this leave the Pittsburgh Marathon? I am not honestly sure. I was having such an amazing training cycle, so emotionally and mentally, I’ve been crushed. I’ve talked to a few runners who went through this and they did confirm it was a good 4-6 weeks (or more) before they got back. I am less than 2 months out from Pittsburgh. Part of me says just do the marathon and it will be what it will be, but part of me says drop to the half and run with Lauren. I think I have until the end of the month to decide. Either way though, I do have my Delaware half marathon on April 15th and that is happening no matter what! I have to stay the course with these states or I’m doomed. I think by then, I should hopefully be okay to at least run/walk a decent half marathon. It won’t be a PR, but all I am looking for is a finish!
I will most likely end up dropping to the half, but I am stubborn, so who knows. I really need to see how my body bounces back. It’s already been 10 days with no workouts and I am looking at another week at least of nothing. I am certainly going to be losing a lot of endurance, but if I decide to run the Pittsburgh full, it’ll be about the fun of 26.2 miles and nothing more. Hopefully my body will let me. If you have any experience coming back from an emergency appendectomy, please let me know!