An Unexpected Turn of Events

Hey all - it's me, Ryan! Figured I'd try to write an update for a change and give Anna a break. :)

So yeah, after that last 12-day hospital stay, I finally made it back home last Wednesday afternoon. I came home, took a long nap, and then Anna and I watched some Modern Family in our quest to re-watch all 11 seasons.

On Thursday, I was hoping I'd be feeling a little bit better, but instead I was quite drowsy. Around 5pm, after sleeping about the entire day until then, I figured I should probably call the nurse coordinator at Riley and see what could be causing my drowsiness.  She quickly called back and asked if I could come over to Riley to have my blood counts checked. Ugh! I was barely home for 24 hours and now it's back to the hospital. (Big shout out to my friend Lucas Morgan for driving me to Riley and giving Anna a break.) Thankfully, my counts were fine and they attributed my drowiness to a new appetite stimulant. Since it's a little hard to eat when you're sleeping, they told me to quit taking it and hopefully I'd be less drowsy tomorrow morning.

Also, while I was there and they were running the labs on my blood, I conveniently was able to get an X-ray of my foot to check for fractures. I have this new issue where when I stand in the same place for more than a few seconds, my foot starts to hurt with some pretty severe pain. (As if I don't already have enough issues!) The X-ray was negative for fractures and this pain continues to mystify my team. Thankfully, though, I'm able to resolve the pain by walking in circles or sitting down and it doesn't require any pain medication.

On Friday morning, I did seem a little less drowsy, but my stomach was hurting really badly. During the night, I woke up due to the pain, but really didn't think much of it since I have been struggling with stomach pain on and off since the start of treatment. However, when Anna went to hug me in the morning, I screamed out in pain since my stomach was so sensitive. Later, I also started getting these shooting pains, so I figured it was time to call the nurse coordinators at Riley and see if they could help me navigate what to do. I left a message and a few minutes later the nurse told me I needed to come in to the ER as soon as possible. They were afraid it was appendicitis. "You're joking," I said to the nurse. I couldn't believe my luck was that bad, but she assured me that my symptoms matched and they needed to at least rule it out. So, Anna cut her meeting short and drove me to the Riley ER.

Once checked in at the Riley ER, my pain started to get much worse. One of the doctors pressed on my lower right abdomen and I yelled out in extreme pain. "Well, that's enough for me, but we'll get you to ultrasound soon," she said. So much for a couple of restful days at home.

After the ultrasound, one of the doctors from surgery came to see me and told me it was indeed appendicitis and I'd need to have surgery later that day most likely. Then, all of a sudden, hospital time went from moving normally to moving about the fastest I've ever seen it.

A short while later, I met the surgeon that would be performing my appendectomy. He mentioned that while a typical appendix is 7mm and the ones that he typically removes range from 9mm to 14mm, mine was swollen to a whopping 17mm. Needless to say, they were prepping an OR for me and I was going to go into surgery within the next hour. They started giving me platelets, since my counts were low still, and quickly whisked me away to the pre-op area. Surgery is risky enough, but surgery on someone with low platelets and who's immunocompromised is much riskier. But unfortunately, my appendix wasn't waiting around for my counts to go up, like we were only a few days ago. Anna was a champ though through all of this craziness and between her and the pain meds, I was mentally prepared to get this appendix out of me.

. . .

Thankfully, the surgery went well and I woke up from the anesthesia a couple hours later! Unfortunately, my appendix had burst, but the surgeon was able to keep it fairly contained. I was moved upstairs to my 2nd home and saw some friendly, yet all too familiar faces.

So after another weekend at Riley, and yet another week of my treatment being delayed, Anna and I lay here watching some more Modern Family - not at our home of choosing, but at Riley. We'll find out how long we'll have to be here this time tomorrow, after they do another ultrasound to see how long I need to be on antibiotics due to the ruptured appendix. On the bright side though, we have the big room this time; I made the mistake of asking how one gets it the last time I was here. Be careful what you wish for I guess. :)

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