D's tummyache=appendicitis

<p>Wanted to share this experience and what I learned...</p>

<p>My college freshman D is home for a couple of days recovering from an emergency appendectomy Friday morning. She had called home 2:00 am last Thursday, saying she had a pain "under her belly button" that didn't go away. After some cajoling she agreed to go to the health center later that day; they told her she had elevated white blood counts and to come back the next day for other test results. But around midnight she called and said she had looked up her symptoms and thought she had appendicitis.</p>

<p>Now, we live about 2.5 hours N of the college, but happened to be at a convention 1 hr S, so we drove up and got her to the emergency room in the wee hours. By 5:30 a CAT scan had confirmed the diagnosis and she had emergency laproscopic surgery to remove her appendix.</p>

<p>We are so lucky that we were close and insisted that she let us come pick her up (she wanted to tough it out and go back to the health center in the morning.) Also that she identified the possibility of appendicitis, based on advice from an online friend. It hadn't occurred to me that it might be appendicitis since the pain was in the middle of her abdomen and she didn't have a fever; have since learned that it often starts in the middle and moves to the right or both sides, and often doesn't present with fever. Also--this is a prime age for appendicitis, especially for girls. </p>

<p>Who knows what would have happened if she/we had waited? She also has ulcerative colitis, so infection can hit her especially hard.</p>

<p>D will be juggling/negotiation deadlines for mucho work for a while.</p>

<p>Good of your D to be so proactive! I am very glad that things went well with the surgery.<br>
She or you should contact the freshman dean right away to notify him/her and ask that the dean discuss with the profs how to proceed re assignments, deadlines, etc... Your D should also notify each prof separately, but be sure to enlist the assistance of the freshman dean.</p>

<p>Best wishes for a speedy recovery.</p>

<p>Glad they got it in time!!!! My daughter's hs nurse diagnosed her appendicitis; she had a fever the day before but none that day and she only had stomach pain. There's a test where the patient is told to stand on one leg and describe the pain. Let the health center know they failed to catch it; I'm not a doctor but I think the stomach pain combined with the white blood should have led to more immediate testing.</p>

<p>Good for her for realising it may be appendicitis and for you for driving there and insisting on taking her to the hospital. My sister-in-law nearly died last year from a burst appendix even though she had been suffering the pain for several days and had already gone to the hospital long before it burst. Her symptoms also were not the classic pain in the right side we always think of when we here appendicitis.</p>

<p>Thanks also for the info that this is a prime age for it or girls. I have an 18 year old so it is good to be aware of it.</p>

<p>Hope she is feeling better soon and is able to get her work and deadlines sorted out.</p>

<p>I'm glad you were able to get to your D and then to ER</p>

<p>News of health centers sending kids home is frightening. My S would never share with me a stomach ache or symptoms that could be mono, etc. I don't comprehend who staffs these clinics and why they are not more proactive.</p>

<p>Absolutely they shouldn't have sent her home. That's scary.</p>

<p>At my d's college, kids can call security to get a ride to the ER. Many kids don't realize this and may end up suffering needlessly. (Of course, the ER is only about 1/4 mile away at her school, but it may be worth checking out at other schools to see if this is an option.)</p>

<p>I've always worried that if one of my kids gets appendicitis I won't recognize it. We're of the wait and see school for nearly all illnesses. When my Dad had appendicitis they thought he had malaria. His fever was so high he didn't even realize his stomach hurt.</p>

<p>My mother tells the story of the best instructor she had in medical school, who gave an amazing lecture on appendicitis that her whole class remembers 40 years later. He covered the blackboard with a long list of appendicitis symptoms written in big capital letters, and then spent the hour decribing atypical case studies; a patient with no fever, a patient with no nausea, a patient with a soft belly, etc. After he described each case, he'd erase that patient's missing symptom from the board. At the end of the class and all the cases, the board just had one word on it: PAIN.</p>

<p>I went through this a few years ago. No sharp pain at all but just felt sicker and sicker. Ended up with typical emergency surgery and partially ruptured appendix. Post-op infection made me feel worse than the appendix did. Ended up back in the hospital for another three days. Sucked.</p>

<p>My husband had appendicitis while he was on chemo... so the doctor thought his nausea and pain were a reaction to the chemo and the tumors (which were in his abdomen). They did get it before it ruptured.</p>

<p>When I had appendicitis, I had been drinking too much (big 'ship party' at work) and thought I was throwing up because of that. After I'd been throwing up for 24 hours... I went to the ER. They thought I had gastroenteritis (from drinking too much) and kept me for observation. They did get it before it ruptured. But barely.</p>

<p>If you have a parent who had appendicitis, some sources estimate your chances of getting appendicitis at 7x that of someone whose parents didn't have it. Ditto for siblings. A simple case can cost $15 to $25 THOUSAND dollars. It's why I pay for my kids' health insurance now that they're out of school.</p>

<p>I never even saw a bill stating what insurance paid on my behalf. I guess it was around $25K with two stays, etc. I even called the hospital to see if there was a mistake or something with my address. All I had to pay was a copay on the emergency room treatment.</p>

<p>My son's appendicitis was misdiagnosed as stomach flu for two days. Finally a nurse suggested a simple test--jump up and down. It hurt so much they finally rushed him to the doctor and got it out just before it ruptured.</p>

<p>For mine at age 50, I was so sick in the morning I had to crawl because I couldn't stand up. By the time I got to the hospital, I felt a lot better. The pain can go away for awhile and there might still be a problem.</p>

<p>I had appendicitis at 17 many years ago. Also had no symptoms except for pain so intense I couldn't stand upright. No fever, no nausea. The ER doctors thought I had a tubal pregnancy. The doctor finally decided to operate based on it hurt more when he let up off of my abdomen than when he pushed down. I've been told since that this is also a way to differentiate appendix pain from other abdominal pain.</p>

<p>I am glad your D is recovering well. You were fortunate that it was caught & that you were able to be with her.</p>

<p>Just a quick appendectomy story to share. My sister-in-law is quite a piece of work. She is a huge hypochondriac! My brother doesn't pay much attention to her complaints ... he figures if something is really wrong, she will go to the doctor & the doc will sort it out. A couple months ago, SIL complained about a stomach ache. B told her she'd be fine. That night, the phone rang in the wee hours of the morning. Seems SIL had driven herself to the hospital & was on her way into the operating room to have her appendix removed. She didn't tell him when she left, because she figured he wouldn't support her going to the emergency room at 3 in the morning. B felt like a real heel!</p>

<p>Hubby woke up one night with a heartburn like pain just under his breastbone. He never had heartburn. I checked his belly, felt reassured, had him take some antiacid and I fell back to sleep, He woke me up about an hour later at 3am to tell me he needed to go to the ER. Given that we had a 3 month old to wake up and take with us, I knew something was wrong. We got to the ER, and I was relieved when the ER doc, a colleague and neighbor, said that its not appendicitis, but he was keeping him for observation and would have his primary physician take a look. I was relieved to hear his long time PCP say that its not appendicitis, but he would have the surgeon take a look. I was relieved to hear the surgeon, a colleague and friend, say that its not appendicitis but maybe its his gall bladder. The CT scan was neg, his WBC was normal, he had no fever. But he didn't feel good. It was 6 am. Almost 24 hours later, on rounds the following morning, my surgeon friend called me to say he was wheeling hubby to the elevator en route to the OR. It was now a "classic " case of appendicitis. Appendicitis not always straightforward, and in my husbands case, 4 different MD's put their hands on his abdomen, looked at the labs, his temps and the CT and other xrays. It often evolves over time. Do always be alert. And if symptoms persist, be reevaluated. </p>

<p>And yes, H reminds me every so often that I "missed" the diagnosis.</p>

<p>My niece had her appendix removed in Spain during her year abroad. The sponsoring school was wonderful, but it could have been horrible. Other countries count on family members to do much that American nurses do - fortunately her dorm mother stayed with her in the hospital for 36 hours until my sister got there. After the hospital stay the school then moved her to an apartment within the dorm where S and BIL could stay with N until she healed. It worked, but has left me with an understanding of how important it is to know what your overseas insurance is and how a college's health insurance works if abroad.<br>
I had never heard of girls 18-24 being a risk group.... thanks, now I have another thing to keep me awake!</p>

<p>My son, at age 13, complained his stomach hurt. Well, no biggie. When it still hurt two days later, we took him to the doc. They had no idea what it could be; his pain was apparently atypical. Told us to come back if it still bothers him.</p>

<p>A week later, he's still complaining. Back we go to the doc. They had him jump up and down. No problem. They asked him if he had an appetite. He did. They decided it was "epididymitis" -- in other words, an inflamed epididimis, which is the spermatic cord. (Too much "adolescent activity," I guess they assumed.) Prescribed antibiotics.</p>

<p>The next day my husband saw him coming out of the bathroom, doubled over in pain. Called the doc again; they told us to take him to the ER. They kept him overnight, with no idea what was wrong. Finally decided to do some laparoscopic stuff (the camera on the end of a tube, to see what's what), and then realized -- holy cow! It had ruptured, his whole abdomen was a mess, and they removed not only the appendix but also a foot of bowel. He was in the hospital for a week with IV antibiotics.</p>

<p>We were very, very lucky, and the doctors (all five of them who had seen him and not diagnosed him) were totally abashed.</p>

<p>My son also had emergency appendectomy as a college student. Apparently that's a common age group for this problem. Seems to become acute in the middle of the night too (did with son). Luckily he was within a mile of half a dozen hospitals (medical school down the street) and his gf rushed him to one. </p>

<p>He described it as the worst pain he's ever had and was down on hands and knees. Unfortunately the appendix was wrapped around the intestine so his surgery wasn't so easy. Was in hospital 4 days. By the time we reached him (6 hour drive) he was in recovery. GF handled the situation well (didn't panic us) and I was grateful to her for that.</p>