Tuesday Tip Jar: Appendicitis symptoms for dummies

11 May

Ok. This is a bit of a strange “tip,” but it could save your life. Really. It might have saved me a couple of weeks in the hospital and a couple of months of antibiotics.

Standard disclaimer: I’m not a doctor!!!

Here are the basic appendicitis symptoms. If you have these — do NOT pass go. Do NOT collect $200. Go DIRECTLY to the emergency room.

1. Extreme pain in your lower right side — in your tummy right above your hip.
2. Rebound tenderness: If you push on that painful spot on your tummy, then let go, the pain gets *much* worse upon release.
3. Nausea, vomiting, stomachache and fever. You may also feel like you have to use the bathroom (defecate) but you can’t.

For real.  Go to the ER.  If they say you have the flu and send you home?  GREAT!  If not, you’ll be happy that you caught the appendicitis before it was much, much worse. 

Note to women:  if you go to the ER, they will spend a lot of time figuring out if you are pregnant.  Ectopic pregnancies have some of the same symptoms as appendicitis.  It’s quite annoying if you are pretty sure of your “status,” but give the doctors a break — they are trying to help.

Here’s more info from the experts at the Mayo Clinic.

Thanks to Making the Moments Count for her blog post on her appendectomy when she was 6 months pregnant. Wow. This reminded me of my bout with appendicitis 15 years ago. Had I realized what was going on at the time (I had symptoms for several days before ending up in the ER), my appendix may not have burst.  Let me tell you — that is NO picnic.  This meant the average 3-day hospital stay turned into a 2-week stay with massive amounts of nasty antibiotics. This was followed by a PICC line (a “permanent IV”) for long term (2-month) outpatient IV antibiotics.  Not much fun for a college student! 

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