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My Big Fat Obnoxious Appendix

I had my appendix out this weekend.

Thursday and Friday I was sick. I assumed I had a cold, but something wasn't feeling right. My tummy was really upset. By late Friday night, I was on the phone with Honey, and in the middle of a conversation, I got sick. While I was on the phone. It happened so unexpectedly, I hope Honey didn't take offense. After we hung up, I went downstairs, and my tummy was making grumbling Alien The Resurrection Sounds. Very odd.

And then, as if someone had punched me with a good ole fashioned left hook in the gut, I bolted up in bed, at 2am Saturday morning, and began to moan. I made my way to the bathroom, and I got dizzy. I've never fainted before in my life, but as I sat there attempting to rid myself of this Demon that obviously infiltrated my body, I thought I was going to collapse. Die on the commode. How very Judy Garland. My stomach was pulled so tight, and I was in so much pain, I couldn't get enough breath to call out for Chrisanne. So I began to bang on the sink with my fist. What a sight. Now, a few months ago, Chrisanne and I went to the hospital with a bad stomach virus. It was a nightmare, and I naturally assumed I had gotten it again. As I banged, and banged, Chrisanne finally came in, wiping the sleep out of her eyes, and found me curled up in the fetal position, my sweats pulled halfway down, and clutching myself like a Mike Tyson victim.

"WHOA!" she said, eyes bulging. "What the Hell...??!!!"

I still couldn't speak very well.

Then, as the pain began to subside, I thought the worst was over. She helped me back to bed, and she got on the phone to call our doctor. We waited. It was now about 4am, Saturday morning. I don't know what we were both thinking. Like: our doctor was going to hop in his carriage and trot down the path with his little black bag and some aspirin? I kept telling myself it was the damn stomach flu, and all I really needed was some strong pain medication.

And then.......It Happened.

Something inside me grabbed a hold of me, and literally held me prisoner. I've never in my life felt this kind of pain. I began to scream. And I mean scream. I've never screamed before except on stage, and every time I did, I was so proud of myself for being so "real". Baloney. Real-schmeal. THIS was a scream. The next couple of hours are very blurry to me. I know Chrisanne called the doctor back again, finally reaching him, and he told her to call an ambulance. She did, and apparently, the ambulance was particularly busy that night, so they sent two firemen on ahead.

Um, is this normal? Firemen? I wasn't on fire.

I remember being upside down on my bed, hanging half way off so that my head was touching the ground, my body was curled around my pillow, and I was half naked, screaming like a banshee. Then, out of nowhere, appeared these fireman boots. I was now, officially, in a Felini Film.

The next thing I remember was being placed in a sheet, wrapped up, and being put into the ambulance. Saturday nights are hopping for the ambulance drivers, so I don't really remember the wait. Chrisanne said it wasn't that long. One thing I do remember as I stared at the fireman's boot next to my left eye, was...."Oh my God. I hope Chrisanne remembered to dress me in a matching sweatsuit outfit. I don't want to go the the E.R. in PINK and RED, for God Sake".

As I arrived in the E.R., they gave me some pain medication, which left me drooling and blabbering, and we waited for them to run some tests.

(By the way, Chrisanne did a nice job of matching. I was in black and blue. I looked like a bruise.)

After a CAT scan, the nurse came into my room and told me my appendix was inflamed and it had to come out.

Chrisanne's eyes widened.

"It has to come out. You mean now?" she asked.

"Yes. Now." The nurse said calmly. "Now, I have a few questions I need to ask you Alexandra, before we can do the operation."

And I said:

"FFllrg bgeeeee garbbbe kslle gsba blech." Hiccup, drool, drool.

The Nurse then began to speak directly to Chrisanne.

"When was her last period?"

The room fell silent.

"Uhh....well, she's a Transexxual."

The Nurse fell silent.

"Oh. Well. I see. I guess that rules out pregnancy."

Yes. Yes, it does.

After 500 more questions ranging from having AIDS to my height and weight, I met my surgeon. Dr. Spiros Giannoulias. A large, robust, gentle man in his 50's, with flaming grey hair, and a thick Greek accent. I was being operated on by Zorba. It was delicious.

"Alexa-a-andra," he said to me, holding my hand and staring into my eyes, "...I vill be performing the operation to you, and everyt'ing will be fine. I am very good. Very, very good."

Alrighty then.

"....you are in the very capable hands. I need to ask you something though, before we start."


"When was the date of your la-a-st period?"

I smiled. Chrisanne smiled. And then the Nurse smiled.

"I'm a Transexxual."

And then, HE smiled.

"I see. Vell! I guess ve'll be having no pregnancy!"

They needed to prep me for surgery and everyone around me kept telling me this was a very simple operation, and that's it's done all the time, and that it's very common, and that it's like having a tooth pulled. Okay, let me say this, with all the crap I've had done to my body and face that have involved needles and such, I've never once been relaxed enough to think that any surgery is easy. And as far as having my tooth pulled, I've had all four wisdom teeth extracted, and I've had to be put under, given gas, assured Vicodin, and promised an all expenses paid vacation to somewhere tropical. I Am Not Fearless. I was also terrified (because I am paranoid) about waking up in the middle of the operation. I just had a vision of me, lying on the table, with lights pressing against my belly, and my innards spread out like a meat and cheese buffet, and then, me popping my eyes open and saying something like: "Excuse me, are those my intestines?" And all because someone didn't give me enough Gas. So I asked Dr Giannoulias:

"Are you going to put me under for this? You know, give me Gas or something?"

He smiled again, and took my hand.

"No. I'm going to hit you in the head vith a hammer."

My Doctor had a sense of humor. That was enough for me.

As I was wheeled into the operating room with my little blue booties, and my little blue hat, and my x rated hospital gown on, I could hear Chrisanne's footsteps behind me. The Nurse stopped my gurney to check on something, and we had 2 seconds to say goodbye. I kissed her, she looked at me, and said very softly:

"Everything's going to be fine. I love you."

"I love you, too."

Everything was fine. The operation lasted about 45 minutes, I was wheeled into my room, and Chrisanne was waiting there.....red eyed. I could tell she was insane, and that she hadn't closed her eyes. She had gone back to the house to get some provisions, and arrived in my room with two presents: a new silver Talisman for me with the word "Whatever" inscribed on it, that was to be used for Whatever I wished, because my "every wish was her command", and a white stuffed bunny with big, pink, floppy ears. They're two of the coolest things she's ever gotten me.

The next three days were filled with recuperation, incredibly bad food, visits from the kindest, funniest, most caring Nurses, and a surprise entrance by Honey West. This is a true best friend. She did her gig, then came to the hospital Saturday night to make sure I was all right. I was delighted to see her. Not only because she's my best girlfriend, but because they had given me morphine to ease the pain. Ah, morphine. I was in such a good mood that night, I think I may have invited the nursing staff over for a small, intimate cocktail party at our house.

I had one, small, profound night. Actually last night, to be exact. I was lying in bed. Chrisanne, (who absolutely refused to leave my room, and who eventually persuaded one of the generous night Nurses to set up a bed for her right next to mine) was sleeping, and I was a tad sick of recuperating. After all, they only gave me enough morphine for one night. As far as I was concerned the party was over, honey. On the floor we were on, the noise seemed constant. Typing, various bells and buzzers going off, occasional yelps from patients, TV's on, and the scuffling of feet from one end of the hall to the other. Once in a while though, there would be "Lullabye, and Good Night" played over the loud speaker. That was to announce a birth in the hospital. Chrisanne and I heard this a few times during the day. But during this night, for only about an hour, there was utter silence. Not a footstep, not a peep, and not one phone call from the obnoxious guy in the room across from mine to his lawyer about why his wife left him. This guy was a nightmare. Loud, raucous, and constantly arguing with his damn lawyer. Loud, loud, cell phone-using, inappropriate Man. After tolerating him for almost 3 days, Chrisanne said of his ex wife:

"Leave him? I'm surprised she didn't kill him."

But this night, there was nothing.

Then, over the speaker I hear:

"Code Red. Code Red."

Code Red means someone is either dead, or dying.

I laid there some more. Someone right now is dying. Someone right now is about to leave the planet, and they might have family, or friends waiting there, and maybe they don't know it's who they're waiting for, and they think it's someone else. Or maybe it's someone who doesn't have anyone, and they're completely alone. What were they thinking right before the end came? And how may times to these Nurses and Doctors and Orderly's hear this? What happens? It was very clinical this death. It was very silent. Well, on my floor anyway.

Then, about 5 minutes afterward, the Lullaby came on.

There was life.

Someone just walked into the world. A brand new life just walked into the world, and screamed. Again, it was silent. It was silent where I was, but I'm sure, elsewhere in the hospital there was a loud, jubilant yell or a cheer, or a grand high five from Dad to his pals.

I laid there for a second, and then I looked at Chrisanne, who seemed so worried. Even in her sleep I could tell she was frightened. She was sleeping, but she was far from resting. I wished I could hold her hand, or just walk over and kiss her on the forehead and tell her everything was going to be fine. But I laid there. I rested in the silence, and within a span of 15 minutes, someone died, and someone lived. I don't know. It was very profound. It just felt big to me.

So, that was my weekend. Now I have a small 5 inch scar on my belly, that's held together with staples. Staples! Like my Mother used when she put two worksheets together for her class at school. All in all, it wasn't so awful, and Chrisanne was right, everything was fine.

At least I know I'm not pregnant.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
art imitates life...
After about the third or so time they asked you if you've had your period, you should have rolled your eyes, called out, "lights please!" You pull a remote out from under the sheet, click it at a monitor and one of your "ER" scenes plays.

...and, scene.

Wishing you well.

Feb. 22nd, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: art imitates life...
WA-ha-ha-ha-hahah hahaha hahahaha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!

You're a genius, Rob.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
I love your doctor! I love Zorba! Damn, glad you're okay. You sure know how to tell a good story though.

(sheila here ...)
Feb. 22nd, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
Seriously, my doctor was so frickin funny, it put me right at ease. I didn't get a chance to write about half of the witty remarks. Just this old, Greek, good lookin', surgery Man. Just like.....like he was the doctor for The Godfather or something. Just a regular Guy. He was so gentle and so calming, I can't tell you Sheila.

I'm okay today. Running a little slower than yesterday, but just taking it easy. Why don't you live down the street so you can come over tonight and sit on the porch and watch American Idol with me? Why, God, why?
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
Geez, I go a couple of days without checking your page and you go off and have another near-death experience!
Glad to hear everything turned out OK - hope the recovery goes smoothly...

MikeR (http://johnnylockheart.tripod.com/rar)
Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah Mike. Ya know, I never seem to do anything small. My life is nothing if it aint colorful.

Thanks though, recovery seems to be going okay. It's the sneeze or the cough......sticthes and staples, I can't even tell you.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
Holy jesus, woman! I could hardly believe what I was reading...well I am SO glad you are well and everything is fine. That is so crazy! Same thing happened to Ty on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Yes, I watch that show and yes, I cry everytime. Nerd Alert!

So did this bizarre glitch mess up your moving plans? I was so looking forward to reading your journal the day after the Oscars...since you will be so close...bitch... :)

Miss ya!
Feb. 23rd, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know sweetie. Weird aint it????? It's funny you mention the Home Edition thing. I was laying in my hospital bed when the show came on, and Chrisanne and I laughed our patooties off. What are the odds of THAT???

I ask you.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )