The dumb choice that nearly killed me
I’d encourage you to read David Matthau’s article on a survey about where people turn for medical opinions. I did, and it reminded me of an incident 13 years ago that damn near killed me.
I was working at a station in Detroit back in 2007. I was feeling funny throughout the show, like an intestinal thing. A vague nausea and a pressure in my gut. By the time I got home I had a fever and I recall thinking thank God it was a Friday night so I’d have the weekend to beat whatever bug this was.
Now if you’re easily grossed out, stop reading.
I just went straight to bed. By 1 am I woke up covered in sweat and shaking violently and figured it must be low blood sugar as I am a type 1 diabetic. I got to the kitchen where my blood monitor was and next thing I knew I was at the kitchen sink and vomiting in agonizing pain. I don’t have words to explain how severe this was. Worst time being sick in my entire life.
I remember my wife at the time (not Aubree) yelling at me for being sick in the kitchen (as if I could have planned it this way). When it was over I tested my blood sugar and it was fine.
That overall strange pressure across my gut immediately shifted after puking my brains out to a severe stabbing, tearing feeling in my right side. Very specific spot.
I went back to bed still feverish, shaking, sweating. The next day I still couldn’t eat and that pain got worse and worse throughout the day long after it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse. The fever got higher still.
Finally, like so many people do in Matthau’s article, I turned to ‘Dr. Google’ and looked up my symptoms. Specifically WebMD. What I saw read like an exact account of my night as if straight from a journal. The vague nausea, the abdominal pressure, the fever, the eventually epic vomiting but only one episode of it with an immediate shift afterwards to an intense sharp pain on the right side, etc.. ‘Dr. Google’ said I had appendicitis.
Now as the survey in Matthau’s article indicates most people still seek a doctor over a website, which is good, but at least when one does look up symptoms on the internet hopefully they don’t do what I did.
I refused to believe it.
Appendicitis? Me? Requiring an emergency room? No way. This had to just be a stomach flu I stupidly told myself. That was at 2pm. I chose to get back in bed and that decision very nearly killed me. It wasn’t until 4 hours later that I finally drive myself to the hospital still not convinced but finally at least worried.
The tests confirmed I had appendicitis and required immediate emergency surgery. By the time they got me into the operating room and began the surgery it was almost too late. They told me in the recovery room that in the middle of the surgery they watched as my appendix ruptured. They told me had I been even one hour later I probably would have been dead.
So let that be a lesson regarding Dave’s article. Trust a doctor before you trust friends or ‘Dr. Google,’ But if ‘Dr. Google’ does tell you to get your ass to a hospital, at least take it seriously.
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