Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Perception of Pain with Appendicitis

   The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage." (Watkins & Maier). Goldstein categorizes pain into three different types: Inflammatory, Neuropathic, and Nociceptive pain. Inflammatory Pain is caused by damage to tissue or inflammation of joints or by tumor cells. Neuropathic Pain is caused by lesions or other damage to the nervous system (i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome). Finally, Nociceptive pain is caused by the activation of receptors in the skin called nociceptors which are specialized to respond to tissue damage or potential damage. I have personally experienced Inflammatory Pain. My senior year of high school I was diagnosed with Appendicitis. Appendicitis is inflammation of the Appendix. I was being diagnosed with bad stomach viruses every other week, because I showed no signs of anything serious. On January 5th, 2012 I woke up to a different feeling than what I was used to. I drove myself to the doctors and again was told that I had a severe stomach virus. I did my usual routine: pick up my prescription from the pharmacy, go to the store to buy food for the BRAT diet, and then I was headed home to relax. I was vomiting way too much for my liking. I took the nausea medicine that my doctor gave me, but nothing helped. It got the point where I couldn't hold anything down. I couldn't even keep my saliva down. I then started getting sharp pain across the bottom of my stomach; I didn't think anything of it because of how much I was getting sick. Once my family came home, I went upstairs to lay down and watch a movie. When I reached the twelfth stair (yes I counted) I collapsed in the hallway from the enormous amount of pain I was in. I crawled into my room and hopped up onto my bed and called my mom, who was right downstairs. She called my doctor who told me to go straight to the ER. After waiting for four hours, (yes i did say four) I was taken back and given an IV. The doctors told me that I most likely had inflammation of the stomach and they would prescribe me some medication to ease the pain. After taking blood to be tested, they gave my Dilaudid to ease the pain. I ended up having a severe allergic reaction to the painkiller and was given Morphine instead. The doctor came back after what felt like forever to tell me that I had too many white blood cells in my body and that if I had anymore I would had passed. They said they had to do an emergency CAT scan. After the test was complete, I was taken back to my room where they told me that my appendix was leaking and severely inflamed and I needed surgery ASAP. I had to have a laparoscopic appendectomy due to how inflamed my appendix was. While I was in recovery, my doctor told me that the “stomach viruses” I was getting every other week were actually signs from my body that something was wrong, that there was pain somewhere. I then had an allergic reaction to Percocet and then I was sent home. Recovery was the worst. I was out of school for two and a half weeks and when I finally went back, I was right back in the ER. After six hours of testing and having multiple doctors tell me I possibly had a blood clot in my lungs, I was diagnosed with an infection. Recovery took even longer after that. I then had multiple issues arise from this surgery. I sometimes still feel pain on my right hand side. I sometimes forget that my appendix is no longer there. I suffer partially from “phantom limb syndrome”. Although I did not lose a limb, I have some of the symptoms. It is crazy how much a single pain could predict. For me the pain sensation was a matter of life or death.

1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more with you. I had emergency surgery June 2, 2013 and my situation was defintely life or death because I have a history of stomach pains and a disorder the hositpal made me sit for 4 1/2 hours in the emergency room while blacking in and out of pain. My mom was too afraid to let me sleep as well as other people around me. Besides the pain which I described as being worse then being in labor I hadn't went to the bathroom in hours, I was confouned to a wheelchair, I had a slight fever, and my stomach was bigger then a co worker who was 6 months pregnant with twins. The doctor was uncarring and seemingly wanted to rush me out the room because all blood work was "normal". It wasnt until my mom yelled at him that he gave me a cat scan. That was the shortest cat scan of my life after it was done the doctor ran bak into the room (when usually it takes hours for them to come back ) and said you have to get surgery within the hour. To put things into perceptive I had been there since 3pm it was almost midnight. He was only remorseful only after he realized I was not lying when I stated "this pain is different from my typical spells of the disorder" because had if I left when he was ready to dismiss me I would have died almost as soon as I got home. Recovery for me was okay except I couln't hold my six month daughter; I felt trapped because I couldnt do anything moms normally do. The BRAT diet is a freq. friend of mines so I had no trouble there. However, I will say that it took about 1 year after partial "phantom limb syndrome" went away. -- Thank you for sharing