The Rest of the Appendix Tale

Parts Tim left out in his appendix story:

“I don’t have appendicitis, it must be all those fruits and veggies we’ve been eating. Look, I can jump up and down ten times. I’m pretty sure any sharp movement would hurt if it was my appendix.”

Tim jumped up and down in my mom’s small Texas kitchen, refusing to believe he could be sick with anything serious.

Tim looks so healthy here.

Tim looks so healthy here. This is obviously a “Before” picture.

“Besides, Joshua got appendicitis on our last day in Texas years ago, it would be too much of a weird coincidence if I got it too. I mean, go figure. The irony. Haha.”

Fast forward two hours. Returning home from the library, where we had internet, researched some of Tim’s symptoms and made contact with one of my favorite all time nurses (aka Kirstin), we looked over the house for Tim.

Who was in bed, moaning.

“We don’t need to do any pressure tests, it’s definitely my appendix. Pain in my right side. Not going away. We need to make our way to the hospital.”

Ah, the irony.

This, of course, was not as easy as it sounds. We were in a little town, hours from a major city, with a rental car that was only in Tim’s name, and we had a flight to catch in Dallas in less than three days.

We made a series of calls –

Can we change our flight without a fee? No.
Even in a medical emergency? No.
What hospital is covered by our insurance? 2 Random Names of hospitals we’d never heard of.
Is there a car rental place nearby where we can add another driver? No.
To the older kids back at home in Washington – “No worries, we’re just heading to the hospital. Yep, appendicitis. I know, the irony.”

Tim didn’t want to uproot my mom and the kids, but I did NOT want to be alone in a strange city with my husband in the hospital. So we packed everything up, grabbed food out of the fridge, locked up the house, and set off for San Antonio.

Tim, being honorable and stubborn and unwilling to break our car rental contract, insisted on driving the 2 plus hours to San Antonio.

“Kathy,” he managed to gasp out after a bump in the road caused him to flinch in severe pain, “I can just see us getting stopped while you’re driving, getting a ticket or in an accident and on top of everything, having to pay a stupid fine to the car rental place! I am okay to drive.”

Sometimes I am amazed at Tim’s integrity and honor. He was not willing to violate the rental agreement and, in some sense, place us outside of God’s protection, even if it meant his own personal discomfort.

So we drove at a (safe) break-neck speed to San Antonio. First stop – the car rental place. He threw the keys at me and we hurried (okay, he mainly stumbled) into the office, added my name to the account, and were even waived the fees for switching the car return from Dallas to San Antonio. Bless Tim’s honest heart!

And then I picked which hospital to go to:

Kathy – to the Random Night Clerk at the car rental agency – “Um, so our insurance covers two hospitals in San Antonio. Which one should we go to?”

Random Night Clerk – “Methodist. My mom had surgery there this year and they took good care of her, I think. She seems okay now.”

Great, that’s good enough for me. Thank the Lord for Google maps and my phone. We found the hospital and got Tim settled into the ER.

Also, praise God for friends who take care of me (even from 1000′s of miles away). My dear friend Michelle (who knew I was pretty much INCAPABLE of making any more decisions – that whole hospital choice had exhausted me) figured out a hotel for us – sent me the address, got me set up with a discount and Google Maps pointed us in the right direction. Ahhh. Sleep.

While Tim was waiting for care in the hospital, we toured San Antonio. Nothing like ignoring the suffering patient and sight-seeing with the other summer tourists. Bad wife or resourceful mom? It’s a toss-up.

River Walk

River Walk

This was the call I did get in the middle of our yummy meal out that day (love Tex-Mex food!):

“Hey sweetie.”
“Tim, are you okay? Have they scheduled things yet?”
“No, I’m still waiting for the doctor, but these pain meds are GREAT!”
“Oh, good. We’ll be there soon.”
“Okay, listen, I just wanted you to know that the doctor told me last night that there was a little tumor on one of my kidneys.”

“Yeah, so I didn’t want to worry you last night.”
“Um, or this morning when I was there at the hospital?”
“Heh, heh. No, but I did want to tell you before I went into surgery. You know, so you’d know what was going on and all.”

“Yes, dear?”
“You are NOT allowed to get cancer and die, do you understand me?”
“Yes, dear. Enjoy your lunch and say hi to your mom and the kids for me.”

My phone, which was obviously exhausted from all my Google Map usage, died in the middle of our walk and I totally missed Tim’s call saying he was going into surgery. Cue bad wife moment.

My wonderful, generous, caring aunt and uncle covered some of our expenses as we moved to a hotel right off the River Walk and close to the hospital.

We had to go see the Alamo.  We were in San Antonio.  We had time.

We had to go see the Alamo. We were in San Antonio. We had time.

Tim did fine during surgery (except for that whole bursting of the appendix near the end and all). He was up and walking almost immediately. Why? Because we had a flight to make in Dallas early Friday morning (surgery was Wednesday night).

How far is it from San Antonio to Dallas? FOUR HOURS!!

Yes, it was his plan to come out of the hospital, after an emergency appendectomy, hop in the car to drive through the night and then get on a plane for a day of flying back to Washington State.

Did I mention Tim is godly, honorable, and STUBBORN??

We worked through all sorts of schemes. A friend from church offered to fly the kids home so I could stay longer with Tim while he recuperated at the hospital. My mom offered to take the kids back to her house at Fort Clark and stay there while I waited at the hospital for Tim. Tim’s dad called and said he would take a flight from WA and bring David and Sarah home with him.

We were all waiting and trying to see how serious Tim’s surgery was and how his recovery would be. The tumor/cancer threat was in the back of everyone’s mind. Except maybe Tim.

Tim, of course, was determined to get on home. He got out of bed as soon as they would let him and started walking laps around the hospital. Then he proceeded to convince his nurse, who convinced the doctor, who convinced me, that he was fine and could leave in order to make the flight home. Craziness.

Before I could arrange anything with the kids, Tim was released and ready to go. We drove straight to the airport.

“Let’s make our appeal to the airlines in person and see if they’ll waive the flight changes,”
I said, hoping the sight of Tim in a wheelchair and orthopedic socks would move even the hardest of hearts.

“Yes, because if not, we’re driving to Dallas tonight and getting on that other flight,”
he said, looking a bit pale despite his bold words.

You can't see the yellow socks - they're impressive.

You can’t see the yellow hospital socks – they’re impressive.

Sure enough, once again, the Lord went before us. We had an extremely gracious airline representative whose manager immediately changed our flights WITHOUT any fees or costs and sent us on our way. It meant we would miss Joshua as he flew back to college that same day, but it was the best we could do.

So, cough, cough, since Tim was now able to actually rest for the day, I took the kids and my mom and set off to enjoy one more day of vacation. We drove all the way back to my mom’s house in Fort Clark (she wasn’t due to return to Michigan for a few more weeks) and spent the day swimming and relaxing.

Off to the pool while Tim sleeps back at the hotel.

Off to the pool while Tim sleeps back at the hotel.

Pool Wonder Powers - activate!

Pool Wonder Powers – activate!

Ahem, we checked in on Tim every few hours. Probably kept him from resting with our care. The next morning we said good-bye to my mom, drove back to San Antonio, picked up Tim at the hotel, and flew on home to Washington.

Where we were met by more of our awesome friends. “We love to spend our date night picking up people at the airport,” they actually said. Bless their hearts!

And came home to fresh groceries, beautiful flowers and our own beds. Ahhh. We would deal with the cancer part later. And, praise, praise, praise the Lord, as Tim shared, it was handled easily through a long, but not complicated, surgery.

There's even some Nutella for the patient.

There’s even some Nutella for the patient.

Just thought I would fill in some of the untold parts of the story.


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5 thoughts on “The Rest of the Appendix Tale”

  1. It was definitely the orthopedic socks, that convinced the airline to change our flights. Or maybe not.

    One of the truly amazing things about this whole adventure is the way that God worked His plan through so many people. Back home, many were praying for us, since Kathy was giving a running narration of our troubles via Facebook. But to see God intervening through His people (and some who aren’t yet His) … that was really faith-building.

    Let me enumerate. My wife and children and mother-in-law who rallied around me to get me to the hospital and into a hotel to recover. The kindly rental car people who waived our drop-off fee (and second-driver fee). The triage nurse who chose me out of a crowded waiting room and put me near the head of the line for treatment. The four chaplains who came and prayed with me during my hospital stay. The airline ticket lady whose husband had appendicitis and who intervened to get us a free change to a new flight in a different city. Our beloved Aunt and Uncle who covered most of our hotel expenses. The nurse who saw how much pain I was in, and gave me a whopping dose of morphine. The other nurse who joked with me and let me sleep and delayed action on a catheter so I could leave the hospital more quickly. The surgeon who argued with yet another nurse so I could check out in time to make our flight. Our dear friends who prayed and welcomed us home, and got me an appointment on VERY short notice with the surgeon. Other family members who rallied around us and made various offers of care. Some politician once mentioned that ‘it takes a village’ to raise a child — but in the case of appendicitis, it takes quite a few more people than a measly old village.

    The irony of all this is that, before this happened, I felt a little distant from God. I had believed a lie that He didn’t care about me as much as I had hoped, and I was a little bit angry at Him because of that.

    So much for that feeling. I doubt I would have received better treatment if I had been the head of state of a wealthy Arab country. God bent over backwards to show me how much He loves me.

    I’ll bet He loves you, dear reader, just as much.

  2. This was much more interesting than the book I’m reading. Thank you both for writing about this! God is good. Seems that when we need an little boost in faith, we get it. Love you Washington friends!

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