Twenty years ago, I had an emergency appendectomy in Fort Worth, Texas. I was a junior in college, living in the sorority house on campus, my now husband and I had been dating for about a year. I had been having some weird stomach pains and episodes since the summer when I was waiting tables back in Kansas City, I missed some work because of it, and once had to have my parents come get me at the restaurant because I was running 102 fever. Everyone thought it was stress and depression manifesting oddly, since the spring before I had, for the first time, a big depressive episode that kept me in bed in my room sleeping and/or crying for two weeks straight and scared everyone who knew me. Including me. So, things were a little weird.
Anyway, I remember going to visit my English professor the morning of a big test, I think it was a Thursday. I was so sick I could hardly walk, and I told him I was sick and that I was going to the Quack Shack (the campus urgent care unit) and that I didn't think I could sit for the test. He took one look at me and said "Get out of my office before you puke, please. Call me next week and we'll set something up."
At the Quack Shack they thought maybe I had an ovarian cyst that had burst, the pain was isolated and radiating out of my lower right abdomen, so it was either an ovary or my appendix, according to the doctor. Once in the stirrups he quickly decided it was not an ovary (ow), and told me I had a ruptured appendix and I needed surgery. Like, now. I told him I would drive myself, and he let me leave. (WTF??!!??)
I drove to my boyfriend's apartment, where he was still in class but his roommate, a pre-med student and son of a doctor and a scientist, looked me up and down and said wow, you are a mess. He paged his dad, the head of Cardiology at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, and then said yes, you are going to the hospital, asap. And no, you are not driving yourself. I laid on the bed with my head in his lap while he stroked my hair and called me sweetheart and told me I would be okay while we waited for my boyfriend to return. It is the nicest, softest, most personal memory I have of him. He died two years ago, and it still hurts. He was going to save the world. He just couldn't save himself first. But that's another story.
To be continued...