Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wire Wrapping Therapy for Appendicitis

In my last post, I mentioned in the comments that my grand daughter was rushed to our local Children's hospital. I have received many inquiries and well wishes, so I thought I would tell her story- not only for those interested but also to alert others as to the sometimes mild symptoms of a burst appendix.

My beautiful grand daughter, who is turning 12 in a few days and who was my model during the cabochon drawings that I held, began having a belly ache about a week ago. It was mild and came and went. She rarely mentioned it and we thought nothing of it considering her penchant for eating a bowl of grapes at a time. Then a few nights ago she began vomiting. Again, because she's a kid and kids get bugs, we didn't think much of it. She was also complaining about being constipated. So, we kinda thought the belly ache was from that. But, the vomiting and the low grade fever of 99 degrees really had me worried and I urged my son to take her to the hospital. He was hesitant. My grand daughter was up playing, laughing, walking to the store and eating just fine. She had mild symptoms that she rarely complained about. I had a nagging feeling and put my foot down. I put in a call to my brother in law who is a paramedic and after some questions and a few gentle feels of her abdomen, he advised us to go to the emergency room. Once there, they immediately sent her via ambulance to the Children's hospital for a CT scan. By now, I knew she had appendicitis, but what I didn't know, and which was confirmed by CT, was that her appendix had burst a few days earlier.

After doing some research, I found out that appendicitis often presents as constipation. Abdominal pain will travel from the upper torso above the belly button to below it on the right side. One could think that the pain was from constipation and slow moving bowels. Often times, nausea and vomiting accompany the pain. The pain can be quite severe or in my grand daughter's case- not so extreme. But, the pain is a warning sign. The low grade fever a red flag.

Pain indicates a swollen appendix. When the pain lessons, it is often a sign that the appendix burst- thus relieving the swelling and pressure. After her appendix burst, her symptoms were much lessened. The pain was less localized and more a general pain in the lower abdomen set in.

The scary part is that when the appendix bursts, the infection would then be spreading through out the abdomen. And, forgive me for being so blunt, but, at this point, feces is also invading the abdomen. This is when the fear of peritonitis setting in comes into play and when this becomes a life threatening situation.  

I have read a lot about appendicitis over the last day or two and a burst appendix is rarely mentioned. It is usually just found in a quick sentence about it becoming a deadly situation in a matter of hours. The most I've seen is 12-48 hours. So, I am thinking our little girl was one blessed and lucky girl!!

During the 2 1/2 hour surgery, the doctors found little left of her appendix. They feel very confident that they got all the pieces, though and cleaned her up good. She will remain at hospital for at least another week and will still be in a lot of pain while she and all the antibiotics fight the infection. It will take time, but she will be alright. I'm sure she is most worried about being able to start school on time. As it is, she missed her Middle School Orientation, which she was very upset about. 

The moral of this long story is:  Don't ignore seemingly benign symptoms. And, as I had to convince my son, even a low grade temperature of 99-100 can be indicative of something that can kill.

And how did scared grandma hold up during all this? Well, my nerves are shot, my house has been overflowing with family and I have been doing a lot of wire wrapping for nerve therapy. I wasn't in any way interested in doing any long thought out designs. I just needed my hands to move. I did do an experimental piece last night, though. Here's a few of the finished pieces-- nothing to write home about, but damn glad they kept me busy.

Thank you for the the messages, prayers and well wishes. :) 

Biggs Jasper
Cherry Creek Jasper
Indian Paint Stone (experiment)
Dendritic Serpentine


  1. Nothing to write home about?!

    Aw, heck, Tela, we should all hope to wrap a fraction as as well as you on a 'bad' day!!

    So happy to hear that your granddaughter is on the mend. They scare us witless sometimes, don't they...

    1. Thanks Zena! My mind wasn't too focused and I feel like I did these on automatic.

      Yes! They do scare us!

  2. Tela, your wire wrapping provided excellent and beautiful therapy for you during a scary time. Good for you for listening to that knowing inner voice. I am sorry your grand daughter had ti undergo so much but very relieved she is on the mend.
    Sending love, hugs and prayers. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thank you, Christine :) We are getting ready to go back up there. She gets a pict line today. OUCH! She got an increase on her pain meds and she's groggy, tired and grumpy. Poor thing!

  3. I wish your granddaughter a quick recovery. What a scare! Thanks for all the info regarding appendicitis, we forget sometimes and easily overlook important signs. As always your wire wrapping is exquisite!!!


    1. Hi Zoraida :) Yes, she gave us a scare. I never knew anything about appendicitis till now and now I know more than I want to know.

  4. My appendix burst 8 years ago. I never had a localized pain - no bursting pain or the pain I've always heard associated with it. I just felt sick & thought I had a stomach flu - I've had food poisoning & it wasn't even as severe as that but it was more like it than anything (other than I never got better). As long as I laid down, the pain was manageable. It did feel like the pain was traveling down my intestinal tract - it started at the top & slowly went down. I thought when it reached the end of my intestinal tract it would be "out" & over, but it started again at the top.

    I live alone & have a chronic illness & at the time chronic pain (PSA = everyone take minimum 5000-10,000iu of vitD3 daily) - so it was pretty much just another day in my life.

    I guess I was feverish & not thinking straight. I had no appetite & I remembering throwing up water so decided to quit drinking also & I didn't eat or drink for 2 weeks. It never passed through my mind that a person can't live without fluids - luckily (I guess) my metabolism is abnormally low.

    I didn't go to the hospital for a couple of weeks & would have never have gone if my stepmother didn't force me. I have no idea how she knew it was so serious, I told her I thought it was just a stomach flu or food poisoning that would pass. Her sister had died from a burst appendix & she seemed to know it was serious.

    By the time I got to the hospital, the infection had spread not only to my abdominal cavity but also to my bloodstream. They kept me in the hospital for a month on intravenous antibiotics.

    They cut me wide open & left me with a 12 inch incision. They couldn't control the infections so removed the staples & sent me home with a gaping hole. It healed but I now have a watermelon size hernia. I highly recommend that if she has a large incision to keep it bound for a month or two after to make sure it heals tight internally as well as externally. Since I didn't have external stitches, too much pressure was put on the internal stitches & after they started tearing, they tore completely open. Of course, she's a growing child & I was an older woman so she probably won't have the same problem, but better safe than sorry. A tight undershirt would probably suffice. They also have those wide bands that coverup "muffin tops" for the layered look that would work also.

    I'm sure this is all TMI but felt it might help. Other than the unsightly hernia, I recovered completely from the burst appendix. They did keep me on VERY expensive antibiotics for a month or two after. If you don't have insurance to cover make sure you shop around. I think it was $100 for a few days worth & I thought I could get it cheaper filling it somewhere else but it was twice as much at the other place but I didn't have transportation to go anywhere else.

    My prayers are with you & your dear granddaughter.

  5. One more thing, have her eat sugar free yogurt AND take a high quality probiotic as soon as she is able to ingest anything. The antibiotics kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad & she will probably need to have the good bacteria repopulated or she may have problems with yeast infections. I never did but I also didn't eat any sugar or carbs which just feeds a yeast population.


    1. Cindy, thank you for your perspective!!! I was feeling guilty as hell and I'm sure Dad is too. She just didn't seem that ill.

      You gave some really good advice and I will keep it in mind especially about the probiotics. I bet they even give it at the hospital nowadays. It's great stuff!

      You are one blessed woman to have survived that! An infection like that would kill a lot of people. ((Hugs))

  6. oh, tela, im so sorry to hear about your granddaughter! but shes an otherwise healthy girl so she should bounce back better than ever. :) its good this has happened now. some ppl never get appendicitis or measles or some of those other things, but once youve had them you know you wont be getting them again.
    my oldest son had appendicitis when he was 14 or 15 (i forget, cause it was over 15 years ago :) ) i think i recall i let him stay home from school because he had a severe bellyache with vomiting and fever, and didnt move from the bed all day except to go to the bathroom, and it didnt seem to be letting up, so that evening after husb got home we loaded his arse into the car and took him to the er. good thing we did, because we were told his wasnt too far from bursting. they did emergency surgery that very night. after a few days in the hosp, he went home to finish healing and he was fine in no time. :)
    ive actually just gotten home from the hosp myself on the 23rd, after having abdominal surgery on friday morning, the 17th. i wont go into details, but wish me luck, im gonna need it, and prayers and stuff. :)
    give your granddaughter a hug from me, tell her its from a random internet stranger who heard about her illness, and just wants to remind her how loved she is by her family; im paying it forward sort of, cause when i was in there i got loads of well wishes from strangers in that same way. :)

  7. Hi Denise- I'm so sorry to hear about your health problem. Of course, I won't pry, but I do wish and pray that you have a speedy recovery. I'm sending you positive thoughts! :)

    I told my grand daughter that all my internet friends wish her well and send their hugs and her face just lit up. Seriously, it was so sweet. She feels connected now because of the drawing and she was really touched.

    She looks much worse now, but we're told she is doing well. They gave her a pict line yesterday to deliver the antibiotics to her heart. For those that don't know what that is- it is an inserted tube to her to her heart. Her meds are so caustic to her veins that a direct route to her heart is actually safer. She is swollen and red, her fever spikes very high and her morphine has increased. My heart skipped a beat when I last saw her-- but, it's all part of the healing process.

    You get well soon, too, Denise.

  8. thank you, tela <3. im getting my warpaint on, cause ive got a big fight ahead of me. :) im thinking of starting a blog...and keeping up with it too. maybe some of my experiences will be useful in hindsight to someone else.

    and you know, i think i misunderstood the seriousness of your granddaughters situation...your reply to my post sort of jolted me into *omg, didnt realise THAT* mode. so, along with hugs, im sending up prayers, positive thoughts and healing energy as well, of course. <3

    1. Hey Denise- I sent you an email about your idea to blog. I think it's a great idea! :)Keep us posted and let us know if your do.

      Yeah, it was pretty serious with her. She had full blown peritonitis. The line to her heart is for the same antibiotics they give for ecoli. It's pretty strong stuff.

      She is doing MUCH better now and we are just counting down days till she can come home.

  9. More good wishes for your granddaughter. I still have all original parts, so I'm having trouble even imagining something like that. She must be very brave!

    1. Thank you :) She has been a trooper, I tell ya, from day one she has been so strong and brave. It's hard to see her in a hospital bed, but I know she'll be fine in a week or two. :)

  10. Hello Tela,
    I have noy been on here much latly, and when I saw about your grandbaby, I felt sad that I did not know. As a grandmama, I know you was scared out of your mind.
    Please know my Prayers are with you. Keep us posted on how she is doing...
    And HUGS for the grandmama too.

    1. Thank you and don't feel bad. :) Everyone has these life emergencies of one sort or another, I just happened to be blabbing about it on the internet to help keep me sane. :) Thank you so much for caring- you aren't late at all. She still has some healing yet to do.

      I'm thinking she'll be home in 3 days at the most. Yay!


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