Appendectomy

This is something I wrote a few years back on the value of science and modern medicine which seems very applicable to the situation in which we find ourselves today.

From 2014:

I was recently diagnosed to have appendicitis with an appendiceal abscess.

Yep, gross huh.

An infection of that little worm-shaped vestigial organ held over from our raw food diets so epically long ago is most painful and dangerous and of which the only treatment option is removal. So, at some point today, the offending bit of my anatomy will be removed and discarded and I can then get back into life full force. I can tell you that I am so ready to have that maddening little over-inflated meat monkey swinging around on the lower end of my Ascending Colon – that for the last few weeks had been swollen with infection and then one night decided to rupture and spew its putrid contents into my abdominal cavity and is now wreaking havoc with my health and my life – quickly removed and incinerated into the primal elements of its origin.

It has been very painful, I have lost a bunch of weight, there have been loads of tests, visits to doctors, scans and more scans, blood and other fluids and substances taken and tested (originally it was thought to be Diverticulitis, Chrones disease, or something else because I had symptoms that were longer-running and a bit different than the usual case of appendicitis) – then finally a double-contrast CT scan revealed the appendix had in fact blown out and ejected its putrid sappy contents into my abdominal cavity – yuk! Lucky for me my immune system switched into high gear and encapsulated the festering area like a pearl in an oyster – only nowhere near as pretty.

It finally ends today, under the knife, or laser (I hope), using the amazing robotic/laparoscopic tools and training developed by medical scientists, engineers, and doctors to save our lives when our fleshy bodies eventually malfunction or take damage from this thing we call life.

Scoff and speak ill of doctors, medicine, and science if you will – but you will change your tune when it’s your turn.

This brings up a pet peeve of mine, science denial. I feel I must speak out about this, especially after this life-changing science-saturated event I am going through as I write this. My support for the scientific and medical communities could not be stronger and if you live in today’s world, you do so in a very large part because of all that science. If you were born via modern caecerian section, put on life support as a baby, had antibiotics and/or vaccinations to heal your infections or protect you from an uncaring viral disease, have ever had a hospital stay, doctor or dental visit, took your pet to the vet, driven a car down the road, flown in an aircraft, boat, ship, train, submarine, spaceship or bicycle, bought food in a restaurant or grocery store, cooked food in an oven or microwave, kept leftover food cold in a fridge or freezer, heated and or powered your house with energy produced via coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, wind or geothermal power, we’re alerted to or saved from a fire via a smoke alarm, brushed your teeth with a tooth brush (standard or electric), played a video game, hunted or fished for dinner using hunting and fishing gear/tools etc, watched TV, listened to music on your radio, stereo, tape deck, turntable, ipod or at a live concert, surfed the net, surfed a wave, snowboarded , skied, climbed a rock face, parachute jumped, base jumped, SCUBA dove, kayaked a raging river, paddled a quiet lake in a canoe, piloted an aircraft, bassboat, airboat, pontoon boat, or battleship, fly fished, slept in a modern sleeping bag on a thermarest style pad or on a memory foam mattress, carried your gear in a backpack, wore hiking boots, cross trainers or running shoes, navigated using a gps, map, or compass, cooked on a gas, biomas, or solar powered camp stove, turned on a light, or answered the phone – landline, mobile, or satellite, (and so much more) – then you my friend have benefited from science and engineering. Nobody on this earth can logically deny that science and engineering have played a massively important role in almost everything we have and do today…so how on this one strange rock of a planet is it at all possible that we still have so many people that so passionately deny the findings of science? From flat earthers, young-earthers, and hollow-earthers, to anti-vaxers, and evolution deniers, to those who deny climate change – all while taking advantage of all the science, engineering, and discovery all around them, inside them, and in their hands – the denial of the science and the evidence all around them is simply maddening.

Take anthropogenic climate change for instance: a massive and ever-growing number of reputable scientists that, after decades of meticulous research, from independent experiments all over the globe, meticulously gathered data from observatories and stations on earth and in space, collaborated with scientists in other earth and atmospheric science disciplines, studied the massive amounts of data, and then drawn informed conclusions, and finally published heavily peer-reviewed reports that have all then come to the indisputable (but yet still passionately disputed by some very loud voices) conclusions that by the actions of we humans burning copious amounts of fossil fuels to power our technologically wondrous culture: that we are causing the Earth’s climate to change in a negative way that is and will continue harming the very life support system that supports us all – and may one day render our species extinct.

How is it still possible that even with all this evidence – there are still people who choose to ignore and deny all the findings and all the hard evidence of these scientists? It would be like me ignoring the scientifically accurate findings of all the medical experts, doctors, and nurses taking care of me in my current uncomfortable situation – AND also ignoring all the findings of all the previous medical experts, doctors, and nurses who came before today’s doctors. If I ignored all these obvious findings, supported by all the hard evidence, and the decades of past medical research/experiences/findings from all the medical scientists/doctors that studied appendicitis in the past – and then just attempted to go on with my life as business as usual. How would that end for me? Simple and no question about it: pain, suffering, death, decay.

Ignoring and denying a potential problem because you do not understand it or do not want to believe the evidence that it exists – either because you do not understand it or it does not fit into your world view of the way things are – will not make it go away.


We have the fastest, most advanced supercomputer ever devised by nature or humanity sloshing around inside our hard hard heads so here is an idea: let’s use it and wake up out of our complacent sheeple-like sleep, cast away the tribal, fear-based, ideas of the past, and look to science as the way, as it always has been, to conquer our ancient fears of the unknown with the knowledge and factual, observation-based, peer-reviewed, findings of science and put into practice using the amazing tools of modern technology and engineering. When we do this we wake up to infinite possibilities, we become more enlightened, more tolerant of others, and more thankful for the beautiful complexities of life, time, space, and existence.


However, we must not forget where we came from, how we came to be where we are today, and always continue to teach the lessons of nature, the old ones, the great prophets of all peoples, the lessons of humility, love, compassion, faith, acceptance, coexistence, interdependence and respect of nature, a reverence for all life, and common sense as taught by the ancients. Without the combined truths of science, history, and the “soul” – our lives will be off-balance, and without a healthy balance we may be tempted to walk down the dark path of fear, hate, toxic tribalism, and confusion – and that trail does not ever end well.

Thank you to all my family and friends, for your friendship and support (even if we do not see eye to eye sometimes on some things) – you all mean the world to me and I love you all πŸ™‚
Thank you to my coworkers, students, and friends for supporting me and my animals in my absence, and visiting me while I was in the hospital, you are the greatest crew to hike the Trails of life with and truly great friends.


Thank you to the doctors and staff of CMG, GPM, MMH, and TRH for professionally and expertly getting me through this tough but scientifically and biologically very fascinating time.
Everyone wish me luck and any blessings from your favorite chosen deity, rock, crystal, energy field, or creature because very soon I am going under the knife/laser and with any luck, I will see you all again soon πŸ€“


UPDATE: 8:15 pm Tuesday. First, thank you all so much for your kind words πŸ™‚ and to those of you that stopped by to hang out with me πŸ™‚ especially my beautiful wife Marian for staying with me through this and helping me do the things that need doing, I love you so much ❀

WOO HOO! Ambulance ride! πŸ˜ƒ On way to a nearby city for a special pre-operative procedure. The last time I rode in an ambulance was over a decade ago when I owned an old 1966 ex British Mod Series 2a 109 field ambulance that I converted into an overland camper. Does anyone out there remember the old “Warthog”?

So here’s the big news – no surgery for six weeks!? According to my doc the safer way to deal with this situation is to tap and drain the stinky “sap” out of the appendix and its associated “alien pod of sap.” This will allow the swelling and pain to go down. Then, when the major infection danger is past, they will operate and get the nasty, useless thing out of there. So today I took an ambulance ride for yet another CT scan and Jackson-Pratt drain tube implantation to get the nasty infection out. It was a scientifically fascinating procedure that I was able to watch from a drug-induced stupor but the result is simply the most painful and 100% mobility limiting condition and that is the worst part about it-even more so than the pain. Currently, I’m flat on my back but should be up and moving around again tomorrow and hopefully back at work and life on Monday…but at least I can eat real food again πŸ™‚ I will be sure to keep you all posted on my status in this most interesting health science adventure that I have embarked upon.

The Jackson Pratt drain is in place and so far a great success with over 25cc of “sap” being removed so far!

Gross!

UPDATE 5:30 Wednesday.
I’m finally home πŸ™‚
Drain is working well siphoning off nasty appendix “sap,” not in much pain but moving mighty slow and I’m eating almost normally again. Now I wait for a few weeks to have the appendectomy that will free me from this bout of vestigial intestinal madness.


THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get through this by sitting by my side, shuttling me around, chatting with me on the phone or text, and leaving heartfelt and funny comments and offers of help and prayers on my status updates, you are all great friends and I truly appreciate you all more than you can know. πŸ™‚

APPENDECTOMY: It went very well and as I was under general anesthesia I do not remember anything. It sure was nice to get that thing out of me! Now let’s get back to life and living!

THANK YOU to all the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and others who have saved my life!!!

THANK YOU to all my family and friends who stopped by to visit me and/or send me supportive comments during my hospital stay and recovery.

THANK YOU SCIENCE!!!!

I also like to take this opportunity to thank God, Gaia, The Great Spirit, Allah, Jah, Buddha, the Force, and any other love, health, and peace-fostering omnipotent beings/energy fields – if they actually exist somewhere out there in the cosmos – and/or evolution by natural selection (whatever made our thinking ape brains possible) for giving/granting/tweaking/planting/MacGyver-ing the seed of consciousness into us fragile, mostly-hairless, multicolored, naked, thinking apes which eventually evolved into our ability to craft tools, engineering, and science to better our lives – at the moment I am speaking specifically of all the technologically superior medical, diagnostic, and healing, tools such as digital radiographs (X Rays), endoscopes, computerized lab analysis equipment, and MRI/CT scanners – for without these devices, and all the dedicated professional doctors, nurses, and technicians that operate them – I would probably be somewhat fertile soil feeding some flowers or trees somewhere.

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