13 July 2017 – Sunny and high of 85°

So how was your Wednesday?  Ours was pretty exciting.  Here’s the story:

Monday, we baled and bucked hay bales pretty much all day for our neighbor Shari.  She is the one that leased us her baler and cutter in exchange for having her property cut and baled.  It was a warm day and we put up over 170 bales.  The bonus was we found a hay rake in her junkyard and she said we could take it.  Cowboy Dave pulled it over to the south pasture and he and pilot Dave went to work to get the thing functional.  We planned on cutting and raking on Tuesday……BUT….

Tuesday morning, Pilot Dave woke up with a bit of stomach ache and no real appetite.  This should have been a huge red flag because with all this farm work he always has a big appetite.  We figured he may have eaten something bad or got too hot on Monday and decided to hide inside from the heat most of the day until he got to feeling better.  However, the burning, aching stomach pain would not go away and he went to bed about 6PM Tuesday evening.

Wednesday morning at 2AM he woke up and said, “I think I need to go to the hospital.”  I said, “Let’s go.” But he wasn’t quite ready to commit to that and said he felt he could wait until dawn and wanted to try to sleep a little.  Dave’s stomach ache was like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.  “I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!!”  At 4AM we headed to the ER at the Hot Springs VA medical clinic, about 20 minutes away.  We stopped once so he could get out and contemplate throwing up, but he did not.

At the VA they ran Dave through all the tests for stomach pain, including an EKG, CT Scan, and blood work. Initially they were thinking it may have been severe acid reflux, a hiatal hernia, or even possibly heart related.  At shift change, a new doctor came in and started pushing on Dave’s stomach.  He said, “I think he has acute appendicitis.”  After pushing on his abdomen, Dave’s stomach pain shifted almost immediately from high center to the lower right portion of his abdomen.  The CT scan revealed he did in fact have an inflamed appendix and the only treatment for this is surgery.

The VA does not have a surgical facility so at 11AM they decided he should go to Rapid City Regional Hospital for the appendectomy.  Meanwhile, Dave had been laying around in the ER with severe and intense stomach pain since 5AM (not including the pain the previous night)!  They gave him a few small doses of painkillers, but they didn’t want to “mask the symptoms” as he was being transferred to a new hospital and they wanted the surgeon to be able to see his symptoms when he palpitated Dave’s abdomen.  Dave put on his war face, but I could tell he was quite miserable.

At noon, the ambulance finally showed up and drove Dave to Rapid City, about an hour away.  I took the truck and came back to the Holler for some overnight bags and met him there.  I was flying up Hwy 16 thinking I needed to hurry to get there before he went into surgery.  At the hospital, I found him in a room in the ER, quite happy and sleepy.  They had given him a large dose of a painkiller named Dilaudid and he was feeling no pain.  Dave’s spirits were up and he charmed all the nurses with his sense of humor.  He kept referring to his hospital gown as his kilt.  When asked if he had any drug allergies he replied, “No but I haven’t tried them all yet.”  And he was happy to have acute appendicitis as opposed to “an ugly appendicitis.”  Gotta love narcotics, or as the nurses called them, “I don’t care” pills.

Anyway, after a long, long day they finally took Dave into surgery at 7PM.  The surgeon was confident it would all go well and even gave me his prescriptions and wrote his discharge papers before they started the surgery.  Dave doesn’t remember any of the surgery, he was just happy they gave him a banana nut muffin, some tapioca, and some long-awaited water when he woke up. 

While they operated, I drove to Walgreens and filled his scripts and inhaled some fast food.  I was back at the hospital in 45 minutes and they called my cell and said Dave was in recovery.  They said if he was doing well he could go home in an hour.  That’s right – GO HOME IN 1 HOUR!  After being in the ER since 5AM (16 full hours) they finally got out his appendix and booted him right out the door.

Dave was raring to go an hour later and I picked him up in the front of the hospital and back to the Holler we went.  We got home around 10:30PM and he ate something and went to bed. 

This morning we slept in until 7AM and already Dave is feeling ready to go.  Doctor’s orders say no lifting anything over 30lbs for four weeks.  It looks like Dave’s summer of bucking hay bales and pounding fence posts is put on hold until late August.  Maybe I should have thought of that, an appendectomy to get out of haying! Hmmmmm…..

That’s it from the Holler this week.  I didn’t post any pictures because nobody wants to see the inside of the hospital and Dave didn’t want to be photographed in his kilt.  We are grateful for the VA and the Rapid City Hospital and all the great people that defeated Dave’s evil appendix, that stupid no-function piece of tissue is gone for good.

Here’s hoping Thursday is better than Wednesday!