Thank you, Orcas | Letters

  • Wed Jan 16th, 2019 1:30am
  • News

Right after Christmas, my appendix burst. I was rushed into emergency surgery at Island Hospital.

But that’s only half of it.

When my wife, Jean, called 911 at 4 a.m., the EMTs who immediately showed up included my friend Patrick Shepler, now saving my life for a second time; Jane, capable, considerate, comforting and very reassuring; Jason Madieros; and another volunteer helper whose name I don’t remember.

They put me onto a fixed-wing med-flight. It was uneventful, although weather caused us to land at Skagit Regional Airport. An ambulance took me to Island Hospital.

My case was quickly addressed by Dr. Potter, whom Patrick had strongly recommended. My entire abdomen had to be emptied, my guts laying on a nearby table, while the washing and vacuuming was done. Then my parts were returned, my belly was stapled closed, and I was sent to recover in a nice room with a lovely view.

I praise the staff of Island Hospital. I was as uncomfortable as one could be, but all of them, from the nurses to the cleaning crew, did everything they could to help me.

Now I’m home. I missed New Year’s, which is OK, considering that I almost missed all of the rest. People die from burst appendices, but, so far, I haven’t been one of them. In the process, I have learned that my beloved Jean is a treasure beyond compare and that our neighbors, Datura and Michael, stand willing to give us wonderful soups, meat and produce at the drop of an appendix. Also, my cousin Phyllis has lent us Cindy, her own meal provider, who promises to make my upcoming birthday memorable.

I think that I have learned, finally, not to ignore pain. In appendicitis, you hurt for a longish time, the pain peaks, the pain goes away and then you die. A burst appendix doesn’t hurt, but it creates almost incurable abdominal sepsis. I’m not quite back to normal, but I will be soon. I offer my heartfelt thanks and my deep appreciation to everyone who has helped me through this crisis.

Steve Henigson

Orcas Island