17 March 2008 – Our day started early when my wife was awakened by severe abdominal pains. It was almost 3am when she woke me up, as she was grimacing in pain. She was clutching the right side of her tummy, teary eyed, as if something was going so bad inside.
I tried to observe how the pain was developing. This was the third time that she experienced this. The first one was about a month ago, but she was relieved after going to the bathroom. The second time was yesterday, while we were attending Palm Sunday Mass. She was already feeling uneasy by middle of the holy mass, so we decided to immediately go home after the ceremonies, instead of shopping for groceries as previously planned. But when we reached home, the pain disappeared.
So now that she was feeling the same again, I thought that the pain will subside later, or will be relieved by going to the bathroom, or by simply resting. But I was wrong. It was almost dawn and her agony was even increasing. I tried hot and cold compresses but that did not help much. None of my approach-to-pain nursing skills were working.
I feared it was acute appendicitis, because of the location of the pain. The other signs and symptoms were also indicative of such. But what I feared more was about the safety of my wife carrying our baby – that something bad was going on inside, and that an operation might be necessary.
I decided to bring her to the hospital. The nearest was The Medical City, but we feared of the astronomic costs of being hospitalized there, so we both agreed to go home to Bulacan, where her OB holds her clinic.
I feared that the travel would be too much for her. But Didith was a strong woman. She braved traveling from Ortigas to Bulacan. She had episodes of nausea and vomiting during the trip but we made it safely to Sacred Heart Hospital in Malolos.
The E.R. doctor diagnosed her with acute appendicitis, after reviewing her blood and urine tests. She needed immediate surgery before the appendix bursts and poisons our baby. Her OB was contacted, and also suggested surgery after having an ultrasound done. The hospital surgeon was informed. When he arrived, he quickly examined her and also recommended emergency surgery.
He explained though that although the signs and symptoms suggested acute appendicitis, the cause of the pain could be something else. Appendicitis is unlike other conditions where a definite diagnosis can be made through tests. A diagnosis of appendicitis can be made through a combination of assessment of signs and symptoms, and tests, but then the confirmatory diagnosis can only be made once the patient is opened in the operating room.
When she got inside, an overwhelming parade of fears accumulated in my head. I feared that something wrong might happen during surgery. I feared that Didith might feel the pain if the anaesthesia will not be successful. I feared that we might lose our baby.
While the surgery was ongoing, I felt as if every minute was slowly passing. I could not eat. I could not even think and concentrate well. But there was something I remembered. There was only one who could help us in this condition. The One above. And so I began using my cellphone to start a text brigade of prayers. While the operation was ongoing, I requested almost everybody I know to offer a small prayer for my wife and for our baby, while I utter endless prayers myself.
About two hours later, I was called to come inside the operating room. My heart was pounding so fast, as the circulating nurses helped me wear an OR gown, mask and cap. Did something go wrong in the surgery? Are my mag-ina safe? I felt all the worst kind of fears in an instant. My pulse was racing against each other.
When I entered the operating room, I saw my wife lying helplessly on the operating table. My heart sank as I witness her trying to withstand all these ordeals.
The doctors explained to me that even before they were able to see the appendix, they found the culprit of the unbearable pain my wife was experiencing. They found an ovarian cyst so twisted that they knew it was the one causing the pain. They showed me what they removed – it was about the size of my fist, and part of it was gangrenous because of the blood supply that was cut in the area.
The appendix was small and was not inflamed. The doctors asked me if I still want them to remove it, since they were already there open. I decided to tell them to leave it untouched. I did not want her to suffer from trying to heal two internal wounds, and to take care of a baby inside her all at the same time.
The doctors then confirmed that my wife, and our baby were safe from the operation. That they only needed to close her so she can be brought back to her room.
As I went out of the operating room, there was some sort of relief knowing that the two were safe. I have always believed in the power of prayers and this day I knew it worked again for us.
She was brought to her room almost 4pm, and she recovered from anaesthesia in the evening. The abdominal dressing was dry and her vitals were stable.
I was a person undaunted by fears. When I feel it, I always try to overcome it, and I try to deny it. But now I realized that fears within me will not go, as I would forever worry about my loved ones. I acknowledged that the fear of losing someone dear to you is the most difficult fear to overcome.
Fears still go on inside of me. But knowing that there is Someone above who will look after us and our loved ones, I feel reassured that things are going to be okay.