Today’s blog goes out to our next-door neighbor, great friend and honorary Uncle to Lucy: David Petrarca, who was struck with appendicitis on Saturday night. After an emergency appendectomy in the wee hours of the morning, he emerged groggy but unscathed. Man, times have changed. David was in the hospital for only one day, and is able to walk, albeit uncomfortably, just 24 hours later. Apparently all appendectomies are now done through the belly button, with two other tiny incisions elsewhere. The stitches dissolve by themselves and there’s absolutely no scarring.
However, for those of us who got our appendix out in 1972, it looked a little more like this:
That’s orange iodine stain covering my belly from the operation, which put me in the hospital for four days (am I right about that, Mom?) and it was emblazoned on my scrapbook as The Great Appendix Caper. I still have the scar, which is no smaller than it was during Nixon’s term.
I remember the hospital being more fun than I could imagine – I got grape Jell-o on command, lots of visitors, and a ceramic dog that held a plant I kept alive for years. I loved the nurses, and they would pal around in my room. This experience made me a little weird; I actually enjoy hospitals. I know they make most people want to kill themselves, but I’ve always appreciated them deeply.
Oh, and by the way… what the hell is up with appendixes? The tail end of your large intestine that just sits there like a time bomb ready to kill you? I take it from research that it is probably the vestigial remains of a distant evolutionary relative who ate a lot of leaves, but why does the appendix have to be so mean-spirited? The male nipple, wisdom teeth, our coccyx, ear muscles and body hair may all be useless reminders of our forgotten past, like an ancient dinner guest who says nothing and eats little, but at least they know how to behave!