Nurse: You have acute appendicitis.
Me: Thank you!
That old joke was the first thing to run through my mind when they’d told me I’d be spending the night at Albany Med. That hospital is a tremendous place, and within hours they whisked me from the emergency department’s waiting room to surgery.
Typically these days there’s no Lyndon Johnson style scar; routine appendectomies are done laparoscopically with just three small incisions. It’s a common procedure, but it wasn’t that long ago, before the advent of modern surgical techniques, that your appendix could kill you. That remains the case in parts of the world where people don’t have adequate medical care.
This is probably something that my surgeon, Dr. David Kuehler could tell you about; he spends half the year in Africa treating people who don’t have great hospitals and health insurance. Many of them are lucky to see a doctor at all.
Considering the state of current events, it was an interesting week to have an intimate look at health care in America; what kind of country would this be if everyone couldn’t get the same sort of care I received?
By the way, there will be no picture of my scars, which are pretty boring compared to Johnson’s.