There are still many lessons to learn on being prepared. – Little Tassie Prepper

There are still many lessons to learn on being prepared.

Last week we had a little emergency that highlighted some issues with our preps.  I received a call at work early in the morning from Kitty.  Apparently my eldest son had stomach pains and the doctor believed it was my son’s appendix.  The doctor recommended that my son attend the hospital immediately.  To be honest, when Kitty told me this, I queried how urgent it could be if there was no ambulance… yet I told Kitty to come meet me on the way in and I would drive them to the Emergency department (which was where he was advised to attend).  When I hung up the phone I wondered whether Kitty would remember to take an overnight bag for my son… yet I realised that it was a silly question… of course she would.

A little over an hour later Kitty called from the bottom of my building.  Her mobile phone was unable to make calls (yet it could received them), and she needed to use my building phone to contact me.  I rushed downstairs and, once in the car, I drove them to the hospital.  Kitty revealed that she had forgotten the overnight bags in her haste to depart, and I also missed the turn off to the Emergency department (So I had to drop them off a block from the hospital while I found a long term parking spot).

An older image of the hospital.

After I parked (which took around 20 minutes to find… parking is terrible in Hobart) I rushed over to the hospital and found the Emergency department pretty crowded.  Being at the hospital reminded me how much I hate it.  Hobart’s hospital is so dated… their Private wing looks worse than the public wing in a Canberra hospital.  Don’t get me started on their public wing… It is almost like an triage from a war zone.  After I ensured Kitty had registered him with reception, I handed her my mobile so she had a means to call me if she needed to stay overnight.  Then I almost had to run back to work to grab my gear then rush to my car to drive home.  I needed to arrive home before school finished as my children would freak out if they couldn’t get into the house.

The drive home was extremely frustrating, with several road work sections slowing me down, as well as drivers who feel that 70kph an hour is the best speed to drive in while in a 100kph zone (they usually speed up when you try to overtake them). I arrived home minutes before the school bell and I was able to explain to my children the situation.

It doesn’t look like this… yet it isn’t much of an improvement.

Later in the evening, Kitty called to say they were intending to operate on my son to remove his appendix… yet they were also unsure of what had caused his pain.  I expressed my concern… how could they remove an organ (albeit, one which is not really required) if they didn’t know they needed to do it?  Kitty didn’t know the answer, yet she was going to sit with my son and sleep in the chair next to his bed.  The next morning they considered operating again, yet by lunch time they decided it wasn’t his appendix (they didn’t know what it was) and they send him home after lunch.


What did I learn from this?

Firstly, don’t trust medical opinions.  These doctors were, apparently, willing to operate on my son to remove his appendix whilst they had no idea if it was the cause of the problems.  I suspect they would have done it, expect our medical system is so appalling they couldn’t get him booked in for the operation until after his symptoms abated.

Secondly… don’t expect Kitty to remember to pack the overnight bag.  I should have reminded her, yet I thought it was silly as I (wrongly) assumed she would know better.  When you are in an urgent or unexpected situation it is hard to remember things.  Normally she would have known to take the bag, yet with the doctor advising her to urgently take my son to Emergency… well, it would have un-nerved anyone.  As someone who wasn’t feeling that stress I should have reminded her to take a bag incase he had to stay the night.

Thirdly… I need to introduce my two younger children to procedures incase Kitty or I are not home when they finish school.  It never happens, yet it would be smart to prepare for such an event.

Finally, I really don’t like hospitals!  I admit that my opinions of Hobart hospital are very biased.  I just do not like being near them.

2 thoughts on “There are still many lessons to learn on being prepared.

  • Sorry to hear about you and your family’s awful experience, LTP! Hope your son is much better now.
    I believe a simple blood test for excess white cells (for infection) could have determined if he had appendicitis.
    BTW, the old story about the appendix being unnecessary has taken a well-deserved beating from recent scientific research.

    “Today, the appendix is recognized as a highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply. This is not what we would expect from a degenerate, useless structure.

    The appendix contains a high concentration of lymphoid follicles. These are highly specialized structures which are a part of the immune system. The clue to the appendix’s function is found in its strategic position right where the small bowel meets the large bowel or colon. The colon is loaded with bacteria which are useful there, but which must be kept away from other areas such as the small bowel and the bloodstream.

    Through the cells in these lymphoid follicles, and the antibodies they make (see box below), the appendix is ‘involved in the control of which essential bacteria come to reside in the caecum and colon in neonatal life’.6 Like the very important thymus gland in our chest, it is likely that the appendix plays its major role in early childhood. It is also probably involved in helping the body recognize early in life that certain foodstuffs, bacterially derived substances, and even some of the body’s own gut enzymes, need to be tolerated and not seen as ‘foreign’ substances needing attack.
    But if it has a function, why can it be removed without ill effects?

    Our body has been brilliantly designed, with plenty in reserve, and the ability for some organs to take over the function of others. Thus there are a number of organs which everybody agrees have a definite function, but we can still cope without them. Some examples:

    Your gall bladder has a definite function—it stores bile from the liver, and squirts it into the intestine as required to help with the digestion of fat. However, it can be removed and the body will cope—for instance, by secreting more bile continuously.
    You can cope with having a kidney out, because there is still enough kidney tissue left in the other one. (In the same way, a part of the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue, which includes the appendix, can be removed, and the remaining lymphoid tissue will usually be enough to carry on the total function). You won’t suffer from having your thymus out (if you’re an adult), because this extremely important gland, which ‘educates’ your immune cells when you are very young, is then no longer required. This is likely to be very relevant to the appendix.“

    • Wow Jan, you sure know alot about medicine. I always considered the appendix as a second stomach… something we don’t really need anymore due to changes in diet.

      It turned out that I misunderstood Kitty when she told me the story… they were not about to operate, they were just ready to do so if he turned out to have an urgent need for it. My mistake.

      I still have my appendix, and I am glad my son still has his. We don’t know exactly what caused the issue, yet he is back to himself… Yet, he isn’t acting the same as he did before the event. Being a teenager he thinks he knows everything and doesn’t need anyone. I think having this happen taught him a valuable (and timely) lesson about the importance of family.

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