Quick version: I merely have a virus, my appendix won't have to come out.
Last night wasn't good. The pain on my right side got worse and worse. I caught two hours of sleep, and was in a new kind of agony when I woke up. I really wanted to wait another day before going to a doctor, but WebMD kept suggesting "appendicitis" which made me nervous. In fact, the doctor I picked at random*
suggested I go directly to the ER instead of setting up an appointment since it sounded like appendicitis.
Luckily for me, I beat the ER rush and hardly had to wait. (The last time I went to an ER, it was Christmas Eve day, and I had to wait for hours.) The doctor couldn't determine whether it was appendicitis by poking and prodding at me, so I got a CAT scan! I guess it's old hat for everyone else, but passing my body through this technological doughnut... it felt like Star Trek to me.
It's also not quite like medical TV shows, in that once the doctor decides to do the CAT scan, there is no magic edit to the X-ray room. You have to spend a couple of hours drinking barium-laced apple juice first. Then you go through the doughnut once. After that, there is a contrast agent they inject you with. The technician told me it would feel warm, and then... whoa. Different parts of my body felt like they were heating up, but it didn't hurt. Then it was through the doughnut one last time.
By this point, my mom had come to visit, and we waited an hour for the results to come in. Appendix is fine, lymph nodes are big: it's a virus, not appendicitis. It should clear up in a few days on its own. So I could have gotten away with not going to the hospital this time, but it would have been a stupid risk. Now I just have to make sure I don't get boned by my health insurance.
Our family doctor retired years ago, and since I'm on a different health insurance program anyway, I never picked a new one.