1. hirundine
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    hirundine Member

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    Questions about appendicitis recovery

    Discussion in 'Research' started by hirundine, Jul 25, 2016.

    I'm hoping someone can help me with this.

    During the course of my novel, my antagonist gets appendicitis and has to have his appendix removed. A few chapters later, I need him to be on a rooftop shovelling volcanic ash.

    What I need to know, to help me place the appendix incident at the right time in relation to other major events, is how long would it be before he could take part in strenuous activity? I need the surgery to be recent enough that he probably shouldn't be doing anything strenuous, but healed enough that he can climb up on the roof and shovel ash when he needs to.

    Also, when he does get back on his feet, and especially when he's doing that strenuous activity - how does it actually feel, physically? I've been luck enough not to have had surgery of any kind, so I don't know.

    Further information: he has the simplest possible surgery with no complications - anything else would cause a lot of problems for my timeline.

    Thanks in advance for any help you ca give me :)
     
  2. kim&jessie
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    kim&jessie Member

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    there is no recovery time you just take your pain meds and leave the next day, though most people aren't shoveling volcanic ash so i'm not entirely sure
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this in a modern medical facility? (The volcanic ash is throwing me a bit).
     
  4. Vagrant Tale
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    Vagrant Tale Active Member

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    My appendix ruptured, and was removed. It took me almost nine months to recover and rebuild my physical strength enough to resume my original lifestyle.
     
  5. hirundine
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    hirundine Member

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    Thanks for all the info so far.

    Yes, the surgery takes place in a modern medical facility, some time (likely weeks) before the volcano erupts. I want the character to have time to recover before the volcano erupts so that he can do the stuff I need him to do, but I don't know how much time he would need.

    Also, it is going to be a simple case - appendix still intact (not ruptured) and no problems with the surgery or anything, because a long recovery time (months) would seriously screw with the timeline, and I'd have to find a new plot device to do the same job.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Is he otherwise quite healthy beforehand? My 80-year-old grandpa had appendicitis and it took him at least a couple weeks to get back on his feet, while a 20something friend of mine who had it was at work the next day (granted it wasn't a too strenuous job; being fit for shoveling might still be a couple weeks out for someone who's young and fit).
     
  7. hirundine
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    hirundine Member

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    Yes he's fit and healthy beforehand. He wouldn't be able to do all the fieldwork that goes with his job otherwise :)

    And 2-3 weeks fits the timeline very well, as does having him able to be sat at a desk monitoring the computer only a couple of days after. Thanks for that information, exactly what I needed to know.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    These are the exception and not the rule. If the appendix ruptures you might also have to recover from the massive infection. If you are elderly healing is slower regardless of the damage.

    A young healthy person in this day and age with an uncomplicated appendectomy could be back on their feet in a day or so if it is done with a laproscopic procedure. That means you have a very small incision thus little time needed to heal.
    If you have the standard procedure, the main issue with recovery, especially if the intestine is manipulated too much is the intestine stops moving. First you wait for it to become active again (a day or so) and you can have a lot of pain if gas accumulates while the bowel is hypoactive.

    Once that sorts itself out, you have a problem with your weakened abdominal muscle. But the incision for a routine appendectomy is still very small, only a couple inches. That can take a couple weeks to heal enough you no longer need to be worried about rupturing the suture line.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    Having experienced the ash-fall of Mt St Helens, I'm curious why you would be thrown by the volcanic ash.
    [​IMG]
    Alaska and Canada also have regular ash fall events requiring roof shoveling.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Really? Canada regularly has ash fall events that require roof shovelling? Please, tell me more.
     
  11. tropicanahana
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    tropicanahana Member

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    Back to appendicitus...

    My cousin had a long appendicitus healing process. I don't know exactly how long before she regained physical strength, but she was in bed for at least a month. Poor thing got it removed at the end of high school, she was in the hospital for a week, and then stayed in bed for weeks, missing out on prom and just got to attend her graduating in a wheel chair - but went to bed right after that and pretty much I didn't see or hear from her for a month.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    "Regularly" is relative to how often volcanoes erupt, I didn't mean regularly as in every other year.

    A preliminary volcanic ash fall susceptibility map of Canada

    AK volcanoes have resulted in significant Canadian and Alaskan ash falls in the past.

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs075-98/

    It only takes one eruption. I'm just saying, shoveling ash to prevent roof collapses is not so unusual. The most ash from Mt St Helens fell hundreds of miles away in Spokane. The roads were closed from Spokane to Richland where I was for a week and when it reopened people had to follow a police car in a caravan because visibility was so poor.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I guess because I was there, it didn't seem unusual for me. The fact the ash fell so heavily hundreds of miles from the volcano was a learning experience.
     
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  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, "regularly" like "hasn't actually happened yet but might someday". I get it.
     
  14. hirundine
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    hirundine Member

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    Only I could spark a debate about volcanic ash by asking a question about appendicitis.

    With regards to the original question, thanks for all the information about appendicitis. I've decided to extend my timeline by a couple of weeks or so to give my character a longer recovery time. This will also give more time for tension to develop between the protagonist and her love interest before the beginning of the climax, so while having to change the timeline is a bit of a pain, it's probably going to work out for the best.

    Thanks again for all the help.
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    No, like happened in 1912 (AK and Canada) and in 1980 (WA and ID) and more locally in AK three times since 1912. Mt Lassen erupted in 1915 in CA.

    Sorry, it's just a matter of perspective. When St Helens was erupting weeks before the big one, my boyfriend and I had gone camping close to the peak more than once. I was fascinated. He said it was dangerous. I had no concept of just how dangerous until the May 18th eruption. Some of the places we'd been camping had 9 inches of ash when we went back. The black-snow covered peak I was so fascinated by was obliterated. The new crater rim barely rose above the tree line from the same viewpoint we'd been a only a couple weeks before the eruption.

    You could have told me a hundred times, I could have read about it an equal number, but it was meaningless until I saw it for myself.
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    Just out of curiosity, which volcano erupts in your story? Or is it a fictional one?
     
  17. hirundine
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    Laacher See in Germany.

    It's a real volcano. Most scientists think it's highly unlikely that there will be an eruption there (or anywhere else in the area for that matter) for thousands of years. I understand the scientists enough to think they are probably right. But once it occurred to me, I thought the idea of an eruption that could dump loads of ash all over western Europe (including a noticeable amount deposited on my house in here in England, if the wind happened to be going in the right direction) was too epic to ignore.

    Also, highly improbable is not the same as impossible.
     

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