Useless and sinister, my appendix is a Harvard fan

Jenna Selati

A significant amount of research has been dedicated to the study of appendicitis, a potentially life-threatening medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed. The appendix is a small, worm-like appendage located in the abdominal cavity’s RLQ (right lower quadrant), and its only proven purpose is to randomly kill you. It hides amongst larger organs like the intestines and the colon, which are useful for digestion and other less malevolent activities.

Symptoms of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting, and bad stomach cramps, which aren’t so bad that you can’t drive yourself to Acute Care and stop for gas on the way. The only cure is to surgically remove the satanic tube-shaped sac, which is comparable to an exorcism. I recently battled appendicitis myself, if that wasn’t already clear.

Because appendicitis is a condition that requires immediate attention, I was given a complimentary ambulance ride from Yale Health to the YNHH emergency room. The EMTs had me walk from the ambulance to the ER waiting room, which seemed counterintuitive, but the free drive made the whole experience worthwhile.

To emphasize the urgency of my situation, the ER staff had me sit in the waiting room for two hours before seeing a doctor. This gave me time to fixate on my progressing symptoms. Once my pain had reached a high enough level, a nurse led me into a hallway littered with occupied stretchers. She brought me into a three-walled compartment, which instead of a fourth wall featured a curtain that hid absolutely nothing.

The nurse closed my curtain and instructed me to put on one of those hospital gowns designed by sadist perverts, which make you feel even more exposed than when you are actually naked. Once she had left, I stuffed three into my backpack to bring home for my friends.

For the next two hours, I sat on my hospital bed and tried to avoid eye contact with a man who was staring at me through the translucent curtain. He was lying on a stretcher in the hallway, and it was possible that he had been left there on purpose.

This distracted me from my symptoms until I was taken down the hall for an ultrasound, which doctors use to determine how hard your appendix is trying to kill you. The sonographer had to press what felt like her entire body weight into my RLQ in order to get what was still a terrible picture, and after an hour of this there was no doubt that my appendix was inflamed. Whether or not my appendix had been inflamed before the ultrasound remains unclear.

An army of surgeons-in-training immediately came to my bedside to explain that I needed surgery. Thankfully, a qualified surgeon arrived shortly after. I signed several forms without reading a single word on them, and then I was brought into the operating room.

A handsome anesthesiologist arrived to knock me out, and I made sure to write his name down in my phone before he took it away because apparently “having surgery is like flying in an airplane—the same rules apply.” That is a direct quote from my anesthesiologist, whose name I instantly regretted taking the time to write down. I've also never had to draw on my naked pelvis with a sharpie in order to board an airplane, so the rules are clearly different.

The rest of the experience was a blur. I’m not entirely sure if they actually removed my appendix because I asked if I could keep it in a jar and they told me absolutely not. The tiny, murderous organ is a biohazard, for obvious reasons.

Yale Rumpus