Appropriate, isn’t it? I’d been home in Brisbane for about 36 hours and I’d already had two serves of my dad’s own caught crabs. First, a simple boiled sand crab and then on Sunday night, my dad’s chilli crabs. I said I could die happy, but I’ve now learnt to be careful what I say.

Because less than 24 hours later, I was hurtled away in a screeching ambulance.

On Monday morning, my abdomen and bowels decided to call mutiny on their captain and by Monday afternoon, they were eminating indescribable pains from all around – my left ab, my sternum, bottom right – long sharp agonising pains and short sharp stabs. I was rolling around the floor cluchting myself in agony and with one last shot of mutiny, my body subjected me to the most violent act of vomiting I’ve ever committed. Like vomit out your nose kind. Sorry, TMI I know.

My parents called the ambulance, who I have to say took their sweet time to arrive (30mins) but when they did, the paramedics were specacular, dosing me up on the strongest pain killers they had. Even my eyeballs were happy. I survived through ER triage and eventually at about 9pm Monday night, I was admitted into Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.

Even after addimission into ER, they still didn’t know what was wrong with me. Signs indicated that it wasn’t my appendix, because the pain came from all over my abdomen. Usually appendix-related issues causes appendix-area pain, simple things that the are. So the tests began.

I had 7 blood tests (which turned out to be a drop in the ocean compared to what they would take from me over the next few days), at least 4 urine tests, a stool test (oh goodbye dignity), an abdominal ultrasound, an abdominal xray, a pelvic ultrasound, a pelvic exam and a pelvic scan – all three of which are quite different procedures, for those of you playing doctors and nurses at home (and not like that).

The tests still didnt conclude why I was hurting all over, but it did show one thing – my itty bitty useless appendix had swollen to twice of its normal size and was threatening to burst and we all know a burst appendix could mean DEATH, right? Sorry to sensitive readers but basically, yes. So without really discovering the cause of my other pain I was rushed into have my appendix removed.

The procedure to remove an appendix is usually very simple. Three keyhole incisions, they snip the thing off and voila! you’re back home the next day. I wish mine was so simple. It was only during the procedure that surgeons noticed something awry. Not only had my appendix gorged in size, it had extended its infection across to my large intestines, leaving much of it heaving with bacterial ungoodness. Along with that, it’d also gotten itself stuck under my bowels. 🙁

So with me unconscious, the wise consulting surgeon made the decision to rid me of all of this, and at the same time remove not only my appendix but 1/3 of my large intestines. Yep. My surgery evolved from what was to be a simple keyhole procedure to a major surgery instead – a right-hemicolectomy on my little body. I now have two keyhole piercings and one mother incision which runs from my belly button all across my right side, cutting deep through my abdominal muscles. Incidentally, my dad (I am clearly his daughter) describes it as cutting through pork belly.


It’s now been exactly a week and recovery has been slow, steady and painful. Who knew we used our abs for everything? Talking, laughing, walking, lifting, sitting, sneezing, coughing – omg the coughing KILLS! – I’m gaining new respect for my abs everyday.

I’m also infinitely grateful that all this happened while I’m in Brisbane, where my parents live and they’ve been nothing but amazing in helping me along, from visiting me three times a day in hospital to now giving up their bed for me, because their room is on the ground floor. And not to mention mum’s healing culinary remedies…

Anyway, on a side note, all the while this was happening, I was comparing myself to James Franco in 127 Hours – which if you haven’t seen, it is a brilliant movie and I’m not just saying it because I’m utterly in lust with the guy. But seriously. James Franco was nothing like me! He was an actor FFS who was paid billions to later host the Oscars high (was this ever confirmed? I was a little busy in pain…) but Aron Ralston on the other hand, now he an international hero. But whatever, I did 159 hours of pain, bitches.

So that’s me people! Guess I’m not eating anything exciting for the next few weeks, but hope y’all will stay with me for my road to recovery anyway. I’ve already taken photos of my mum’s chicken soup 🙂

41 Thoughts on “Stop! SURGERY TIME. My past week in surgery hell and oh yeah, dad’s chilli crabs

  1. jonk on March 8, 2011 at 3:48 am said:

    wow!!! i hope you heal up soon if only so you can get back to better(?) noms, tho you really can’t complain about homemade chicken soup!

  2. Wow–Catty! What a nightmare. I’m glad you’re back at home now and resting and recovering. And I hope you don’t get bored of the dull food! Maybe you will become a smoothie expert? 🙂

  3. Seriously had just seen your tweet about having 1/3 of your intestine removed and was like, “Um that shouldn’t normally happen!” (Not like I’m a doctor or something, but I’ve had my fair share of “OMG I think my appendix is going to burst” experiences that later turn out to be nothing but I’ve google’d myself senseless about appendectomies in the interim. Um, hypochondriac. Yes.) Again, glad you were home with your parents. Hope you have enough miles in your account to get yourself back to London b-class style, fully horizontal. xxxoo

  4. Poor baby, I hope the shrinkage of the intestine means you will always have a super model figure and can eat more pork bellies than ever. Wish you a speedy recovery and tell your dad I want that Chili Crab.

  5. rest well and heal fast PL! what a harrowing experience. the only lucky thing abt all this is that it happened in Brisbane!

  6. Kat Frost on March 8, 2011 at 4:29 am said:

    oh god glad they caught it in time and you’re ok, hope it hasn’t put your dad off making delish looking chilli crabs ever again!

  7. Dear girl, I am sooooo sorry to hear about all of this pain you are going through. At the same time, I’m in awe of how brilliantly you have maintained your good humor (and with a dad like yours, we can see where it comes from – pork belly indeed! 8-D). It’s great that you are with your parents – in times like these, there’s nothing better than being coddled by mum and dad!

    Wishing you a comfortable, quick and full recovery!

  8. Oh Catty… I’ve been thinking about you a lot and I hope you are on your way to recovery. I’m so sorry I won’t see you again before you head back to London, but most importantly I hope you will feel 100% soon! Big hugs xxx

  9. hi Cat, so sorry to hear of all that pain!! Poor you it must have been a nightmare! 🙁 Hope you feel better soon, and just keep thinking of those chilli crabs mmmmmmm 😛

  10. Get well soon! I had an inkling something might be up as you haven’t been blogging for about a week. And the thing is you always blog!

  11. what a nightmare! get well soon Catty.

  12. Crikey, Catty, you poor thing. Sounds horrendous and so sorry to hear you’ve been suffering so much.
    I guess it will take time to heal. Will it have any long term impact to be missing a third of your intestine? I hope not.
    Take care!

  13. Oh no….I was wondering how you were doing as haven’t seen any blogging from you. Hope you have a speedy recovery! and a wonderful time indulging in your parent’s home cooking and delicious soups!

  14. Oh! 🙁 That’s absolutely terrifying but I’m so glad you’re out of the hospital now and on the road to full recovery! Take care and do let us know if there’s anything in London you need done!

  15. That sounds horrific – I hope you’re up and about again soon.

  16. Oh no you poor thing that sounds totally horrific. Sending you lots of well wishes Catty xx

  17. Wishing you better! It’s a good thing you are at home and can get pampered:)

  18. Charmaine on March 8, 2011 at 11:54 am said:

    I still can’t believe you had to go through all that – but again THANK GOD you’re being nursed back to health by your lovely parents. When you’re in such a state family is the best medicine 🙂 Take care dear. Will you be on schedule to come back to London/go to South Africa?

  19. Oh my god! Hoping the recovery is swift. Thank goodness for being at home with ready nurses and chicken soup on hand. Get well soon…

  20. Poor ole Catty, what a ‘mare…but you’re right, lucky it happened there with your ‘rents to take care of you!

  21. Oh girl! that is not good at all – still at least you were/are home. All us expats know that’s exactly where you want to be if under the weather. Hope it’s not been too warm down there. Good luck for a full recovering.

  22. So sorry to hear about the long ordeal. Hope the recovery goes well and you are back to relishing us with your foodie adventures soon

  23. Oh Catty! I am so glad you;re out and on the mend. It was t you are right about one think – back home is the best (bestbestbest) place to be. Because you know what, nothing gets you better than your mum’s chicken soup. Nothing. Nada. So lie back, relax as best you can, and mend.

  24. Oops, got was typing too fast. That middle bit was meant to say: “It was such a shock to read about what was happening on twitter”

  25. Gosh, so THAT’S what you’ve been up to. Hope you heal up soon, been missing your lunch tweetpics 🙂

  26. Oh noooooo! I hadn’t realized it was so serious until I read this. I really hope you can have a relaxing time recovering with your family. Lots of hugs from us. x

  27. Blog surfed over from MC. Love the energy and colours you have going on this page!

    God bless your parents! Rest and get better soon!

  28. Thanks for all the love, everyone! I’m working on getting better and absorbing as much parental love as I humanly can…

  29. Oh, Sweetie, you had a very close call. I have been wondering why you haven’t been blogging… I’m sad for your experience. But I’m glad for your life. Please get well.

  30. Oh god that sounds horrific – you poor thing! Wishing you a speedy recovery, take care.

  31. Bliss on March 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm said:

    Been reading your blog for awhile. So sorry to hear you were in so much pain. Glad you’re being looked after and hope you have a smooth recovery

  32. How terrifying for you and your family, thank god you are alright.

    I had the mega giggles about 5 days after I had my son by c-section due to all the mad post-birth hormones but it hurt too much to laugh.

    Hope you’ll be back to your normal eating self soon – your sense of humour is clearly up and running first!


  33. Oh my dear God. I specialised in gastroenterology this year at uni, it’s good they removed part of your large bowel and not your small intestines cause that’s the really crucial part of your gut!

    Take care Catty! And hope you get back to eating delicious things soon!!!

  34. Vivien on March 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm said:

    hey catty,
    So sorry to hear that you had to go through all that! I wish you a speedy recovery so you can enjoy your food without pain.

  35. Mark Z on March 11, 2011 at 11:12 am said:

    Hi Cat… deary me! Really glad to hear that you were well looked after and I know, from both my sisters having their appendix removed in the last two years, that you’ll be back to normal in no time (one even had a baby :)) Take care!

  36. Damn girl Hope you are making a recovery. My mate just had her appendix taken out- they initially thought it was gastro but then it got worst. Lucky she had a 2nd opinion!

    Don’t worry, knowing you, you will be back to eating all sorts of sweet stuff!

    Take care and glad to hear your family is around.

  37. Again thanks everyone for all the well wishes and concern. Just FYI, I had an extended hemicolectomy, which is where they remove parts of your large intestines. I think some of you think I had an appendectomy but it was a little more than that. An appendectomy is a much easier surgery so if you need to have that done, don’t stress, it isn’t as bad as what I had!

    Anyway I am definitely on the mend!

  38. Oh no Catty! Sheesh that’s no good is it? Glad to hear you’re on the mend though!

  39. Oh Catty. You poor thing. Speedy recovery, hope to see you back in London soon. xx

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