Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mardi Gras and my Appendix (or the lack thereof)

I love Mardi Gras! Not that we actually do much celebrating of Mardi Gras up here in The Great White North. But, I spent 5 years at LSU in Baton Rouge and 4 years at Tulane Med School in New Orleans, so I got to experience true South Louisiana Mardi Gras 9 times. And I still miss it, even after 20+ years!

One of those 9 years I don't miss, though. In 1993, my junior year of medical school, PWM and I were going to have a party on Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. We lived in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, just a block from Veterans Avenue, so we planned to have people come over for dinner and then we would go see a parade. On Saturday, I went grocery shopping then came home. Soon after that, the trouble started.

I started having a stomach ache and nausea like I'd never had before, so I had PWM take me to the hospital. Since I was a Tulane student, you'd think I would have gone to Tulane Hospital. No. Not only was Tulane Hospital downtown where there was more traffic and the downtown parades, but there were Tulane residents. (The students were off rotation until after Mardi Gras.) I had a bad feeling about what was going on and I didn't want to be in the hospital where Tulane residents (and maybe students) would be on my care team. So, we went to Oschner Hospital.

After a short wait in the waiting room, too many visits by various levels of residents, and too long a wait for an attending surgeon, they finally all agreed that I had appendicitis. By this time, I was pretty sure I had appendicitis, too, and I was ready for a bed, some pain meds, and for everyone to quit mashing on my belly!!

The next morning, instead of going to church and then more parades, I had my appendix out. I was fortunate enough to get sent home that night, but I missed out on all the fun parades. Our apartment was close enough to Veterans that we could hear all kinds of partying going on that Monday and Tuesday. As it was, I was just hanging out and recovering.

I made it back to  school on Wednesday because medical students work unless they are dead. My attending threatened to ask for a pathology report, although I don't know why since I showed up and didn't ask for the day off. My resident, though, felt sorry for me and let me go early that day.

Despite this one bad Mardi Gras experience, I miss being around South Louisiana for Mardi Gras weekend. 

What's your favorite part of Mardi Gras? 

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