My cat now makes us paranoid. Ever since she saved my life by diagnosing my abdomen pain, my husband and I have verbally credited her with medical superpowers, but now we’re taking it a bit too far. Just last night, for example, as Tori did her usual “king of the mountain” pose (hind legs on the mattress, front legs on my husband’s chest pinning him to the bed), my husband said:
“Maybe I have a heart ailment, and Tori’s letting me know.”
“Does your heart hurt?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
(The cat should be standing on our heads because we’re clearly ailing in that vicinity. But if she is diagnosing my husband’s heart condition, you’ll know you read about it here first.)
Regardless, I’m still thankful and do credit this shedding animal with saving my life, not just diagnosing me with potential appendicitis.
Because my story didn’t end with an antibiotic cure (curse) for diverticulitis. Or a course of antibiotics followed by a strict diet.
That was what I expected to hear when I returned for my follow-up appointment last week. I thought my doctor would say something like this:
“Good job suffering through those antibiotics, Sara! Just a few more days of that torture plus a diet of dos and don’ts, and you’re good to go.”
Plus a few “rah rahs” and “yay, you!” thrown in for good measure — and, maybe, if I were very, very good girl, she would add, “OK, you can stop your antibiotics early.”
But I got nothing like that. What I heard was:
“You need to have surgery.”
Wow. That was unexpected.
You see, I didn’t just have diverticulitis. I had diverticulitis involving a congenital condition called, Meckel’s Diverticulum. Apparently, about 4-5 weeks into my fetal development, I joined 2 percent of the population (yay! Top 2 percent! I knew I was special!). This percentage of people have this special extra pocket attached to their intestines that contains intestinal tissue and, in more than 50 percent of the cases, ectopic tissue or cells from other body parts (what you might expect if a congenital pack rat named Meckel carried a purse).
“Once you have a ‘complication,’ and diverticulitis is a complication,” my doctor explained, “it is customary to have the area removed.”
So the good news is my diverticulitis wasn’t caused by food and I’m not required to consume a seed- or nut-free diet, because the thought of living without strawberries and almonds was a bit more than I could bear.
The other good news is that my husband’s explanation to everyone on the planet which he sprinkled lavishly with the terms “aging” and “as we grow older” and otherwise indicated I was ailing from something because I fit those two categories… was wrong! I’m messed up because I have a birth defect. So there! This is what a Meckel’s diverticulum looks like in medical images that explain a Meckel’s diverticulectomy:
The bad news is I have to have surgery, and I’m not sure what my congenital pack rat has stowed away in this extra little pouch deep in my intestines. Plus I don’t scar nicely, seem to be allergic to the adhesive on bandages, and react weirdly to pain medications. Also, I don’t like pain much. And I likely will have to take yet another round of antibiotics.
So pray for me, please. (I’m fairly certain I will have a blog post about combatting fear publishing on this site soon.)
And pray that Tori, the cat with medical superpowers, isn’t diagnosing an imminent heart condition in my dear husband. I’m going to need him to take care of me first.
P.S. Here’s a portrait of Tori in which she was sticking out her tongue. She’d been licking herself and prepping for a nice cat nap. Then she stopped and just left her tongue hanging where my camera could catch it. Yes, her eyes appear to be two different colors because of the flash. Maybe it’s just evidence of her superpowers. Her sassy superpowers.