Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to perform an appendectomy

Pay attention, because nothing is certain
and you may need to know this someday.

Step one: Identifying appendicitis

The patient will experience a whole world of abdominal pain
and swelling on the lower right side.
Also possibly a bunch of smaller symptoms
that he won’t complain about because who cares
if your appetite is stunted when a rabid dog
is eating your intestines?

Now you’ve got to get that bomb out of him
before it blows poison.

Step two: Setting up

Morphine would be nice, but why
would you have any when you’re bound
to be performing this in the middle of the woods
or at the end of the world (like that Stephen King book)?
Well, give the poor sucker whatever you’ve got but
for Godssakes, no alcohol -- you want him to bleed to death?
If he gives you any trouble, just wait
and he’ll pass out soon enough.

Step three: Actually cutting him open

If there’s a bulge in his belly, that’s where you cut.
Otherwise, cut a hole directly between his hip and navel.
Okay, that’s not exact, but it’s the best I can tell you.
Anyway, try to keep it small, eh? Now you have
a bunch of walls of abdominal wall to hack through
-- have fun. Oh, but do your friend a favour
and cut along the muscle fiber, not across.
Apparently one of the bottom muscles layers
can just be pulled apart, not cut, and it makes
the healing better.

Ah, you know what? Just cut ‘em all.
We’re not doctors here, so you just do your best, okay?

Step four: Locating the little bastard

You’re going to cut through this membrane
that holds all the organs like water in a balloon.
Watch, don’t let anything fall out -- that’s important stuff.

The appendix: it pops out right where the large intestine
meets the small. Not that that’s any help to you
-- if you’ve made the incision big enough to see
all that, you’ve probably already killed your friend.
Basically, what you’re looking for is an earthworm.
A giant, pink, poison earthworm attached to the intestines.
No, no, you idiot -- that is part of the intestines! Look
for something much smaller!

Step five: The hard part

Here’s where the medical texts and sites
start using fuzzy words like “litigate” and “mobilize.”
I think you really just cut it off. Close to the base,
but not too close or you’ll slice up the intestine!
Not too far or you’ll rupture it and spill poison everywhere!
Good? I don’t know if that’s good, I’m not a doctor!
I got this off the Internet! I majored in Political Science!

Look, the way I see it this guy’s dead anyway,
so just cut it off. We’ll see what happens.

Step six: Closing up shop

You’ve probably killed him by now, but
if by some miracle he’s still breathing, stitch him up.
Hmm, I’m actually not sure how to do this. Real doctors
sew up all the different stomach layers, but they have
special thread (and medical degrees). I wonder
if regular thread will work, or if we oughta just do up
the outer layer and pray for the best. Either way, I say go nuts
with any sterilizing agents you happen to have on you.

Oh hey, you know what I heard works well for closing wounds?
Duct tape. Oh, and super glue. I hear they used it for that
in the army. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just hearsay.

That’s it. If he’s still breathing, either he’s a zombie
or you deserve an honorary medical degree
or I deserve a Noble Prize.

Photo by Ralf Roletschek

        If you had to choose one of your friends or family members (and no, you can't choose a doctor, nurse, medical student, etc.) to perform an appendectomy on you, who would you choose and why?


Shannon Teresa said...

Clearly you with all this damn research u put in. (Have I mentioned how much I love your blog format of late - yeah I love it). mmm maybe my dad, he's a paramedic so perhaps he might be able to take a stab at it and not completely screw me over

Dorkmaster Flek said...

I think that falls under the not allowed category, Shannon. :) I'd pick my mom. She's a biology teacher, so that's probably the best I can do outside of medical professionals. :)

dogimo said...


My dad, I think.


Alexis said...

my mom cuz she's a nurse, you or andrew because you guys pay attention to detail & if a topic interests you, you research as much as you can on the topic.

Claudia said...



I'm not sure. Probably Simon. He's pretty meticulous but he likes to do things right.