Sunday, August 8, 2010


Did you notice I’ve been off the grid for almost two weeks?

Don’t answer. I’d like to think you did.

It all started when I woke up in the early hours of July 27 with stomach pain. You know when you were a kid and you had a bellyache, and your mother, your father (or if you were a kid in a Disney movie, Dwayne Johnson) asked where does it hurt, and you said “all over”?

That pain.

It was worse in the morning, but as good fortune would have it I was about to go off and spend the day with my friend Pags, who’s a kidney doctor.

Pags checked me out, gave me some antacid and we hung out waiting for it to get better. It got worse. Instead of going out to lunch he drove me to the ER where I was admitted and the docs began to test for age appropriate disease. Having eliminated gallbladder, diverticulitis, and the possibility that maybe the old fool swallowed his car keys, they gave me a Cat Scan.

Bingo. They found an inflamed appendix.

I had two choices. Immediate surgery with the surgeon on call, or try to track down another surgeon whose reputation I was more familiar with. That’s like giving a cop with a ticking time bomb the option of hanging out till they can find his favorite bomb squad team. I opted for the total stranger who showed up at my bedside with a scalpel and a smile.

Two hours later, I was in recovery, minus what amounts to be a rather useless organ at any age.

The appendix, I learned, is a worm-shaped vestigial appendage — the shrunken remainder of an intestine from a remote ancestor. Evolutionary baggage that serves no real purpose. Kind of like Ryan Seacrest on American Idol.

Appendicitis is more common among people ages 10 to 30, but my doc says there’s a resurgence after 60 and once did an appendectomy on a man 5 days before his one hundredth birthday. I’m guessing the appendix was waiting for the guy to die, and he just wouldn’t cooperate, so it threw in the towel.

I’m not expecting any feedback on this post. As blogs go, this one, like my departed organ, is pretty uninspired. But you know what I’ve found over the past two weeks? Tell someone you just had emergency surgery, and they can’t wait to spill their guts out about the time some doc split their gut open.

So, feel free to share your medical history. Preferably the stuff that would make us smile and not cringe. Just be aware that you’re not covered by HIPAA.

Marshall posted on August 8, 2010 8:49 PM

Hope you get back to your fabulous self real soon.

stacie/cvs posted on August 8, 2010 9:12 PM


Lucky your books are fiction, you don't need an appendix!

Glad to know you are recovered, and it was as serious as it was. And glad to know your doctor's patients live so long...


Trevor posted on August 8, 2010 9:20 PM

Glad to hear that you are ok and on the mend.
We missed you

Debbi posted on August 8, 2010 9:45 PM

I definitely missed you. I am glad that you are feeling better and are on the road to recovery!!

jan posted on August 8, 2010 9:54 PM

I had mine out when I was in... seventh grade, I think. I had been faking sick from school for a week, just hanging out at home, reading novels and singing loudly to Genesis when, after day six, I woke up with a very real pain in my stomach. By this point, my mom was pretty sure I'd been faking and that I'd merely kicked it up a notch to get an extra few days out of it. Then it exploded and sent me to the emergency room clinging to life. While recovering, I learned that the only nintendo game the hospital had was Dr. Mario. Oh, those witty hospital folks!

At any rate, glad to see it was a success and that it was the appendix and not the clever one liners portion of your book that was removed!

Also, I can't help but assume anyone with the name Pags is either a bookie or is really hirsute. I don't know why.

Kristopher posted on August 8, 2010 11:28 PM

Just glad you are feeling better.
Take care of yourself, you have a lot of people waiting for your next book.

Steve Garber posted on August 8, 2010 11:53 PM

Here's my appendix story: Several years ago I needed a hysterectomy and I said, while you're in there rummaging around, please remove my appendix so I won't have an emergency later in life. When I came out of surgery they said they couldn't "get at it." I hope the damn thing doesn't erupt any time soon.

Missed you. Love, Nina

Nina posted on August 9, 2010 8:33 AM

I had a craniotomy one time. Have a six-inch scar above and around my right ear to prove it. I know, that explains a lot, doesn't it? ;-)

Glad you're OK!

Suzy Voices posted on August 9, 2010 8:55 AM

Glad you are back. You were missed, glad all is much better. Take two asprin and call me in the morning, no longer seems like sound advice. :)

debb posted on August 9, 2010 10:55 AM

Feel better soon Marshall!

Joyce Thomas posted on August 9, 2010 6:08 PM

I was hoping this was a joke but I think NOT...Call me if you need soup I have a great recipe! Feel better soon, Marshall..;)

Joyce Thomas posted on August 9, 2010 6:11 PM

Welcome to the "I lost my appendix during emergency surgey" group...only the strong survive! Maybe in the next Lomax and Biggs novel you could have Lomax go thru it so he can be cool like us! ;)

Jolene Johnson posted on August 9, 2010 9:20 PM

I'm just glad it wasn't your funny bone that had to go. Be well, Marshall

Sam posted on August 10, 2010 8:34 AM

Marshall, if your books are anything like this blog than I can't wait to read them. (that's not a preposition is it?)

arleen posted on August 10, 2010 5:53 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?