One year before my rectal cancer and all this IBS "fun" started for me, my husband had an emergency appendectomy. He occasionally would have heartburn but OTC meds took care of it. That evening, meds wouldn't relieve the "heartburn". It just kept getting worse and worse. Something woke me up at 2 a.m. and he was downstairs pacing the floor, sitting down, rubbing his stomach one minute, groaning and belching the next. Doing everything that used to help heartburn in the past but all of it combined wasn't even putting a dent into the pain. He called our Internist first thing at 8 a.m., they said to come right in. Long story short, as soon as they touched his stomach he about shot off the table. They sent him straight to the ER, they did a blood test or some test to confirm the appendix was inflamed (it shows up on this test). He had surgery the afternoon. It never ruptured and his recovery was considered normal. Since this was back in 1998, he had a two inch incision, which was quite painful which surprised him. Another long story short, we both realized the night before's heartburn was nothing like heartburn because it got worse and worse. Ever since then, I made a mental note for our daughters and myself, to always check something like this out, if it happens to any one of us.
And I often wonder why my surgeon didn't remove my appendix, he removed nearly all of my sigmoid, 15 inches of my colon, gall bladder and gave me a temporary ostomy. Later I even asked - you got my appendix didn't you? I might have even asked if they got my spleen too. He just sighed and said no. At the time I was relieved, realizing they did a whole lot to me that day but later, I wondered why not remove organs that could potentially become infected?
And just a few years ago an ex SIL who's a nurse told me that surgeons are not so quick to remove infected appendixes. I said what? After seeing how much my husband was in, I don't know how he could have stood it much longer. Later we realized he should have gone to the ER that evening and not waited so long. But back then we had high ins copays, as we do now. Now an ER visit has a copay of $250.