“We arrived at 12:30 and I was in surgery by 3:30 . . . and home by 8:00 pm.”
For Jonathan Reppe, time matters. Just ask his appendix.
The pain in his abdomen started on Friday morning. “I kept telling my wife I’d just make an appointment on Monday,” he says. “My assistant at work said, ‘Do you realize you’re holding your side and groaning?’ But I had to get some work done.”
The pain was worse on Saturday; so was Jonathan’s list of projects at the Armory, the events venue he owns with his wife Liz. Finally, Liz convinced him not to wait. They drove to NH+C’s Urgent Care in Lakeville; a quick exam sent him immediately to the Emergency Department at Northfield Hospital. “The pain was getting so severe that I couldn’t tolerate people pushing on my abdomen,” Jonathan recalls. A CT scan confirmed acute appendicitis. Jonathan needed surgery, immediately.
Surgeon Katya Ericson, MD “had great confidence,” Jonathan says. “Her attitude was reassuring to me.” Since his last surgery was at age 10, it was calming to know he was in expert hands.
“Dr. Ericson and the team were all fantastic,” including CT technologist Dan Smith, who explained how the CT process would feel: “If you don’t know beforehand, you might panic going into that machine. I appreciated that there wasn’t anything unexpected.”
Jonathan felt that personal attention at every step, he adds: “That friendly style of interaction makes a big difference when you’re not quite sure what’s going on and what’s going to happen.”
Dr. Ericson performed laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that heals more quickly than open surgery.
“I was very surprised how comfortable I was after recovery; no pain at all,” Jonathan says. “Both nurses were fantastic. It was a change of shift, and it felt seamless.”
Jonathan went home about five hours later. “They gave me the choice to stay overnight; I felt I’d sleep better at home, so I chose to go home,” he says. He rested up in the days that followed. “Finally, a good excuse not to get those chores done,” Jonathan laughs.
For a reluctant patient, Urgent Care was “less scary to consider than going straight to the Emergency Department,” Jonathan admits. “When the Urgent Care nurse said, ‘Go to the ED,’ here was someone with expertise telling me the level of care that I needed.”
Of course, it was Liz who really motivated him, Jonathan says: “Her insistence that I go was a large factor. Men my age tend to think, ‘I’ll be fine, I’ll just make an appointment, I don’t want to mess with my schedule.’ But health is sometimes inconvenient; you don’t always get to choose when your health needs attention.”
His advice? “Men need to pay attention to the signals being sent by your body. We’re trained to disregard pain because everything else is more important. But especially when it’s unusual pain – not usual aches and pains that feel familiar – it’s important to get it checked out.”
No matter what’s on the to-do list.
Learn more about General Surgery.