I Left My Appendix in Morocco

Cydney McFarland is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Cydney just returned home from studying abroad with ISA in Meknes, Morocco.

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After three days of scans, blood tests and consultations I was diagnosed with appendicitis and scheduled for surgery. I went home and ate chocolate.

Saturday morning I went to Clinique de Meknes. I was put in a hospital bed and hooked up to an IV by nurse Madame Idrissi. About 20 minutes later Iman, ISA coordinator and translator, walked in with Doctor Mustafa and announced that we were going to Rabat. Within minutes I was hauled out of bed, into the backseat of Mustafa’s car.

We pulled into the Emergency entrance of an International Hospital, a partnership with the United Arab Emirates, and the hospital where the King and all the ambassadors go. I was let in because I have “connections.”

My connection, Mustafa’s son, met us at the door of the emergency room. He grabbed my IV bag and led me to a room where he explained, in excellent English, that they were just waiting for a surgery to finish, he was going to be my anesthesiologist and that my surgeon would be in momentarily.

My surgeon looked like Dr. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy but younger and Arab. The man was beautiful, and married. I asked. He poked at my appendix; talked me through my surgery, and left. A man with a wheelchair came in to take me to my room. I had never been in a wheelchair before and I tried really hard to keep the goofy grin off my face. I was sick after all.

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Within 30 minutes I was sitting under the bright lights in the operating room. A nurse put an oxygen mask over my face and told me to breathe normally. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my anesthesiologist.

“Cydney! Wake up!”

Someone was yelling at me. How very rude. “Wake up Cydney!” I opened my eyes to see my anesthesiologist at the end of a hospital bed. “Here,” he said, putting his iPhone in front of my face. There was my appendix, a huge red blob pushing up against my other organs. He swiped his finger and there it was again, sitting in a metal bowl.

He left then came back a moment later. “We’re going to your room now,” he said. I asked to call my mom. I don’t totally remember the conversation. I remember telling her how attractive my surgeon was. Then I slept.

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I spent almost 3 days in the hospital in Rabat before finally being transferred back to the hospital in Meknes.

Doctor Mustafa’s wife, who was also one of my nurses, picked us up in Meknes and drove us back to the Clinique de Meknes. I immediately called one of my roommates to bring me clean clothes, my computer and chocolate. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday passed. I got fewer injections, more pureed vegetables, more yogurt, a few visitors and an English TV channel. Finally on Thursday I was disconnected from my IV and sent home, where I promptly took a shower.

Afterwards, I was taken off all my medications and was cleared by the doctor to go camping and camel riding in the Sahara Desert the next weekend. We only had one more month in Morocco. While I enjoyed my time in Morocco, I was not ready to leave my heart. Morocco had to settle for my appendix.

P.S. Thanks so much to the ISA staff, specifically Iman, who stuck with me the whole time acting as translator and providing much-needed moral support.

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