Leaving My Appendix in Rabat, Morocco

April 12, 2017
Leaving My Appendix in Rabat, Morocco

During my study abroad in Rabat, Morocco, I was diagnosed with appendicitis after three days of scans, blood tests and consultations. I was scheduled for surgery and then went home to eat chocolate.

On 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, my ISA study abroad coordinator and translator, walked in with Doctor Mustafa and announced that we were going to Rabat, Morocco. Within minutes I was hauled out of bed, into the backseat of Mustafa’s car.

Leaving my Appendix in Rabat, Morocco

We pulled into the emergency entrance of an international hospital, which had a partnership with the United Arab Emirates, and was where the King and all of the ambassadors went. I was let in because I had “connections.”

My surgeon looked like Dr. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy but younger and Arab.

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. 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.

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.

Leaving my Appendix in Rabat, Morocco

“By the way,” he asked, “How much do you weigh?”

After a moment of panic, I gave him my best guess.

“Oh,” he said, “Do you know that in kilograms?”

“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.

Well that was it, I was going to die. I was sure of it. After reassuring me that he would “figure it out,” I felt the burning sensation of drugs going into my arm, and I was out.

“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 and 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, but I do remember telling her how attractive my surgeon was. Then I slept.

I spent almost three 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, where I was studying abroad, 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 of 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.


Leaving My Appendix in Rabat Morocco photos by Cydney McFarland.

About Cydney McFarland

After reading one too many National Geographic magazines as a child, Cydney experienced a case of early onset wanderlust and since then has found any excuse to travel. So far she has managed an exchange trip to Germany, a study abroad in Morocco and a 2-month solo backpacking trip through Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. You can read more about her travels on her blog. Currently Cydney is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School in Phoenix, Arizona and will soon be off to Nicaragua on an international reporting trip before graduating with her BA in Journalism in May.

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