Dorrell Faces Abdominal Infection, leads to surgery

Kaete Schmidt, Graphic Manager

On Jan. 28 senior Amanda Dorrell was admitted into the hospital and one day later was under the scalpel in the operation room. What had seemed to be harmless abdominal pain, turned into a life-threatening infection in just a matter of days.

“For like two and a half weeks, I just had abdomen pain, but I just thought that I was fine until it got to the point where my parents were like, “No, you need to go to the doctor’. They were thinking that if I would have waited a couple more days I could have gone into septic shock,” Dorrell said.

Dorrell made the primary visit to the emergency room on Jan. 24. The doctors performed no tests and assumed it was a possible ovarian cyst or  gastrointestinal infection, a condition common during the winter time. Dorrell was released with no exact diagnosis, although the following Monday, Dorrell and her parents made the decision to return to the hospital. This time around, the doctors performed a CT scan as well as a sonogram, both showing a 10 centimeter wide abscess in her abdomen. Dorrell was immediately admitted into the hospital where she would now spend the next 16 days.

“They found a 10 cm wide abscess in my lower abdomen so they did laparoscopic surgery and I had three incisions and they drained the abscess and they also found infection and had to take the infection out,” Dorrell said.

Due to the infection, Dorrell received three Jackson-Pratt (JP) drains that successfully removed the infection from her abdomen. The drains remained in for a couple weeks following Dorrell’s release from the hospital.

“The main reason I stayed in the hospital is because my white blood cell count was so high. In ICU it was at like 53, I think is the highest it got. So once that was under control, they were able to just keep me on oral antibiotics,” Dorrell said. “Every day [after I left] I went to the hospital. I had a picc line in my arm so they did IV antibiotics too.”

After an extensive stay in the hospital, Dorrell now had to get back into the swing of daily life.

“When I first got home I didn’t go up and down the stairs and my bedroom is upstairs so I had to sleep on the couch for a couple nights. I couldn’t lay on my side or stomach so, I had to lay on my back which was kind of hard to get used to at first. I just had the drains clipped to my shirt so I had to maneuver around with those and be careful they weren’t getting caught on anything,” Dorrell said. “The doctor said I shouldn’t come back to school with the drains. Even when I got home we had to gate my dog in the back room because we were afraid he would jump on me.”

While Dorrell faced difficulties during daily activities, she faced some difficulties mentally as well.

“I think throughout being in the hospital I really don’t know what I was thinking. I just wanted to get out of here and get better which was kind of hard because there is nothing I can do about it. I think it was just everyday hoping that the results were getting better,” Dorrell said.

Although Dorrell is still in recovery, she was able to return to school following Spring Break and is catching up on what she missed. While she is still on track to graduate, the abscess has caused some unplanned changes to senior year.

“I am still kind of tired and still weak. Also, since it was a surgery on my abdomen, my core is very weak so I am not able to do track, probably for the whole year,” Dorrell said. “My teachers are all super understanding and letting me catch up on everything.”