David Bakhtiari felt pain in his lower, right abdomen while lying on his couch two days before the Green Bay Packers’ trip to Chicago this month. He was wondering if he had strained a muscle. Perhaps a bruise.
It was perplexing, he thought, that his side only hurt when he touched it. That day, the veteran left tackle had practised. Later, on the couch, he was able to sit up without pain. The pain only became worse when he pushed on his right side.
He asked his wife, Frankie, to search for “lower right stomach pain.” Frankie, who was five days away from giving birth to their daughter, reached for her phone. As she typed, she gave Bakhtiari a look. Late in their pregnancy, the kind wives may give grumbling husbands.
Bakhtiari was initially misdiagnosed by the Packers’ medical staff. Bakhtiari immediately reported the abdominal pain when he arrived at Lambeau Field on Friday morning. Pat McKenzie, the team’s physician, thought he was joking. Bakhtiari is the Packers locker room’s resident prankster. He would be the first to report a false alarm about stomach pain.
Scans revealed that Bakhtiari’s appendix was only a few days away from rupturing if he didn’t get immediate medical attention. None of the typical appendicitis symptoms bothered him. He didn’t have a fever. There was no stomach upset. Bakhtiari could flex his abs without feeling any pain. It only hurt when he pushed on his side, but his appendix had become inflamed beyond the point of medicine or even partial removal.
Bakhtiari required the most invasive procedure, which included removing his entire appendix and stapling his colon shut. That day, he had surgery.
“It’s been crazy,” Bakhtiari said. “Very haphazard. It appeared out of nowhere. I had no idea anything like this was happening to me. I just went to the doctor because I thought I had strained my abs or something, and I wanted to make sure. Then, the next thing I know, I’m lying in bed shaving my stomach and being told that they’re going to have to cut into me. Basically, I cut out my appendix and stapled my colon shut. “I’m thinking, ‘This is crazy.'”