An Appendix is not an Appendix 闌尾不是附屬品
翻譯:Daisy Wang

The word appendix seems to mean something that isn’t that important, just dangling there like an appendage, literally “an appendix.”

闌尾看起來並不那麼重要,只是在那里晃來晃去的,像個附屬品。在英文中,闌尾和附屬品是同一個單詞(appendix)。

Growing up, it seems like there were lots of bad stories about the poor appendix. In Asian cultures it is common to scare children not to jump around after meals, because the food might drop into that lonely appendix, which is somehow dangling around doing nothing; some rice might get into the appendix and cause appendicitis. This was, and maybe even is, really a great way to keep kids quiet.

我在小時候就聽說過很多關於可憐的闌尾的壞話。在亞洲文化中,父母經常嚇唬孩子,不讓孩子在餐後跳來跳去,因為食物有可能掉到那條孤單的闌尾里。那條莫名奇妙、晃來晃去、無所事事的闌尾,一些飯粒掉進去可能就會引起闌尾炎。這可能是,甚至真是一個讓孩子保持安靜的好方法。

As a child, when I jumped around after meals, sometimes indeed I felt some pain in my right lower tummy. Since I had a very medical family, and heard many stories about “exciting” medical diseases, I began to imagine that I was gradually developing appendicitis.

小時候,當我在餐後跳來跳去,有時確實感到右下腹有點疼痛。因為我出自醫學世家,所以聽過許多“令人興奮”的醫學疾病故事,我開始想像我正在漸漸形成闌尾炎。

Does standing on the head help your appendix?
倒立對你的闌尾有益嗎?

Since my father was a surgeon, and I had dreams of being a surgeon, I began to devise different ways of managing this “developing appendicitis.” I would stand on my head and tap the place where my appendix should be (I knew where, since I had many surgery books at home). I imagined that any rice or other food particles would be able to drop back out of the poor appendix, thus “preventing” my appendicitis.

因為我父親是外科醫生,我也夢想成為外科醫生,我開始想出不同方法去處理這個“發展中的闌尾炎”。我將頭着地倒立,並且拍打我闌尾所在的位置(我知道闌尾的位置,因為家里有許多外科的書籍)。我想像那些飯粒或者其他食物顆粒能夠從我可憐的闌尾里掉出來,這樣就可以“制止”我的闌尾炎了。

At some point, I think maybe I complained too much about this nagging feeling. I found myself one summer lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by real doctors and nurses. And then my father proceeded to remove my appendix. He claimed afterwards that there were signs of “chronic appendicitis” on the pathology report, which may have been diagnosed to confirm my “diagnosis.” I understand nowadays it is not a real disease and I learned later that doctors also imagine diseases.

我想可能是我為着這樣的隱隱作痛抱怨得太多了,某個夏天,我發現自己躺在醫院的病床上,有真正的醫生和護士圍着我。後來,我父親為我切除了闌尾。父親事後宣布病理報告顯示我有“慢性闌尾炎”的徵兆,這個診斷證實了我自己的“診斷”。現在我知道這並不是真正的疾病,後來我發現醫生也會想像疾病。

One of the college students in my Bible study group SC was from Malaysia; she described how her appendix had ruptured many years ago, and her mother had concluded that if she went to the “moneymaking” hospital, the surgeons might operate in order to make more money. So she decided that it would be more sensible to go to the government hospital, since the government doctors were not paid more money for more operations. Obviously she was a thoughtful Asian mother. Indeed, when our brave girl was brought to the government hospital, even though there was a ruptured appendix, the final decision was not to go to surgery, since the body’s defenses had wrapped themselves around the appendix, and it seemed stable. Today’s doctors may or may not agree about that, but SC is a living vibrant testimony to that decision. As she stands straight playing the cello, I can imagine her specially wrapped appendix snugly protected and enjoying the music.

我的查經小組有一位來自馬來西亞的大學生 SC,她講述在多年前她的闌尾穿孔,她的母親認為如果 SC 去了“盈利”的醫院,外科醫生有可能為了賺錢而動手術。因此,她決定 SC 應該明智地去政府醫院,因為政府的醫生是不會多做手術就多賺錢的。顯然,她是一位深思熟慮的亞洲媽媽。事實上,當這位勇敢的女孩被帶到政府醫院的時候,即使闌尾已經穿孔了,最終的治療方案是不做手術,因為身體的防禦機能已經自行對闌尾進行了包裹,病情看來是穩定的。今天的醫生可能同意或者不同意以上情況,但是 SC 就是那個決定的活生生的真實見證。當她筆直地坐在那里演奏大提琴的時候,我能想像她那條被特別包裹起來、備受呵護的闌尾也正在享受着音樂。

When I was a child I had specifically dreamed of becoming a surgeon-missionary (see my other stories!), so in my medical training period I really was quite excited to be able to remove many appendices. Appendices are a fun thing to remove, because the operation is relatively “simple,” and it satisfies the surgeon’s drive to cut and cut, stitch and stitch. Give me an appendix any day!

我在小時候特別想成為外科醫生傳教士(看我其他的故事!),所以在我的醫療培訓階段,我真的十分高興能做許多闌尾切除手術。切除闌尾是一件有趣的事,因為這種手術相對“簡單”,能夠滿足外科醫生去切切縫縫的勁頭。無論哪天,給我一條闌尾吧!

Playing doctor during VBS missionary story: can you remove your own appendix?
在暑期聖經班的傳教士故事中扮演醫生:你能為你自己切除闌尾嗎?

But indeed there are missionaries stuck in deepest jungles, without the benefit of an eager surgeon, who develop appendicitis, and who can only just wait it out until the body’s defense mechanisms wrap around the appendix, and amazingly they survive. These are like natural “scientific” studies, since likely no modern surgeon would dare to not operate on an appendicitis patient to test the theory!

但是,有些傳教士受困於叢林最深處,那里沒有熱情的外科醫生,無論誰得了闌尾炎,都只能等待,等待身體的防禦機制去包裹闌尾,令人驚奇的是他們活下來了。這好比是天然的“科學”研究,因為應該沒有現代的外科醫生敢為闌尾炎患者做手術,去證實這個理論。

Other missionaries have reported how they operated on themselves, in deepest jungles, reading from a medical textbook or receiving instructions from some surgeon radioing in the instructions from an outpost outside the jungle. These kinds of stories were part of the great jungle lore for me as I was growing up, dreaming to be a surgeon missionary.

有另一些傳教士曾報告他們是怎樣給他們自己做手術的。他們在叢林的最深處,參閱醫學教科書,或是收聽一些在叢林外前哨站的外科醫生通過無線電傳來的指令說明。這些故事對我來說構成了偉大的叢林傳說,伴隨着夢想成為外科醫生傳教士的我成長。

Just to complete the medical education, please don’t think that the appendix is only in the right lower part of the tummy. Unfortunately, the appendix curls around, so sometimes it’s in some totally different part of the tummy. Right upper near the liver, left upper near the spleen, left lower on the other side. So your appendix pain may not be just in the usual spot. And the appendix doesn’t always point downwards; it can point sideways or upwards! So if you are thinking of standing upside down to “prevent appendicitis,” (just kidding), you could also remember it isn’t really that simple: which way is up or down?

為了完整的醫學教育,讓我告訴你:不要認為闌尾只在右下腹。不幸的是,闌尾卷曲着,有時在腹腔里的不同部位——右上腹靠近肝臟,左上腹靠近脾臟,或對側的左下腹。所以你闌尾的疼痛可能並不在通常的位置。並且闌尾也不總是尖端向下,可以向兩側或向上方!所以如果你認為倒立能夠“預防闌尾炎”(只是個笑話),你也要記住這並不是真的那麼簡單:哪個方向是向上或向下呢?

Wasn’t that a nice tour de appendice? You probably learned more about the appendix than you ever wanted to know. However, if you feel the pain in your right lower tummy as you are jumping around after a good meal, you can always write me and we can communicate by radio, whatsapp, wechat, facebook, email, or you can simply find a calm surgeon with steady hands and steady brain.

這一次環遊闌尾之旅精彩嗎?你可能學到了很多關於闌尾的知識,甚至比你想知道的還多。然而,如果你在一飽美食之後跳來跳去,感到右下腹疼痛,你可以隨時寫信給我,我們可以通過無線電、WhatsApp、微信、臉書或電郵溝通,或者你簡單一點,去找一位冷靜而心靈手巧的外科醫生。

Indeed, the appendix is an interesting organ, not really just an “appendix”. A leftover vestigial organ, read the next chapter.

確實,闌尾是一個有趣的器官,不是附屬品。餘下殘留物的器官,請看下一個故事。