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Dori: I almost died on my vacation

Dori planned to have a relaxing week in Arizona, but instead spent his vacation in the hospital. (MyNorthwest)

I lose vacation days every year because I don’t take enough vacation. My wife and I had the idea to take a vacation someplace warm before my daughter’s wedding, which is taking place in about a month.

We decided we would go to Scottsdale, Arizona and take whichever of our kids was available, figuring it would be the last time with our oldest before she gets married. Vacation is the perfect time to spend time together as a family and to bond. Our oldest daughter got the whole week off, and our middle daughter planned to come down Wednesday night. I was so looking forward to having some time with my family.

A week ago Saturday, I had already gotten into vacation mode. I went to go get a haircut and a pedicure. I was feeling so relaxed, looking forward to warm weather. My vacation week had started off fantastic.

Sunday morning at 2:30 a.m., I woke up drenched in sweat. I got out of bed and couldn’t stand up straight, but I decided to try to sleep it off. Half an hour later, I woke up again. The abdominal pain was excruciating. But we were all planning to get up at 6 a.m. to go to the airport. I thought about waking my wife and telling her I had to go to the ER. I couldn’t stand up straight, but I really wanted to go on vacation. So I decided to not say anything about it.

When our middle daughter drove us to the airport, she was alarmed by how pale I looked. By the time we got on the plane, I was sick as a dog. I had my head on the seat in front of me and was just exhausted. We got to Phoenix and drove to Scottsdale, and my wife said, “We’ve gotta get you to an ER.” I knew something pretty significant was going on.

This hospital in Scottsdale was fantastic – they got me right in for a CT scan. I wasn’t thinking heart attack, but because of the severe abdominal pain, my mind did jump to pancreatic cancer. The doctor came in with my test results and said, “If you’d known that you needed surgery tonight, would you have gotten on the plane this morning? We’ve got to bring the surgeon in right now for Sunday night.”

It turns out it was my appendix. The doctor goes, “She’s ready to blow.” And apparently once they rupture, it’s really bad, because you’ve got infection everywhere. They bring in the surgeon at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. The thing that freaks you out is, as they’re checking you in, they ask if you have a living will. However, I was relieved to find out that, while I had to have surgery, it is the most common abdominal surgery.

After I came to, the doctor said that it was very nasty with – sorry for the details – pus everywhere. (Can we make that a trending hashtag on Twitter? #Puseverywhere?) Another hour or two and it would have been really bad. Normally you’d get out of the hospital the day after an appendectomy, but I had to stay a couple of nights.

Lying in the hospital with nothing to do, I discovered why the Dori Monson Show has such high ratings — daytime TV is terrible. There is only one network worth watching — HGTV. My wife and daughters are playing tennis and going shopping, and I’m just lying in a hospital, and then a hotel room in Scottsdale. So that’s my vacation week — $4,000 copay (maximum out-of-pocket for a year) plus whatever the vacation cost. They even brought me a therapy dog on Monday because I was getting so sad.

I had lots of time to be very reflective. What I focused on was just how incredibly blessed I am. All things considered, I’m incredibly blessed that it didn’t blow on the plane, or that it didn’t happen the weekend of my daughter’s wedding. And back home in Seattle, I am so blessed to have such a fantastic team. Brock texted me while he was filling in for me and told me that our show’s team is the best team they’ve ever seen.

One final note — I do miss my appendix. We had a lot of good times together.

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