Thank you all very much for your caring and concern.
For those who don't read comments, it was a kidney stone, not his appendix. It's quite a large stone, 5 mm. Apparently, with a stone larger than 6 mm, a laser procedure is used to break it up. So 5 mm is large, but still small enough to pass on its own with the help of some meds and a lot of water.
At least that's what we know now. When Allan sees a urologist on Tuesday, we may learn otherwise. My sister, a nurse, said 5 mm is huge. Hmmm.
If anyone here besides me reads The Diary of Samuel Pepys online - or if you've read it the old-fashioned way, on paper - you know that Sam had a stone cut out and removed. And this in the days before modern surgical procedure and anaesthesia! Pepys vowed to celebrate the day of his survival every year for the rest of his life. So far he's done that, putting on a feast and gathering his friends around him. He even spent a lot of money having a special box made for the stone itself. (I told Allan we will not be doing that.)
Yesterday in comments, Tornwordo noted that Allan did not spend months waiting for treatment as some people would have us believe. Indeed, there was hardly any waiting at all, as Allan was triaged within minutes of arrival, then moved into an emergency department bed and treated right away. The doctors and nurses were terrific.
Many years ago, Allan had a horrific experience with poor pain management in a hospital. Without going into long details, I'll say that while in a hospital bed, Allan was in acute, severe, untreated pain for more than 24 hours, and simply told, This is all you're getting, so if it still hurts, too bad.
Had I not been there to advocate for him - and had I not had my sister to advise me and guide me through it - it would have been even worse. In reading and speaking to people since then, I've learned a lot about attitudes towards pain management, and why some health care practitioners are resistant to it.
So that earlier experience was in the back of my mind yesterday. Will I have to fight people to get proper pain medication? Will they believe his pain and treat it? What a relief - in more ways than one - to find that every doctor and nurse that saw Allan yesterday asked, How is your pain? On a scale of 1 to 10? Do you want more morphine? (Yes, please!)
Another note on our experience, perhaps the most important one. We were able to obtain proper treatment, and will have proper follow-up care, without worrying about the cost, and without having to fight for insurance-company approval.
What would yesterday had been like for a US family with a tight budget and no health insurance? You wake up one morning, and completely unexpectedly, through no fault of your own, you are in dire pain. You don't know what's happening, you need medical care. But in the back of your mind, the worry: what will this cost me? If I pay for this, will I be able to pay my rent or make my mortgage payment?
I am so grateful that I don't have that extra burden.
Every person in North America should be free from that same burden - and could be.
Every person on earth should be, of course. But at least in the GNOTFOTE!