Saturday, November 10, 2007

I didn't wake up this morning thinking "what a great day for one of the boys to have surgery!"

I know that's hard to believe... thankfully I was off work today! M called about 9:30 am to see if I could take Middle Child to the doctor - seems he woke up about 4am with a belly ache. I could hear him crying in the background - really sobbing; but, he's a little dramatic. I figured he was probably vomiting and stressed about that. But, no vomiting per M and he was running a low grade fever - he's like his parents... his "normal" body temp is just a bit over 97 so "normal" is a little bit high for him.

I called Premier and got him an 11:30 appt. I really thought that it was gonna be a BS appt - constipation, intestinal flu, etc. They were backed up and we didn't get called back until after 12:30, then it was another 20 minutes before Dr. R made it in to check him. She did a brief exam and then had him lay down so she could palpate his abdomen. She asked him to show her, with one finger, where it hurt most - lower right quadrant; she asked him where the pain initially started - right below his navel. She turned to me and said, "I think it's his appendix." I called M and B to fill them in, and promised to call again when I had more information.

That was SO not what I wanted to hear!! Dr. R decided to do a white count and a strep culture - apparently sometimes strep can mimic appendicitis (who knew??). WBC was 13,000, rapid strep test was negative. She called over to the hospital and talked to Dr. F, the surgeon; he said for us to head on over and have the ER page him when we got in - he'd come down and check Middle Child out. We headed straight to the ER. They didn't seem all that busy to me but the bitch volunteer at the front desk set me straight right away! She asked me for Middle Child's name and my phone number. I gave her both but then added that that wasn't the phone number that was probably in their computer. She said "well, THAT'S not going to help me then, is it?" and proceeded to scratch thru the number as if she were trying to go through to the page underneath. I told her that the pediatrician had already called over and that we needed to page the doctor. She told me that I needed to sit down and wait like everyone else. I told her, again, that the doctor was waiting for the call and she told me, basically, that she didn't care. I would have to wait like everyone else. So, we sat...

A few minutes later, a couple came in and she wouldn't even let them register. She told them that they were backlogged and that they should just sit down, when the front desk got caught up, then she would get their information. I didn't see a name badge on her, but then I was more worried about Middle Child at that particular time. Tomorrow, maybe I'll try to find out who she was...

After a time, we went from the "waiting room" to the "sub-waiting room" (yes, the sign actually said "sub-waiting room") which is through the double doors to the triage department. I could hear the nurses in triage talking and after a couple of minutes, they were talking about my son. Seems that the surgeon had been waiting on us to arrive and he was calling down to see if we were there yet. They finally called us back to get checked in. The nurse immediately paged Dr. F and he showed up just a couple of minutes later.

First impressions... clean cut, nice looking and about 28 years old!! LOL He's probably actually in his early to mid-30's, but he looked a bit like a Doogie Hauser to me just the same! He asked Middle Child to stand up and then pressed on his tummy. Apparently he got the rebound response he was expecting and he told me that it looked like appendicitis. Well, that was SUCH a high tech test, I had no reason to doubt him, right?? So, I asked... you aren't going to do any imaging or anything?? Well, he told me, we can do an xray or a CT scan, or even an MRI, but we might not even see the appendix. Generally the abdominal palpation is definitive. He looked at Richard and asked, "You're not on your period, right?" That made Richard laugh! He said that he'd already pretty much ruled out pregnancy and figured that Middle Child's ovaries weren't bothering him, and that left appendicitis. "At this point," he told me, "it's an appendicitis until I prove otherwise." So, he called down and added Middle Child to the surgery schedule.

We were taken back to a room in the ER where he got to change into a hospital gown; they put in an IV catheter and the nurse drew a bunch of vials of blood for whatever pre-anesthetic work-up they wanted to do. M showed up about that time.... he had gotten worried because he hadn't heard back from me, and I didn't answer my phone when he called - no cell signal in the ER. He had called Dr. R at the ped's office who told him that she had sent us over to the ER, so he showed up there. He had taken one look at the bitchy volunteer in the lobby and had bypassed her for the lady behind the computer - probably wise.

We walked along as Middle Child was wheeled back to the pre-op ward. Dr. F (he pulled his name badge out on its little retractable cord and said, "call me Dr. John" then let it >snap< back into place) came and talked to us again. He asked Richard if he had any questions. Middle Child asked him what the appendix does - the doc's answer... "not much, except put my kids through college." The anesthesiologist came by, as well as the surgical nurse; they introduced themselves to my son, and to us, and reassured us that our boy would be well taken care of. They dosed him with Versed and we waited while he got loopy then they wheeled him off to the OR.

M and I walked out through the ER - he had to go back to work and pick up some things; I wanted to go home and get clean clothes for Middle Child and also my laptop since I had every intention of staying the night. There was my hubby, standing in the ER waiting room. He had also gotten worried when he couldn't reach me, so came by to check on things. He drove through all of the hospital parking lots until he found my car, then came in the ER. Ms. Stick-up-her-ass told him that we had been discharged and sent home. Obviously he knew this wasn't so, so he just waited... figuring that I'd show up or call him eventually.

We were at home for a few minutes, and B said we needed to head back over. Thank God for that.... we hadn't been in the surgical waiting room for more than 10 minutes when the phone rang. It was Dr. John telling me that Middle Child was in recovery and that things had gone well - it can't have taken him more than 20 minutes!! He said that my son's appendix was "huge and meaty" but hadn't perforated; the surgery had been straightforward, no complications or concerns. About 15 minutes later, a nurse came to get us from the waiting room to go to recovery. Once he woke up, he started crying for me... I don't think they usually bring family members back to recovery - we were the only ones there - but I guess they make exceptions for children. He was very disoriented, nauseous and crying. Dr. John came and gave me pics of my boy's innards... Middle Son was crying about being in pain and the doc said, "If I stabbed him with an ice pick, it would hurt; I stabbed him with three 5mm ice picks - it's going to hurt a little bit." but then he ordered additional pain meds for Middlel Child and he stopped crying after the 2nd dose of them. I'm sure part of it was the anesthesia wearing off!

M and I sat with him until they moved him up to the pediatric ward at about 5pm. Michael had shown up during that time, but they wouldn't allow him to come back to recovery so he waited in the room. The guys went home about 7pm; Middle Child has been in and out in terms of being awake.... he's sleeping now. He's handled things very well, especially once the anesthesia wore off - he was a little whiny at first, but I guess he was really hurting!! It tore me up, though, seeing him hurt like that. I'd have a dozen surgeries if it would save him from ever having another one!!

But, all is well - they caught it really early and it's out now. They did the surgery laproscopically so he'll be up and around in a day or two. I talked to K and she told me that Dr. John is the best surgeon we could have gotten, so I am thankful for that as well. I'm going to try to get some sleep on this funky pull out chair/bed thing they have here in the room... it was a chore getting it all set up, but it is almost flat and nearly the size of a twin bed, so it should be much better than sleeping in a recliner like I had to do when J was in the hospital. Middle Child will be discharged tomorrow, so we'll be back at home. God I love this kid, and I am SO glad that M took him seriously and was concerned enough to get him to the doctor this morning!! It's scary to think about the times that the boys have had belly aches that we dismissed as gas!! I'll certainly think twice from now on!