Monday morning started out with the most amazing sunrise and ended in stress and disbelief. For several days M was having off and on tummy pains but when I got a call to pick her up early from school, my concern grew. As I drove her to the ER Monday afternoon I was feeling silly thinking that she is probably constipated and I am being an overly protective mother. The doctor was probably going to give her some laxatives and send us on our way.
By the time we got to the ER her temperature was rising, her heart rate was elevated, she was lethargic and the pain was staying constant. After the doctor took her history and did a physical, he ordered iv fluids, blood work and a CAT scan to check her belly. M was a trooper while having her iv placed and during the visit from the Phlebotomist. She never moved, never jerked and did not scream out, she just watched.
A few hours after being triaged, poked, prodded and having to chug down a full bottle of watered down contrast for her CAT scan, the doctor walks into the room. He was an older gentleman with a head full of bright white hair. If he had a beard and mustache he could have easily passed for Santa. While his cheeks where red and rosy, his bright blue eyes shown concern.
"Your daughter has acute appendicitis and needs to be transported to the pediatric hospital for surgery". I could feel the blood drain from my face, I must have looked like a ghost. I could not say a word, I was dumbfounded. All I remember was nodding my head in agreement. The rest of the conversation was like listening to someone trying to talk underwater, all I could concentrate on was the words "your daughter" and "surgery". Oh god what an awful mother I am. Here I thought all she needed was laxatives but she was much worse off...surgery!
Fast forward several extremely freaked out hours later and an hour and fifteen minute long ambulance ride to the children's hospital, the pediatric surgeon walk into our room. She tells me she has reviewed the scan from the previous hospital and she did not agree with their diagnosis. She did not see any inflamed appendix on the scan and had no reason to believe she need surgery. I was shocked and relieved.
My only question that passed my lips was "how could this happen?" How could two doctors and a radiologist from the first hospital and several doctors from another have completely different diagnoses? How could they all look at the exact same scan and half see surgery and the other half do not? Why were we at a hospital two hours away from home in the middle of the night? The surgeon could not say. Even though M did not need surgery, they still wanted to admit her for observation, tests and medication based on her symptoms and fever.
Sister played nurse maid to M and was such a good helper. On top of the huge lack of sleep and nothing for her to do, she rarely complained or acted out from the lack of attention.
Our stay at the Janet Weis Children's Hospital was amazing. Hubby and I were so overwhelmed and grateful for the amazing kindness and top notch care M received from the staff. You could tell by the smiles on their face that they really loved their job and their patients.
A volunteer had come in and asked M what her favorite color was. "Purple" said M. She left the room and a few minutes later returned with a handmade quilt and pillowcase just for her. I about lost it as my eyes teared up with gratitude. They do not know her, but they care for her regardless.
The beautiful handmade pillowcase was donated by ConKerr Cancer and the colorful happy doggie quilt was donated by Quilts For Kids. This being the first time not only visiting this particular hospital but really ever being admitted, I knew nothing of the lovely organizations that donate items like these to the sick kids, but I was grateful. While M was still lethargic I could see the smile in her eyes when they were presented to her.
A little while later another lovely lady came into the room with a tackle box. She was not a phlebotomist with a box full of needles, tubes and syringes so who was she? Her name was Linda and she is the Bead Lady from The Portable Playhouse. A volunteer who travels room to room making super sweet beaded items with the kids and helping to brighten their day. Her box was full of beautiful beads in every shape, size and color.
While M only had use of her left hand, they worked together to create a beautiful necklace. C was even invited to sit down and bead with them. While she was shy at first, she got in there and had fun. Once again I was taken back by the generosity of all these wonderful programs that come in and help make the kids feel better in a difficult time.
Almost 24 hours from when we walked into the ER and 12 hours from when we were rushed and admitted to the children's hospital, they gave M the thumbs up to be discharged. The nurse came in to take out her IV, clean her up and help us get on our way.
When M could finally get out of bed and wonder around without being hooked up to tubes and fluids, she chose to go look out the window in her door and take a peak at all the comings and goings happening outside her room. There is nothing better than to see your child's personality and curiosity come back after being so worried for them. It is also amazing how they bounce back, and always with a smile.