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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Appendix or Wow Did That Really Happen?

My almost 4 year son bursts off the bus from camp every day so excited to see me and tell me all of his stories. Except for yesterday. Instead of his usual burst of energy, he seemed tired. He walked kind of hunched over and when he got in the house he complained that his stomach hurt as he burst out in tears. Now, he is apt to complain when he doesn't get what he wants, sometimes he might even throw a tantrum, but once we didn't know his arm was broken for twenty-four hours because he doesn't cry about pain.

And yet he was crying on the couch. So, I took him to the hospital. By the time we arrived in the ER, he seemed fine and I felt crazy. Probably, I was wasting everyone's time bringing him in and it was going to turn out to be a big bunch of nothing. He told the nurse in triage that he had no pain and she sent us back to chairs.

Finally, when a bed opened up, we were seen by a very nice ER doctor. She felt his stomach, he didn't really complain, and she told me she was more concerned about other things than the appendix but she wasn't convinced it was any of them and I was pretty sure she was getting ready to send us home. I asked about doing an ultrasound. She was skeptical that it was needed and told me she debated it in her mind. I got pushy. In a polite way. We were not leaving without the Ultrasound. My insurance would cover it and if, for some reason, it did not I would pay the bill.

We waited in the room for the ultrasound with my son becoming more cranky with every hour that passed. I wasn't sure what was going on. He hadn't had dinner. Maybe he was just hungry. But, I wasn't sure. Finally, we saw the ultrasound technician. She wasn't taking pictures but five minutes when she pointed at the screen. "Do you see that?" She asked me. I wasn't sure what I was looking at. "That doesn't look right to me and look how he's bracing his leg when I touch him there." I looked down. It was subtle but he was doing it. She told me she wanted to pass it along to the radiologist.

Let me back up and tell you that my husband was on a business/pleasure trip in Texas when all of this was going on. The first flight he could get on was the next morning. Whatever happened, I was on my own. I'm used to making decisions for my kids. I do it all the time. But not of that calibre. Whenever something huge like that has happened and had to be decided, my hubby has always been right there to stand next to me. I could call him but he wasn't going to get there no matter how much I wished he could.

After a while, we were sent back to the ER. My little guy fell asleep in his bed, his skin a decisive shade of red that I didn't like. He didn't have fever. Why was he so red? Pain, the nurse whispered to me. The ER doctor still didn't know if the appendix had to come out. She wanted to order a CAT scan. I was so confused and started to get a little bit emotional about it. This was my child, I was all alone, and the radiologist thought it was appendicitis. What was going on here?

Finally, she called my pediatrician. His doctor wasn't on call that evening but I adore the doctor who was (they are in the same practice) and she told the ER doctor to go ahead and call the pediatric surgeon who was on call. They did. He took one look at the information and thought it was clear cut. My son needed his appendix out right away.

More tomorrow....


  1. Poor little man!! It's so weird he wasn't being sick or anything - that would have made it so much easier to diagnose :(
    Hope he's recovering okay! He's had a rough go of it hasn't he?
    Hugs and love babe

  2. Aww!!! I hope he feels better soon, Rebecca! Hugs and prayers for you both

  3. Oh I hope everyone feels better soon Rebecca! When my brother in law was 10 his appendix burst but his other organs had "cocooned" it so the doctors didn't know what was going on. My mother in law did what you did and "politely" pushed and they did an ultrasound and surgery.

    Hugs to your little boy and his brothers, his daddy and to his brave Momma.