As I ran around packing bags in the wee hours of the morning, I made a mental note to self: always have laundry clean because you never know when you might suddenly be leaving for the hospital for an undetermined length of stay. Of course, I was planning to wash laundry that day, Monday. But sometimes your week doesn’t start the way you thought it would.
We did try to get in and be seen by the doctor for a regular appointment so we wouldn’t have to go the ER route, but no luck with that.
It started Saturday, really. A few complaints of a hurting tummy, a low grade fever, and lethargy. In the evening he threw up once. Sunday we took it easy and stayed home from church… nobody else caught “it.” Sunday night/Monday morning we were awakened at 1:30am by his crying. And he couldn’t stop. Tossing in bed, with a fever again, and SEVERE abdominal pain. His mid-section felt so tight, like a rock, and he was breathing only in shallow little breaths, unable to breathe deep because of the pain.
We sat with him, tried to calm him, tried to hold him, offered crackers and water, and prayed. And put calming lavender oil on his belly. That was when he would still let me touch it, kind of. We started googling and doing some research on his symptoms and what could be the cause. We ruled out most normal things it could be (no, not constipated, no one we knew of had the flu and we hadn’t come down sick, no food poisoning or new foods, no UTI, wasn’t sick with something else, etc. etc.), leaving appendicitis as a glaring possibility.
I called multiple hospitals, ERs, and nurse lines to give them his symptoms and ask their advice. They recommend going in to the ER after 1-2 hours of unexplained intense abdominal pain for a child his age. We waited it out a bit, as sometimes we got hopeful when he would doze off to sleep completely exhausted, but that would only happen for 5-10 min. before he would wake, and his crying/doubling over/thrashing/deliriousness/etc. would start all over again. His breathing was still NOT normal. After watching our toddler in this kind of pain for five hours, we were thinking this was probably serious enough to permit a trip to the hospital (we are not the type who run to the doctor for every little thing).
We are very blessed that Maple could stay with Grandma and Grandpa who live down the road. About 8 hours after the whole ordeal started, we arrived at the Children’s hospital two hours from (rural) home. The ER was ready for us per my call beforehand, and we walked straight through the doors to a room.
The doctors and nurses agreed; Ole was in a lot of pain.
They got him hooked up, and started the testing. They actually gave him morphine so he would be calm and they could do the ultrasound. With that his breathing became normal, and it was nice to see him not in so much pain anymore, even though we weren’t thrilled about the drugs.
At the castle! All children’s hospitals should be designed in a fun way like this! Interior decor keeps with the theme too.
When we would pass people in the halls I would think, I wonder what they’re thinking. They would look at the poor little boy lying there, hooked up, being rushed around – so young, so out of it – with two concerned parents trailing behind. I wanted to say, “He’s going to be ok! He’s not *that* bad; it’s not like he has cancer or something.” But there was only time for a sympathetic smile and their worried glance over their shoulder back at us as we headed down the halls. And then you see other kids too, and you don’t know their whole story, but you think, It could be a lot worse than our situation, and you feel blessed. Even though we really didn’t know what our situation was.
The pediatric abdominal surgeon wanted to wait on the CT scan because of the radiation, which we were thankful for. He did a manual check and, with that and the ultrasound, found swollen lymph nodes (there are more of them on the right side, just like appendix pain). Sometimes, he said, kids need to be hospitalized for 1-7 days for the extreme pain they cause. Ole’s labs and all other tests came back fine. What a mystery! There is a lot of waiting in between seeing doctors, nurses, and doing testing. By now it was afternoon, and the surgeon and other doctors wanted to observe him overnight, so we were admitted and checked into a room.
We pushed for no more pain meds after the morphine wore off to see how he really was. He was definitely improving. They finally cleared Ole to eat and drink, which he was begging to do as he didn’t think it was cool at all to get his “drink” through an IV. He ate like he was making up for the meals he had missed!
And when he prayed? He said, “…Amen. Oh wait! I forgot to pray for my friends! Dear God, please help my friends get better… Amen!” *Heart melt* right there! There he was, still sick himself, and wanting to pray for his “new friends” that we had talked about as we walked the halls and saw kids in the neighboring rooms. <3
We had a really great overnight nurse, and Ole’s fever went down in the night. Who would’ve thought, we ended up watching the presidential debate after all because it was the only thing to do! (We weren’t planning to because we don’t have TV at home, and I really don’t enjoy watching people argue, lie, and be immature. No, I don’t like conflict. :P) Well, I watched less than half of it before falling asleep utterly exhausted after being up almost the entire night and then the whole day with our kid in the hospital.
Did God heal him miraculously? Was it swollen lymph nodes left over from a virus? Were his intestines folding in on themselves weirdly? The doctors couldn’t give a definitive cause, but we are just very thankful he’s better! Thank you to everyone who was praying!