Monday, September 30, 2013

After a restful summer, September always seems to catch me unprepared and this year was no exception. The beginning of school has meant working three jobs, getting used to a convoluted sleep pattern, and trying to squeeze more activity into less time.

September and the beginning of school has been a little unkind to Eldest too. Just as she was reaching her stride in the beginning of the semester, she fell ill. That sounds ominous, but thankfully, it was nothing horribly serious, and antibiotics have worked wonders for her.

In the midst of her not feeling well, she was cuddling with a teddy bear she received when she had her appendix removed. As she thought about the events that led to her being given the bear, she realized she hadn't named the creature. With keen and witty insight that makes her punny father proud, she decided on a name, Appendecteddy.

So, wonderful reader, I will re-share my recounting of the events surrounding Eldest and her appendectomy.
I originally posted this in December of 2011.

Friday, December 23 was a crazy day. I picked Eldest up from school and brought her home. She complained of a stomachache while we rode home. I assumed it was from anxiety due to wondering whether she was going to get coal in her stocking this year. After we arrived home, we sat on the couch together to chat. The pain must have gotten worse because, all of a sudden, she gripped my arm in a death grip, dug her nails into my flesh, and let out a low moan.

My wife and I decided a trip to the doctor was in order. So, Eldest and I went off to see the doctor. After explaining the situation to him, he looked at my arm, applied a little antibiotic cream, and said I would be fine. Then he said I probably should take Eldest to her pediatrician. I called my wife and told her what my doctor said and that we were on our way to the pediatrician’s office. There was dead silence on the other end, then she said, “Wait, what?”

When we finally made it to see the pediatrician, he sent us off to Strong Memorial Hospital Pediatric Emergency room. There she was asked a hundred questions; although it was actually the same five questions asked twenty times. “Where does it hurt? What is your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10?  What is your birthday? Do you have any allergies?” and “What is the meaning of life?”

After a while, when someone new would enter the room, Eldest would blurt out, “I am allergic between 7 and 8, it hurts July 2, I was born on the lower right quadrant and it hurts due to seafood and peanuts. Oh, and I am allergic to cats too.”

The doctors explained there would be a couple of imaging tests to determine what was going on, although they were ‘fairly certain’ it was appendicitis. The first test was an ultra sound, which apparently was not ultra sound, since it did not show anything definitive. The next test, and the most concerning, was a cat scan. As I already mentioned Eldest is allergic to cats. When I mentioned this to the wonderful technician, she just laughed knowingly and said she was sure my daughter would be fine.

The rest of the evening was long on waiting and short on activity. Doctors came and went, nurses took blood, and Eldest finally was moved up to the 4-3600 unit of the hospital, the “Pediatriac Surgical” unit. I had previously thought I had three daughters, when I actually have three pediats. This revelation, which came at 3 a.m. with no sleep, was quite disturbing, but not as disturbing as realizing my eldest pediat was going to have her appendix removed.

After a short nap, Eldest was wheeled down to pre-op, and by 8 a.m. was in surgery. The surgeon informed me that everything had come out fine.

“Everything?!” I asked.

Not everything, he assured me, just her appendix.

Eldest returned to her room, and we joined her. There we waited some more. What a way to spend Christmas Eve. Middlest, in her best radio announcer voice began to intone as a TV announcer advertising the latest Christmas album, “For your enjoyment this year we have some of your favorite holiday songs; ‘I am dreaming of an appendix less Christmas’, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas, just without an appendix’, and of course, everyone’s favorite, ‘All I want for Christmas is an appendectomy’.”

Eldest laughed, clutched her stomach and moaned, “Stop; it hurts to laugh.”

It was a pain sitting in the ER, waiting for surgery and waiting for her discharge to come home late Christmas eve night. My family and I are thankful for the doctors, nurses, and patient care techs in the ER, surgery, and especially on the 4th floor of Strong, for their wonderful care for our precious Eldest.

1 comment:

  1. Glad it turned out okay in the end. I can relate. Despite the serious nature of the event, you had me amused by how you presented it. The bear name is especially clever!