Hi everyone! I feel like I've been gone for ages, although most of you probably figured I've just been busy with birthday preparations. If only that were the case!
As you all know from my last post, "Middle Gal" celebrated her 6th birthday on Wednesday the 15th, and was looking forward to her first "friend party" with her school friends today.
Well, sometimes the Lord has other plans. Let's just say that there will not be a party here today. Perhaps in another week or so.
Thursday morning when I got up, Middle Gal asked me to please make breakfast soon because her tummy was hurting, which is pretty unusual. While I was making breakfast, she came and told me that her "hip" hurt. I told her to try going potty to see if that was the problem. She was able to go, but still felt bad. By the time I finished breakfast (only about 15-20 minutes after I'd first woken up), she was hurting so badly that she only managed to eat her vitamins and about 2 bites of toast. I sent her to her bed and continued working on my breakfast.
Over the next few minutes, she got worse and worse. She was clutching her right side and wailing. She even threw up several times. I gave her a warm sock full of beans to put on her "owie" and then left a message on my mom's cell phone to let her know that Middle Gal wouldn't be at school today (usually my mom watches Little Gal on Thursdays so that I can go help in Middle Gal's class). Then, just out of curiosity (because I never can remember), I went online to check which side of the body the appendix was on. I've tried to be really in tune to that because Hubby had a horrendous experience with a ruptured appendix as a child, and I've always worried that I something like that might happen to my kiddos.
The computer confirmed that the appendix was on the right side, which was the side Middle Gal was holding. I might have shrugged it off if it weren't for the fact that this seemed much more painful than any of her previous tummy issues. I looked up a few things on diagnosing appendicitis. One site said to try pushing on the area and then letting go. If it hurt when I let go of the area, that was one sign. It was also suggested to raise her right leg towards her tummy. If that hurt, it was another possible sign. I tried both, and both caused her pain. (Seriously, what did moms do before the Internet?) ;)
At this point, I decided to risk waking my mom up and called her home phone. I explained the situation, and she suggested calling the doctor on call (our doctor's office wasn't open for the day yet). I took her advice and called, leaving a message explaining the symptoms. I didn't have to wait more than about 5 minutes before my call was returned. The doctor said it sounded like it could definitely be appendicitis, and told me I should probably I take her to the Emergency Room, just in case.
So, within a half an hour, I was in the Emergency Room with my little birthday girl. My mom stayed with the other two, and after getting ahold of my husband at UPS, took Big Gal to school and watched Little Gal. Hubby met me at the Emergency Room, where we were put into a room fairly quickly.
[Side note here: As soon as Middle Gal realized she was at the hospital, she looked up at me and said in a panicked voice, "Am I going to have surgery?" Not the response you'd expect from a Kindergartner...unless one of the Kindergarten parents had just a week or two earlier come in and explained his job as a surgeon to the entire class. I must confess, I was wishing for better timing on that!]
At this point, I was a bit nervous, because Middle Gal was acting almost normal. I almost felt like telling the doctors, "She was really acting like she had a problem with her appendix...honest!!" Especially since everyone's tone of voice seemed to convey their doubt that appendicitis was her problem. The doctor that saw us was very gracious, though. He assured me that I was right to come in considering the symptoms she'd had.
The doctors weren't sure it was really appendicitis, especially since she wasn't running a fever and seemed to be in okay shape pain-wise, but they decided to do a blood test and a urine test, just in case. The urine test (which, by the way, was a complete miracle, since she had absolutely nothing in her tummy! It only took two tries, 4 large sips of water, and a quick Mommy prayer to make it happen!) came back clear, but her white blood cell count was up. During all of this, Middle Gal had another bad spell and threw up again.
After conferring with another doctor and talking on the phone to one of the surgeons upstairs (which resulted in an odd test where they had Middle Gal jump up and down to see if her appendix area hurt), they decided that things were suspicious enough that she should be admitted. Middle Gal was given an IV and moved to Pediatrics, Room 4.
In Pediatrics, we waited for several hours to be seen by the surgeon. At this point, my mom had dropped Little Gal off with Hubby's parents and had joined us at the hospital. This was a real blessing, because we could take turns going and getting something to eat. Middle Gal was not allowed to eat anything until they decided what they were going to do, so we didn't want to eat in front of her.
Middle Gal looked up at him, as if she was wondering if he was serious. He was. She got out of bed and jumped once.
"Higher," he told her.
She jumped again.
"Does that hurt?" he asked.
She nodded, her pitiful poochy lip in place.
"Where?" he asked.
She pointed to the same area on her right side that had been giving her trouble.
"Yep, it's appendicitis," he said quickly. "That's the only thing that causes that to hurt when kids jump." He then went into a quick explanation of I don't even remember what...something to do with the upcoming surgery, and was gone in the space of 2 minutes.
Mom and I were almost in shock. The nurse had made it clear that she was doubtful that appendicitis was the right diagnosis. The ER guys had been a bit doubtful, too, so we had pretty much assumed we'd be sent home. I have to say, though, I was somewhat relieved. Of course, no parent would ever wish surgery on their child. But I was so worried I would go home and have the same thing happen again, and wonder whether to go in again or not. I also knew of the dangers of appendixes rupturing, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs.
Not long afterwards, two very sweet male nurses came in to transport her up to surgery. They asked her about her doll and her pony. One nurse even chatted about her "My Little Pony named Fluttershy" to another nurse in surgery. It was just the type of thing Middle Gal needed to put her at ease. We got to go in to get her paperwork ready and kiss her goodbye, and then they wheeled my baby away. An appendectomy is a fairly non-invasive procedure nowadays, and I knew we'd caught it early, so I knew that the odds were she'd be totally safe. But I still felt a whole lot better when they called my name and told me she was waiting for me in recovery.
The procedure went really well. Apparently, her appendix was up really high, almost by her liver, so it took them a while to find it. I'm so thankful for the Lord's provision in this area. It might have been difficult to diagnose normally because of the location of her appendix.
It was interesting, too, because one of the times the nurse asked her where she hurt, Middle Gal pointed up high on her side, which should have indicated something other than appendix problems. But it really was where her appendix was!
She was very drowsy for most of that day, and stayed the night at the hospital. We were released the next afternoon at 2:30 PM. Mom and I were both very happy at the prospect of sleeping in our own beds Friday night! :}
I look over the whole situation and just thank the Lord for the way He directed. If I hadn't thought to look at appendix symptoms, if we'd gotten there later and had to wait longer, if the doctors had played it safe and sent her home since she seemed okay, if we'd had a surgeon who didn't apply the "jump test"...if, if, if...
You can't live your life that way, of course. But I definitely saw God's hand at work throughout the whole situation. Even the little details were taken care of, like all of the wonderful staff that worked with us, who were just the perfect personalities for my nervous little gal. God is good.
Of course, He doesn't always choose to work things out that way, and He is still good, even when He doesn't. But I'm so thankful for His grace to our family throughout this entire ordeal. I'm so thankful to have a little one back in her own bed, well on her way to recovery. I'm so thankful for a God who cares.
So my blogging may be a bit sporadic for a while. Middle Gal has to miss a week of school. At some point, when she's feeling better, I'll figure out the best day to reschedule her party. Anyway, just wanted to keep all of you posted. I'd appreciate prayers from my sisters in Christ for her recovery. She's doing really well so far, but it's going to be a long week for Mommy. ;)
Talk to all of you later!
P.S. Just had to share this. I wanted to give you an example of how awesome the staff was. The male nurse who inserted Middle Gal's IV started by giving Nahji an IV (I'd brought Nahji with us for comfort). That way Middle Gal would know that it was going to be okay. (Can you tell he was a dad?) ;) All of them took such wonderful care of her.
Nahji with her IV. :)