Friday, January 9, 2015

Emergency Surgery for Caleb

Hannah had surgery in October.  Micaelyn had surgery in November.  Malachi will have surgery in January.  We had planned to avoid any surgery during December due to the holidays, but the weekend before Christmas Caleb woke up in the middle of the night with extreme stomach pain.  I was quite certain based on his symptoms it was appendicitis so I took him off to Children's Hospital while Ernie stayed home with all the other kids.

When we got to the ER Caleb couldn't really walk due to the pain.  I explained he had lower right quadrant abdominal pain with rebound tenderness and that the pain worsened with movement of his legs, coughing was very painful, and even the smallest bumps on the road caused him extreme pain while riding in the car.  Also it was obvious he couldn't walk due to stomach pain.  I explained he had NO nausea, NO vomiting, NO diarrhea - nothing to indicate a stomach bug or the flu - and that we believed he had appendicitis.  Nonetheless we were treated as though he had the stomach bug or flu just like everyone else, not a life threatening condition that required emergency surgery, and told to take a seat.

We waited HOURS in the ER surrounded by sick people (most of whom really didn't need to be seen in an emergency setting) while Caleb suffered in extreme pain.  He also was suffering from hunger since I was quite certain based upon his symptoms he had appendicitis and would need surgery so I didn't let him eat or drink anything (though I didn't let onto him what I knew so as to not scare him!).  His last meal had been the evening before, so as morning passed into afternoon and then evening he was literally starving for something small to eat not only for his empty stomach but also his head that was starting to hurt more and more from dehydration and hunger.

By evening we FINALLY got the diagnosis of appendicitis but were told it was too late for surgery so they would do it the next morning.  As someone who understands the seriousness of appendicitis I couldn't be more angry at the hospital for their treatment of my son.  As they explained to me the problems of a ruptured appendix (which I already knew and was the basis for my frustration) I wanted to knock them over the head for making him wait so long for treatment.  To make things worse was the fact we had to wait for hours surrounded by sick people.  So I knew my child had a life threatening condition that required emergency surgery, but I was forced to watch him suffer in extreme pain while exposing him to all the worst germs, an assault to his body that would only make recovery from surgery that much more difficult.

Caleb did come through the surgery without complication, praise God, but not surprisingly both he and I ended up sick (no doubt due to all the germs we were surrounded by for HOURS in the ER!).  It was horrible watching him suffer through the pain of surgery while also dealing with being sick.  Every cough caused him horrible pain, and sneezes were sheer torture.  I was also quite sick myself, not the best condition to be in while caring for a sick child who just had surgery.

Quite a few days after we had returned home from the hospital we got a call from the ER telling us Caleb's blood culture had come back positive.  They said if he wasn't feeling well we should bring him back to the ER.  His daddy told them there was NO WAY we would take him back there!  I told them of course he's not feeling well - he just had surgery and thanks to hours of exposure to all the germs in the waiting room he was also quite sick!

We did end up taking him to a different hospital where he was given shots of rocephin in each leg.  These shots are horribly painful!  Needless to say the past few weeks have been quite difficult for Caleb, but thankfully he is now feeling well enough to move around and play.  He still has to be careful because his stomach is tender, but the weather hasn't been great for running around outside anyway.
This was soon after we finally got a room in the ER.  We were glad to finally be out of the waiting room, but unfortunately we had LOTS more waiting to do!

We actually waited HOURS in the room just to be assigned a doctor.  Caleb had not slept at all through the night before due to pain.  He hadn't eaten or drank anything since dinner the night before.  He was in extreme pain, tired, hungry, had a headache due to lack of food and water, had mild fever and chills, and felt just plain miserable.

By evening we finally got a diagnosis.  He was also finally able to get some morphine for the pain, and once it was determined he would have to wait till the next morning for surgery he was allowed to eat.  He had to wait till we finally got admitted to the hospital and moved to a real room to eat where he enjoyed some mashed potatoes, a couple of chicken nuggets, a small cup of applesauce, and a tiny bit of ice cream over the next few hours before bedtime.  No where near the amount he normally eats, especially considering that was all he had for an entire day!

His room was next to the play room so he went to play some games on the Wii for a few minutes.

Elianna loves her big brother so much!!!

Saying good-bye.  

I don't like posting pictures of myself, but this one does a good job of showing how pale Caleb was.  I had no make-up, no tan but his skin looks so pale next to mine!

His daddy snapped this picture in the room just before he was taken to surgery.  It was Sunday morning, right when all our friends were in church praying for him!  Since it was an emergency surgery on Sunday he was the only child in surgery so we had the entire surgery waiting room to ourselves while we waited.  It was very different from the other times I've had to wait through my child's surgery surrounded by other parents waiting for their kids also!
Ready to get out of the hospital and go home!

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