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Why Paddy’s not at work today… May 4, 2011

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in a-writers-life-is-never-dull, children.
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Or, why Liz got no writing done…

Did you know that constipation and a stomach bug combined present as appendicitis?

Yeah, neither did I. Until this morning.

No, not me. My four-year-old son, J. He woke up this morning crying that his belly hurt. When I touched it, it was rock hard and tender. He was running a fever, and he threw up the cup of water that was all he wanted for breakfast, along with his asthma medication.

Needless to say, we went off to the pediatrician. Who examined him, listened to his symptoms, and said that, to be on the safe side, she wanted to have him checked for appendicitis, since he had all the classic symptoms. She went off to get the order for a CT scan, and to find a place that could take us STAT.

(Medical people have funny ideas as to what STAT means. We found this out later.)

Once we were on our way  to the radiologist (half an hour later), I called the husband and told him to meet us there. Got J settled, got the paperwork filled out, and sat down with a nurse, who explained to us that a) J would have to have a barium milkshake, b) that he was going to have to have an IV, and c) that they weren’t all that comfortable with giving a child this young a CT scan anyway, so we should think about heading down to Florida Hospital South.

About an hour and a half later (see where the funny ideas about STAT come in?), we were headed to Florida Hospital South. While we were waiting at the first radiologist, they let J see the CT scan machine. Hubby and I explained to him what they were going to do, that there was going to be a needle, and that the machine would take pictures of his insides. And we asked him if he wanted to do this. To our utter SHOCK, he said “Sure!”

Okay, at Florida Hospital South, we were taken back pretty quickly, and the waiting game started again. We had to wait for the machine to be clear, and they put numbing cream on J”s arm so that they could get the IV set without hurting him.  Half an hour of numbing cream, and the line went in without a hitch — he didn’t even NOTICE, once we made him stop looking at her. The nurses brought him a race-car to play with, and were VERY amused when he asked (very politely) if they could take him into the CT machine on the gurney. Gurney races!

Okay, into the machine, and they said he did better than any of the patients they’d seen today. I mean, I was stunned, and I know this kid! He held perfectly still, held his breath when they told him to, and did everything right the first time. (Okay, the second time. We forgot that he had metal grommets in his shorts…)

The nurses wheeled him back to the little room on his gurney, and the presents appeared! (I swear, these nurses loved him!) A cute little teddy bear, a plastic egg full of playdough, and he got to keep the racecar. I had a happy kid… until they took the IV out, and took the bandage off. The entire day, that was what upset him, because the razza-frazzin’ nurse ripped the bandage off instead of using the alcohol to ease it off the way we asked her to do it.

The day started at 7:30. We finally got cleared to leave the hospital and go home after 3. (which is when J. finally had his first meal of the day.)

The final diagnosis? Give the kid more fiber.

And that’s why there was no writing done today.

Tomorrow, I’m picking up some prune juice…

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