Sick kids are a doozie. Like – smack down, drag out, need a month to recover, doozies.
Sullivan started this whole thing when we visited San Diego a little over a week ago. He caught some stomach bug the first night we were there. His stomach bug only lasted about 12 hours – but i swear it felt like an eternity. Doesn’t help that it was his first time being clearly sick (102+ fever and puking) and my anxiety was through the roof.
Being away from home, out of our comfort zone didn’t help my anxiety at all – making me all the more grateful for the wonderful on call doctors at our pediatrician office. Not only were they quick to answer, but they were kind and understanding towards the panic in my voice.
The rest of our vacation was nice and relaxing, and we returned home on Sunday of that weekend.
Well, shortly after returning home we heard that our nephew in San Diego had also caught the bug and came home from school sick. A day or two later our niece had caught it, and right around this time, Millie started complaining of a stomach ache. Sure enough by Wednesday night she had a low grade fever and was puking her little guts out.
My anxiety typically gets out of control when the kids are sick, but I felt calm (well calmer than I was when Sullivan was sick). It was clear there was a bug going around – so I really wasn’t all that concerned at first.
Day two hit and the diarrhea hit. But not only that, Mil was complaining of severe abdominal pain around her belly button. The logical side of me said “it’s okay, tummy aches are normal with the stomach flu” but my anxiety was screaming “good god this is appendicitis!”
I monitored her behavior and brought my concerns up to the hubby. He of course thought I was overreacting and needed to stop overdiagnosing her. I understood his stance. When my anxiety gets bad I immediately jump to worst case scenario. It made sense for him to be a bit dismissive and to try and keep me calm.
Day three came and Millie’s stomach pains were worse than ever. She was lethargic, didn’t want to sit up because her stomach hurt so bad, and I’d find her curled up in a ball on the floor if she tried to walk too far. I had reached out to my sister in law at some point to see if the kids had complained of stomach pains, and grew even more concerned when that answer was no.
I knew if I took her in I’d look like fool when the doc told me it was nothing more than a bug, but I HAD to hear it from a medical professional at this point. Calvin’s attempts to keep me calm were falling on deaf ears.
So her and I went to urgent care. She uncomfortably sat on my lap, not wanting to move much. We were finally called back, and within 15 minutes were being seen by the doctor. He pressed on her tummy and became concerned about her discomfort level. It wasn’t long before she was in getting and X-ray.
In my head I’m thinking “please, don’t be appendicitis”. And thankfully it wasn’t. But that isn’t the end of this story – the doctor returned quickly after viewing the images and told us to go to the ER for further diagnosis. It appeared that her intestines were distended, and he was afraid there was a blockage somewhere.
The next 12 hours were a roller coaster of emotions. We arrived at the ER and were immediately seen due to the severity of the situation. If she does in fact have a blockage, she’d be going in for surgery to repair it.
They took a urine sample first, and viewed the X-rays from urgent care. Because only one image was taken at urgent care, they request more to be taken, and from different angles.
By this time I had been away from Sullivan for 5ish hours, and I knew he’d be getting irate soon. He’s still mainly exclusively breastfed, so I had to drive home to get him fed and asleep.
While I was at home the results of the X-ray came back, and Calvin called me with the verdict. They thought her colon might be twisted, and wanted to do an ultrasound immediately. They also needed a blood sample from her – and from all accounts she exhibited more bravery than most adults have when faced with needles.
Have I mentioned what a warrior my child is? No? Well she is.
Calvin calls me back with the results and all I remember was him saying “the doctor says her blood work is weird. They say different kids have different symptoms when it comes to appendicitis, and they need to get a ct scan done right away.
Weird? What do you mean, weird? And now they are thinking it is appendicitis? He couldn’t elaborate more – probably because he didn’t understand exactly what it all meant either.
To be honest, I’m panicking at this point. Feeling hot. Getting a headache. Having a hard time regulating my breath. Feeling like I’m going to vomit.
Weird blood results? How sick is she? How serious is this!?
Needless to say I finished with Sullivan and rushed back to the hospital.
I arrived to an empty room (they were in getting her Ct scan completed), and a doctor approaching me saying “mom? So…. this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense”. He went on about high levels of something in her blood, indicicating she was fighting an infection. Something else about her being in starvation mode, and another thing about how her system was now eating up her “reserves”. Her urine came back indicating a UTI, which was surprising to all of us. She hasn’t once complained about pain while urinating, and from all accounts – her pee looks pretty clear in the toilet.
This led the doctor to believe that the infection was closer to her kidneys, which would explain abdominal pain, but still, this didn’t explain the intestinal issues going on.
They brought my sweet girl, and exhausted husband back into the room. At this point she was hooked up to an IV, and my heart just broke a little more. My perfect girl really does look sick. Hooked up to machines, lying in a hospital bed. This is what nightmares are made of. She of course was still smiling through it all. Like I said – warrior.
The doctor left us, and we waited. Waited to hear the results of the Ct scan. Waited to hear if our warrior was going to have to go into emergency surgery for appendicitis. Or a twisted colon. We waited.
Hubby tried to sleep, and I sat back watching our sweet girl – trying to hold back my tears. I had to be strong for her. If I fell apart, she would fall apart. I couldn’t let that happen. I had to be strong.
About an hour had passed. It is now early in the morning, and we are all emotionally, and physically drained. The doctor appeared outside the door and I felt my stomach drop. “Please be good news. God, let it be good news”.
He walks in and says “well it’s good!” The Ct scan showed no issues with her appendix, and no twisting or blockages in the intestines. He said she has an Ileus, which is basically a paralyzed intestine that isn’t moving gas or feces down like it should be. He isn’t sure if the UTI is causing the Ileus, the Ileus is causing the UTI, or the two are unrelated – and she just happened to be suffering from both at the same time.
He recommended antibiotics to fight the infection, and hoped that would help resolve the intestinal Ileus issues as well.
Calvin decided to head home to be with Sullivan, and I decided to curl up in the hospital bed and cuddle my amazing girl to sleep until we were released.
She got her first dose of antibiotics in her IV, and has continued them now for 3 days. Each day she has shown great improvement, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. We will follow up with her pediatrician soon, and have them look a little deeper into what could have caused all this. Was it a freak occurance, or is there something about her system that caused all of this havoc from a simple stomach bug. All I know is we want to make sure we are fully aware, and prepared if this ever does occur again.
The moral of my story is: Go with your gut, moms and dads. I know in this technology age it is easy to jump to conclusions and freak out over the smallest of symptoms. But if your child is truly exhibiting concerning symptoms, or not acting like themselves – it is for a reason. And spouses, don’t be so dismissive just because your other half ALWAYS jumps to the worst case scenario first. Assess the situation from your point of view and try to help ease the concern. Working as a team will almost always result in less stress and less resentment, god forbid there be a serious issue on your hands.
Ultimately, it is always better to be safe, than to be sorry.