On Tuesday, Coleman mentioned his stomach hurt and yet he played football while Carter had his flag football practice.
By Wednesday, Coleman didn't really want to move from the couch. We took the two kids to the babysitters and came back home. I called Jake and talked to him, telling him I would probably give the doc a call on Thursday if Coleman wasn't feeling better. I thought it might be a stomach bug.
I kept checking on Coleman and began to ask him more questions. When he mentioned his chest hurt when he breathed in, I decided to give the doc a call. The nurse called me back and had me do a series a little tests. Did it hurt when he hopped on his right leg? It did. I had him hop on the other leg. It did as well. She had me gently press on his belly button and a few other places. It pained him. I realized that when he said his chest hurt, it was probably coming from his stomach. The nurse suggested we go to the ER since the signs pointed to appendicitis, which confirmed what I read on the internet earlier.
At least this wasn't my first rodeo- Jake and I have dealt with a broken arm, a case of ITP (low platelets), stitches for two kids within months of each other, and nasty allergic reactions. I realize these are minor things in comparsion to what some parents deal with but let me tell you, it does not get easier. I should have prepped a little, packed a bag or something but I didn't. I thought, we'll go down, get him checked out, it will be a viral thing and we'll go home. I was lucky I changed from my gym shorts to my jeans.
We went to the best of the best, Phoenix Children's Hospital where the kids have been before. Luckily the ER was empty and we zoomed right in, triage nurse got us a room. It's about 3:00 pm.
Resident doctor comes in, asks him a few questions, doesn't notice any concerns.
Doctor on duty comes in, does a few more tests. More jumping which Coleman does but winces with pain. Does some more checks on his belly. He leaves and comes back, saying it's probably viral or constipation and not appendicitis. At this point I ask how do I know if it's appendicitis or a virus? Since Coleman has a low grade fever of 99 degrees and can jump up and down, along with a few other things I can't recall, he wasn't presenting the symptoms. Okay, I thought, I just spent $125 for him to tell me it's a virus. He leaves, going to get our paperwork. I joke with Coleman that we got $130 from the garage sale so we could pay for this but it's okay because we are going home. I text the family peeps all is good. It's maybe 4:00 pm.
Head doctor comes in, starts pushing on Coleman's tummy asking him questions. He says it hurts on the right side, but also on the belly button and left side. She's pressing hard and tears spring up in my little guy's eyes. Breaks my heart. She's still not convinced that it's his appendix. I also told them he can be hyper sensensitive to pain, so I was unsure as well. Both Coleman and I have had nasty stomach bugs before where they bring you to your knees. At this point I tell her he doesn't want to walk to the car and ask her if that kind of pain could be caused from a virus? Maybe that tipped the scale, she decided on the ultrasound, urine and blood tests. At one point Coleman says that at least we are getting more for the money. Love that kid.
Nurses try to get blood from his veins. Love the fact they have a numbing agent beforehand because I can tell Coleman is beginning to freak out. However, the sound is makes a loud fizzing sound which Coleman does not like. They get the line in but he is unvoluntarily clenching his muscles and no blood is drawn.
Ultrasound transportation guy comes to save the day and Coleman is wheeled to the room. The Child Life specialist is busy so I am trying to explain step by step what they will do. This helps Coleman calm down because he knows what to expect. The tech comes in with the warm jelly and begins taking pictures. Even after having three kids, I can't tell what anything is on those things and give up trying to look. At one point, she presses on his belly button and asks, is this where it hurts? Coleman says yes. I think nothing of it since it's not on the right side. She's done and we wait. You do a lot of waiting in the hospital. She comes back with some toys. He picks the small Lego set. In the back of mind I realize the results might not be good. It's about 6:00 pm.
We are back in the room and they have the blood specialist in the room, looking at the veins. Reminds me of when they couldn't draw blood from Carter when he was two months old and put an IV into forehead. I start to panic a little they would do the same to Coleman, that's just something you can't watch.
Someone pokes their head in the room and mentions the OR is ready... whoa... huh? I hadn't even gotten back the results of the ultrasound. At this point I lose count of how many people are in this small room, maybe five, six? Resident doctor comes in and says ultrasound indicates it is appendicitis and they will be getting him ready for surgery.
Coleman had managed to trick three doctors into thinking he wasn't in that much pain. Apparently most kids are doubled over in pain and can't move and he was jumping for them. My tough kid. I think he was worried that it would be more serious and try to minimize it.
Million things go through my head... need to call Jake who is teaching his class... need to call Dad who is watching my kids... have to get Coleman mentally ready... how long will the surgery last... when will he go home... so many questions and everything is moving fast.
So I do everything at once, I hold Coleman's hand, text when the nurses are starting to prep him and try to get my head around surgery. Out of all the things we've gone through with the kids, my firstborn is the first one to have surgery. With the beauty of technology, we Facetime Jake at work so he can talk to Coleman and tell him he loves him.
Coleman hears the word surgery and starts to freak out. He's tired, overwhelmed and has been poked and prodded, I don't blame him. Luckily the Child Life Specialist comes in with the iPad and talks him through the procedure. He cries and I try not to. I promise ribs, his favorite food, at Texas Roadhouse when all this is over. We do a lot of deep breathing and the distractions work. We are ready for the pre-op room. It's about 7:15 pm.
Tough guy Coleman still puts on his brave face when the surgeon comes in to examine him. Barely makes a face but I know he is in a lot of pain. I know there is not a lot of time and I am thankful Coleman is calm and is sleepy, exhausted from everything.
He curls on to his side and shuts his eyes and I sing his favorite song, Amazing Grace. He seems to be asleep. They are ready to take him back and I can't tell you how hard that is when they are wheeling your baby into surgery and you can't be with them holding their hand, telling them mama's here and everything's going to be okay. The saying is true- having children is like having your heart walk outside of your body. The pain is excruciating.
I head to the waiting room and Jake meets me there. My muscles finally relax a little. It's 7:45 pm. We joke a little and we worry a lot.
A little after 9:00 pm, the surgeon come out and tell us Coleman did just fine and the appendix did not burst, however, when they had stapled it, getting ready to cauterize, the staple opened causing a little fluid to leak. It would require extra time in the hospital but not the same as if it had burst. We looked at the gross pictures of Coleman's angry looking appendix and I said it was good thing I didn't wait to call the doctor. The surgeon said one more day and it probably would have burst.
Coleman's not up, but we finally get to see him. He's lying with the oxygen mask on and eyes parted a little, drugged up but resting. I just want him to wake up, to smile, to look like my Coleman again and we wait yet again.
I spend the night in the hospital and the nurses are wonderful. Coleman wakes up around 4:30 am and he asks if we still have to do the surgery. Earlier I had told him they were going to make him sleep and that "we'll see how it goes". I was glad to tell him that it was already done!
Now Jake has the hospital shift and I am at home with the kids. Soon we will go see Coleman and play on the playground there. Even though the road here was a little bumpy, I am so thankful for Phoenix Children's and the care he is getting. I am so thankful that the nurse told me to get to the ER, that the doctors discussed Coleman's symptoms and did the ultrasound to make sure, and that I listened to my mommy intuition. Thank you to Linda, our babysitter for always being flexible and my Dad for stepping in and watching the kiddos. Thank you to all our Facebook buddies for their thoughts and prayers, I showed Coleman all the people that were thinking of him. Thank you to his visitors, my Dad and Jake's parents for bringing him gifts to keep him busy.
Coleman is on the mend and he will have three tiny scars to go with his scar on his hand and chin. I can't wait to have my tough guy home again.