Friday, May 16, 2008

Liam & The Giant Appendix

What a crazy forty eight hours it has been. It was at least a month's worth of excitement all rolled up into two days. And I'm ready to see the bottom of this particular rabbit hole.

Our tale actually began on Wednesday. I neglected to write about, but Liam stayed home that day. His stomach was upset. He actually threw up twice. But he dealt with it most professionally and didn't make it any worse than it had to be. I took half a shift and watched him. Cindy took the other half. Aside from the vomiting, we didn't think anything of it.

Yesterday morning, Liam said his stomach was actually hurting. He said even walking was difficult. Silly me, I thought he was sore from too many sit-ups at karate. I couldn't have been more surprised when Cindy called me from the Pediatrician's and said the doctor ordered a CT scan. Which is never a good thing.

A few hours speed by. Cindy and I help him through the scan. The doctor reviews the results. And it isn't good. Looks like he has fluid around his appendix. It's classically sore in that area, the fluid isn't a good sign, his pain is getting to the point where he can't walk, and he has developed a fever.

All of the symptoms point toward a ruptured appendix. Which is never a good thing. Actually it is bad enough to require emergency surgery.

Less than an hour speeds by. Instead of the CT room, now we're in pre-op with him. I snap a final photo of him with his appendix. (Click any picture to enlarge.) He's balled up in pain, eyes closed, and not talking. They're going to put him to sleep, giving him a breathing tube down his throat, and cut out his appendix. Good case, 30 min. Bad case, an 60 min.

We head to the waiting room.

(Brief side note: There was another patient in the pre-op. He was in a car wreck. T-Boned. Took 40 minutes to extract him via Jaws Of Life. His femur when through his quadriceps and out the skin. Cracked his pelvis. Concussion. Ruptured blood vessels in his brain. A shunt in there to monitor pressure. So Liam wasn't the only one having a bad day.)

Before the surgeon came out, it was the longest 50 minutes of our lives, so far. She had good news. No rupture. Swollen and inflamed, yes. Ruptured, no. So they didn't have to rinse out his abdomen and flush out all the fluids. And there was far less of a chance of complications.

After that, we had a two hour wait before they brought him back to his room. And then another two hour wait before they brought the morphine. Then Liam chased the dragon.

I drove home around 1AM. Cindy and Liam slept until 6AM. And I was back by noon.

He wasn't having a good day. The morphine wasn't really working. It was only 1mg, anyway.

Cindy went home for a nap. They switched Liam to Demerol. And his smile came back.

I grabbed a photo of him sitting up and smiling for the first time since Tuesday.

Then he got ambitious and started walking on his own. Only a little trip around the bed and back. But it was a good start. And great to see him smiling.

By the time I left, he had taken a nap, his fever had broken, the surgeon said he could likely go home tomorrow, his mother had returned with Meg, and he Liam showed off with another walk down the hall and back.

Hopefully, he returns tomorrow.

Always an adventure at our place.


Anonymous said...

How scary for you and your family! I'm glad Liam is on the mend, and am sure that your new fright-induced gray hairs look very distinguished.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! Liam was very brave, indeed! So glad to hear that he is doing well. Appendixes and gallbladders can cause a LOT of pain when things start going wrong (I speak from exp. on the latter).