If there is anything I've learned about my son in the almost 8 years I've known him, it's this--if he says his stomach hurts, vomit is sure to follow. And it did, just as I'd expected. As usual, I set him up in his room with the portable dvd player and a trash can lined with several trash bags. I gave him teaspoons of water every fifteen minutes to insure he didn't get dehydrated. This wasn't my first time at the barf-o-rama rodeo. I spent most of sunday cleaning and disenfecting the house to prevent anyone else from coming down with this nasty bug.
By the next day, the vomiting had subsided. I started out by giving him bland foods and chicken broth, but he wasn't really hungry. He complained that his stomach hurt, but I figured that after all that vomiting, he probably strained a muscle and the pain would subside by the following day and he'd be ready for school and all would be good. As usual.
The next day, he could barely walk. I thought he was being dramatic. Or maybe he was trying to get out of going to school so he could spend another day with mom watching movies and chilling out. I called the school and told him he'd be out again. The nurse confirmed that a stomach virus was going around. I imagined another day and he'd be back to his old hyper self, but when he looked up at me from the bathtub and cried, "When is this stomach pain going to go away?" I knew that this was something other than a 24 hour bug.
My first thought was that maybe he got the flu or maybe a hernia from all that dry heaving. Luckily, my internet was down for the day and I had to go by my gut. Normally I suffer from google abuse which often results in many unnecessary trips to the pediatrician's office at the first sign of a cold, fever, growing pain, what have you. I'll admit, it's kind of embarrassing to be told by a doctor that there is nothing to do but give them fluids, rest, some Ibuprofen and maybe some chicken soup. It's also expensive.
But, when your normally happy-go-lucky kid is acting very odd, it's time to consult the professionals. I loaded him in the back seat of the car and zoomed off to a children's urgent care clinic. He complained about the bumps on the road.
When we shuffled into the clinic that was buzzing within 15 minutes of being open, Nik was able to bypass the line and went straight to triage. They took his temp and felt his belly. It hurt only on the right side. He had a fever. He was nauseous. He had vomited. Within minutes, we were in a room and the doctor came in. He felt Nik's belly again. "Looks like it's his appendix. I'm going to order a sonogram to take a look, but the clinical diagnosis points to appendicitis."
I think my jaw dropped. Surgery. Oh no. They would have to put Nik under and cut him open and he was so little and frail and walking around like a 90 year old man. The older doctor assured me that this was fairly common in kids and that once we got the results back, he'd have the surgery done immediately. They didn't want it to burst, as that can cause a whole lot of problems.
Well, it was his appendix. At 6pm, he went in for surgery. We met the anesthesiologist and the surgeon. They answered Nik's questions, they appeased our fears, and as we walked towards the waiting room, the nurse assured us that we had the best team working on Nik.
It was the longest, most worrisome hour of my life. When I finally got to see him, I was so relieved that everything went well. He was such a brave kid. He didn't cry when they gave him the IV and is usual for him, he wanted to do everything himself. No help. If there were three words that could sum up Nik's experience, it's "I got this."
We're home. All is good. I'm so grateful for the wonderful staff at Cook Children's Surgical Center, as well as everyone's prayers, thoughts and well wishes. Thank you.