HSC: The Adventure No Child or Parent Should Have to Go Through

So, if you read ‘Pig and Car Conspiracy’ then you know how the month of November started out with us all feeling like we were about to die, much like our sole means of transportation did, traitorous Montana minivan, I must despise you now!

If you’re not aware of what happened, then perhaps you should take a moment to click that link and read that entry, go ahead, we’ll wait.

[insert elevator music here… la la la la]

Ok, so you’re back and you’re thinking “Wow, that really is a shitty way to start off the month of November” right? Well then let me tell you that this just gets better and better.

Firstly, there is a very good reason why I haven’t been updating my blog lately and when I’m done telling you all about what’s been going on, you’re going to nod your heads and think to yourself “Yup. That’s a good reason for Kat not to be writing in her blog this month.” then you’ll pause and think “But it doesn’t excuse the rest of the neglect that she’s been pulling on us all!”

‘Pig & Car Conspiracy’ left you all with the misunderstanding that we were all on the mend but that wasn’t so. Sure Hubby returned to work, Seam and Ceilidh returned to school but poor little Devlin had to stay home because he was beginning to show signs of feeling under the weather, the most major of them being the fever of 100°F and no amount of Tylenol, Advil or Motrin was bringing that sucker down, but Devlin was still in a pretty good mood, although whenever he drank he did have this hacking cough afterwards, but otherwise it was good.

Then comes Tuesday, he doesn’t want to drink that much or eat at all, his fever spikes to 104°F and come 8:00pm the kid is fussing and crying inconsolably. By 11:00pm he’s writhing in pain and screaming his heart out and Hubby and I are moving heaven and earth to get him to Sick Kids Hospital.

We’re trying to call my Mom, but she’s on the phone long distance with her Mom and we just can’t get through. It’s only been about15 or 20 minutes but while holding a screaming child in your arms as he twists and contorts and pulls your hair and freaks out, so it feels more like 20 hours. Finally I say to the Hubby that it’d be faster if I just walked over to my Mom’s house, which gives the Hubby an idea and he pulls Sean out of bed and tells him to jump on a bike and ride over to his grandmother’s house and let her know what’s going on.

About 20 minutes later my Mom is walking through the front door, I’ve already packed everything up to go and Hubby hurries out to put the wheel chair into the minivan. Again it really only took about 5 minutes but it sure felt a hell of a lot longer, but it gets done and we head down town to the hospital.

We arrive in the ER at HSC around midnight, at which point we’re quickly checked in, I’m given a wheel chair to sit in because Devlin’s is left in the minivan, I just wanted to get him into the hospital at that point and I figured my Mom would park the van and bring it with her, but she didn’t.

So the triage nurse wheels us to a hall and gives us what is labelled ‘hall bed #3’ to wait at and that’s what we do. We wait, and we wait and we wait. We watch as children walk into the rooms and laugh and joke with the nurses and their parents, and my Mom and I are looking at each other over the still screaming, kicking, twisting and freaking the hell out Devlin and we’re wondering what’s going on. None of these kids that are getting seen by doctors look worse than Devlin so why is he being left to scream?

Finally my Mom’s had enough and she goes to the nurses desk and asks how much longer LB will have to wait, and they nod and say that they’ll be looking at BL soon enough. That’s right, there’s another kid there with the almost identical name as LB (of course these are not the right names or initials but you get the point) and they are seeing this child while forgetting all about LB.

Within five minutes we’re whisked into a room and Devlin has a team of doctors swarming all over him, setting up tests and poking, prodding and palpitating his poor little body. By this point the poor kid has been kicking so much that both of his shins are now covered in so many bruises they actually look like one huge bruise. Nurses come and start an IV, they do blood tests and take urine samples by inserting a catheter and everything progresses along.

Finally around 8:00am, 12 hours after all of this started, my Mom and I decide that she should go home and try to get some sleep since she has to work that night. So that leaves me in the ER with a still crying and fussing little boy, and now I’m trapped there with no way to go to get a drink or even to the bathroom, so I guess not being able to get a drink is actually a good thing because can you imagine what would have happened if I actually did have to go to the bathroom. I guess I’d have been asking the nurses to hook me up to a catheter.

The Doctors come back, they ask many questions, they once again palpitate his poor body and they order a whole slew of X-rays, ultra sounds and more blood work. After all of that is done the doctors come back and sit down to talk to me, and I don’t like the look of this. When a doctor pulls a chair up to have a face to face with you, it’s scary.

“It seems that your son may have the flu, whether it’s H1N1 or another flu we’re not sure. We’ll do a nose swab test to be certain, but that’s not what’s worrying us.” Ok, the doctors are worried, at his point my heart is beating so hard it could fly right out of my chest. “The muscle pain from the flu is actually your muscles breaking down, now this isn’t a big deal because once you’re over the flu your muscles start to regenerate, but the problem with your son is that his muscles are breaking down at such a level that it’s overwhelming his blood stream and his kidneys. There is blood in his urine and we’re worried that his kidneys may shut down.” He pauses and waits for me to take all of this in before continuing. “Now, you’ve been very lucky and haven’t had any serious problems with your son except for last years hospitalization for his collapsed lung.” (For those of you not familiar with this episode you can read about it here.) He paused here and looked me in the eye. “This is serious, very serious.” I couldn’t help thinking to myself ‘No Shit?’ Because I had no idea that someone’s kidney(s) possibly shutting down was anything other than a lark and that we can always reboot them like when you turn on your computer, right?

So there I sat, alone in the ER with my still squirming and not yet pain medicated and still crying his heart out, listening to the doctors telling me that my son may have to be hooked up to dialysis and possibly have kidney damage, and all of this after having been up for thirty-one and a half hours. To say that I teared up and started to cry would be a colossal understatement. But of course I had to pull myself together fast because I had a child in my arms who was about to be hooked up to IV morphine to dull his pain, perhaps even relieve it altogether. Plus, I don’t like letting others see me cry, it makes me feel like a blubbering silly girl instead of a strong mother who needs to be able to roll with the punches.

Now, I’ve been in this hospital for about fourteen hours, I’ve called home I think twice and both of those were before my Mom left at eight o’clock. This means that I’ve been given all of this information and my Hubby is at home, clueless about what’s going on.

Then the nurse from the desk comes into my room as two other nurses are attempting to put a catheter on Devlin, but after trying to insert three different sizes of tube, all of them looking to be about a million sizes to big in diameter, I mean one of them looked to be about as big around as my sons junk. I’m standing there, holding my poor baby as they jab these things up his pee hole and all I can think is ‘Man, that’s gonna fit in there?’ Of course the answer to that question was no, they finally gave up because it just wasn’t going in. Devlin was way to tense for that, and personally I don’t blame him. Ouch! Meanwhile the nurse from the desk tells me that I need to call home, my husband just called and wants to know what’s going on. Hmmm, my son’s getting stabbed in a spot that should never have that happen, so perhaps my husband will understand if I don’t call him right this exact second, but thanks for the message and the nagging way that you said it to me. It was just what I needed right at this moment, when my son is looking up at me with these huge blue eyes full of tears and he’s clearly blaming me for this torturous pain that he’s going through. Great.

Of course just as the nurses give up on the catheter, Devlin’s IV line clots up and they need to pull it all apart and try to flush it out, which is easier said than done. And as all this is happening the transfer attendant arrives to take us upstairs because a bed has opened up for Devlin.

It all seems to have taken so long but I think in all it only took about ten minutes to get the IV all fixed up and then we were heading for the elevator and up to the seventh floor.

When we got up to the room I called the husband and in a very calm manner explained what was going on. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get all full of panic. That’s not how I am. Instead I held it together and explained to him what was going on, I repeated what the doctor told me, exactly as he told it to me.

As soon as we got off the phone Hubby mobilized, he got our kids all set to go to my Mom’s house, he made plans for the kids to look after the dogs, and as soon as he was able, the Hubby headed down to the hospital to be by Devlin’s side, to be there to support me and take his share of the shifts looking after Devlin.

The rest of the week is a blur, the hours seemed to slow but at the same time speed up. It’s hard to explain.
I’d be sitting there trying to get Devlin to drink or eat, to get him to stop crying. I’d be going back and forth between holding him and stroking his hand or rubbing his back or head while he lay in the bed and suddenly I’d look up and wham it’d hit me suddenly that a couple of hours had just flown by.

And then there were the times when Devlin was crying and fussing and in need of some relief from the pain and I’d ask the nurse if he could get something to help him out and she’d inform me in a very sad and sympathetic voice that it’s too soon since his last dose and we need to wait for another hour or so first.

On his second day the person sent from phlebotomy to take yet another blood draw was shocked that he’d only been there two days. She actually asked how a little guy who’d only been in the hospital for two days could get so many bruised veins. She literally had to search his body for a vein that hadn’t been stabbed yet so she could do the damage to the spot.

On Devlin’s birthday the nurse was great. They got a ‘Happy Birthday Devlin’ sign made up and she hung it on the wall, then a little later on we heard a page for all the nurses to report to the nursing desk STAT and my heart dropped as I thought about the poor family that would have all those nurses coming in to the rescue of their little one. Only it wasn’t a distress situation that had all the nurses being summoned. No, those nurses were being called together so that they could all come into Devlin’s room and sing Happy Birthday to him and give him his pillow slip sized bag of gifts. Tears sprang into my eyes as I watched him smile up at the nurses while they sang to him.
Sadly this was the same day that he had the most needle pokes, new IV’s inserted and even another catheter inserted into his poor body.
My sister-in-law came to visit, which was really nice. Up to that point, other than the Hubby I’d really only seen nurses, doctors and techs. Getting a chance to see and talk to someone who wasn’t employed at the hospital and had that showered, well rested quality about them made me feel connected to the outside world once more. She brought a gift forDevlin, Bugasaurous from Monsters vs. Aliens but we ended up calling him the Hungry Caterpillar because whenever Devlin would start to fuss we’d tell him that there was a hungry caterpillar in the bed with him and he’d better watch out, and then I’d make the caterpillar climb up across his belly making munching sounds all the way. Devlin would laugh and squirm and forget that he was pissed off. Then at night he’d cuddle up to the caterpillar and he doesn’t cuddle with stuffed animals, ever.

One night by accident I put the pillow on top of Bugasaurous and Devlin got very pissed off, crying and thrashing. Once I realized what I’d done I saved the little guy from being crushed by the very flat, uncomfortable pillow and Devlin was happy once more.

At one point I was trying to get Devlin to eat a chocolate pudding and he screamed with each tiny spoonful but when I said to him between spoonfuls that it was too painful for him and that I had to stop he’d actually scream harder and louder. I couldn’t do it and so I had to hold onto a screaming, kicking, miserable boy that only wanted to have some chocolate pudding but his Mom couldn’t give it to him.

The next day Hubby got him to eat a Timbit, chocolate of course. Once again poor little man cried with each sweet mouthful but dammit there was just no way that boy was not going to finish that Timbit and his Dad is made of sterner stuff, which means that Devlin was actually allowed to cry and eat this time.

Sunday morning the doctors came in and told us that since he’s drinking, something that he hadn’t been doing until we discovered that he would gulp back the chocolate milk like there’s no tomorrow, and his labs all look good that we’d be able to go home as soon as the discharge paperwork is done.

Lucky for us the HSC is right along the Santa Claus Parade route we were able to take Devlin out to view the parade. Sean, Ceilidh and Brennan all came down to the hospital to watch the parade so it was a nice time. Lucky for us the weather was warmer than normal so it really was a nice time watching all the bands, floats and then the Jolly Old Man go on past us.

By the time we got back to the room the nurse had the discharge papers ready for us and packed up and came home.
Of course it doesn’t end there, because for the first few days I spent all my time numbing Devlin’s throat with anaesthetic, pouring Advil, Motrin or Tylenol down his food hole and watching his fluids (intake and out) and worrying that we’d have to go back to the hospital again.

On Tuesday I managed to get Devlin to start eating some oatmeal, Wednesday he had mashed potatoes with gravy and last night he nibbled on some spaghetti.

On top of all that I’ve been trapped inside this house with a little boy who is far from happy. He stares out the window and moans and groans non stop. He wants me to constantly amuse him, which is part of mothering a sick child but I have to say it sure makes you feel worn out. I swear sometimes it feels as though my skin is so thin, if I just bend a limb the wrong way my skin will shred and everything will just pour out, which sometimes feels like that could be a good thing.

On top of all of this I have to deal with a dead car, searching for a new car and a whole slew of other crap that I just don’t want to get into right now.

At least Devlin is on the mend, although I’m worried he’ll be home for another week, an entire month home from school. Sean and Ceilidh’s schools have both called to share their sympathies with us as well as letting us know that they’ll be watching my kids for any extra signs of stress.

Devlin’s school, nothing! No phone call. No email. Nothing!

I sent his teacher an email letting her know what’s been going on with Devlin, and that he’ll probably be off for a while longer. Normally when he’s off with a simple sniffle his teacher calls me a couple times a week, she emails Devlin and lets him know the class is missing him. This time nothing.

It’s nice to know that they care.

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About katastrophes1

Kat is a 20 something girl stuck in a 40 something body. Mom to 3 kids, tormented and amused by 3 crazy dogs. Amateur photographer, self taught crochet junkie. Thinker of crazy thoughts. Where do they come from? Who knows where thoughts occur, they just happen!
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2 Responses to HSC: The Adventure No Child or Parent Should Have to Go Through

  1. Volly says:

    >Wow! Needless to say (but saying it anyway), you've got all my sympathy for this seasonal stress mess. I'm really sorry they haven't improved children's urinary catheters since the 1960s (yes, I have my own fond memories of that anything-but-tiny rubber tube). When you look at a place like a children's hospital with clear, objective eyes, it's more or less understandable how the staff can often seem like such brainless jerks, considering all they have to contend with. But when it's your child, and your Frazzlemeter is already dialed to 11, it's less easy to be tolerant. I hope the healing is steady and unidirectional, and that nobody else in your family gets sick again until, oh, make it your great-great-great grandkids' college graduation day.

  2. Jenn says:

    >That is beyond scary! I don't know how you handled it in the hospital, I would have been a complete and utter mess. I'm thinking of you guys and I hope things turn around really soon. xoxo

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