What a day

It has been an interesting couple of days. I am happy to say, though, that Namine does not have appendicitis and we are home safe and sound. Jessica and Namine are both fast asleep now.

This craziness all started yesterday morning, when Namine woke Jessica up by screaming in pain. We’ve seen this happen before; it’s always been an indicator of a UTI, and that usually means a trip to the hospital. But a hospital stay is something we avoid whenever we can, since it tends to lead to further complications. (To illustrate my point, just take a look at what happened after Namine’s Fontan!)

So Jessica took Namine in to see the pediatrician, where cultures were taken — and all came back negative. So much for the theory of her having a UTI, not that we were complaining. But still, the question remained: what could be causing her pain in her lower abdomen, so much so that she wouldn’t even crawl or scoot?

The doctor’s theory was that she either had gastroenteritis or appendicitis. Both of those sound serious, but only one really is. The former is simply doctor-speak for a stomach bug, even perhaps something as simple as the flu. But the latter is serious business indeed — inflammation of the appendix is not something you mess around with.

Contrary to what we expected, though, the doctor did not advise us to visit the ER. Instead, he said to take Namine home and keep an eye on her. Throughout the afternoon and evening, her abdominal pain subsided. It never went away, but it diminished enough that she could move around the apartment and climb into bed.

This morning, Namine was not doing much better than yesterday. The pain was back, and this time, she had an upset stomach. She was still (with some coaxing) willing to work, though, so Jessica brought her to therapy. It was there that her stomach finally decided it’d had enough, and she threw up. That was the last straw, so to speak — we decided that it was time to pay a visit to the ER.

We knew from experience that it would be a long road until we got out of the ER — either by discharge or admittance — but we needed to know what was going on. The hospital machine moves slowly, but for the most part, efficiently.

The first test of many was a blood draw. Namine handled that like a champ. Blood draws are no big deal anymore. The blood draw came back negative; totally clean. Okay, on to the next test.

The second was an ultrasound on her abdomen. First the tech, then the overseeing doctor, then the tech again. The doctor explained to me that they could see what was probably her appendix, but they weren’t sure. (Well, thank goodness for modern medicine.) At any rate, they couldn’t tell if there was something wrong with her appendix or not. Okay, on to the next test.

The final test is also the most conclusive: the CT scan. “Paul,” I hear you say, “why not just start with the most conclusive test? Why all the song and dance?” Excellent question, dear reader. The answer is simple: because the CT scan is also the most invasive. It involves — at least for Namine — an IV. It involves contrast dye. It involves radiation. You don’t subject a five year old to a CT scan unless you’ve got a good reason. Possible appendicitis is a good reason.

Before they could take Namine back to have the CT scan, they first had to give her an IV for the contrast dye. At this point, she was already tired, hungry, and thirsty — they wouldn’t let her eat or drink anything just in case they needed to operate — and she was not nearly as willing to have the IV as she was the blood draw. She threw up once from the stress, but then she calmed down enough to let them do it. It took three tries.

After the IV was placed, things got easier. Namine has had CT scans before, so she knows to keep still and when to hold her breath. (It strikes me as sad that a girl as young as Namine knows the rules for having a CT scan, but it is what it is.) After the scan, we were taken back to our room in the ER to await the results.

And the results indicated that Namine did not, in fact, have appendicitis. She did, however, have gastroenteritis — simply put, an inflamed intestine. Nothing more than a stomach bug. With that, Namine was discharged from the hospital and we came home. Having eaten nothing all day, the three of us fairly gorged ourselves on dinner. Namine asked to cuddle with Jessica at bedtime, and given how tired we all were from such a long day, she was happy to oblige.

They were asleep in no time.

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