Mysterious stomach pain, again

Namine spent nearly a week in the hospital due to mysterious abdominal pain.

technology hospital medicine indoors

We’re back home from being in the hospital. You might recall that we took Namine to the ER back in May; it was during that visit that a hernia on her right side was discovered. We had started out this time thinking that it was perhaps this hernia that now needed sudden attention, whereas then it didn’t. Things turned out to be more complicated than that.

A trip to the pediatrician

Namine had initially complained of abdominal pain in the evening. It was not awful, but it was noticeable — even with her high pain tolerance. Since it was late, we asked Namine if she felt she could wait until the next day to see the doctor. She said yes.

The following morning, the pain had increased so much that she could hardly climb out of the bathtub after her shower. I called the pediatrician’s office, who were able to get us in fairly quickly. Upon examining Namine, the doctor said she was concerned that it was appendicitis. (Last May, that was also a concern, which was then ruled out.) Since they didn’t have the means to do an X-ray or CT scan, we headed to the Children’s Hospital main campus emergency room.

A new hernia and more

During our time in the ER, Namine had an X-ray and a CT scan. It was during these scans which the doctors discovered several concerning things, amidst the uncertainty of what was causing her pain. The first was that the existing hernia on the right side, known since last May, had gotten larger. Since the hole was larger, it was not believed to be in immediate need of repair, since a smaller hole was more likely to strangulate the organs passing through it.

There was, however, a smaller hernia on the left side. Its hole was smaller, and during our first night there — during which Namine was admitted — it was initially believed that immediate action was required. This turned out not to be the case, thankfully, but the surgical team went back and forth on this decision for hours before finally deciding to let Namine eat something before she went to sleep.

The final discovery was possibly a cyst on Namine’s right ovary. I say “possibly” because the doctors couldn’t tell from the imaging whether it was a cyst or a dilated fallopian tube. (If it was the latter, that meant the fallopian tube was filled with fluid.) Either way, surgery would be required to fix it.

Unexplained pain, finally explained

The hernia, as well as the ovarian cyst or dilated fallopian tube, could explain the pain Namine was experiencing on her right side. The newly discovered hernia on her left side could explain the pain on her left side. Both hernias seemed to be large enough to not be constricting organs or blood flow, however, so doctors thought that perhaps they weren’t responsible for the pain after all.

Namine wasn’t just experiencing pain on her left and right sides; she was experiencing extreme pain throughout her entire lower abdomen. Doctors had no explanation for that. A urinalysis was done early on during Namine’s stay, which came back negative for infection. One of the doctors ordered another one, days later, since by that point they were grasping at straws, unable to explain the pain Namine was in. It came back positive for infection. It was confirmed: Namine had a urinary tract infection.

Now that doctors were able to pinpoint the cause of Namine’s pain, they were able to prescribe medication to address the infection. Due to the intensity of the pain she was in, she continued her stay in the hospital until the pain had diminished and the doctors were confident the infection was gone.

Future plans

When we left the hospital, Namine was still in pain. Now that the infection had cleared up, the remaining pain was located in her right side: the ovarian cyst. We made two separate appointments with gynecology and the surgical team to discuss the repair of the two hernias and the removal of the cyst.

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