Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!!


Lemme just tell you how wonderful it is to be home and getting back into the swing of things!

Including Five Question Friday!


I've gotta say that today was a pretty low key, non-productive day...I'll make up for it tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. Or for sure by Sunday. Or, possibly, Monday. ;)

Once again...thank you to all of you who prayed for, thought about, left comments, and cheered on our Belle. She's feeling so much better and we're working on weaning her pain meds down. (Which is going pretty well!)

Okay, onto the Sneak Peek! Remember that this post is just the preview of the questions...it is NOT the linky post (the post in which you link up...)!

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP! Remember, the most important rule of all is to HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, April 1st: (Special thanks to @joleneslavik, @PardonMyDust, @Katieb38, @lisanoel03, and Lorilynne for their question suggestions! Wow! I got a great Twitter response today! If you want to be linked in a future 5QF, head on over to my community and offer up your best question suggestions...or shout 'em out to me [@5crookedhalos] on Twitter, using hashtag #5QF!)

1. Have you ever had surgery?

2. Ever ride in an ambulance?

3. How are you in a medical emergency? Panicked? Calm?

4. Do you have a garden? Flowers or veggies?

5. When did you move out of your parents house?

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Okay my friends, I'll see you right back here, bright and early tomorrow morning!


I'd rather have been in Tahiti.


One week. Wednesday to Wednesday. That's usually how long people go on vacation.

To an exotic locale to sip fruity drinks on the beach and get tan and relax and feel the breeze in their hair and the spray of the ocean on their faces.

One week. I'd never been away from my kids for that long before.

Yeah...I'd rather have been in Tahiti. Instead, I was sitting by my 2nd born's hospital bed, worrying like crazy and trying to subdue the nurse in me.

The nurse in me who's heard horror stories of ruptured appendixes and taken care of kids very ill after their appendix had ruptured. Yeah, the mom in me put the nurse in me in a choke hold and wouldn't let her come out. I just. couldn't. go there.

In reality, my Belle was never gravely ill (says the mom in me...while the nurse in me wants to remind her of a story a doctor once told her and the risks that come with a ruptured appendix...). She was miserable. Feverish. In pain. But, never critical.


THANK GOD!!

I look back at the last week, and the stress and the worry we experienced, and it hits me that what WE went through is nothing. Nothing compared to the Kate McRae's and the Sweet Kendall's and the Greg Jager's of the world.

But yet...it was my baby. My sweet girl who I sent off to surgery...in the hands of a bunch of men who were complete stranger's to her. (Weird when you think about it..."See ya later hon! These strange men will take great care of you!") I feel like I had a hand up over most parents...I KNEW who these men were.

I trusted them.

Completely.

With my baby's life.


I have this immense gratitude for the surgeon who helped (guided by You Know Who) to heal her. He is such a humble man...whenever I thanked him for his care, he just smiled quietly and ducked his head...acting almost embarrassed for the recognition.

The magnitude of the last week is hitting me a little more, now that we are home. I get a little teary now and then and yet, I feel silly for being emotional about a little ruptured appendix when I think about what other people are experiencing.


All I know is that I'm relieved to be home. Relieved to be breaking up fights and sopping up spilled milk and staring at a pile of laundry that needs to be folded.

It's so good to be "back to life"...although, I'd still rather be emptying Tahitian sand from our clothes and looking in the mirror at a tanned, relaxed Mama...you know, in case you were wondering. ;)

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PS...I have a giveaway going on over on my review blog for a $100 dollar Dick's Sporting Goods gift certificate through BlogHer and Gatorade!! Check it out!

PPS (or, is it PSS?)...Five Question Friday IS on for tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home...


In my own bed.

With my whole family.

Life is good.

Goodnight.


WE'RE GOIN' HOME!!!!!!


It is official, my friends! We get to go home today!


Pain control is MUCH better since we made a little tweak yesterday. The nurse talked with the peds pharmacist and let him know that she wasn't getting adequate pain coverage (I was, slightly, concerned that she was still having enough pain to require narcotics...but we need to keep her comfy.) with what she was on...so they increased the dose of her Percocet to one full pill every 6 hrs vs. 1/2 pill every 4 hours.

Just what we needed...well, that and a little something else...

After talking with one of the nurses up here, I decided to ask for a pediatrician consult yesterday.

Best move ever. I have been very pleased with the care our surgeon has been giving us, but why not have two minds looking over her, right?

Well, the pediatrician that happened to be on was a female (I don't think this would've been caught with a male)...AND, she discovered that poor Belle had a little something going on that girls get when they're on antibiotics...

Yeast.

Poor girl!

So, they treated her, and already she is having less pain (she was having some pain associated with peeing...)!! Praise the Lord for a second set of eyes! (Although, I still feel like we hurt our surgeon's feelings...doubt that I actually did, but I can't help but feel like he maybe thinks we don't trust him...)

One more dose of antibiotics this afternoon, and we'll get our walkin' papers!

It's gonna feel sooooooo good to be home!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not going home...


Yet.

Doctor was in, Belle's labs look better, her temps are normal...but because of the under-dosing of her antibiotics, he wants her to stay for 24 more hours of appropriately dosed antibiotics.


She's having a little more pain as we try to navigate how to decrease her use of narcotics, but still keep her comfy. It's so hard seeing my girl in pain, and I just wish I could take this away for her. It is unfair to see your baby suffering.

We're going to try giving her an alternating schedule of ibuprofen/Percocet...so that she'll get one or the other every three hours. Hopefully, this will be the ticket!

I'm trying to talk her into a bath...so far, it's a no go.

Yesterday AND today, the therapy dog came and visited with her...which SHE loved, and I cringed, when I saw all the dog hair left on her bed. Grody.


Belle's spirit's seem to be good...between you and me, I kinda think she's enjoying all the attention!

Me, however? I'm ready to get out of here. I have not left this hospital since I brought her in last Wednesday. I'm missing my kids like crazy (they're coming for a visit later...but it's just not the same as being at home with them...), missing my husband like crazy, missing my bed like crazy.


I was really hoping that when we got discharged, that it would miraculously be spring-time outside...but judging by the scene out our window, it doesn't look like that's the case.

Okay...gotta go. Need to work on my sweet little patient's breathing exercises...maybe coax her to take another walk...perhaps win her over with my charm and get her to agree to a bath...watch a little Animal Planet...or Food Network...or Cake Boss.

Just want you all to know how much I appreciate your comments...your encouraging words...and, mostly, your prayers.

Thank you...


Monday, March 28, 2011

Great Strides!


I meant to update before 9:30 pm, but somehow, I just ran out of time!

My Belle had a wonderful day today! She got a little spunk back, seemed less irritated with people, more like herself, started eating more, drinking more, had her IV rate turned down, is requiring less pain meds, and, (shhhh...don't tell her I told you) she had a "more normal" poop!

She has been smiley and talkative most of the day, and her "spark" is back in her eyes!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for discharge tomorrow, but we'll have to wait out her morning labs. They are drawing a CRP (inflammation test), as it hasn't changed and we should be seeing it decline by this point, and a white blood cell count.

Her temps today have been good...however, we've also kept her medicated, so we're going to try to wait out her pain meds until 10:30ish tonight (unless, of course, she needs them by then) to see if she spikes a fever.

This afternoon they made a small change to her antibiotics (Invanz)...they are now giving her a slightly smaller dose every 12 hours vs. a slightly larger dose every 24 hours. We're hoping this is the change we need to see those labs come down!

And, with that...I bid you goodnight. I know, not even a photo to show you my girl's progress. I'm much too tired to download them from my camera...but trust me when I say she looks fabulous!

Here's to a good night without fevers and some good lab results in the morning!


Reflecting...


Last night, as I lay in a darkened hospital room (waiting for my Benadryl to kick in...hey, it's all about survival...) listening to the click and whir of an IV pump and the continuous blowing from the ventilation (in addition to some clanging and banging)...I started thinking about the past week.


It struck me, how things "work out"...

My parents, who have been keeping our other kids this whole time, were supposed to be in Arizona last week. Then, my dad's partner decided it would be fun to mistakenly swap his heart pills for his sleeping pills, and ended up being admitted to the hospital for some testing (only to figure out his mistake as they were packing up his pills to go to the Mayo Clinic--oops...).

Because of his "mysterious symptoms" (hey, YOU try taking Ambien right after you wake up in the morning...), my parent's canceled their Arizona trip.

And, because they canceled their Arizona trip, they were able to be there for us and step right in to help out. In reality, it wouldn't have been SO terrible, as they were scheduled to come home Thursday night, but it was incredibly comforting to me to know that I didn't need to worry one little bit about our other kids.

They were livin' it up at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

I can NOT tell you how grateful and appreciative I am for everything my mom and dad have done...THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!!!

I'm struggling a bit with the guilt of now knowing my babe was sick long before I realized it. It's hard for me to accept that.

BUT, I am so glad I trusted my gut when it dawned at me that something more serious was going on. That I brought her in before she got even more sick.

I'm missing my other kids...they've been up nearly every day, but our Baby Girl can only stay for so long before she starts to get a little too "high maintenance"...and then there are the good-byes.

Ugh.

My girl woke up with brighter eyes today. We're going to work on her po (oral) intake and her incentive spirometry (breathing exercises). The combination of lack of activity and surgery have left her lungs quiet in the bases (bottom).

We've already gone for one walk...and it seemed she was more comfortable; walking straighter, walking longer distances. She's still pretty weak, but hopefully we can work on that when we go home.

Haven't seen the doctor yet. Not sure if we'll go home today...she spiked a fever for about 2 1/2 hours last night...but I see improvement today.

She is still on a pain med via her IV (in addition to an oral one), and I need to talk to the nurse about whether we try to stop that and see how it goes...'cuz we can't take the IV home! ;)

Currently she's coloring and watching Food Network...we've gotten in a lot of Bobby Flay in the last few days! (And I'm really happy that she's a FN fan!!)

We're just waiting on the doctor for a plan!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Appendicitis...The Saga.


Well, just as I was posting last night's update, our girl spiked a fever...and when she spikes, she totally looks puny. Wiped out, pale, glossy eyed.


So, I asked that the doctor be updated, he was and ordered a lab that I took as a "brush off"...I felt like he was just placating us with something because he didn't want to make any decisions that night.

Turns out, after talking at length with today's doctor, that it really is too early to tell. That it isn't entirely abnormal to run fevers after a perforated appendix (which they are now considering hers to be). He told us they need to weigh the risks of exposing a child to radiation with the benefit of doing a CT scan when it's really to soon to tell if there would be an abscess forming in there.

Made me feel better to have some reasoning behind all of this. And to know that we weren't getting a brush off last night.

I also wanted to know what our "criteria" was for discharge...as I'd been totally shooting from the hip and, well, basically afraid to ask. Part of me wants out of here so badly, and the other part of me feels comforted by the safety net of another pair of medical eyes...and the knowledge that a doctor is just a quick phone call away.

Anyway...I was told her fevers need to be better (she's currently at about 102.4...that's not better...you know, in case you had any doubt...), she needs to be eating more, and she needs to be requiring not so many pain meds.

Feels good to have some goals.

Also feels good to know that so many of you are praying for our amazing girl's recovery!

We've had a busy day today...lot's of visitors, which Miss Belle loves (and also enjoys they gifts they bear!) and we see her perk up! She even got in a bath today!


So...here's to tomorrow. And progress toward some goals!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Progress...


Today, we had some progress...


My girl. In a chair. For a couple of hours.

We're up to three walks today, already. She actually ate a small amount of lunch and drank more than a few sips of fluids.

Her temps have been more normal, though, as is fairly typical with kids, as we're getting toward evening, it's creeping back up again.

The doc that saw us today, gave me a bit more insight into why they're taking it so slow with our girl...although there was nothing "spilling" from her sickened appendix when they removed it, her insides told them something different. I read the op note today that said: "Acute appendicitis. Peritonitis. Suspect contained perforation."

I was informed (by yet ANOTHER incredible surgeon) that she is at very high risk of developing an abscess because of "how contaminated her abdominal cavity was".

Yikes.

Hoping for discharge tomorrow. But only if she's ready.

Currently, she's on her 2nd nap of the day.

Clearly, her body is weary from all of this.

(Just as I was about to upload the photo...my girl's temp started creeping up even more. I'm now afraid that we've been masking her fever with the pain meds we've been giving her and I'm torn as to how much we keep her comfy at the risk of masking signs that something is brewing...)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Today, I melted...


But only just a little.

I awoke this morning to a girl who was lookin' pretty punk. Queasy, quiet, and her ever present stoicism. In my eyes, a step backward from yesterday.


On the inside, I worried. I fretted...but on the outside, I tried my best to play cheerleader. Encouraging trips to the bathroom, a walk in the halls, and breakfast. The first two I was successful at, the last?

Not so much.

Girl doesn't want to even think about food. Getting her drink takes some major encouragement!

I stepped out in the hall for some ice while the nurse assessed my babe's belly. Then, I stopped her (the nurse) in the hall to talk, and ended up teary eyed. It's just so hard to see one of my babies hurting. We decided to try some pain meds, even though Belle's been saying she doesn't need anything, and we ended up seeing our girl perk up a bit!

The nurse in me comes out too much, and I've been afraid of giving her narcotics because I don't want to slow down her already sluggish gut. Apparently, I need to get over that...'cuz, just like what Western medicine is good for, there's always a fix. If you mess something up with one pill, you can just fix it with a different one.


Anyway, the doctor reassured me that she will need something "stronger than Tylenol" for the next few days...he reminded me of how sick her abdominal cavity is/was. Basically, they are treating her as if her appendix did perforate (or rupture). He (the doctor) suspects that it did (at some point during the last few days, then sealed itself) because of how inflamed and infected her belly is.

Normally, when an appendix is bad, he says you go in and it's just a nasty old appendix...but her whole abdominal cavity was affected, which is what you see with a perforated appendix.

My girl on narcotics is kinda funny tho...chatty, loopy. Kinda cracks me up a little...and makes me realize that, indeed, she needs more pain meds than what we've been doing!

Praying for some good progress for my sweet girl...and I thank you for your prayers!



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Well, we got that influenza swab, afterall...



Sigh. Where do I start?

Oh, I know...how about where I left off yesterday...

Strep, negative...I was then convinced we were dealing with influenza. Even tho she had abdominal pain. The abdominal pain was kind of a head scratcher, but I thought, "huh, must just be part of it".

By Wednesday afternoon, the lightbulb began to go on. It started out kinda dim, tho, so I kept shutting it off. At about 4 o'clock, I could no longer ignore the glaring light in front of my eyes...


Abdominal pain that had her moaning, the way she walked hunched over, the fevers, the nausea, the lack of appetite...it was all adding up. I finally asked her, if she had to point to ONE specific spot where it hurt, where would she point. She had been generalizing her pain to the very lower part of her abdomen, but when I asked her to specify...

Her finger when right to the spot I was dreading...the right lower corner of her tummy.

*Gulp*

And, at 4 o'clock, you're hard pressed to find an appointment at the clinic. I called to talk with the clinic nurse, and together we confirmed what I had been debating...I needed to head to the ER.

I dread going to the ER...in fact, will avoid it at all costs. I really don't want to be "one of those moms" and I think the ER is for missing limbs and heart attacks.

Well, last night I learned that they're also for abdominal pain.


My sweet girl was unable to walk, so I lugged her from our parking spot into the hospital...we got checked in and were called back within 5 minutes, during which time, my poor babe was so uncomfortable she couldn't sit still or find a comfortable position. Her behavior confirmed that I had, indeed, made the right decision.

We were "roomed" and seen by a doctor that had my sense of humor...sarcastic. He "diagnosed" (jokingly-ish) her with "influenza, appendicitis, and a bladder infection"...'cuz she had EVERY symptom in the book! And, she bought herself an influenza swab after all...

To rule out appendicitis (or, rule in, in our case...) they needed to do a CT scan, and so, they wanted her to drink some contrast, and by "some" I mean a giant styrofoam cup full, and do the CT an hour and a half later. Well, about 1/4 of the way into the cup, she barfed it all back up.

And by "all", I mean "ALL"...plus the Tylenol she had just taken.

CT was then done via "Plan B"...contrast via her IV. We were told we'd receive results "within" the hour.


After returning to our ER room, the nurse rechecked her temp, which had been running 100-101...it was now 103.1, and our nurse said, "Hmmm...I'll betcha it's an appy."

Shortly there after, a man in a white jacket walked in, and I immediately recognized him as one of my favorite surgeons.

SURGEONS. Er...guys. You coulda warned me you were sending the surgeon in!

I looked at him and said, "Well, it can't be a good sign that I'm seeing you!"

And, it was decided that she needed surgery...while there isn't a 100% definitive diagnostic test for appendicitis, he (and the radiologist) were quite certain that there was a "large, angry appendix" residing within her little body.

Consents were signed, vitals taken, the OR notified, our "place in line" secured...and we waited for our number to be called. (Figuratively...not literally...well, kinda not literally.)

At 11 pm last night, we kissed our baby girl good-bye as she was wheeled back to the operating room, in the hands of an anesthesiologist who blew my socks off. He was so incredible with her. EVERYONE was so incredible with her.

And SHE was incredible.

As my (previously) medically anxious (read: freakazoid) child, I was very afraid how Belle would handle this. Whether it was strength from the multitude of prayers being sent her way, or whether she was just feeling so crummy she was ready for relief (both?), she was a rock star!!

Her surgeon said her belly was quite sick...her appendix didn't appear to have ruptured, although there was a "gangrenous" area that made him question whether it hadn't ruptured earlier, then sealed itself off. She has peritonitis and lot's of inflammation in her belly...but we're headed in the right direction!


Pain is well controlled, slowly advancing her diet, fever free so far today...tomorrow we will recheck her white blood cells and see if they're decreasing, then make plans as far as discharge goes!

Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts and kind words and encouragement!

Oh, FYI--Five Question Friday is on hiatus this week...due to obvious reasons! (And, it has taken me all dang day to write this post...lot's of visitors and interruptions...not to mention the 8 billion words I just left you with to read!)


Quick Update...

No computer til the Mr. returns with mine, so a quick update via phone will have to suffice!

My sweet girl had her appendix removed last night...she's currently looking rather peaked, nibbling on a Popsicle, and painting me a masterpiece.

As soon as my computer is here, I'll give you the whole darn story. Gee, just what you're waiting for, huh?!

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, good vibes...we appreciate them all, and still need them!

Back in a bit...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Girl...An Update.


Fever remains...but lower, which a good thing, right?

Decided to finally throw in the towel and take her to the doctor. But only for a strep and influenza swab. Can't throw in the towel too much.

Let me explain. I'm a nurse. I'm convinced this is either strep throat (for which the doc will see her if she's positive) or the flu (for which we can do nothing at this point, but wait it out).

Back to the story...

We arrive at the clinic and check in for a "lab walk-in". The lady at the desk informs me that for a flu swab, she'll need to see a doctor. Boo!! I "hmmmm" and "haaaaa" and decide that I don't want to spend my hard earned money on seeing a doctor (that isn't even our primary) only to have him order a flu swab, it come back positive, and him tell me to "push fluids, rest, and come back if it gets worse".

Yeah, I know that already.

So, I said skip it. The flu swab was only for my own peace of mind in case anyone else gets sick.

They swab my girl's throat (and teach her to hold her left thumb tight across her left palm and squeeze it so she doesn't gag...it worked!)...and we go out to wait.

In the waiting room, we ran into another local family with oodles of kids like us, and they tell us it's been running through their house for 2 weeks.

Gee. Great.

We get called back..."Negative". And guess what the nurse tells me?

"Push fluids, rest, and come back if it gets worse!"

Duh.

I'm now convinced it is influenza. And my poor girl just has to fight it out.

I offered to take a nap with her (aren't I a great mom?!!), but she said "I feel worse when I sleep."

Guess what she's currently doing?


Poor peanut can't stay awake...


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