Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Gangrene Gang

When Glamour Girl told me on Monday evening that her stomach was hurting, I must admit, I thought it was a ploy to postpone going to bed. Perhaps she had noticed that the phantom backache she had been complaining about for the past two months wasn't bringing in the sympathy that it used to, but as the night moved on and the tears continued, I started to doubt the accuracy of my "baloney" divining rod. I was never very good at using it anyway.

One skill I have acquired in my 17 years of motherhood is the ability to check for rebound pain. I knew one day that one of my children was going to develop appendicitis, and when they did, I was going to be ready. So when I quickly pulled my hand off of Glamour Girl's abdomen and she cringed big time, I knew it was show time. Mr. Smith came home from work only to turn right around and take us to the Emergency Room.

Unfortunately the hospital was full (as was the ER) and the doctor that looked at her wasn't totally convinced. Two hours later we were headed home for the night. When Glamour Girl vomited in the parking lot, we probably should have turned around, but the doctors had assured us that there was no emergency, and we were all exhausted, so we went home.

The following morning we woke up early and sang Happy Birthday to Book Lover who was turning 13. We could tell that Glamour Girl hadn't improved, so we passed out the gifts, we oo'd and ahh'd over them, then we headed back to the hospital. This time we were more determined. When they informed us at 9:30am that there were no hospital beds available we stuck like glue. When gurney after gurney was lined up next to Glamour Girl's, we stuck. When they continued to run tests and the afternoon got hotter, we stuck. Finally, finally, after standing in the ever shrinking spot next to our daughter for seven and a half hours, we were informed that there was a bed for her and surgery was scheduled for the next morning. Even then the surgeon came around and told us he still wasn't convinced because her pain wasn't very severe and it seemed to be all over the place.

I knew better. I knew that Glamour Girl had inherited a trait from me. She wants to please the people around her. This means that when she is sick she masks the pain in front of the doctor so he doesn't think she's a baby, and her need to give the right answer makes her overthink her response when the doctor asks "Does it hurt here? How about over here?" So... I coached her. I felt a little guilty, but at no time did I tell her to misrepresent her pain. Mostly I just said, "When the doctor comes in to check on you tomorrow morning, if it hurts when he pushes on your tummy, say 'Ow! That hurts!' Now, let's practice."

I guess our little practice session worked because Wednesday morning Glamour Girl was wheeled into the Operating Theater (despite it's fancy name, we were not allowed to watch and no popcorn was served). Mr. Smith and I were ushered into a small, stuffy waiting room.

Let's fast forward a little, shall we?


The surgery ran long enough that Mr. Smith and I had time to imagine all kinds of terrible things, but it was successful and Glamour Girl came through like a champ and slept for the rest of the day. On Thursday morning the surgeon came around to check on his patient and to inform Mr. Smith that it had indeed been appendicitis. When Mr. Smith told me that the words Acute Gangrenous Appendicitis and Acute Pelvic Peritonitis had been used, I no longer felt guilty for coaching. Gangrene is never a word a mother wants to have associated with her children (even the naughty ones) unless they are referring to the Gangreen Gang from The Powerpuff Girls, which is spelled differently, but pronounced the same.

On Saturday evening Glamour Girl was finally released with plenty of medication to take home. We were all glad to have her home safe and sound. Oh, and guess what? The phantom backache I had been rolling my eyes at for two months? It's gone. It seems to have left along with the gangrenous appendix. Great... now I feel guilty again.

12 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Whew! That was a close one. And, you know, I know that rebound trick also. I'm still waiting to use it, though.

Aunt Carol said...

When ever I go to the doctor, he comes into the room and says "how are you?" I always say "fine". Now why would I be there if I was fine... duh. Glad GG is feeling better and glad you were persistant.

Happy birthday to Book Worm.

P.S. I went to my 45th class reunion they past two days and boy were there alot of old people there.

Aunt Carol said...

Opps, tell "Book LOVER" I appoligize for calling her a book worm. Love the names you have on the pictures now and they all fit.

Alisa said...

I'm so glad she is ok. I'm impressed that you held your ground in the ER. Happy Birthday, Book Lover!

Toni said...

I've been out of internet touch for a while. So glad everyone is okay.

We once took our Pablo the Pool Boy in with severe abdominal cramping. I was so nervous for appendicitis to hit (still waiting for someone someday to get it). Turns out he wasn't drinking enough liquids and he was constipated. I love those kind of all night trips.

Guilt just goes with motherhood (especially in our family) and so does skepticism when it relates to physical ailments. Well, except for our own of course.

Mrs. G. said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I will be back. India is in my top five places I would LOVE to visit for a long, long time. It's just below New Zealand.

Seiperts in India said...

Wow! I need you to teach me that rebound-pain-checking-thingy.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Ouch ... that's scary. Glad that she is now okay!!

Octamom said...

Good for you, sticking to your guns! Mama Intuition is powerful stuff! So glad your Glamour Girl is feeling better!

Thanks so much for stopping by my 'place'--I loved your comment on Is Eight Enough--loved your perspective on discovering contentment, even when it was to your surprise--beautiful!

Blessings!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Amy, the blog you put up and then put down is still available (in full) on my reader. Just thought you should know it is out there, in case you don't want it out there.

Anonymous said...

Book lover needs to lose some weight...