Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First ER visit of 2008!

We made it 13 whole days into 2008 with no ER visits. I'm starting to think I should have a sign out front like the factories do "XX accident free days so far". Of course that sign would have only read "41 ER visit free days" due to my own trip there in early December.

Havoc was in pain on Saturday, bad cramping. We assumed constipation due to ongoing bowel related issues, possibly he was finally catching the virus that laid DH & I low shortly after Xmas. Only the barest of a temperature - 100.2 at the highest. So we gave him his usual dose of Miralax, some ibuprophin & a heated bean bag. 20 miutes later he was fine. 3 hours later he was back in lots of pain, but once again, heated bean bag to the rescue. This would happen 4 times between 3:30am and 5pm on Saturday. Sunday he was low energy but otherwise pain free. Monday he doubles over in agony during snack time at school & starts panting, which seriously freaks out his teacher (it's his response to pain, he's not having a seizure or lung problems, but if you don't know that it can be really freaky to see). They can't find me, so they get DH to get him. He takes him to the ped, who tells him to come back at 2pm (by this time Drake is over the worst & just crampy & we are still inclined toward the constipation theory, so no rush)

I get home & am now remembering my own experience with appendicitis. I was symptomless apart from a recurring pain in my side. I ended up in the ER because my doc thought I might have a bladder infection & wanted me to go there for more in depth testing. I had no fever, I had no nausea.  We stopped for sandwiches on the way there. They had even sent the on call surgeon home at the ER because 'we only have one patient & we're waiting for her UTI results.'  An hour later they had to page this person to come back & remove my appendix.

Time is passing very slowly & Havoc is miserable but has no fever & is eating a PB&J just fine. I spend the 2 hours debating 'wait for the ped or just go to the ER'? My inclination toward the constipation theory though is strong enough that I wait it out & go to the ped.  He examines Havoc & sends us to the ER for further testing. <sigh> He might have a UTI, or a bladder or kidney infection, he might have an obstructed bowel or it could be appendicitis. He has too many non-specific symptoms & his belly is so rigid the doc can't feel anything. They want blood & urine tests & and xrays done.  Fortunately I saw it coming & packed toys & books. 

There are 3 ERs 'near' our house. 2 of them are actually an hour away and one is 20 minutes away. But from the doctor's office they are all about 30 minutes away. The doc is affiliated with one of them & usually sends adult patients to it. It's one of the hour away from home ones. The other hour away one has a pediatric specific ER department,which the others lack. Its where they send NICU babies & it has a very high pediatric care reputation. That is where my doc sends kids.

So I drive the half hour down there & while doing so call DH so he can come & get Mayhem (it's more than an hour from his office) Havoc is his old self in the car. Chatting with his brother, laughing, playing his Leapster and I am wondering "what the hell?" He does seem to have trouble walking, that makes him hurt, which reminds me of my appendix issues. They get him a wheelchair, we get triaged, are sent to the pediatric waiting area and are taken back to a room within about 20 minutes of our arrival, which is a decent time frame considering how busy the ER appeared. People immediately begin coming in & checking & talking etc... I don't think I went more than 10 or so minutes at a stretch without a nurse or doc checking on us, which is unreal compared to our other ER visits (including one to this ER with Mayhem a couple years back). I've gone as long as 90 minutes without even sighting a medical person at the closest ER, even when my child was bleeding from a gash in his forehead.

We go through the symptoms several times (its a teaching hospital), get a urine sample, DH arrives & removes Mayhem (who is bored out of his mind & earning his nickname), they get a blood sample & the xrays. Poor Havoc, they had to try twice to the get the blood sample & then they wouldn't let him eat anything in case it was really his appendix and it's now 6pm & he hasn't eaten or drank anything since noon. He's sore & a bit dozy and Sponge Bob is on the TV so he zones out to that for most the visit while I read a book. (we don't watch Sponge Bob at home, which makes him especially distracting).

Around 7 we are finally informed that Havoc has gas. Really, really bad gas. His intestines are swollen like balloons with it, but there is no blockage. He just needs to pass it all & there is nothing to give him to help that along. Just keep him fed. <sigh> We know what is wrong, yes! We know it is nothing serious, yes! But there is nothing to be done to help it & he'll be in intermittent pain until it passes. I should encourage him to fart, which he is reluctant to do because of those ongoing bowel issues.

He stayed home from school yesterday because he was up half the night with cramps. "But i did fart a lot Mama". He was fine when he finally woke up but then had some cramps around 11pm. He fussed a lot this morning but I think he was just milking the situation to see if he could get another day off. He's at school now.  He belly is much less distended and is softer so i think the worst has passed. We're feeding him yogurt & acidophilus tablets now to keep down the gas formation in the future. 

I am glad there is a pediatric specific ER 'nearby' but here is the one problem I have with it. While the other 2 have signs saying "copay is expected at time of service' they are both willing to let you leave & be billed for that $100. This place is not. They will keep you there until you give them the money & if you don't have it, they'll help you call family & friends to borrow it from. But you are not leaving without paying the $100. On jan 14th, when you know damn well there is only $24 in your account until whenever the automatic paycheck deposit hits the account on the 15th (sometimes its there at 1am, sometimes not until after 2pm, sometimes they give DH a check at 3pm with no prior warning) this is a problem. I cannot give them my check card & risk assorted $20 fees. I have $11 in cash on me. Fortunately I had my checkbook with me (first time in 2 years I had a checkbook in my purse) due to a book club payment I had to make the previous Friday. Otherwise I'm not sure what would have happened. Its not like DH would have had the money. My family is in Florida, our friends work for the same company DH does & are in the same boat. And anyway, all of them are over an hour away from the hospital. "Hi, hey, it's me. um, sorry to bother you at 8pm but, I'm in a bit of a jam, do you have $100 that I can borrow right now? Oh and could you drive an hour and bring it to me?" Not that I don't think my friends would come through. I'm sure they would. But that just simply is not something I can ask someone to do.

I'm just hoping I can now go 365 days or more with no ER visits.


Busy_Woman said...

I've never had a good ER visit myself.

I'm glad it was only gas. It can be horribly painful, and scary if you don't know what's causing that pain.

Jenny said...

Ugh. I am hoping to avoid any ER visits in 2008 myself. Hope he's feeling better.
And I'm glad to see someone else refer to their kids as Mayhem! Hee hee.