Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sam's Hospital Gig

It started Wednesday night when I picked Sam up after work. He'd had a great time hanging out with his second cousin, Shelbie, and her friend Dan at the dorms on the campus at Northwest Missouri State University. He even thought he might be a little more interested in going to college someday. It had something to do with everybody being nice and the fact that Shelbie knew everyone.

On the way home he complained that his chest hurt. Well, of course it did. He had homework to do when we got there! Then came a complaint that his lungs hurt. Huh? Then the pain moved to his stomach. Yeah, sure, Sam. He's going for no homework AND a day off from school! My 10 year old drama queen kept it up the rest of the evening. And I did let him out of doing his homework. But he was carrying on just a little too much. And things just weren't quite adding up. No fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea. He couldn't sleep. We went from his bed to my bed to the couch and back again. By 2:00a.m. I called the emergency room. "Maybe it's bladder infection. Call the Doctor in the morning."

First thing the next morning I called the doctor's office. We wouldn't be able to see the doctor until 2:15 that afternoon. Sam continued to complain of pain in his lower abdomen and started walking stooped over. By afternoon he was running a temperature. He definitely did not want me pushing on his stomach.

We met with Dr. Watson and after examining him she decided a urine sample (his first and hopefully most time consuming), a blood workup, and an x-ray were in order. Low and behold, his white count was sky high. She suspected appendicitis, which didn't come as a big shock. Next we headed to meet with the surgeon who immediately put Sam in the hospital. Well, actually, we went straight to prep for surgery. Since Sam had eaten about 1:30, we had to wait 6 hours before they could anaesthetise him.

Unfortunately,at this moment in time, Sam remembered a history lesson. When I asked him if he knew what his appendix was he filled me in. "A body part we don't need, he said." And one of the men (He knew his name, but I've already forgotten it.) who traveled with Lewis and Clark on their expedition had died on the trip of appendicitis." And, therefore, Sam thought this could be his fate. I asked him how long ago Lewis and Clark had gone on their expedition. "Two hundred years ago" he replied. I assured him that there had been a lot of medical advances in the last two hundred years and that he would be just fine. Still, as my only child, my baby, who is at ten years old almost as tall as I am, was curled on my lap, face flushed from fever, with tears running down his cheeks, it was all I could do to keep it together.

It seemed like a lifetime before he was taken into surgery. But the nurses were wonderful to him. He got to choose his own surgical hat so he'd have one like the surgical staff. He chose one with Scooby Doo on it. The hats are hand sewn for the children by one of the nurses. When he got teary eyed again, the nurses showed up with a stuffed Curious George to comfort him. George was quickly donned with a surgical cap as well. George was provided by the Abrielle Neff Foundation. Abrielle was a pre-schooler who tragically lost her life in an auto accident a few years ago. The stuffed animal was a great comfort to Sam, as was the hat. Both provided diversions that he needed. I was touched by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the nurse that provided the hats and the Foundation. Ironically, when we walked into the hospital we walked past the local newpaper machine and Grandma and her sewing friends' picture was on the front page of the paper. They are sewing pillows to be given to children who have cancer at Camp Quality this summer. I guess what goes around does come around.

Sam made it through surgery without any complications. Everything about it was routine. He and George both had band aids to show as they were wheeled into Sam's room.
St. Francis Hospital has undergone many changes since Sam was born there a decade ago. A local man, Jimmy Jones, had generously left a donation to the hospital at his death. Jimmy was a famous horse trainer for Calumet Farms and had two horses who won the Triple Crown. The hospital has used the money to rennovate and add an addition. The rennovations were very, very, nice and Calumet Farms memoribilia filled a case. Huge pictures of the horses lined the walls. It is quite a tribute to a local celebrity.
Amazingly, Sam was released to go home the next morning. Grandma, who was with us through the ordeal, came home with us until both Sam and I recovered.
Thanks to Grandma, Dr. Watson, Dr. Charles, and all the nurses and staff at St. Francis, Sam and I are going to be just fine!


Brenda Neff said...

I was directed to your blog and post someone that thought I would enjoy reading your story. I am so glad that George helped your son through surgery. I'm hoping they gave you the other things to use we provide them with (movies to watch, board and card games to play, etc) to help pass the time in the hospital.
Hoping your son had a speedy recovery.
Do you mind if I link this in the Foundation blog?

Anonymous said...

I would be honored to have you add the link to the Foundation blog! I had intended to send a thank you card and just didn't get it done. Sam sleeps with George every night. They have quite a bond! We really weren't at the hospital long enough to need movies and games. We were home by 10:30 the next morning. Thank you for your generosity!