How a completely useless body part turned us upside down!

How quickly things go crazy.

Appendicitis is an irritation, inflammation and infection of the appendix (a narrow, hollow tube that branches off the large intestine).

  • The appendix functions as part of the immune system during the first few years of life.
  • After this time period, the appendix stops functioning and other organs take over the job of fighting infection.
  • Appendicitis is the most common cause of emergency surgery in childhood.

(http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site2178/mainpageS2178P0.html)

…..and it starts off looking, sounding, and feeling a whole lot like a stomach bug that is making the rounds.

Thursday, 1:30pm

Elizabeth started saying her stomach hurt. Her whole stomach. She was walking around fine and just not feeling great. I gave her some Pepto and sent her to rest.

Thursday, 8pm

She was sick for the first time. I remember thinking it was a weird clear kind of sick.

Friday, 1am

Liz was sick again and saying after her stomach still hurt. Sharp pains. She hadn’t eaten since lunch and that was the last time she was sick.

Friday morning until 3pm, 

My very rambunctious child was down for the count. Stomach hurting and I was starting to worry. No more sickness and just pain, no other symptoms!

Friday, 3pm

Things are about to go into over drive. Talking to my best friend Tiffany convinced me to call Elizabeths pediatrician…..who couldn’t see her until Monday. By this point the pain was localized to her right side and hurt to touch. I called my mom to pick up the other two munchkins and Liz and I headed out to the Immediate care center! I still wasn’t too worried. Actually I was pretty sure they were going to send this neurotic mama home with instructions for clear liquids and rest.

Friday 3:30pm

We arrived at urgent care and all she wanted to do was lay down and all they had were upright chairs. She was miserable but the great people there had us in the back in 15 minutes and were running tests not too long after that. Blood and X-rays and that was the first mention of appendicitis.

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I had heard of this before but was still thinking NO way, and a little WTH? So Liz and I snuggled up on the tiny exam seat and googled (man I love an iPhone!). We looked at pictures and learned what it was and how completely pointless an appendix  is….until it’s not. Ugh. She gave blood like a pro and we talked about how we were both HOPING for a stomach bug and how not normal THAT was! LOL

It wasn’t.

The Doctor confirmed and gave us our marching orders. He asked me what surgeon I wanted? I have never HAD a surgeon! So the doctor picked and we headed to Providence Hospital.

Friday, 5:30 pm

We were at Providence Hospital. My poor baby could barely walk at this point so I had to drop her off at the door and haul butt to park and get back! After she was checked in I became the crazy lady walking around, shaking seats to see if any laid out or reclined a little. She JUST wanted to lay down!

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They had us in the back in 15 minutes and an IV in her arm not too long after that. They were pretty sure it was what it was but wanted to make FOR sure. A CT scan was ordered……

If you have never HAD a CTscan let me assure you don’t EVER want to. It was at this point that I decided the only TRUE “prize for being a trooper” that would equal what she was about to go through was a new car. The first part we agreed to not talk about ever again….it was that bad….the second, when they filled her belly to get the picture, ALMOST made me lose it……so we went somewhere else….

I told her we could go ANYwhere she wanted she just had to hold my hand and look into my eyes and we would be there. She picked home. She just wanted to go home. (and I DIDN’T cry!! Now where is my damn Emmy!) So while waited for the pictures to take and the five minutes in between to take more we “went home”….We sat on the couch with her daddy and her dogs, and we watched beetle juice, and ate popcorn and M&M’s, and me and her got the couch and Anna on the floor and her daddy in the chair and we were ANYwhere but that hospital…..

Friday, 8pm

Then we were done. The results were read before they got us all the way to the OR prep room. It had to come out! Things had hit super speed. The surgeon came in and said he passed by the OR and told them we were coming. I had enough time to call the grandparents and let them know before were being whisked down the hall way and into holding to go back.

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She was SO brave and listened to everything they said and even joked around with her daddy. Aunt Caitlin and Aunt Michelle were there by this point and she was much-loved on……they took her back…

45 minutes they said….

in the SMALLEST waiting room EVER…..

It took an hour and 10 minutes, (I finally had time to let everyone know what was going on via Facebook. I was so grateful for that medium at that moment because there was no way to make that many calls in that span of time. ) and another 30 minutes before she woke up.  I couldn’t wait and was sticking my head in the recovery doors asking to come back and see her. The nurse was an angel and let me.

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She was perfect! The appendix had only been swollen and just a little rotten, it hadn’t ruptured! We caught it in time! This meant recovery would be so much faster and chances of post op infection extremely low! The surgery was Laparoscopically so scarring should be minimal and recovery QUICK!

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They got us a room on the pediatric floor and we settled in and she was asking for food for the first time in over 24 hrs……she got ice chips.

Saturday Morning

A little after midnight we finally crashed….my view when I woke up the next day was beautiful.

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She was sleeping peacefully and the first thing she wanted when she woke up was to get out of bed and see the view from the window,

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and she did it, out of the bed and to the window all by herself!! Less than 10 hours after surgery!

Then came the solid foods…

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The sit still busyness…

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And the visitors with balloons and get well cards and FOOD!

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at noon the surgeon came in and cleared us to go home. It had been less than 24 hours since I walked into the immediate care center with her thinking she had a simple stomach bug and thinking I was being paranoid. It seemed like DAYS.

During all of this crazy I also came to realize the extent of the amazingness of the friends I have. there were 75 comments of prayers for her, a food train was organized and countless offers to help in any way. I won’t ever forget that. Ever.

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It was time to go home……I am SO GLAD that is over with and Liz and I agreed we didn’t want to do that ever again. She is already up and trying to walk around some and I think she will be running around, driving me crazy in no time.

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….and thank God for that. 😉

**UPDATE**

Maybe it isn’t quite SO useless!!

“The appendix, they said, is a repository for beneficial bacteria, providing support for bacterial growth and facilitating the re-population of the gut with good bacteria in the event that the intestinal tract is “purged” following exposure to a pathogen.”

I guess I will be watching what she eats a little more closely! Making sure she is getting plenty of good bacteria!

http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-appendix-isnt-useless-scientific-theory-gains-ground/

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Todd
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:00:35

    What a wonderful well written piece. I cried as you guys went “home” and I am sure at that moment you did too. I am glad Liz is doing so well and cant wait for her to be up and running again.

    Reply

  2. Rebekah
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:14:04

    Well you can let Liz know that she never has to do it again – she only had one appendix and they took that sucker out! So glad to hear she’s doing well.

    Reply

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