Last week Thursday Lootie was complaining about belly pain. It was before practice, so we figured he was just trying to weasel around having to go (which is pretty much the norm for him, 80% of the time). He went to practice, had a good time, but on the ride home, his belly was still hurting. He felt nauseous and threw up on the sidewalk outside of our house. “Everytime I eat hotdogs,” he said. He threw up a couple more times, which isn’t completely abnormal for him. When he gets a fever, he’s spacey; when he’s queasy, he pukes. Totally Lootie. But strangely, he wanted to sleep on the couch because of his belly pain, instead of his bed.
At 1am I woke up to Frank, fully clothed, telling me he was taking Lootie to the ER. “It just seems like appendicitis, he said.” Frank is a Correctional Officer. Not a nurse, and totally not interested in medicine. I thought he was completely over-analyzing, but I didn’t stop them from going, or put up too much of a fight, like I normally would have. I think my adrenaline kicked in, despite me riding him a bit for being so silly. I got chilly and couldn’t bring myself back to bed, opting to sit up on the couch instead.
We kept in phone contact, texting and calling. Around 4pm Lootie was distinctively worse, and the nurses gave him some morphine. They weren’t calling it appendix yet, but wanted to get a CT scan to confirm or rule out. At 8am I got all the kids on the bus. Still nothing. Lootie was worse; fevery. My mom came over to sit with Franny (whose tutor was here) while I went up to either relieve or support Frank in the ER.
At 11am, the Resident had Lootie pee in a cup to check him for a urinary tract infection. Just as she was exiting, the General Surgeon, who we became acquainted with when Franny was in the hospital, came by, but his hands on Lootie’s abdomen and said, “Oh yeah. Appendix. Let’s get him up to the OR.” He told us there was one possible person ahead of us, and it might be quick to get him up there, and might be 2 hours. Frank went home quickly to check on things with Franny, while I waited with Lootie. Thankfully, things went faster than planned, and he was in the OR by 1pm.
I waited, anxiously, but somewhat relieved that he was in good hands, and not still waiting for a diagnosis. After an hour and a half, the surgeon came back in to talk to me. He asked me if my book was good, and then he told me that Lootie’s appendix had ruptured. “So, it’s not going to be the 1-day, go-home-tomorrow deal we were hoping for,” he explained. “It could be 4 days, it could be a week. We just don’t know. I was still able to do everything laparoscopically, but depending on how things swing, we might have to put a drain in there, or do longer-term antibiotics.” I started to cry. Frustrated, scared, relieved, sad. He found me some tissues. “He’s going to be OK. Okay? He’ll be fine.”
Strangely, he ended up in the same room Franny was in one month ago. The first three days were very hard. Lootie was in a lot of pain, his temperature was up, and all symptoms were pointing to an abscess. Frank stayed at night, while I stayed during the day. Because of his slow progress by the 4th day, and the intolerance to the sensation of the heavy-duty antibiotics through the IV, the surgical staff thought a PICC line was appropriate. Though it was another scary unknown, it was necessary. It took about and hour and a half to have it done (they had a special PICC Nurse), but most of that was prep; the entire procedure was done bedside. Lootie did very well with it, better than I did.
Within a day he was doing better. The doctor took one look at him and said, “Carlito. You’re going home tomorrow.” Of coarse Lootie was thrilled. Whatever leftover infection that may be/was brewing was under control, or non-existent. Since he can have a home health nurse come to administer the meds via the PICC at home, and he was doing well, he was cleared to leave the hospital. I was still nervous, apprehensive. I mean, I don’t like the hospital either, but it felt safer there. Home with a PICC is kind of scary and totally out of the norm for most people. First pin care on an external fixator, and now PICC line maintenance? I told them I didn’t want to learn it or touch it. As much as I’ve thought about being a nurse, I’ve had enough nursing for a while, now thankyouverymuch.
Carlito is still doing well, carrying around his pump (it works constantly administering a small dose to keep the line clear and a BIG dose every 6 hours) in the fanny pack. It makes me nervous when he’s sleeping (I worry about him ripping it out or something), and just in general. He’s scheduled to have a re-check on Tuesday and hopefully get rid of the PICC as well.
I’m completely ready for our house not to resemble a doctor’s office, though, and my patience is not what it was a couple weeks ago. Franny still needs assistance and care, as does Carlito. I can’t seem to keep up with all of my household necessities, but I try to do my best. My brain is fried, tired and stressed. My boss, bless her heart, has gifted me an hour massage for this Sunday. I’ve never (ever) had a massage and am both excited and nervous. Someone brought dinner by for us last night, and that was wonderful. We haven’t had a homecooked meal in a long, long time, it feels like.