Monday, May 16, 2011

A night in two ER's

This afternoon while at work, I received a call from daycare saying that Owen was holding his tummy and crying and they couldn't get him to stop. My first thought was that he was constipated and was holding it in, but when I walked into his classroom at school I immediately knew something was wrong.

He was sitting down on a chair at one of the small tables with his head down on the desk. He was obviously in pain and it looked as if one of his classmates had dumped a cup of water on his head - that is how much he was sweating. When I asked him what was wrong and what was hurting him, all he could do was yell out loudly in pain. We were going straight to the ER.

On the way I called the pediatrician to let them know what was going on, and they called the ER ahead to let them know we were coming. Owen was yelling loudly the entire drive there which took about 15 minutes. We were placed in a triage room fairly quickly and I told the nurse what happened. She left to get the doctor, and as she left the room Owen laid down on the bed, shut his eyes and was silent. I was so scared. It was as if he was shutting down. I ran out of the room crying and called out for the nurse that something was really wrong. Immediately she got the doctor, and four other nurses came into the room and immediately began assessing him. They noticed right away that he was dripping with sweat from head to toe as they undressed him.

Before I knew it they had two IV's in his arm, heartrate monitors on his chest and toe, and they were inserting a tube into his nose which would go into his stomach to let some air out since he was extremely distended. He was a trooper through all of it. He wasn't putting up much of a struggle, which worried me, and he still wasn't talking which was highly unlike him. They gave him a very small dose of morphine for the pain and another med (Zophran, I think) in case the pain med made him nauseous.
They couldn't figure out what was going on, so the doctor ordered an x-ray of his belly to see if there was an obstruction. We had to wait for the radiology team to get to our room so they could do it, and in the time we were waiting the nurse put in a "Bob the Builder" DVD to entertain him. He finally began to come back - slowly started talking again and I started to feel a sense of relief.

The x-ray didn't show a whole lot and the doctor said she couldn't rule out an obstruction, so they wanted to transfer us to Fairfax Hospital since they have a more advanced pediatrics department in case he needed surgery. We then had to wait for the ambulance team to get to us and hook Owen up to be transferred. The two EMT's were really nice. One of them gave Owen a blown-up blue medical glove as a balloon to play with while they finished hooking up all his IV's and monitors to be transferred. We went "lights and sirens" as they say, which was a good thing since it was the end of rush-hour and we had to take the beltway to get to the second hospital. It was pretty cool - Owen stayed awake the entire time and felt pretty special that he got to take such a fun ride.

We got to our room at Fairfax and the nurses brought him bubbles and playdough - those were a hit. Had to wait about two hours to get an ultrasound, but Toy Story 2 was playing on the TV and Owen wasn't in pain any longer, so he was fine waiting. Aunt Hillary came to the rescue even though it was 10pm by that point. Since Ben was home with Vivian in bed, we didn't have a way to get home since my car was at the first hospital. So Hillary was so nice to come over and hang out with us until we were discharged. When he finally got the ultrasound at 10:30pm, it was pretty inconclusive. Both the tech and the doctor said they didn't see any blockages, and that it may have resolved itself while he was in the hospital.

We got home at 12:30am and went straight to bed. I was upset that after all that, we still didn't know exactly what happened, but they think it was a blockage (can't remember the medical term for it) that resolved itself. My feeling is that since he has been holding in poops for six months now, his colon is probably messed up. He has a follow-up ER visit with our pediatrican and then we're going to ask to be referred to a pediatric GI doc. We want to get to the bottom of this. (No pun intended.)

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