An update following what I thought to be my son's healthy recovering from his laparscopic surgery. This did so not happen! This is an extremely long entry but I know my journal readership at this point is extremely low. This is more for a record for me and as anyone who likes to write knows, there is nothing like the catharsis of writing when one's head and heart are too full. All that stuff swirling around inside me has to go somewhere and so I have poured it out onto this page.
Tough love usually means taking a firm stand on your child's (or any loved one's) very bad behavioral problems and not giving in an inch until they are resolved or a major attempt at resolution is made. Many days ago I experienced another variation on this theme. The five to six days following my son's surgery were good. He seemed to be doing well, eating okay and feeling fine. As we approached the weekend his nausea/vomiting problem returned and, subsequently, the increasing inability to keep any food or liquid down. This was the weekend of July 15/16.
By Monday evening, we had a young man who couldn't even keep a 1/4 cup of water down. My husband and I had gone to work, hoping for the best that he'd come around and start feeling better. I called him on my lunch break and learned he'd eaten one piece of toast for breakfast and one small 4 oz. container of applesauce for lunch. By the time I got home around 5 PM he told me he managed to eat a small piece of a flour tortilla. Desperately trying to think of something that might appeal to him and that he could tolerate, I bought some nice Dryers Strawberry fruit bars. I gave him one. He ate it and not even ten minutes later, up it came. The result was not red as one would expect; it was dark yellow-bilious green nasty looking stuff. Since the onset of this entire nightmare, green vomit has been the red light to signify immediate action. A few quick phone calls later, we were in the car heading back to San Francisco to the Emergency Room of a different hospital from where we'd been before but an affiliate of the same group.
We got to the city in record time and worked through the inevitable ER waiting room maze in good time. This was about 10 PM. Before long, my son was lead to a guerney and the attending nurse proceeded to start him on fluids, intravenously of course. As the nurse was hanging up the plastic bag of solution, my son told her that it looked refreshing to him and since the poor guy was drooping like a wilted plant and extremely dehydrated, this didn't seem surprising. The decision was made to admit him and we followed him up to a room and proceeded to move ourselves in for the night. Fortunately, this room was set up for two beds but only had one in it. Our son was in line for more tests and since we weren't sure when these would take place we wanted to stick around. A very helpful nurse brought a futon, pillows, sheets and a blanket in for us to sleep (sleep??) on and there was a recliner to sprawl out on, albeit not a very comfy one.
The vomiting continued and then a nurse arrived with the worst news of all. Remember that ghastly nasogastric tube? One was going to be inserted once more to suck the crap out of his stomach. The sheer panic and horror on his face was heart-wrenching and just about did me in. This tube was the worst part of the entire first surgical experience and he was sedated when they put it in that time. That was not to be the case now. The nurse gave him some Ativan, a med for anxiety, and told him she'd return in about 20 minutes. Now my son is feeling wretched, nauseated, still retching and lying there like a sitting duck just waiting for the door to open again, knowing what's in store for him and filled with dread. My husband and I left the room when the nurse returned to insert the tube. There are definitely times when it's better to leave and let the medical staff do what must be done. We walked to the far end of the hall and could still hear the process going on. He gagged and retched through the entire procedure.
By the time we returned to the room, it must've been around midnight. We were exhausted, all three of us. My husband and I had been up since 5 AM since we'd both gone to work that day. My husband threw himself down on the futon and tried to get a little sleep. I think he fell asleep for a few hours. I was past the point of sleep and listened to my son throwing up all through the rest of the night. The N.G. tube was pumping out some very nasty looking stuff; it looked like what I always imagined the Le Brea Tar Pits to look like. He went on like this until almost noon the next day. I mentioned tough love. When he could muster enough strength to talk, mostly what my son said was, "get this tube out". "I can't stand it". "This is going to kill me"! I was practicing "tough love" each time I had to tell him his doctor was emphatic about keeping this thing in. Finally, thetime came somewhere close to midday the following day when a male nurse came in to tell my son he was there to remove the tube. My son looked up at him and said "I love you". It could've been anyone telling him this; male or female, beautiful or plain and he would have said the same thing. I know that he meant it with all his heart and soul.
The day progressed and the patient was feeling better by the moment. Gradually, a little solid food was brought in to try. It was a small bowl of mashed potatoes. Very plain, institutional mashed potatoes. I didn't see a trace of seasoning or margarine/butter mixed in and there probably wasn't any. My son ate this and seemed to tolerate it well. Time went by and it stayed down and he continued to feel better. The surgeon came in to talk to us and said he'd done all he could, there was no blockage in my son's system and perhaps we just had to give the procedure (and resultant shock to the intestinal system) time and all would be resolved. We were given a guide to follow for a bland diet; foods to encourage, foods to stay away from. This sounded encouraging and by around 5:30 PM, he was once more discharged and we headed back home. Back to an incredible heat wave that had northern California (and a great deal of the country) in a melting grip for a very long time. It was now Wednesday night and we were back home in the sweltering heat but we were home! Two days went by and all seemed well. We followed the diet and though he wasn't eating much at all, at least what he did consume stayed down. Saturday, July 22nd arrived. I had to go to work and my husband was home for the weekend as usual. Our son had been vomiting again during the night and several times upon waking in the morning. My husband telephoned me at work to tell me that he had been in touch with the local doctor and that he was taking our son to the ER at a hospital in the area. They got there around noon and I met up with them in the emergency room when I got off from work at 4 PM. After waiting for hours in the ER, once again the decision was made to admit our son and by 7:30 PM he was settled into a three-bed room, once more hooked up to a drip bag of water plus whatever flowing into an I.V. in his arm. Hmmm, three admits to a hospital in as many weeks this month.
Today is Wednesday, July 26th. He's still there. More tests, more observation. Fine when he's hooked up to bag-o-water and receiving anti-nausea meds. Begins to feel sick when he ventures to eat something as simple as a few grapes and a small container of jello. Now he's afraid to try to eat anything. He was scheduled to have an endoscopic procedure late this afternoon around 5 PM and we're awaiting the results. Basically, this test is a camera which will be put down his throat to take a good look around the inside of his stomach. Thankfully, blessfully he will be sedated for this test because guess what? That wonderful tube will be shoved down his nose and into his stomach one more time.
Friday, July 28th. Test has been completed; still no answers. Biopsy done of stomach lining; came out benign. Well, thank God for that! A possible theory has been tossed around that the lower section of his stomach does not contract the way it should to break down food sufficiently in order for it to get passed on down the intestinal line. If it can't go down, it's going to come back up. At present, my husband and I are sitting by the phone awaiting a call from the hospital to tell us that a bed is free and an ambulance is taking our son back down to San Francisco to the hospital where he had his laparascopic procedure. We'll be right back at square one. However, this time around he'll be seen by different people who specialize in gastrointestinal problems. Interesting to note: I'm sure the ambulance transporting the patient won't be rushing to the city at light speed with sirens wailing. Evidently one of "the rules" is that transfer from one acute hospital to another must be done via ambulance.
Nothing more to report at this time but I'll return when I have more information and time and opportunity to write.