Tuesday, February 09, 2010
We spent that day in the ER, and dropped the other kids off at the house we'd rented, alone, with no cellphone contact, to enjoy themselves getting to know the place. Sophie got a million tests, the most significant of which, the CT of her abdomen, suggested she had already ruptured her appendix. The general surgeon at the small desert hospital wasn't comfortable keeping her, so the tertiary care teaching hospital in Loma Linda, 75 miles away, was consulted and agreed to take her in transfer. At that point Chuck and I split up. He went home to the other three kids, and I headed out in the ambulance with Sophie.
For the next couple of days we spelled each other off, trading jobs. One of us would drive to Loma Linda to stay with Sophie, the other would drive home, hungry and sleep-deprived, to try to give the other three kids a little bit of a vacation experience. Fiona came along for one of the parent-exchanges and got the chance to visit with Sophie for a few minutes. Sophie endured a lot of pain, a lot of blood tests, medication side effects, indignities and disrupted sleep, and also the sorrow of missing the vacation, not even having seen the amazing house she'd been looking forward to with such excitement.
They didn't do surgery. These days when kids have already ruptured their appendixes, they usually treat with pain meds and broad spectrum antibiotics, wait a couple of months for the inflammation to settle down and then do surgery electively when there's less risk of infection, the kids aren't so toxic, and recovery time is less. Sophie's fever began to settle, and her pain lessened, and somehow I managed to talk the pediatric surgeon into discharging her early.
Back at the rental house she gradually turned the corner. Her temp went up and down. Her pain waxed and waned. It took about 2 more days before she was able to walk around comfortably. For most of that time she and the other kids mostly enjoyed the huge flat-screen TV and a succession of DVDs. Finally the day before we were ready to leave she was healthy enough to enjoy herself a bit and participate in a couple of family activities. And I stopped holding my breath.