It started out as a typical Sunday: get ready for church, go to church, come home, fix dinner, eat dinner, do homework, go to bed. For Kourtni Rae there was a hiccup between "go to church" and "fix dinner". Replace it with "eat a bunch on Pringles during the young women's portion of church and feel sick for the rest of the day". She came home, got rid of those dastardly Pringles via the porcelain throne, and went to bed for the rest of the day. Poor girl ~ we thought it was the flu coming on strong. She stayed home from school on Monday and had a really bad tummy ache. This continued Tuesday, but the pain had increased dramatically and the only comfortable place was on the hard floor of the bathroom. I used hot moist towels to attempt to calm the pain in her abdomen, but it offered little relief. Ibuprofen had been her friend since Sunday and I was really not too happy to continue to give it to her. I did though ~ her pain was much too intense not to. Wednesday came and I called our family doctor. We got her in that afternoon but the doctor said her pain was very inconsistent with flu symptoms. She gingerly pressed on Kourtni's abdomen (this HURT), she had her hop on one foot (this HURT), and she told us that we needed to get a scan of her belly to rule appendicitis out.
Alarm set in.
I thought she had the flu.
(Insert Mom of the Year award).
She had the cat scan after downing an enormous amount of diet 7up with medicine in it. An hour later, we were headed to the hospital to have emergency appendectomy surgery. I was surprised at how calm I was and how everything simply fit together to ensure my classroom and my other 2 children were taken care of. The way people rallied together for us was phenomenal and has taught me more about compassion and service than I thought I already knew.
At 8:30 she was taken to the O.R. and, in typical Kourtni fashion, and with a few drugs in her system, she was joking around with the nurse anesthetist and radiologist as we parted ways. An hour later, the surgeon came into the waiting room and informed us that she had a perforated appendix and that it had ruptured 2 days before.
Applause all around for the Mom of the Year!!!
We ended up staying from Wednesday to Friday in the hospital while she received intravenous antibiotics and recovered from the trauma of a perforated appendix. She was literally overwhelmed with the number of people who came to visit her and deliver her goodies. It was very kind and we were very grateful for the support shown by so many of our friends.
Upon discharge from the hospital I was shown the correct way to empty the drain tube that was attached to her insides and carried out the gunk from her abdomen. Piece of cake! My status of failed Mother of the Year was gradually creeping back to a good status...But don't get excited and happy yet. (That was an example of foreshadowing.)
On Tuesday, I took her to the surgeon's office where the drain was pulled. Yep. Literally pulled out of her. Don't worry. She had deep breaths to help her. (Yikes) We went home and Kourtni was feeling much better to have her little "friend" safely in the garbage can at the medical office.
I raced inside to see what was going on and a horrible smell met my nose. It was an acrid smell of soot, ash, and burned food. I went into panic mode (typical for me), and quickly found out that the girls were ok, but, due to my inattention to stove cleanliness, the cookies Lindsay had been baking had caught on fire while being baked in a dirty oven.
The fire department had to be called and not one, but THREE fire trucks were dispatched to our home, as well as every neighbor who was home and had ears to hear the loud wails of the fire trucks. The girls were OK, but they were shaken up a bit and will probably learn a valuable lesson about keeping their future kitchens clean.
When Alyssa came home on Thursday, Kourtni wasn't doing too well. She couldn't keep anything down and was in severe abdominal distress. I basically told her to suck it up and be positive about getting better. Attitude is everything, right? (Even when you're in extreme distress and uncontrolled pain and nausea???) She couldn't keep down her meds, didn't have any appetite, couldn't find a comfortable position, and was basically a miserable young lady. I made several calls to my PA brother-in-law and to the doctor on call. My brother-in-law was helpful. The doctor on call was definitely NOT. We got a prescription for nausea meds the next day, but they wouldn't stay down and were of no help in Kourtni's nausea at all. By Saturday, she was in so much pain and discomfort that we decided to take her to the ER. Her stomach was hard and distended and she looked like she could have been about 4 or 5 months pregnant. Right then and there, we loaded up and headed to the hospital.
After sitting in the hospital room on some less-than-pain-killing drugs, Kourtni had yet another CAT scan and what the results showed definitely made me the Pullitzer Prize winning, Nobel award recipient, Grammy nominated, Emmy Award winning Mother of the Year!
My dear sweet 17 year old formerly totally healthy daughter had a volleyball sized abscess in her pelvis.
(I would like to thank all those who made this award possible: The inattentive doctor on call, the nurse who told Kourtni not to "chop wood" when she went home, and the lack of information the hospital gave us when we were released last Friday. Thank you. Thank you.)
An emergency procedure would need to be performed. One that would help drain the huge abscess and help her feel some relief. To perform this procedure, Kourtni would need to be inserted into the CAT scan machine while the radiologist looked at the x-ray. He would then find an air pocket in her belly, make an X on her skin, make an incision on the X, position the largest tube drain he had and insert the tube into her belly. Voila! 750cc (that's a liter, people) of pus and blood immediately exited her pelvis and gave her ravaged body a bit of relief. There was so much infection in her belly that it had displaced her uterus and bladder.
This Christmas was a bit different than all the past 23 Christmases we've enjoyed as a family. We made it work, however. Flying Pie delivers! Alyssa went grocery shopping for us! Friends visited! Our Christmas will be delayed this year until we can get Kourtni well enough to go home. Hopefully that won't be too long now, but, appendixes are real bitties and they leave a nasty legacy in their absence.
Merry Christmas from St. Luke's Hospital! Enjoy a few pictures of our Holiday Season: