Sunday, April 27, 2014

Being Mom and Felicity's Appendicitis

When I was 7, the last week of second grade, in June of 1988, I was hospitalized for appendicitis.  The weekend before I had fallen off my top bunk bed and landed on top of the bed rail that hit before me and somehow stayed standing... Don't know if that is what caused my appendicitis, but I was sick that weekend, (threw up at my sisters choir concert). And on Monday after school, I curled up in a ball on the floor.  When my sister who was babysitting, asked me to go lay down upstairs, I tried to get up and fell down and literally could not get off the floor.  She called my parents, they called a friend, she came and rushed me to the hospital where they met me from work.  At the time we lived in northwest Chicago, and they worked downtown.  I spent the next week in the hospital. I don't remember everything.  I remember my brothers and sister wanting to come visit but not being able to til Thursday. And I remember a small bear they brought me when they did come.  In fact I still have that little bear.  One thing I do remember is that my mom was always there. I don't know if she ever left my bedside.  Did she ever use the bathroom? I honestly do not know.

Mom lost her job that week.  Her boss told her taking care of me was the nurses job and she belonged at work.  Mom told them she wouldn't leave me alone at the hospital and they told her she didn't have a job to come back to. She worked for a dermatologists office.  You would think that a doctor would be more understanding, but the doctor was not, and mom gave up her job for me.  It is a memory that I have treasured.  When she passed away in March of 2006, I was asked to share a story about my mom and I.  This was the story I chose to share.  My mom loved her children and would do anything for them, even give up the job she loved to sit next to me laying in a hospital bed.  

In the ER feeling miserable.
Fast forward 26 years.  Last Wednesday, Felicity came home from school with a fever, 102.6 at the time.  She complained of some hip pain, but she had just finished a field trip running around outside, maybe she strained a muscle.  She laid down on the couch and her fever fluctuated from 103.9 to normal when medicated.   As she continued to complain about hip pain, I had her show me where and I actually pushed on her lower stomach to make sure it wasn't her appendix... It's common for me when there are stomach pains.  It didn't hurt her so I figured she was fine.  Thursday was much the same.  Fevers were up and down all day.  On Friday at 6:50 am, I got a text message from Jaicie's iPod telling me that Felicity's hip hurt so bad she couldn't even stand up.  Being married to Justin, I have it ingrained in my head... Fever and pain In A joint causing inability to bear weight could likely mean septic hip and requires immediate surgery.  So... I messaged Justin who was in meetings at the children's hospital.  After some very short discussion, I loaded felicity in the car, left the other three kids in the willing and able hands of. Justin's mom on her last morning in OKC and rushed Felicity to the hospital.  We met Justin and he immediately could tell it wasn't her hip because she was walking on it. But something clearly wasn't right.  He went and found his general surgery friend and asked him to take a look at her.  He came up and didn't think she had appendicitis but wasn't confident that she didn't.  He recommended going to the ER and getting an ultrasound done to make sure. After some labs were drawn and an ultrasound done, it was confirmed that Felicity did have appendicitis and the ultrasound tech was a little concerned that there may be some perforation on it because of some fluid floating around it, but either way she was added to the OR schedule right away and she was moved up to the floor.  

after surgery and recovery room stay. Watching cartoons in her room.
Justin left after surgery was confirmed and got his mom to the airport, and the kids clothes packed and dropped off and Timothy off with a friend.  Thankfully Jaicie and Collin were at school.  He got back to the hospital and about 20 minutes later Felicity was moved to holding to get ready to head into the OR. She was wheeled off just after 1, and by 2 she was in recovery and waking up.  From there she did awesome.  She was such a champ.  

There was one moment when I got to sit and share my story of my mom and my experience with appendicitis.  Felicity looked at me while we were sitting in the ER waiting to go up for surgery, knowing she would be staying overnight at least.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "but I don't want to be alone." She thought that I would have to leave her at the hospital over night all alone.  I told her all about my mom and how she gave up her job to sit with me.  And I said felicity I will not leave your side except when you are in the OR. 

Feeling a lot better on Saturday morning.
Once she knew she wasn't going to be alone, she was perfectly calm and ready for surgery.  She was wheeled off to the OR.  The surgery went well.  There was no perforation or rupture. They got the appendix out and it went smoothly.  We were grateful to have friends in the OR.  Grateful that Justin knew the attending physician, and the residents and surgical techs.  He knew that Felicity was in great hands.  They were able to finish everything laparoscopically and now felicity has her very own battle scars, 3 of them.  She is healing and recovering wonderfully and even got up when the storms started this morning and walked in all on her own to my bedroom. She's doing awesome. 

It was an interesting experience for me.  There are few opportunities when I can specifically tie my mothering into my mothers.  I see a lot of my mom in the way I mother.  But for me to sit by my daughters bed while she was suffering and recovering from appendicitis was eye opening for me.  My mom loved that job, as I recall.  I only spent 2 days in the hospital with Felicity, but I would have spent more and I would gladly give up any job to do so.  It is kinda fun being my mom.  I am glad I have this sweet, sweet memory with my mother to tie into my experience as a mother.
Pretty sure Mom was with Felicity during surgery, just like she
was her first week of life, and just like she was with me.
My mom, my girls and I August 2005

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