We’re somewhat experienced with hospitals in our family. I’ve had 2 babies, 4 pregnancies, and 2 surgeries, Cory has been hospitalized for a blood clot, and Drew has been under the knife 3 times. Samantha is the only one who has skated by without drama but as a witness to most of the above, it has caused her a bit of anxiety to think about what might land her hooked up to an IV. Well, now she knows.
When she woke up Friday morning with stomach pain we considered all of the obvious possibilities and treated it accordingly with Advil, TUMS, and a full DVR. Nothing seemed to be working and by noon, the pain was getting worse. I made an appointment to see her Pediatrician and by the time we showed up she was managing the stabs to her gut with short breaths, a firm grip on the door jam, and tightly shut eyes – like watching Courtney Love wake up in the morning. He proceeded to ask her all the questions that challenge one’s dignity – when was your last period? Last bowel movement? ARE YOU SEXUALLY ACTIVE? I knew it was coming, that question, and I knew the answer. But to interrupt the gentle yet humiliating exchange that was happening between daughter and Doctor with “Of course not Doc, she is perfect. SHE GETS IT FROM HER PARENTS,” didn’t seem like the right move either. So I kept my mouth shut and let her answer “No,” on her own. Even though I already knew it, hearing her say it made me do a little cartwheel inside. That’s how I do all my cartwheels since doing a cartwheel OUTside would require safety gear and a body double, and perhaps a life coach to build me up afterward. Following the Spanish Inquisition he probed her stomach in all the right (and therefore wrong) places and after peeling her lifeless form off the ceiling, determined that she needed to go to the ER.
One CT scan, urine sample, pregnancy test (What part of “Not sexually active” was confusing to you?) and 40 MINUTE ULTRASOUND (“I’m sorry, it’s just that her hips are casting a shadow,” were the tech’s precise words) later, they decided she would need an appendectomy. We were to meet with the surgeon in the morning and in the meantime, morphine would get Samantha through the night as I slept on the fold out couch made of bricks and toilet paper.
Morning came…wait a second. To simply say “morning came” makes it sound like we dreamed of butterflies for 8 hours and woke up to the song of birds outside our window. More accurately, I slept for 3 hours before the heretofore mentioned sleeping on bricks routine trumped my exhaustion and I was no longer able to abide trying to spoon the arm of the sofa under the coziness of my blankets manufactured by Kleenex so I got out my iPhone and watched Friday Night Lights on Netflix at 2:00 am. Have I shared my testimony of iPhones lately? Because I know they are true. With every fiber of my being. But this isn’t about me it’s about Samantha, who is 15 and smart and beautiful and not sexually active who happened to be sleeping…like one of the bricks that made up my bed.
Good for her. Even more good for her was when she woke up and her pain was gone. GONE! She was a little sore, probably from the lady trying to cast Samantha’s hip shadows into outer darkness but the pain that had played the role of the Exorcist only hours previously was gone. Her white blood cell count leveled out and after further observation the surgeon determined that operating was no longer necessary, the new theory being that she had merely suffered from inflamed lymph nodes. Only one more thing – they wanted to make sure she could hold down a regular meal.
Samantha had me call room service immediately. Four French toast, two eggs, a piece of toast and some apple juice later, we got our discharge papers.