This week we’ve been taking a trip down Memory Lane! Each day this week I’ve been posting one of five of my favorite stories ever published here. Some are taken from books I’ve published and others (like today’s) have only been published online thus far. These are some funny, some sad, some heart-warming moments from the life we’ve lived. If you missed any, you can use the series navigation at the end of this post. I invite you to enjoy them with me, too.
Today’s adventure was one that little Julia would just as soon forget! What started as a routine, Sunday night visit to the Emergency Room at our nearest hospital, unfolded into a full-blown medical catastrophe! Rather than give away too much here in the introduction, I’ll simply give way to the story as originally told, Misdiagnoses.
August 14th, 2012
It’s been an interesting few days here in the Campbell home.
(I know… when isn’t it, right?)
You see, it all began with a phone call from Grandma. (Well, sort of.)
Last Wednesday, Julia and Dad (that’s me) went out for an OK Night. Just Julia and Dad out on the town. McDonald’s for french fries, games, and play place. Then we hit a couple more places before the night was through. It was a blast!
And the best was still to come!
The next afternoon, Mom drove Julia, her two sisters, and their baby brother, Cam, over to meet Grandma who would take all four youngest kiddos back home with her for three days! They were so excited!
The first night was just wonderful. They love being at Grandma and Grandpa’s house! They even enjoyed a big buffet for dinner. Nice!
(We four back home were having good fun of our own, too!)
But then came Friday.
Now, whether it was the food she ate at the buffet… or the PlayPlace the day before that… or just something else entirely, we still don’t know. What we do know is that that afternoon Julia began throwing up.
(Yes, I said “began”.)
It was probably only a few times, but it was quite unexpected (and messy, according to Julia) so it just caught everyone off guard. Grandma even called us asking, “What do I do??”
“Keep her hydrated and plenty of rest,” was our best advice, not ones to jump to the medicine route. So sad, but Julia wanted to stick it out, and Grandma did, too.
Well, a day of rest on Friday seemed to do the trick. Fever had subsided, throwing up had ceased (though she was still battling the “other end”…) and she even perked up a bit, becoming her regular chatty self.
Whew! Glad that’s over…
Saturday morning they went to a park. Julia played. And played. When they got back, she was completely spent, hurting, tired, and “out for the count”. She slept on the ride over, and looked pretty bad when she got out to come inside our house. Still had a fever, too.
She went right to the couch and laid down.
We ate dinner (she ate something else… I think?) and made it through the rest of the evening till bedtime.
At this point, as I’m getting everyone ready for bed, Jen comes and tells me that she thinks it might be something more serious than just a little bug, so she wanted to call the doctor and see what they thought. I figured they’d probably just tell us to call them Monday, but it couldn’t hurt. Well, to my surprise (maybe Jen’s, too?) they suggested we bring her to the nearest emergency room to have her checked out, based on what Jen had described to them over the phone.
Interesting. But, they were just thinking it might be some sort of infection thing that could need antibiotics. They just wanted to be sure.
Sure would have been a welcome thing in the hours that followed.
I’m sure that you, the reader, are aware that late at night on weekends, hospital emergency rooms can have long wait times. Well, as Jen tells it, they actually got in pretty quickly. But, once they did a quick once-over of Julia, they decided (thanks to her not having been “immunized”) that they needed to run every possible blood test. Fun!
No. Not fun.
Jen and Julia left our house at around nine o’clock pm. The hospital is 10-15 minutes drive from our home. They got in rather quickly… but then waited HOURS for the follow up tests.
(Meanwhile, back at home… I have put the other five to bed, enjoyed some quiet reading time, and at this point, started to wonder why I hadn’t heard from the hospital-bound duo. It was 11:45pm and I still hadn’t heard anything! I decided to call and get an update… voicemail! By about 12:10, still having heard nothing, I tried the phone again… and again, voicemail! Worried something had gone wrong, I remembered that I can “Find My Phone” thanks to Apple’s clever technology! I just hoped they weren’t in a ditch somewhere, or worse!! I was relieved to see the phone located in the parking lot of the hospital. 🙂 Jen had left the phone in the van … so a quick call to the hospital and the nurse filled me in.)
(I know… how does it always go like this? Can’t it ever just be simple, and go exactly according to plan??? Guess not…)
Around 2:00am, they are still waiting for blood tests, filling Julia with an IV, and now there is some concern that perhaps what she has is appendicitis! In fact, it was such a concern that they ordered a CAT scan for her. That meant, in her very tired, very sick condition, she had to down a large cup of bad-tasting liquid, then wait two hours… and then they would scan her to see if the appendix was inflamed/infected, or whatever it might be.
Two HOURS!? That’s 4am, folks. For my poor, sweet, sick, tired six-year-old Julia!!
At this point, I finally grabbed a few fitful naps… only half-sleeping in case I received a call from Jen, updating me on their progress. I awoke every thirty minutes or so, praying each time I did that Julia could rest, and that God would help the doctors find whatever might be causing this.
At seven o’clock, I awoke again, and found no van, no call.
Time to check in, I thought. So I called our cell phone and talked with Jen, who informed me that they were pretty sure it is appendicitis, and they have scheduled an operation for about an hour from now when the surgeon was to arrive.
SO, we went from a stomach bug, to a possible minor infection requiring anti-biotics to… emergency surgery???!
It seemed that was the consensus, so I jumped to action.
I definitely wanted to be there—before the surgery—but our van was already at the hospital. And, well, I had the other five kids here! They were all sleeping still, of course, but I couldn’t just leave them, even if I did have a ride!
The wheels were quickly turning in my head. I called Grandma & Grandpa to let them know how the adventure that had begun at their place had escalated. Then I talked with our neighbor about getting a ride to the hospital. Then, deciding to leave the kids in the care of our oldest, Ian, I woke up Alex so that he could stay with Mom while I came back to get everyone else (once Julia was in surgery).
All was going mostly according to plan. We were getting pretty close to eight o’clock. I was hoping that they were running later rather than early.
Alex and I got out and thanked our neighbor for her kindness, bringing us to the hospital so early on a Sunday morning. We rushed inside and asked where to find Julia and her Mom. They said she wasn’t on their list, so that probably meant she was already in the operating room. (No!!) But, they weren’t certain of that, and pointed us in the direction we needed to go.
A brief elevator ride later, we were at the Operating Room area. But… where was everyone? The OR was dark, and there was literally no one in sight?
We went down a hall that we knew was not the correct direction or location, but we finally found someone who could perhaps get us to where we needed to go. She tried. She really did. But we kept coming up empty. No Julia anywhere!!
I was really sad that I didn’t get to see Julia before they operated on her! But I just wanted to find Jen at this point, and find out what was going on.
Finally we were sent back downstairs to the ER, where another nurse recognized Julia’s name and took us to the room she had been in that night.
To our surprise—good, happy surprise—there sat Mom, with Julia beside her on a hospital bed. (Looking really, really tired, weak, and sick!)
“Well, hi!” said I. “What is the meaning of all this!?”
I didn’t really say that. But it sounded more fun that way, didn’t it?
Jen explained that the surgeon took a look at the CAT scan results, did his own examination, and he said he was pretty sure it wasn’t appendicitis!
While quite confused, I was certainly relieved. No one wants their six year old daughter to go “under the knife” … do they?
As Jen was explaining, the surgeon returned and explained a bit more that, from everything he observed, and after consulting with another pediatrician that morning, he was fairly certain it was not appendicitis, and that Julia would be able to go home, take a little Tylenol for her fever, and just stay hydrated. “She should be fine.”
Stomach bug… infection… appendicitis/emergency surgery… she’ll be fine.
And so, we went home. Julia (and Mom!) slept nearly all of the day. As the day went on, she perked up more and more. We finished the day with a movie, and all went to bed feeling very, VERY relieved.
This morning, Julia went back to the doctor to make sure things were progressing as the surgeon had hoped. After her Sunday night experience, Julia was very apprehensive. She really didn’t want to go through all that again!! We assured her (as far as we could tell) it wouldn’t be like that again, and thankfully… it wasn’t. The current diagnosis is some sort of bacterial thing in her intestines.
What will it be tomorrow?!
For now, our little girl had a much better day, was smiling and playing through much of it, and is now peacefully sleeping.
Which is where I plan to be soon…
What a wild, crazy series of events! And all thanks to a handful of well-intentioned misdiagnoses.