My 18-year old texted me: Do we have some kind of stomach medicine at home? I’ve had a stomach ache all day.
That was Monday, April 25. I picked up some Pepto Bismol for him on the way home from wherever I was. He took a dose and went upstairs to nap. By early evening, he was back downstairs, playing video games with some friends.
“Are you feeling better?” and he said, “Yes, but now it just hurts in one spot, right here.”
I began to suspect appendicitis, but he didn’t seem to be in all that much pain. Still, I decided to take him to the doctor the next day to rule it out.
While still in bed the next morning, I called the doctor’s office but the earliest appointment was at 3:45 PM. My husband called a retired doctor he knows and the doctor called me and talked to my son and then told me that I should not wait until 3:45 PM.
So I got up, took fifteen minutes to get presentable, grabbed a novel and my purse and off we went to the Urgent Care.
Which was closed. Until 2 PM. How dumb.
We drove thirty minutes down the freeway to another Urgent Care and were immediately ushered into a curtained-off area. He lay in the bed for hours as various people came in and asked him (among other things) when the last time was that he had eaten. Nurses monitored his vital signs and took blood. The doctor eventually appeared and examined him and told us he needed a CT scan. He got an IV. He had to drink “contrast” over the course of an hour so the CT scan would show accurate results.
At one point, I pushed aside the curtain and called, “Excuse me!” and asked for some medicine to stop vomiting. I was Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment.” (Only not at all.) (Didn’t you love that movie? And that flowy pink dress she wore while driving with the Jack Nicholson character in the surf?) (Okay, it wasn’t quite this dramatic.)
After the CT scan, the doctor told us it was a textbook case of appendicitis. (Whenever I’ve correctly diagnosed one of my kids, I think again that I should have become a doctor. Why didn’t I become a doctor?) They called for transport and had him sit in a wheelchair and the guy rolled him through the corridors until we reached a private hospital room.
Then we waited some more. Both of our phones were about dead, but the kind nurses took them and plugged them in somewhere in the nurses station. My husband came around 6 PM and brought phone chargers and a change of clothes for our son. By 7:30 or so, I followed my son in another wheelchair as he was taken to pre-op.
He was finally out of surgery and back in his room at about 10 PM. He came out of anesthesia singing and talking. No complications and a week later, he’s back in school and feeling pretty good.
The moral of this story: If your kid has a general stomach ache which eventually focuses into a sharp pain on the lower right abdomen, get to the Urgent Cafe sooner rather than later. And be sure to grab your phone charger and a novel to read during the hours you’ll have to wait.