Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're home from the hospital

You know that 'normal' and 'routine' day, from my last post, that I was hoping for? No. We didn't get it. Most definitely NOT.

Brian was still ill on Wednesday. He actually felt better, but had that fever that wouldn't go away. He lay down for a nap, but by mid-day, when he awoke, I decided to call the clinic. In order to better tell them what the problem was, I got Brian to help me pinpoint where his stomach hurt. The pain had moved ... from the upper-middle of his stomach, to a very specific point on the lower right...oh no!... I called the clinic and we arranged to go right in.

He had an exam that was actually rather iffy in conclusions. He didn't have severe pain. He didn't hurt too bad when he bounced or had his feet tapped. He was hungry. His lab tests were pretty good... blood test was slightly suspicious. Basically, he didn't have nausea or any of the classic signs of appendicitis, except the location of the pain, and that it has started where it had and moved down and right! A sonogram was required. We went to the hospital for that. They couldn't see his appendix, but could tell lymph nodes were enlarged. This was suspicious too. It was decided to admit him for further observation and evaluation. So, Wednesday evening, we checked in to the Al-Salam hospital.

The surgeon came in and gave Brian a good looking over. Asked lots of questions, to include asking about a faded number 3 (in marker) which had not worn off his hand from pizza day at school - Brian had 3 pieces of pizza. Brian had had a fairly good, not normal, but ok, appetite. He also was able to bring his knees up fairly well to his chest. The surgeon was mostly convinced it was appendicitis, but he said that there is another syndrome, mesenteric lymphadenitis, in children that mimics the symptoms of appendicitis. Brian appeared quite healthy, was HUNGRY, and had other indications that this could be his problem. Rather than operating immediately, Brian was put on IV fluids and antibiotics. The decision was, the antibiotics would either make him significantly better by morning, or not. If not, it was appendicitis. Brad had arrived to the hospital from work by this time, as had an Embassy nurse. Brad brought us a bag of stuff, and we visited as well as made plans for the next day. By 10pm, Brad left for home with a very tired little girl - who had been incredibly patient and good as she was dragged from clinic to hospital to sonogram to admittance to Brian's room... she waited and waited and did not show a single sign of frustration, as a kindergartner might be entitled to, considering everything. She was very good and sweet to her sick brother. I stayed with Brian. The hospital provided a bed for me next to Brian's, and we had plenty of attention through the night.

Come Thursday morning, Brian was not better. Brad took Honor to school, called in to work, and joined us at the hospital. Brian had fever. He HURT much worse. He was still hungry.. not to mention, very thirsty ...because he was not allowed anything by mouth. His operation was scheduled for 9am. A doctor from the Embassy attended, and the local surgeon allowed us to be with Brian until he fell asleep, and to be there when he woke up. The surgery went very fast and well. Everyone involved seemed very pleased - and the appendix was indeed badly inflamed. They said we got it just in time.

Brian was very groggy and sore when he arrived back in his room - but one of the first things he said was, "It's after the surgery, can I eat now?" Poor kid. No, not until the next morning. At least he was able to get a piece of ice in gauze to suck on and relieve the dryness in his mouth. They kept him on fluids by IV. By evening though, he was up walking, and had made it to the toilet to pass urine and stool - great signs of recovery! Brad stayed with us until after sunset, but he had to get home and get Honor to an early bedtime. After the late night on Wednesday, and early morning for school, she was picked up after school by a neighbor, and whisked off to join them at a birthday party and playdate. She was very tired!

By mid-morning Friday, Brian got approval for food. Dad arrived just before lunchtime after catching up on some needed chores at the house, then dropping Honor at another friend's house for an extended playdate (no school - Friday is the 1st day of the weekend). Brian was told that he had to remain in the hospital for one more night. Because his appendix was so 'ugly' when it was removed, the surgeon wanted him to be observed a bit longer. We had a quiet, but boring day. Brad left early, and Brian was very tired by 7pm/dinner time. Honor was too - she was nearly in tears when we said our goodnights on the phone. I think we all slept hard Friday night.

By the time the doctor conducted his rounds Saturday morning, Brian had had his breakfast, was walking the halls, bouncing off the walls, calling his friend on my mobile, and generally wanting to go home. He got his wish by early afternoon, and was playing Age of Mythology with his friend and his dad by late afternoon, early evening. He's still on antibiotics, he will be restricted from school for a good while, and sports even longer. We have to watch his temperature very carefully the next few days too. But it sure is good to have our big guy home!!

Here are some pics -

Isn't this just the saddest face you've ever seen?? He hurt. He was a bit scared. He definitely did NOT like this whole situation. A few minutes later, we managed to joke with him and cheer him up - but then he had to fuss at us for making him laugh too much. That hurt too.
One nice thing is, Brian had an awesome view from his balcony. I told him the story of how my father had his appendix out while in the Navy, stationed in China, at the end of WWII. His grandpa's room overlooked an intersection, and my dad would sit out and watch life go by on the streets below. His favorite story was about how the police controlled the rickshaw traffic. If a runner did not listen to directions, the police would take his seat cushion, making it impossible for the runner to pick up passengers until he got his cushion back. The naughty rickshaws would be lined up in 'time out' along the curb, and the cop would be in the center of the intersection, still directing traffic, with a pile of cushions at his feet!

Not to be outdone by his grandpa, Brian had a room overlooking the Nile. Two large cruise boats, 3-4 decks each, were moored directly across the street, lit up pretty at night. We had plenty of river traffic to watch too. Tug boats pushing barges, feluccas (small sailing craft), speeding police boats, small 2-3 person oar-powered fishing boats with fishermen busily casting nets... and one morning, we watched four sculling teams row by with their chase boat.

Across the first branch of the river in front of us, we could see farm activity on the island in the middle of the river. Far out in the distance, past the second branch of the river, and behind some large buildings, we could see 2 of the 3 Great Pyramids of Giza. Way off to the left, depending on how clear the air was, we could see up to 7 more pyramids out in the distance... we don't know which ones though.
Great peeking pyramids batman!
The view towards downtown Cairo.
Feluccas everywhere.
Feeling a bit better after a refreshing piece of ice, Brian demonstrates one of the nifty things about hospitalization - the free ray gun implant you get. He didn't get to take it home though.
Ah! Finally!! Food!!!
Early evening, and we're out watching the boats again.
By Friday, Brian is getting bored, and is grateful to have activity books that Dad brought in.
Friday evening we watch the sun set.
and the horizon fade away, layer by layer. We both were tired and went to bed early.
Saturday dawned bright and very clear. We could almost see details on the pyramids!
Brian greeted the dawn brightly too. Can you tell he is happy with the news of going home?
We even had a fairly clear view of the other pyramids in the distance. Looks like 5 on the left of the large building, and two on the right.
And the best view of all! Home!!!


Tina in CT said...

What a week. Thank goodness you took him in right away and that they were so thorough. Glad that Brian is home and recovering.

Gorgeous view from the window and especially with the pyramids. Isn't it something to see them from so many years ago in the background with a modern city?

Now you have the task of keeping Brian quiet and resting.

junglemama said...

So glad to hear that Brian is okay. Nice to hear you guys are home...... Mom and Dad are hear so I'll spread the word.

Lydia said...

He looks great. Mairyn and Grant had their tonsils and adenoids out this summer and came out of surgery looking like the Stay Puft marshmallow man! I guess Brian has it better than they did b/c they hurt more after the surgery than before! I'm so glad you had a good experience with As Salaam. When we had Grant's appendix scare this past March, it was appalling. Cockroach on the breakfast tray, discarded gauze and needles left on the floor, just ew.

Simple Answer said...

How scary!

MsTypo said...

Poor kid. :( Glad to hear that he's on the mend. I guess that you guys will be looking forward to a nice, very quiet thanksgiving weekend with a lot to be thankful for. :)

Mama Seoul said...

Glad Brian is home and the surgery went well. What an unexpected event!

Anonymous said...

That really is the saddest little face...poor guy. And how scary for a mom while waiting for a diagnosis!

I'm glad he's doing better now. How are YOU doing?

Connie said...

Brian is doing amazing well - first full day home, and he is already loving the free time! Of course, his dad stayed home with him today and they are playing all sorts of games. He is still stiff and sore, and we are watching his temperature, etc. But he is good. I think that tonight, I might actually be able to sleep properly (:-) we'll see.

As Salam was better this visit than when we were there a couple years ago. Not up to standards I'd expect in the US, I mean, you have to work with what you have and the facilities are obviously old/used, but at least this time, I could see genuine effort... more teamwork, more coordination, better nurses, everything was definitely(!) cleaner than our first experience there.

The most important thing was the surgeon and Brian's surgery - obviously! - and that was perfect. I thought the surgeon and his team was great.

The rest of Brian's stay had some frustrations and confusions. One thing to note though, was that everything was just screaming "under new management"... does that make sense? I have NO idea if that is true, but it is what it felt like. I'll try to write a good review, and suggestions to those who may need to use the hospital. Honest, with pros and cons... to give a fair and USEFUL evaluation, soon, when I am mentally recovered.

Hi! I'm Janola. said...

I am so glad Brian and your family are doing well. It is so scary for anybody, but more so for a mom I think especially with the unsure diagnosis at first.

Veronica said...

It is good that everything went well. A real trying time when kids are sick enough to need surgery, but it sounds like he has done well; and the views are fantastic - just like a movie backdrop ;-)

Diane Mandy said...

Oh my!!! I am so happy Brian is ok and that you were so on top of things. Very scary, indeed!

Rachel said...

Hi Aunt Connie. This is Julia. Glad to hear Brian is ok. I got my own blog now to. We never stopped praying for Brian. HOpe he fells better.

Violet said...

I am glad he came through surgery and everything! It's always sad when they second guess and almost wait until the last minute!

I had mine out when I was 14. I had the right kind of pain but, no fever. They said it was an ovarian cyst but, the pain stuck around. They finally decided to take the appendix. The cycst that ruptured was filled with puss and that irritated my appendix, which was also about to burst because they waited so long! Grr..I however, was able to eat as soon as I woke up. Poor guy, I wonder why he had to wait so long!

Anonymous said...

I somehow missed this post! Poor Brian, but I`m glad they caught it in time. Good for you for recognizing the symptoms.

That hospital view is amazing! And the food . . . that`s a LOT of food. Here in the hospital, they give you one teensy piece of sweet bread (toddler fist size), a spoonful of refried beans, a tiny one inch wedge of cheese and a little mug of hot something like boiled cornstarch or chocolate. I was always starving to death after having spent the night in labor and then they give you that little bit . . . glad to see Brian got his fill!