We didn't expect to experience and learn all that we did on Robbie's first day of preschool.
But it was an experience, and it was an education for both Robbie and I, to be sure.
In the car on the way to what was supposed to be his first day of preschool, Robbie threw up in the van. Thankfully I had brought along a towel 'just in case' and it was put to good use. We made a U-turn and headed straight home, where he spent 9 hours like this:
Sadly, his vomiting only grew more excessive as the day went on. He seemed unable to stop that vomit reflex, even though all that had been brought up for hours was bile. My sweet sister came over to help occupy the girls while I tended to Robbie, who wanted me nearby at all times. And when we hit the 8 hour mark since he had last urinated, I sensed that it was time to head to the ER for zofran and fluids in one form or another (at the recommendation of our pediatrician). Things were not heading in the right direction. At this point I would like to say that WHY OH WHY can't the pediatrician supply patients with zofran? Our day would have been so much simpler from here on out.
My poor little sickie, with every episode he would become feverish and splotchy, glassy-eyed and lethargic.
So on Robbie's first day of preschool, this is what he did and learned!
He learned that zofran melts under your tongue.
Biology lesson: if you vomit hard enough, you can burst the little blood vessels in your face.
Snack time! What he would probably tell you was the best popsicle he ever had.
No clever tie-in for this one... the nurse who gave him his IV was wonderful, and Robbie impressed me with his bravery as he endured this uncomfortable procedure. It got a little messy and the sight of it was unpleasant afterwards! But the fluids he received from it perked him right up.
He became a pro at having his temperature and blood pressure taken.
Playtime with train stickers.
So at this point I should explain a little more... we headed to the ER for anti-nausea medication and potentially some fluids in the form of an IV, if necessary. These are 2 things our pediatrician and urgent care centers do not provide. It seems a little ridiculous to have to make a hospital visit for a bad case of the flu, but that's the way things are.
Upon arriving, he was thoroughly checked out and given zofran. The doctor asked if he had any medical history, so of course I mentioned his surgery for pyloric stenosis when he was 3 weeks old. Well, that information is apparently reason enough for an ER doctor to order an abdomen Xray to rule out anything other than the flu as the cause of Robbie's constant vomiting. (Apparently organs can grow together after abdominal surgery or something like that, the words telescoping intestines were tossed out, and a few other things that have never been on my radar.) So the Xray of his abdomen was done, and it showed a darkened area on the right side of his colon that was suspicious to the doctor.
And thus the one-medical-test-leads-to-another-medical-test was set into motion.
An ultrasound was done to further inspect the colon and internal organs. Everything checked out except for his appendix, which they could not view for some reason during the ultrasound.
The "belly jelly" exam, we called it. (He told the technician that she would see the popsicle he had just eaten when she looked inside his belly.)
After the ultrasound we returned to the pediatric ER room. Robbie was slowly starting to run a fever. At this point his blood work had come back and showed an extremely high white blood cell count, which indicates an infection of some sort. Since appendicitis could not be ruled out by the ultrasound, and his body showed clear signs of some sort of infection (flu virus or otherwise), the doctor had to get a look at his appendix.
And the only way left to do that was with a CAT scan. GoodNESS.
When I called Rob at home to tell him the way things were unfolding, he exclaimed "YOU TOLD THEM THAT HIS SISTER HAD THE FLU YESTERDAY, RIGHT!?".
We dubbed this scan "the washing machine". It was unnerving for my little guy, but thankfully I could hold his hands and encourage him to lay still and he handled it like a champ.
Robbie learned that he is very brave. He realized that being a doctor is something he would like to aspire to once he gets older, and it has become his career choice (for now!). He also got to stay up until 1am, and found that it isn't all that fun.
As for me, I learned a lot of things from this unexpected bump in the road.
*My little boy is growing up into a wonderful big boy; he is obedient, respects authority, can put on a brave face, and remembers everything that is said to him.
*Sometimes there are grey areas we find ourselves in as parents (take him to the ER or not? Let them run the test or decline it?), and we have to do what we feel is best when it comes to our kids' health and safety. At the end of the day, I am responsible (with Rob) for my children and how we manage that responsibility is very personal. I have learned to look on others' parenting styles or choices with a LOT less judgement, and am striving to get to the place where I do not judge others at all.
*Learning to continually trust in the Lord and believe that every moment of my life has already been ordained by Him brings a peace I cannot describe. In a situation that typically causes me great anxiety (being alone with a sick child), I found myself full of peace and able to maintain a sense of calm. With each test that was ordered for Robbie, the potential for something surprising to be discovered was there. And yet the unknown did not grip my heart with fear. Possibly because I really did believe he only had the flu. But more importantly because I knew that if something else was actually going on, it would not come as a surprise to God and I would do my best to simply be thankful for the discovery and move forward with whatever care he would require.
*I learned that the things that we fear happening in the future will actually sometimes happen, no matter how great or small in scale they might be. And as one dear friend put it in a text to me, simply taking it one step at a time and doing what needs to be done 'right now' is the best way to walk through challenges. The end will come, and He will supply what we need to make it through.
Robbie's next day of preschool was supposed to be Friday, but that morning I came down with the stomach flu myself. This has easily been something I have dreaded since being pregnant with Maddie. How in the world would I manage my own sickness with 3 small children? The answer was, I couldn't. My friend Cheryl responded within minutes to my request for help and fed Maddie her morning bottle at 6:30am while I hung over the toilet. I miserably crawled back into bed while she retrieved each child one by one from their beds as they woke up, fed them breakfast, and explained to them that mommy was sick. Then my dear mom came over (straight from my sister's apartment because she too had the flu and needed help!) and took care of the kids until Rob was able to come home from work early that afternoon. I count all of these things as God's mercy towards me - that I only vomited once (that never happens) and felt better within hours, that I had help through the entire day, and that Madeline and Rob have somehow avoided getting sick.
And now I'm hoping we will be blessed with health this fall and winter!