- I go to work early and kick butt, big time. Lots of items completed. Jamie calls me at 9am to tell me that Jack is complaining of stomach pain. Specifically, he cried for a minute and kept saying, 'belly hurt!". Hmm.
- Jamie calls again at 11am, this time from the doctor's office. They've referred Jack to the ER at Texas Children's Hospital, a place we know well. I leave the office to join them.
- We get the diagnosis -- intussusception. His bowel has collapsed in on itself, just like a telescope that retracts. The pinching is extremely painful, blocks the pipes, and cuts off circulation to the pinched tissue. If we're lucky, an enema will fix it. If not, he'll need surgery to correct the collapse, and maybe cut out any dead tissue.
- 4:30 pm, Jack is taken to the X-ray room, where the enema will be done (with barium fluid). He already had an IV in his hand (which he hates), and now it's time for the tube up his hoonanny to force fluids into this pipes and push out the collapsed section. You don't need to be a prophet to guess how much he appreciated that. He even vomited during the procedure, which added to the chaos. Jamie has the same response to extreme physical pain, but we'd never seen it in Jack before.
- By 6pm, Jack is smiling, joking and playing in the hospital. Still, he needs to stay overnight for observation, as there is a 10% chance of intussesception recurrence in the next 24 hours. Jamie stays at the hospital with Jack all night, and I come home to Samantha, who had been with her grandparents since the afternoon.
- By 8am, Jack has progressed so quickly that the hospital releases him. He and Jamie arrive at home just as I was leaving to take Samantha to school. I take Samantha, then come home to spend the day with Jack and Jamie. It ends up being a laundry and dishes day, since we'd never caught up from our weekend trip.
- Jack runs a slight fever, but nothing major.
- I go back to work in the morning. Another productive day. Jamie calls at 3:30 pm to say that Jack just had another pain attack in his belly. And his fever is over 102. We get a doctor's appointment for 4:45.
- I join them at the doctor (we're all late, but you try getting to any Houston location on time on a Friday rush hour... not possible). Jack checks out okay, with no belly pain, minimal fever and no signs that anything's wrong. He even asks for food and drink. We had plans to go to the outdoor theater (Berenstein Bears show) for a picnic dinner, but we canceled that. I picked up frozen pizza and we ate at home.
- Jack ate pizza like a champ. Maybe his afternoon pain attack was just gas, or side effects from passing all that barium (that was pure joy for 48 hours and about 30 diapers).
- At 6:40, Jack had another bout of extreme belly pain. Again at 7:00. And 7:15. Fever's going up, too. We call the doctor, but already made the decision to go back to the ER. Jamie takes him alone this time, and I just stay home with Samantha. We have a business card from the Surgical Director at Texas Children's, and he told us he would get Jack right through the system if we came back.
- Jamie and Jack arrive at the hospital, and the Director comes through. Jack skips the queue, skips the ultrasound and goes straight to the X-ray room, this time for an air enema (thank you for no more barium). Again, it seems to work, and the post-procedure ultrasound confirms that there's no more intussesception.
- They get home around 11pm. No IV, no overnight observation. Thank you, doc.
- We all go out to breakfast at the Kolache Factory. If you don't know what a kolache is, you're missing out.
- Jamie takes Samantha to a make-up swimming lesson, and then to a birthday party. I stay home with Jack during the day, and am concerned by Jack's fever. It was 103.4 at noon, so I gave him Motrin (we consider it our fever "big gun" fighter). An hour later his fever was still 103.2. It gradually drops from there.
- We have a good afternoon, with the kids and Jamie all getting long naps. I also have a great talk with my Dad, getting some advice on a business issue I'm facing. He's been where I am and has some great tips.
- Jack wakes up from his afternoon nap with a fever of 105. Medicine takes it down around 102.
- Dinner, bath... the usual. Then Jacks wakes up again at 10:30 pm, this time with a fever of 106. Scary. We call the doc and she recommends putting Tylenol on top of the Motrin we've already given him. We do it and it slowly works, although none of us get much sleep.
- Jack and Jamie stay home from church (duh). They go the hospital mid-morning for some blood tests, which show that Jack does not have a bacterial infection. This is just some major virus, and there's no way to know if it's related to the intussesception.
- We are exhausted.
So that's it. Hopefully the belly pain won't come back, and from now on we can just deal with a good old-fashioned virus. God knows we have plenty of experience with that.
To go back to a previous post about the violinist playing in a public place, I've been thinking about appreciating beauty in every moment. Here are some moments from the past few days:
- Samantha's hair color in the sunshine while we're feeding ducks on a pond (today at lunch). "Red" doesn't cover it -- it's a thousand colors and highlights.
- Jack's sweet, drained voice saying "daddy" as he looks at me in bed last night at midnight. He was in our bed for a while when his fever was 106. He would wake up every few minutes, crack his eyes open to find me, and just say "daddy' in a matter-of-fact way, kinda like "there he is." The fact that my presence soothes him... well, it's a pretty good feeling.
- Jamie and I steal a moment in the bedroom Saturday night. It's two tired people coming together for comfort, for fun, just for the simple fact that we could say we did it, in the midst of family sacrifice. A moment just for us.