Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tummy Owies

We had an extremely busy weekend: 3 birthday parties, a playdate with the cousins, Super Hero class and a trip to Annapolis. In retrospect, I think Marino had an illness brewing throughout the weekend, but couldn't quite explain it to me. By Sunday night, he was having bloody diarrhea (2-4 times an hour), a fever and extreme abdominal cramping. He would fall to the ground and start screaming in pain, curling up into a ball and saying "my tummy really really hurts!" We stayed home from school on Monday, but it just seemed to get worse. His fever got up to 102, the diarrhea was happening more frequently, the pain was worse and he started refusing to drink.

After talking to his pediatrician, I took him to the ER around 6PM on Monday. The ER doctors acted like I was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy and wanting to subject my child to unnecessary pain and suffering for no good reason (this is also how I was treated when he had bacterial meningitis, so I just let them think I'm crazy and keep pushing for the care I think he needs). They seriously handed me a Gatorade and told me that should sufficient, before even running any diagnostic tests to see if he was dehydrated. At this point, he was having watery, bloody diarrhea 3-4 times an hour and a fever of 102. Somehow, I was fairly certain a few sips of Gatorade was not enough to keep him hydrated under the circumstances. "He looks good to me" said the ER doctor, without bothering to take any blood to check his potassium or electrolyte levels. I insisted on tests and an IV. The doctors rolled their eyes and explained to me that it would be painful. I explained that, given the situation, I felt like his recovery without an IV was going to be much slower, and his body would be weaker for days. "Well, you're going to have to stay here longer" they said. "That's fine" I replied. After perhaps the 6th time he had diarrhea once the IV started, the doctors finally decided he was actually sick and offered to admit him.

Here he is after getting his IV. He was not happy.

Once we got to the Pediatrics Unit, our hospital visit greatly improved. We stayed until Wednesday afternoon and he had an IV the whole time. The doctors told me to just keep offering liquids and anything he lost using the potty he would get back through the IV so not to worry. By Tuesday overnight he was up to pee every hour (not so easy with an IV pole/machine). Clearly he was rehydrated, so they took out his IV Wednesday morning and he was tolerating liquids and food. Everyone in the Peds Unit was wonderful and we had a doctor this visit that we had when Marino had bacterial meningitis as an infant. He was really interested in hearing our perspective on that looking at it from the other side, with a healthy child. I thought it was really insightful that he even thought to ask about our thoughts on that experience. He was amazed Marino is perfectly healthy and has no long term effects of his illness (it really is an amazing blessing).

Here he is on Tuesday, starting to eat again.

They covered his IV with a diaper but he was fascinated by it and kept saying "I want to check this out for a minute" and unwrapping the diaper to look at it. He actually asked the nurses not to remove the IV because he wanted to show his friends at school.

I was very proud of him; he was very pleasant and nice to all the doctors and nurses. Tuesday morning, the nurse brought in some movies and a popsicle for him and he said "Mommy, this is going to be great!" Later they offered him a popsicle and he said "Yeah, can I just take it home and eat it?"

Wednesday we got home and kept him hydrated with whatever he was willing to eat/drink, like watermelon...

Thursday and Friday he was still having abdominal pain and some diarrhea, but 1-2 times a day, nothing like earlier in the week. We had a follow up appointment with our pediatrician and she said we'll probably never know what caused the illness (all the tests came back negative). The diagnosis was "acute infective gastroenteritis NOS" (in other words, "we have no clue"). Our plan for the long weekend is to rest and get our boy back to his old self again.

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