It’s been an exhausting couple of days. On Sunday night, Sam told me he felt something “go wrong” inside his abdomen, but it was Sunday night and something always goes wrong with his body on Sunday night to make sure that he doesn’t go to school on Monday.
On Monday, he still complained of severe pain, so I investigated and thought it could be appendicitis, but his symptoms weren’t severe enough to go to emergency, or so I thought, so I went to work, let him stay home and made him an doctor’s appointment for that evening.
I came home, put a lamb roast in the oven and took Sam to the GP. Guess what? It was bloody appendicitis! Go straight to the hospital he said. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
We did go home first to give instructions to the 18 yo about the lamb roast, collect our phone chargers and I grabbed a cardigan.
Emergency departments suck. The waiting. The people. The hotness. The babies, the poor coughing and crying babies. The lack of food. The waiting.
We waited maybe 5 hours before being seen. The doctor confirmed appendicitis and predicted surgery would be in Sam’s future. And we still waited. A canula was inserted in Sam’s arm and he didn’t faint. Then we waited some more. The exhaustion and the hunger were awful. The kind nurse found me some sandwiches and a cup of tea, which helped, but I kept reflecting regretfully on the delicious lamb roast and both Sam and I wondered whether Ben remembered to take it out of the oven.
We ended up on the paediatrics ward around 3:30 am, maybe 4. Sam had an IV drip with saline in by that time and surgery was predicted for later in the day. The fold-out chair stared at me invitingly, but I had forgotten to bring my meds, so I needed to go home first. I managed to get lost in the hospital on the way out until a cleaner kindly let me out one of the staff exits.
Have you ever had a lamb roast at 4:30 am? It’s quite an experience. It was delicious, if not quite as delicious as it would have been straight out of the oven.
I changed out of my work clothes, took my meds and back I went to the hospital through the dark and surprisingly busy streets of Geelong. Back through the emergency department and up to paediatrics. Sam had gained a roommate, who was sobbing quietly into his pillow, but I couldn’t be everyone’s mum.
It was 5 am by then, so I made up my bed and actually managed to fall asleep.
Everyone knows how early hospitals start their days, so we were up again at 7 with activity behind the curtain. Sam was still in pain, but they had loaded him up with paracetamol and ibuprofen, so it wasn’t as bad. When I snuck out to move the car around 8:30 into the work car park (did you know I work almost across the road from the hospital?) and grab a coffee and something to eat, the surgeon tried to reach me, of course! Anyway, I signed the surgery consent form when I got back into the ward, which is no easy task given the Covid restrictions. And then we settled in for more waiting.
Sam discovered free to air TV, which thank goodness, they have in the kids’ ward for free and I tried to nap, unsuccessfully, throughout the day.
He went into surgery around 2 pm, totally unconcerned and frankly, I wasn’t either, after all, modern medicine and all that. I went into pre-op with him, but he didn’t want me to go with him any further. I went out to find lunch, at one of my previously discovered cafes and enjoyed some fresh air.
I think he was back from recovery around 4 pm, maybe 4:30. Very groggy and in a bit of pain from the gas they apparently use to inflate the abdomen for keyhole surgery.
They brought dinner soon after that, but he wasn’t interested, but I tell you what, I was ravenous! The hospital’s cafeteria is closed to the public and there is no cafe or vending machines. The parents’ room on the ward only has bread and tea and coffee, no protein whatsoever and whenever I find my access to food restricted, I immediately become insanely ravenous. Even though I had only had a pretty substantial lunch just two hours prior, I wolfed down his dinner as if I hadn’t eaten in days. The nurse looked at me disapprovingly, but Sam really didn’t want to eat and a full-blown meal really wasn’t on his mind. I felt completely overstuffed afterwards, but boy, did I enjoy that meal, which coincidentally, was lamb again.
Sam was doing fine, if in pain. I knew I couldn’t spend another night in hospital and he was fine with me going home, so after I made sure he got some pain relief, I left around 6-6:30 pm. The nurse was fine with that, too and promised to call me if he needed me at all.
I got 12 hours sleep that night. I did take valium and a natural sleep supplement, to make sure I didn’t lie there half the night ruminating on the day’s events, and I could have slept more, had the alarm not woken me up.
Sam had had a good night, or as much of a good night as one can in hospital when your obs are being taken every 30 minutes or 2 hours. They gave him a heat pack for his pain, as well as more endone when he needed it. He ate breakfast and was able to walk around.
They let us go around 10:30 am and Sam managed to walk all the way to the car park, which is no mean feat, as it’s quite a walk. He gets the rest of the week off school, but then it’s back to normal.
It was strange looking after him when we got home, as if he was a little boy again. Grabbing this and fetching that.
At one point, when I was having a rest in bed, he came in and we had a nap together in my bed. I guess sick teenagers still need their mums.
I am deeply grateful for modern medicine and for the socialised health care we have in Australia and for the excellent care we both received at Geelong Hospital. Even Sam was impressed. It all feels like such a non-event now.
So, this is how life is going. The adventures never stop. We had quite an adventurous move to Geelong and handover of our old rental, but that’s another post, if it’s even worth writing about.
I love our new house. There are boxes everywhere. Full-time work is exhausting and today we’re having roast lamb sandwiches for dinner and the kids are not impressed.
I hope your life is less adventurous than mine, or if you have adventures, they are nice ones.
Stay tuned for more!
Also published on Medium.