When it comes to children you dread them becoming ill. Go with your gut instincts if you think there’s something more than just a bug. They call it a mothers instinct for a reason.
Mama knows best…when my 4-year-old got Appendicitis
It was the day before Christmas Eve and we had taken my daughter out to her playgroup Christmas party when she came up and told me she had a tummy ache. So we took her home, not really thinking anything of it assuming she had eaten too many sweeties at the party. She didn’t sleep well and the next day was still complaining so we took her to the doctor, who did all the usual tests (ears, chest, throat etc) and said she had a chest infection (she did have a cough), gave us anti-biotics and sent us on our way. Apparently swollen glands from any infection can cause a tummy ache in children.
Poor Bethany still didn’t sleep well and was constantly complaining of tummy ache. Christmas Day dawned and we headed over to the inlaws for the usual Christmas fun, but Bethany just wasn’t interested she hadn’t eaten anything since the 23rd and just wanted to lie on the sofa and snooze. At 5 pm we decided it was time to take her to A&E, she was seen by 4 doctors and was almost sent home but they decided her heart rate was too high to be safe and kept her in, she was diagnosed with an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, she was admitted to the ward at 10 pm. Bethany now had a cannula and anti-biotics being given intravenously.
All day on the 26th Bethany complained about a tummy ache and I chased doctors to give us more information, to do something to help her since she wasn’t getting any better. It all seemed to be about the tummy ache not the chest at all. They kept telling me different things: that the tummy ache was due to not eating, so we started trying to get her to eat, or was due to constipation, so we were told to walk her around the ward to get things moving. Finally, at 2 am, the nurses get bored of me complaining to call for a doctor, the doctor who was on call happened to be a surgeon and took one look at her and diagnosed Appendicitis.
27th December: At 5 am we were told we have to be transferred to Brighton Children’s Hospital and at 8 am the ambulance arrives to take us over. We arrived at Brighton at 9 am and were seen by the surgeon at 10.30am, he requested an ultrasound and surgery before midday. At 11.30 when still nothing had been done I started complaining again, but nothing happens, the surgeon arrived back just before 12 pm ready to take her down to find nothing had been done and suddenly it was all action: fluids, bloods, paracetamol all done in 30 seconds flat. Poor Bethany was terrified and hurt by the rushed intravenous use. At 2 pm she finally got an ultrasound, which confirmed it wasn’t anything else (apparently they can’t tell appendix from any scans, they have to rule out anything else) and was taken down for surgery at 3.30pm.
The surgery took about 2 hours, her appendix hadn’t burst, but was so infected that the pus had spread over most of her intestines which meant they had to take the intestines out and wash them. She was returned to us in intensive care, where we had to stay for 24 hours. At this point she was very poorly, she was given a 50:50 chance of having to go back in for more surgery and they were worried the infection had spread to her blood and other organs so were watching her very carefully.
By the 28th December, Bethany was doing much better and we were sent down to the normal children’s ward. She was still sleeping most of the time and having 2 hourly checks and lots of antibiotics, she was definitely still not herself.
A week later we finally got to try her on some food and the next day we were allowed home, 2 weeks after she was first admitted to hospital. My friend had his appendix out last month, as an emergency surgery, and was out the same day! Poor Bethany still remembers how poorly she was and is now terrified of having to have a cannula again. My youngest was only 1 when all this happened and it took him 2 years to recover from going to bed at home, being yanked from his bed during the night and then not seeing Mummy (except for a couple of short visits) for 2 weeks. He would wake in the night screaming for me.
This was the worst situation I have ever been in and the biggest thing I have brought away from it is to already make a fuss if you think something is not being done right, without me causing a fuss so many times during this whole experience Bethany’s appendix may well have burst and she could have been in a lot worse of a situation.
IMAGES- PROVIDED BY AMY