We’re on the road, desperately trying to enjoy our summer vacation.
First, Jet Blue made our lives hell by canceling one of our flights, after we’d already gone through security! Our trip was delayed a day which resulted in a $200 hotel bill. Jet Blue claimed air traffic control shut down flights going in and out of the state we were trying to visit. We found out later that another passenger was given a completely different excuse. In addition, they had to fly us into a different city. We lost our original rental car reservation and had to get a new one with a different company in the new city. That cost was an additional $500 ($1200 for 2 weeks instead of $700). So, Jet Blue, which we will never, EVER fly again, cost us $700 plus a ton of aggravation and stress. And, by the way, air traffic control did NOT shut down flights to our original destination. We checked. And, yes, Jet Blue will definitely be hearing from me when this is all over.
The next morning, we found out Jet Blue had cancelled yet another one of our flights so they moved us again to a different one. This change caused us to endure a six-hour layover in New York. Have you ever had a six- hour layover with a 5-year-old, a toddler and 2 teenagers? Not fun. The first flight was later re-instated, but it filled up too fast for them to get us on it so we were stuck with the later flight.
We FINALLY arrived at our (different) destination and went to baggage claim. We spent about 45 minutes watching bags come down the belt. Things were thinning out (bags and people) and none of our bags were there. A lady finally walked up and asked if we needed help. I told her the problem. She said, “Oh, they might have come on an earlier flight (the one we couldn’t take!!) and be locked in the Jet Blue office. Sure enough, there they were. That was nice…but saving us 45 minutes (again, with a young child and a toddler) would have been even nicer.
We left the airport and stopped for a quick dinner. Max had developed a tummy-ache so he spent time in the bathroom before AND after dinner. He was not a happy little boy. I stayed with him in the bathroom so I wasn’t having much fun, either.
After we left the restaurant, we started the long, three-hour drive to our final destination. Max’s tummy was hurting him again. We stopped at a gas station, and then we stopped at another one, and another one. Max’s tummy was really cramping and he was miserable and crying off and on. Finally, around 11:00 p.m., we arrived. We came inside and Max immediately went to the bathroom. He had the worst case of diarrhea I’ve ever seen. We gave him some Immodium A-D for children (do NOT give that to your kids) and he vomited some of it up. However, he was able to sleep that night.
The next day, relatives were here and Max played with his cousins, but he just wasn’t himself. Before they left he came to me and laid down on my lap. They left that evening and Max was back in the bathroom. The diarrhea wasn’t any better. I gave him more medicine and he threw it up again. I was very, very worried…so worried that I had developed stomach problems, too (that happens to me when I’m under extreme stress). During all this, Max never ran a fever so I was starting to suspect something very bad was wrong with his colon or intestines. Max has had problems with constipation since he was a baby and I was starting to think maybe something had finally gone terribly wrong down there, like a bowel obstruction. I knew it wasn’t appendicitis because the pain was in the wrong area.
The next morning, Sunday, Max still had diarrhea, but now also had severe, crippling abdominal pain. The diarrhea stopped suddenly around 10:00 a.m., but the abdominal pain was getting worse. It was coming in waves, like labor pains. He would be fine one minute, watching The Garfield Movie with me, and writhing and crying the next. Max is not a crier or a whiner so I was getting more anxious by the minute. Richard thought he just had a really bad case of gas. Whenever the children are ill, Richard is usually able to stay calm while I’m the one who is freaking out. I called our pediatrician, who said to find a local physician if the pain got any worse or if Max started running a fever. The pain was indeed getting worse so we put him in the rental van and took him to a local children’s urgent care clinic. I was checking in while Max was lying on a bench next to Richard. He was crying and clutching his lower belly. The lady said the wait was an hour and a half. I was stunned that they didn’t have any type of triage. I said, “Forget it. We’re going to the emergency room.”
We got back in the van and headed to the local children’s hospital. Max was in his car seat and his cries had escalated to low-pitched screams when the pains were coming. He’d then appear to be exhausted and still crying between the pains. We were speeding through traffic and he was yelling so loudly and in so much pain that I thought we were going to have to pull over and call an ambulance. I was trying to hold myself together for Max’s sake, having him look into my eyes when the pains came, holding him as best I could (while he was buckled into his car seat) and speaking calmly to him. Inside, I thought he had a bowel obstruction and that it had burst. That was what I was sure was happening. Max was screaming and crying and writhing…and I thought he was going to die before we got there. I have never seen a child in that much pain.
We finally arrived. I ran inside, carrying him as gently as I could. He’s a pretty big kid. A nurse got Max a wheelchair. They immediately triaged him and determined he was stable. But, we only had to wait in the waiting room for about 10 minutes before they called him back. He vomited again during that time. We got to the room and he was able to lie down flat. He almost immediately fell asleep – sound asleep. No pains. No nothing. He was out. I thought that was very odd and got even more worried. The doctor came in a few minutes later and examined him. He said it was one of two things. Max either picked up a very bad virus, or he had a bowel obstruction. They sent him up for an x-ray. Back in the wheelchair, he was crying and writhing in pain again. On the x-ray table, lying flat, he still had pains, but they worked quickly. In the chair again, he was in severe pain again. Back in his room, he was better. Lying flat was much better for him than sitting up.
What seemed like a lifetime later, the doctor finally came back in. He said, “I have a very interesting x-ray to show you down the hall.”
I didn’t panic because he seemed calm, but I was sure whatever he was talking about meant that Max would be having surgery very soon. I went down the hall with him while Richard stayed with Max.
We came in a room and Max’s innards were there on the light box.
To be continued next week…
JUST KIDDING!! Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
Anyway, on the x-ray, you could see Max’s intestines and they were huge and bloated, looking like distended balloons, all on one side and right down to his rump. He was completely full of air. The doctor said there was nothing to do but wait until it worked its way through his system. I asked him if the virus caused it. He said, “Oh, yeah.”
We went quickly back to Max’s room because I knew Richard would want to immediately know what was wrong and that it wasn’t as serious as we feared. The doctor advised a warm bath, a heating pad and chamomile tea to relax his intestines, and children’s Tylenol. He also put Max on the BRAT diet – Bananas, Rice (and pasta), Apples (and applesauce) and Toast (breads, crackers and other high fiber items). He took Max off milk and sugar.
He also told us that, in his opinion, Immodium A-D for children was the worst thing to give kids with diarrhea because it just stops their intestines from working. I asked him if that’s what caused the gas. He wouldn’t confirm or deny it. He also said they used to recommend Kaopectate, but that they changed the ingredients in response to kids not liking it (not sure I have that part of it exactly right) and that now they no longer recommend it. He said there’s no over-the-counter diarrhea medication they can recommend to parents anymore for children other than to just let it run its course and to keep them hydrated.
Max was discharged and I wheeled him outside. He was still in a severe pain. Richard picked us up by the door. I just couldn’t buckle Max upright in his seat again because it has caused him so much pain before. So, I laid him down in the backseat of the van on his stomach and put two seatbelts around him. He was fine that way. We stopped at the drugstore for the heating pad, Tylenol, tea, etc.
We got back here and I carried Max in and put him in a warm bath. After that, I carried him to the bed and put him on the heating pad. It was on low but he said it was still too hot. I turned it off and put in a movie for him, The Sandlot 2, which is one of his favorites. I sat down next to him, put him in his belly, and put a pillow under his hips. Then, I started “backward burping” him, patting his back, up and down, back and forth, and on and on. My right hand got tired so I switched to my left hand. I patted for about 25-30 minutes before Max finally let one rip. And, man oh man, did it rip! Before he even finished the “rip”, he went from whimpering to laughing because he felt so much better so quickly…and because it was so funny.
I kept patting and he kept poofing and about 10 minutes later, he jumped up and ran into the living room and said, “Grampa! I’m all better!”
He did have a bit of a remaining tummy ache later that evening, but I “backward burped” him again and it worked within about 10 minutes.
Max had what was probably the most expensive and stressful case of gas in the history of the family….and it’s now three days later and Richard still hasn’t said, “I told you so.” He’s such a good hubby…
In other vacation news, on Monday, we had 10 inches of rain here. On Tuesday, we had several more inches. And, this morning we woke up and it was thundering and pouring again. We’re supposed to get four to eight more inches today. Most of the holiday festivities have been canceled here, but we’re going to make the best of it by taking the children to the mall this afternoon, and cooking on the grill (under the patio) this evening. We also purchased the first and second seasons of The Office (the UK version) to watch together tonight and Ali’s making her famous “Flag Cake” for us.
A year ago today, Mason was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and we had to watch the fireworks from the hospital room window. So, despite the rain, we are feeling very, very blessed and happy this Fourth of July. 🙂
This week’s Maxism: When I was lying in bed with Max, watching The Garfield Movie with him again (for about the eighth time), he turned to me and said, “You’re the mom I always wanted to have.”
Hugs to all!
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