Inspiration struck last week and I wrote a short story that scared me so badly I couldn’t write in the dark. Now, words are barely forming in my mind and it’s difficult to even have a conversation. Yes, you can imagine me simply grunting at my children. I’m not capable of much more right now.
The boys were 3 years old and had very different digestive tracts. Logan could vomit if you looked at him wrong. Trip had vomited only once before in his short life span and that incident had landed him in the hospital over night to get rehydrated with IV fluids. Thankfully, they never had a big problem with diarrhea. Or they did and I’ve just blocked it from memory.
So, back to my story. Trip never vomited. Except the one time. Our evening that night was very ordinary. We had all had a normal dinner. I had bathed the boys and put them in bed. Ed and I had gone downstairs to watch television together before we also went to bed. Trip woke up and started crying around 10:30. Most nights, I would have told him to suck it up and get back to bed because I’m a caring and sensitive mother like that. This night, he just looked so pathetic. All I can really remember now was how pathetic he looked, so I took him downstairs and held him on the couch while I watched television. Ed teased me about babying the boy and teasingly asked Trip if he didn’t feel well. We stayed like that for a good half hour with nothing eventful happening. When does a sick kid who is being held by his mother not fall asleep? Trip didn’t. His little body was draped over mine, limbs limp, breathing, and feeling miserable. And then it happened. Trip sat up and drenched me and the couch in warm vomit.
Ed has always gotten out of cleaning vomit by claiming he had a sympathetic stomach and then making sick faces and pretending to retch. And frankly, I’ve become inured to most smells and sights from my time serving in the trenches of the ICU. (There are things that will make me retch, but I won’t tell you about them here. You’re welcome.)
So our usual plan is that Ed just leaves the room when a boy gets sick and I clean up the mess and the kid. But this time, I was covered in vomit from my neck to my waist and Trip is trying to catch his breath before he either vomits again or starts to wail because he feels so bad. Ed made a few gagging noises like he really was going to get sick and I said, “Don’t you try that shit tonight. Go upstairs and get me several towels.”
Trip and I got halfway cleaned up in the sink and the mess eventually got cleaned up. We decided the situation was not so dire as to require a trip to the emergency room, so Trip slept with us (which requires extreme sickness from one of the boys), vomiting on and off all night, and we made an appointment to see the pediatrician the next day.
Trip didn’t eat anything substantial the next day. He may have drunk some apple juice. He did vomit a bit more, but I managed to not wear any more vomit. Ed and I took Trip to see his doctor that afternoon. The doctor was worried he had appendicitis because of some abdominal pain Trip was having. Trip had an IV started at the office and then we were admitted to the local hospital. Trip had a CT scan done of his abdomen which showed he had a bowel obstruction. Trip vomited and dry heaved all night long. We were transferred to a hospital in Dallas the next day to see a pediatric surgeon.
Trip was transported to Dallas in an ambulance (a first for both of us) where he watched a Disney movie on their television in the back and, thankfully, nothing else happened other than we arrived safely in Dallas. Trip was admitted to the emergency room, had a tube inserted into his nose which went down into his stomach, and had a radiological procedure to show how far down the food was able to go and if it was able to go all the way down. The dye stopped completely at the junction between the end of his stomach and the beginning of his small intestines and then Trip vomited. I almost jumped out of the way in time to not get vomited on again, but at least I wasn’t drenched.
Trip was taken for emergency abdominal surgery about an hour later. The surgeon (who was WONDERFUL) told us that Trip had a Meckle’s band which was basically a piece of tissue which, in the womb, connects the intestines to the umbilical cord where it first forms and later draws the intestines into the baby’s abdomen, and that Trip’s had not dissolved after birth and caused the bowel obstruction. The actual surgery only lasted about an hour and the tissue was cut and removed, then Trip was sewn up and sent to the recovery room. (Disclaimer: I am a nurse, but I don’t take care of children and it really, really freaked me out to have a truly sick kid.)
We finally got to go back and see Trip in the recovery room and he was so sweet and pitiful and sick looking. He laid in that big stretcher, looked up at us, and said, “Where’s Logie?”
We told him that Logan was at home and then he asked, “Where’s my pocket banket?”
I gave him his pocket banket (pocket blanket, it was a little 9″x9″ blankie that had come with a larger blanket) and, eventually, we went up to his hospital room. He still had his IV dripping fluids into his vein. He still had the NG tube sucking out the contents of his stomach. He couldn’t eat or drink.