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Another Trip to the ER

by Ronald A. Rowe | January 12th, 2010 | Elementary

The one certainty in parenting is that anything can happen. Some days just don’t end up the way you thought they would. Case in point: when I got up Thursday morning, I never imagined that it would be almost 36 hours before I saw home again. If I’d known, I’d have packed a change of clothes, or at least a toothbrush.

It all started early in the morning, so early that I’d call it late at night.  Our almost-9 year old son found his way into our room at 2 a.m. complaining of a stomachache.  Unusual, but nothing too troubling.  It was bad enough that we let him stay home from school without the standard third degree grilling.

By 11:00, my lovely wife (who isn’t a doctor, but has seen almost every episode of House) determined that the problem was his appendix.  His discomfort was so obvious and his pain so sincere that I skipped my traditional role of poo-pooing her diagnosis and downplaying his symptoms.  Off to the doctor they went.

Three hours later, we’re in the emergency room, answering the same questions to yet another in a parade of much- too- young- to- be doctors.  Yes, the pain started in the middle.  Then it moved to the right side.  No, he’s not allergic to anything we know of.  His favorite food is shrimp (apparently a diagnostically relevant question).

By 7 p.m. the surgical team was assembled.  We learned that the anesthesiologist’s favorite Wii game is bowling.  We learned that it takes about an hour and a half to yank out a child’s appendix.  We learned that an hour and a half seems like a very long time when you spend it in an OR waiting room, and that an extra ten minutes is just enough to really start to worry.

It wasn’t our first trip to the ER.  I don’t think myself pessimistic when I state that it won’t be the last.  If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been there, too.  The only lesson I can offer is to keep a spare toothbrush in your glove box, just in case.

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