Levi's Appendectomy

Well, an overnight hospital stay was not what I had planned for the weekend but I am feeling very grateful tonight. In another time or place I would not have my charismatic curly haired one-in-a-million five year old boy with us anymore.

Levi had surgery on Saturday afternoon to remove his appendix.

It started with what I assumed was a regular stomach bug on Friday afternoon.  Levi complained about his tummy hurting, so I let him stay home from school.  He didn't nap though.  Then he vomited ten minutes before we had to leave to pick Jed up from school!  Too late to change plans, I loaded the poor sick kid into the car with a metal bowl "just in case".  We went to Jed's ukulele lesson where Levi wandered around the music store with Conrad and me and then threw up in the bathroom.  Afterwards, we met Bron (whose truck was being serviced) and made a quick Target run for needed items.  Levi threw up in the bathroom there too.  For being only five years old, he was such a good sport!  We finally made it home where Levi rallied and ate a quesadilla for dinner.  Both Bron and I honestly thought the worst was over... until Levi threw up again around midnight.  We tucked him back into bed and didn't hear a peep from him again until around 7:30AM Saturday morning.

I found him on the couch crying and holding his lower right side.  He felt a little warm too.  Levi was in so much pain he couldn't walk!  That kid has a pretty high pain tolerance; the situation seemed pretty serious.  I suddenly knew the problem was his appendix.  Bron and I both separately--and without telling one another--looked up the signs for appendicitis.  Levi nailed all the classic symptoms.  

Bron called our friend Aaron over to give Levi a priesthood blessing.  Bron then carried Levi to the car and I rushed him to the hospital.  It hurt Levi to even move!

I carried Levi like a baby through the Quick Care doors.  I checked him in and when asked what he was there for, I boldly said, "I think he has appendicitis."  I surprised myself with how confident I sounded.  After all, I'm not a doctor or even a nurse!  Call it mother's intuition, but I just knew.

^^Levi waiting in pain in the emergency room.  His face broke my heart!  I'm not sure what possessed me to grab my phone's camera for a few snaps.^^

As soon as the nurses saw Levi, they treated it like appendicitis.  They took his temperature, asked some questions, and wheeled Levi right over to Emergency to be admitted.   We were given bracelets with Levi's name and birth date on them and left alone in a small room.  

By then, Levi's pain had gotten significantly worse.  Fifteen minutes of waiting felt like an eternity as I watched him cry and hold his stomach.

"It hurts, Mom!  It hurts so bad!"

"I know, Buddy," I sympathized.  "We're getting you some help.  I promise, before night time, your tummy won't hurt like this anymore.  It'll all be over by the end of the day."  It tore my heart out to see Levi in so much pain.  I wanted to cry along with him, to take the pain away for myself.  My eyes welled up with tears more than once.  Somehow, however, I remember feeling calm.  I knew that everything would be all right.  Levi would get the help he needed and be just fine.  Appendicitis is, after all, a pretty routine surgery.

Finally, a doctor came in to check Levi.  He asked questions, felt Levi's stomach, and gave a firm tap on the bottom of Levi's right foot.  Levi screamed out in pain!  That, apparently, was enough of an indicator for him to order a CT Scan.

^^Passed out with an IV and some morphine.^^

We waited a few minutes more before a nurse came in to place an IV in Levi's right arm.  He was given a shot of morphine for the pain and in a few minutes, Levi had fallen into a light sleep on the bed.

We waited for quite some time in the room before someone fetched us for Levi's CT scan.  The CT technician gave me a sympathetic look; he had a five year old boy too!  Levi was such a brave champ for the scan.  He put his arms above his head and held his breath--cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk--on the machine's command.  For a sick kid, he sure was cute!

Back in the room, we watched some tv while waiting for the CT results.  The morphine shot was beginning to wear off and Levi's pain level began to rise again.  The nurse had just administered a second shot of morphine when the surgeon entered the room. 

Doctor McKain stood about my height and had such a soft raspy voice from years of smoking that I could barely hear him.  But I immediately liked him.  Something about him reminded me of my Uncle Jeff and I trusted him.  I followed Dr. McKain as he himself wheeled Levi on his bed up to the pre-op room.  Upon hearing that I hadn't eaten all day, he brought me a large water bottle before soaping up.

^^My dad texted and said I needed something else to drink!  Haha.  I would if I could.^^
^^Enjoying that popsicle.^^
^^My sleeping curly haired boy.^^

The time was about 3:00PM.  I signed some papers and talked with the staff about Levi's surgery.  The nurse anesthetist also had a five year old boy!  He gave me a knowing look.  Five is such a tender age.  The morphine had made Levi a bit loopy and sleepy again and he didn't seem scared or anxious at all.  I kissed his forehead one last time before they wheeled him off into surgery.

And then I waited.  Again.  My whole day seemed to be a series of boring waiting.  But at the same time, there wasn't any other place I wanted to be.  I had tunnel vision only for Levi that day.  I would do anything for his health.

Doctor McKain met me in the waiting room.  He said surgery had gone well and that Levi was waking up.  He explained that Levi's appendix had just barely ruptured some when he got in there.  He believed he'd flushed the infection out and that Levi would be able to go home the next day with some antibiotics.  He led me up to Levi's recovery room and left me there to wait again.

Finally, around 5:00PM, a nurse wheeled my exhausted but happy boy into the room!  It was so good to see Levi.  He was feeling much better and was anxious to get a hold of that popsicle he'd been promised.

He passed out soon after eating his popsicle.   The day's events had drained Levi and his body wanted to rest.

Bron brought us dinner.  He was relieved to see Levi sleeping peacefully.  We ate quietly in the corner of the room.  Bron joked, "This is probably our most expensive date night yet!"  I laughed.  Yup.  Levi awoke long enough for me to spoon feed him some soup.  Then Bron helped him to the bathroom.  Levi didn't want to stand up straight or put any weight on his legs.  Poor kid.  It was rough to watch him struggle.

Bron stayed the night at the hospital so I could go home and get some rest.  I was surprised at how utterly exhausted I was!  I felt like a zombie at Winco and may have bought some unneeded items.  My bed felt like a cloud.

^^Bron brought Levi Leopard and Wolfie to keep him company.^^
^^The elbow Levi was VERY careful not to bend.^^
^^Reading his 'Get Well' card from Jed.^^

After Sacrament meeting on Sunday, I brought Jed to the hospital to visit Levi.  When Levi saw Jed, the monitor beeped as Levi's heartrate and breathing increased.  Haha.  Those brothers missed each other!  To our surprise, they were ready to release Levi and send him home at noon!  It felt so good to all be together again under one roof Sunday afternoon.

Our first night home was a bit rough.  Levi was uncomfortable stretched out in his bed, so he wound up sleeping with me for part of the night.  Levi has been rotating between tylenol and ibuprofen (even through the night!) to keep the pain at bay, but I can see an end in sight.  He's three days post surgery and though he's been a bit emotional, I am thrilled to see my Levi getting back to his usual independent and happy self.  Kids are so amazingly resilient.  He's still sore, so we've been making the best of this down time by reading Christmas stories in bed and watching Star Wars.  He's already asked about going back to school though because he can't miss his snack day on Friday!  Haha.  I think he'll be ready by then.

^^Brothers.  Together again!^^
^^And of course, I had to grab this shot.  A night in the hospital is not a good night's sleep!^^

I sure love you Levi and am happy this dramatic story is behind us now.  You will no doubt bounce back and make a full recovery in no time at all.  You're a brave and tough kid. 

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