Wanda wasn’t feeling great when she woke up yesterday morning. She had a 102 fever and said her tummy hurt. Who am I to send a walking biohazard into a building full of children on the cusp of spring break? Not a terrorist. So I kept her home, gave her some watered-down Gatorade, and got to work blogging in my pajamas.
Early afternoon I made her turn off the Power Rangers and she quickly drifted off to adorable sicky sleep. But when she woke up, she looked horrible. She started sobbing that her tummy hurt and her skin felt hot to the touch. When I asked her to show me where it hurt, she pointed to her lower right side and moaned. I had her try to use the restroom while I Bing-ed “What side is the appendix on?”
Soon she was yelling for me to help her because it hurt too bad to get off the toilet. As I lifted her from the throne, I could tell her fever was really out of control and the forehead thermometer confirmed, 105.8!
Now, for normal kids this is insanely high but I’ve measured Wanda at over 107 in the past and anything under 103 is no big deal for her. However, combined with the side pain, I thought I should at least make an appointment with our pediatrician.
So I called. And his nurse told me to get to an ER quickly. Just like me and Bing, she was vibing appendicitis. So I rushed around like an unshowered maniac, grabbing my purse and phone charger and some grown-up clothes. Five minutes later the nurse called back to make sure she had told me the correct ER and to encourage me to leave as soon as possible.
We zoomed. But it takes about 45 minutes to get from our house to Children’s Hospital in Seattle and my red-hot bubs cried off and on all the way there. “It hurts, Mom!”
I feel so helpless when one of my children is in pain and there’s nothing I can do about it. I was doing what I could, which was praying and driving faster than the law allows. I also texted my family on the way out the door and they all said they’d send up a prayer as well.
We pulled into the ER parking lot and I loaded Wanda and her barf bowl and Gatorade into the softball gear wagon and wheeled her into the hospital, red hot and whimpering. The check-in nurse commented on how awful she looked, took our insurance card and sent us to the lobby to wait.
For twenty minutes I watched Wanda become absorbed in a Disney movie and slowly but surely the violent red flush of her cheeks disappeared and her skin color returned to normal.
“Wanda,” I asked, “How does your tummy feel now?”
“It still hurts a little.”
“On the right side?”
“No. Just kind of in the middle.”
They called us back. They took her temperature.
Magically. Healed. By. The. Hospital. Lobby.
The intake nurse looked at Wanda. And then back at me. Then back at Wanda.
She asked all the questions and Wanda answered them like a person who should stay in for recess and maybe miss school just to be safe, but not someone who needed to be taken to a doctor and certainly not the ER.
I was relieved, truly, that she was feeling better. And if me looking like a hypochondriacish idiot was the price I had to pay for her health, I was willing to pay it. Grudgingly.
They gave her the world’s most expensive popsicle and, as a bonus, she got to pee into a cup and all over my hand.
When the doctor asked me again how high her temperature had been at home, I told him 105.8 and he startled and asked what kind of thermometer I had used. I pulled it out of my purse to show him.
“I don’t think they go that high,” he responded.
“They sure do. They don’t get an error until 108.”
He had no response to that.
I texted my family to tell them that all was well except for the fact that I looked like an idiot. He said they must all be really good prayers if their prayers could bring her back from the brink of death that quickly.
I decided not to share the prayer hunch with the ER doctors but I did wonder how I would ever know if she had been miraculously brought back from the brink by divine intervention. I tend to be more of a Heavenly-Father-please-help-my-daughter-no-wait-she’s-fine kind of person. This could use more in-depth pondering.
Everyone was super nice to me, the way you’re nice to a crazy person. And, according to the supervising ER doctor, it was good that we came in, just in case. Apparently, there have been several cases of this crazy stomach virus in the ER lately. The cramps are intermittent, localized, and extremely painful, accompanied by high fevers.
They look like appendicitis.
The doctor said she had watched kids have acute episodes that had totally faked her out and she’d ordered all kinds of tests that turned up nothing, only to have the kids seem fine half an hour later.
Such is the humbling life of a mom. You sacrifice your pride for the safety of your kids, people who delight and terrify you every day.
On the bright side, at least they discharged her just in time to hit rush hour traffic so we’d have plenty of time to take a rare look at the gorgeous mountain that was showing up against the clear Seattle sky.
When I checked her temperature this morning, she was back up to 104.9. Or not. I don’t think the thermometer really goes that high. But I should probably shower this time, just in case.