Room Service, with Morphine

The next time I do a mother-daughter getaway with Sparkler, I’m not letting her choose where we go.

It’s funny now, but it was less so last Tuesday when I realized that Sparkler’s stomach bug wasn’t quite normal. She’d thrown up a few times in the night, and all through the day complained repeatedly that her stomach was sore. She couldn’t even stand straight to go to the bathroom.

I surreptitiously googled “symptoms of appendicitis,” called the nurse at the pediatricians’ office, and then got Sparkler dressed to go the emergency room. “Just to make sure everything’s okay,” I said cheerfully. Sparkler cried and grabbed her stuffed pink unicorn.

While DJ swept in to take over the homefront, Sparkler and I spent hours at the ER. They took some blood, hooked her up to an IV, and prodded her stomach. We all exchanged knowing looks. She had all the classic symptoms. This was appendicitis.

But the ER doctor decided to have the surgeon drop in and decide whether to order a CT scan or go on to surgery. To my surprise, the surgeon was less convinced; she suggested that Sparkler stay overnight for observation, and also take a dose of antibiotics.

By this time, Sparkler had a good dose of morphine, and the IV had rehydrated her. She felt better than she had for two days. She watched Disney channel, ate two popsicles, and was pretty happy with life. Once they moved her to her room, she settled in. Except for an unpleasant blood-taking attempt at 5am, Sparkler loved the hospital. Orange juice to drink, books to read, and people coming in to talk to her. They all wanted to know her unicorn’s name. And Sparkler had Mom all to herself.

So how did the surgery go? It didn’t. Sparkler didn’t have appendicitis, she had an infection, probably aggravated by dehydration. By noon on Wednesday, she felt almost back to normal. As the surgeon pointed out to me, “Appendicitis doesn’t get better.”

Back home, her siblings were happy to see her. She’s had a gradual but steady return to health. And now that the pain is gone, Sparkler has very fond memories of that unexpected little getaway with Mom.

(It took me two days to catch up on the sleep I didn’t get in that blasted hospital.)

Sparkler in Hospital
The unicorn’s name is Pink Peppermint, but everybody just calls her Peppermint.



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