I’ve been MIA this week, I’m sure you are all wondering why. Actually, I’m pretty sure no one noticed, I’m not nearly as huge on the internet as I thought. Neither here nor there.
Monday morning was a fairly normal one in our household. I needed to drive Taryn to school so she could go to her sports physical appointment after school let out. John did not want a ride with us because he didn’t want to have to sit in the waiting room at the Dr.’s office, a fate worse than death. His bike had a flat tire, so Taryn said he could ride her bike. He took off 5-10 minutes before we left. Taryn and I woke up the twinkies and she loaded them into the car. I walked out the front door and saw John hobbling up the walk.
He had bloody road rash on his face and was cradling his arm and complaining of pain in his right side. I got him inside and cleaned up his face a little. He said he fell off the bike. His arms were scratched up too. He had been wearing a hoodie, so I figured he must have hit the ground pretty hard to have scraped them up through the sweatshirt. Because of that, I thought he had probably broken his arm. I was a little concerned that he might have a concussion. He was not wearing his helmet.
Even though I was worried, John has broken bones before, so I knew the drill. Instead of rushing to the Emergency Room I sat him on the couch and told him not to fall asleep. Dropping Taryn at school would only take 15 minutes or so, round trip. My plan was to come back, dress the twinkies, drop them at school, and then take John to the ER.
Once I got back from dropping her off I realized John was in a lot of pain. I had texted Dallas to tell him I thought John’s arm was broken. (Before that I had texted two friends to tell them I wasn’t going to make spin class – priorities.) Dallas asked if I needed him to come home from work. I almost said no, but thought better of it and had him come home so I could head straight to the ER.
By this time John was in serious pain. He was holding my hand in the waiting room. When a nearly 15-year-old boy voluntarily holds his mothers’ hand in public, you know there’s a problem. There was a crowd of non-emergency-looking-sick people in the waiting room. John threw up. I got a little Shirley McClain in Terms of Endearment on the desk clerk.
I don’t blame the guy for wanting to kill me. In my defense, John was complaining a lot about the pain in his side and vomiting. I was certain he had a concussion and had probably broken some ribs.
Once we went back to the triage nurse we were taken into a room immediately. The ER Doctor was kind of a douchebag. (To be clear, as a doctor he was fine. I think he treated John appropriately and conservatively until it was time not to, but as a person he seemed like kind of a douchebag.) He checked John over and did an ultrasound of his belly. He found nothing on the ultrasound which was a relief. Dr. D-Bag was giving me instructions on giving John Motrin and sending us home when John threw up for the third time. That’s when Dr. D-Bag kicked it into high gear and ordered a CT of his abdomen. The nurse told me it would be about a half hour before they could get him back to get the scan.
There is no cell service in the hospital and I don’t know the number to Dallas’ office so I stepped outside to call him. I was outside maybe five minutes. When I returned they had already taken John for the scan. They brought him back and he immediately threw up again. Dr. D-Bag then told me that “they think there is an injury to his kidney. They gave John contrast and will do another scan in a few minutes.”
I was concerned. But not panicked.
Minutes later we were taken back down for the CT. I started to panic when I saw that the radiologist was in the room. I know they are only there for the actual scan if the situation is bad. Unlike the Dr. D-Bag this guy was not a civilian. He was an Air Force Lt. Colonel in his fancy blue uniform. It made me very nervous. He told me there was, “a significant injury to John’s kidney…we’re doing a contrast scan…” I didn’t know what he was talking about. I said, “what does that mean, significant injury? Is his kidney bruised?” Dr. Fancy Uniform looked at me like I was maybe the stupidest person he had ever spoken to and said, “No, it’s hemorrhaging, it’s a SIGNIFICANT injury.”
Hemorrhage? Now I was panicked. I waited outside while they did the second scan. Dr. Fancy Uniform came out and said “significant injury” and “contacting the urologist” a few more times, then we went back to the ER.
The ER nurse put in the code so I could call Dallas from the room phone. I told him, in a voice that was so low and calm it probably scared the snot out of him, that John had a “significant injury” to his kidney. He said he was on his way.
This was when Dr. D-Bag came in and told me John had a laceration to his kidney that would require surgery to repair.
He said a lot of other stuff about his confidence in the urologist and what he would do if it were his kid, but I didn’t hear it. All I heard was laceration and surgery.
I’m pretty sure I was crying, I don’t remember, it was all a blur. At some point Dallas arrived. I cried more. The urologist, Dr. C (he doesn’t get a nickname, because he was awesome) arrived. He told us the best bet to “save the kidney” was to do surgery to put in a stent.
I couldn’t believe we were having a conversation about saving my 14-year-old sons’ kidney. How could we be? He’s 14, he has two kidneys. He gets to have two, that’s the deal right?
Eventually the surgery was done. John spent three days on full bed rest. We had some ups and downs, fevers, pain, blocked catheters. Each time I got really scared. I knew that if this option failed we would be talking about removing his kidney. I have a close friend who had a kidney transplant. I remember her telling me about how much harder the surgery was on her donor because “they basically have to cut you in half to get it out.” All week, I kept thinking, “they might have to cut him in half.” Morbid, I know. I’m not usually a worst-case-scenario person, but I spent the whole week sleeping on a hospital floor. It messes with your head.
On the fourth day he walked a little and was released today, day five. He’s doing well, being young and healthy helps. We are not completely in the clear just yet, but we’re on our way.
On the upside, his arm isn’t broken.