Why do we even HAVE those things?
It has now been a week since the commencement of a bout of short but rather intense drama here in the Sparky household. Things have calmed down to a fairly normal pace, though I use the word “normal” very loosely when applying it to us in any way.
The first clue that something funky was going down occurred at about 1:20am last Wednesday morning. I was awakened by knocking and pounding on my door and on the wall that separates my bedroom from the upstairs bath, aka “the kids’ bathroom”. I woke up groggy and confused. Furious loud knocking isn’t the norm, and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I got up and opened my bedroom door to find the youngest Sparkette standing there apologizing profusely.
Turns out she woke up feeling sick and took off for the bathroom. She wasn’t quite to the toilet when the first couple of heaves hit.
I bravely peeked around the corner into the bathroom. From the looks of things, when she started to hurl her head must have begun spinning like a Rainbird lawn sprinkler. I have no clue how so much vomit could be in so many places other than the toilet. Did she cartwheel from the doorway to the toilet or something? I didn’t ask, but it was sure a puzzler.
I pulled Mom Duty and thanked heaven that I had a box of nitrile gloves for this job. I should have started buying those things decades ago, but I only got smart a couple of years back. They are the best remedy for nasty jobs that I know of, short of getting someone else to do them, which, of course, Jesus wouldn’t do and so therefore I’d feel bad to do it because I’ve now actually thought about the fact that Jesus wouldn’t do it. He probably wouldn’t wear gloves, either, but I’m not quite that holy yet.
Forty minutes later I crawled back in bed, fervently praying that we weren’t all about to get slammed with a Barf-O-Rama virus right at Christmas. The Sparkette was snuggled back into her covers, claiming to be feeling better. I had no reason to doubt her. You see, this has always been my pukey child. From the time she was a toddler forward, she would occasionally be playing happily, stop, look vaguely troubled as she told me she didn’t feel so well, barf, and then return to happy playing with no further signs of distress or illness. I am well-trained to not bat an eye when this kid tosses her cookies. This night was no exception, and when she got up and snarfed down some scrambled eggs for breakfast, I took it as another sign that she was fine. She went to school to take her midterm exams, and I went to work.
All seemed well until the store phone rang a shortly after Sparkette was due home. On the other end of the line was a very pitiful voice.
“Mom…when I came home I got sick again.” “You mean you threw up?”, I asked. “Yes”, she whimpered. Once again visions of family bonding over porcelain canyon yodeling competitions started dancing in my head. I instructed her to wait a while and then try sipping water to see if it would stay down. And I told her I was due to get off work at 5:30 and I’d be home as soon as I could. I hung up and a co-worker volunteered to trade shift-ending times with me so that I could leave immediately. I decided to take her up on it. The Sparkette is good at handling her own biz if she gets sick (this is what you get for being a pukey child), but I had heard far more distress in her voice than normal. So I clocked out and headed home.
By the time I arrived home she had managed to throw up a couple more times. Then she crawled back in her bed and curled up, complaining that her stomach hurt. And that it had hurt all day. And really, it had been hurting since a bit after dinner last night. This would have been pretty useful information to have a bit earlier. I had just seen proof there was no diarrhea involved. I grabbed the thermometer and scanned her darling little forehead several times. It averaged out to about 99 degrees. This was all starting to sound a bit too familiar. I asked her where her stomach hurt. She pointed to the lower right quadrant of her abdomen. I asked if it had hurt there all along, and she said it had hurt all over most of the time, but the pain had recently settled in that area.
Ok…this was WAY too familiar. When I was a senior in high school I spent the last day of school before Christmas huddled in pain. A friend had to drive me home because I hurt too much to operate my car. Once I got home I started throwing up…and throwing up…and throwing up… My mom was irritated with me because she thought I was bringing home a stomach virus for the second time in a month. But late that night, when I was dry heaving and moaning and hunkered down in pain, they took me to the hospital and the next morning I donated my appendix to science. Or the hospital garbage disposal. Wherever it is they put the used and useless body parts. Now 30 years later (almost to the day), it was deja vu all over again.
I took Sparkette to the ER and Mr. Sparky met us there. The child was pitiful. She was occasionally still getting sick, looking a greener shade of pale, and horrified by her first experience with a hospital gown. A CT scan, some bloodwork and an IV, and some pee in a cup later, it was confirmed that she did indeed have appendicitis. She was terrified at the thought of having surgery, but Mr. Sparky (who had the same experience only four months after mine, though we’d not yet met) and I both encouraged her that she would come out of surgery feeling a LOT better than when she went in. The surgical pain would be nothing compared to her current misery. And unlike the two of us who got a full unzipping during our surgeries, she would only get three teensy incisions because her surgery would be done entirely via laparoscope, barring the surgeon peeking in there and finding a nest of owls or a socket wrench or something. And the surgery happened pretty much exactly like that. She came out of it looking pink and much happier (which might have been due to the morphine) and they officially declared her appendix- and owl-free.
I slept in her hospital room (yeah, it wasn’t really sleep) on a chair that pulled out into a bed. They kept her there through two meals the next day, long enough to prove that hospital food has a reputation for a reason. And by dinner time that night, they released her. The whole fiasco was less than 24 hours. She came home needing nothing stronger than ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain control. She moved a bit slowly for a couple of days but in general has bounced back pretty quickly. One recovers from such things much faster at 14 than they do at 40-something.
The youngest Sparkette now has a story to tell. She has insisted all week that I needed to make her the subject of a blog post, which is absolutely true. And now I have.