Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bed Time Birds & Bees

As I'm getting Kai dressed tonight he reaches down, grabs his scrotum, and asks, "Mama, what is this nut in my wee wee?"

I responded, "That's called your scrotum. It's where all your seeds for making babies are when you grow in to a man."

Kai started jumping up and down yelling with excitement. "Yay! So I can make babies?!"

"Well," I said, "Men have seeds and mamas have eggs. You need to mix the seeds and eggs to make a baby."

"That's so cool!", Kai yelled. "So I can grow up and I can give you my seeds and you can make a new baby!"

"No sweetie. Boys can't make babies with their mamas. It won't work. The babies come out all mushy. When you become a man you're going to have to find another lady to give your seeds to."

"Awwww. Well that's ok. I can still grow up and make a baby!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Kai's hospital adventure and what happened

Kai had a pretty normal day on Thursday. I was working from home, spent most of my morning on the phone, Kai watched TV, played, ate, etc. At 2:30 we went out for lunch. He was complaining a bit that his stomach was upset, but he hadn't eaten much, so once he'd had a slice of pizza he was fine and I didn't think anything of it.

Afterwards he went to his karate class. During class he said again that his stomach was bothering him, but went to the bathroom and he was fine, then went back to class. I figured he was coming down with something possibly, but in general he seemed fine.

We came home at 4:00, I got on a 2 hour conference call, he had milk and cookies, and all was fine until about 7:00.

At that time I'd just finished work and Kai came over to me for snuggles. One second he was playful and fine, next he was doubled over screaming in pain. I called his doctor twice and didn't get a call back in about 45 minutes. I called my friend Theta from the neighborhood (she's the editor of the county's magazine so she basically knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and she's got a 3 year old who's gone through a nasty year with illness herself so needless to say, she's a good person to call for fast advice) and asked her what hospital to take him to. At that time I didn't know about Hackensack Pediatric Hospital (
http://www.humc.com/) or the fact that it's one of the best in the nation. She insisted to me to get him there, telling me that if for any reason he had to be admitted, I didn't want him getting admitted anywhere else. I then grabbed Kai up and left the house. As we were on the road and headed out of the house, his pediatrician called us back and insisted that I take him to St. Mary's hospital in Hoboken because that's where he works out of. He didn't say he'd meet us there, but said that if Kai had to be admitted, he'd be able to see over his care (whenever it would be that he'd show up. My experience with him is that he's a straight 9-5 doctor so I doubt he'd really come in until the next morning regardless and by then it would have been too late). We turned around and went to St. Mary's. When we got there the emergency room was full, but there were no real emergencies going on. The place looked like it was being run out of someone's garage to be perfectly honest. When I got to the reception desk they told me to sit and wait to sign in. We waited for about 10 minutes. Kai went in to another wave of pain (it was coming in waves that lasted about a minute or 2 each, in between Kai was fine or becoming lethargic as they progressed). It was OBVIOUS that something serious was going on and he was ignored. So I asked the receptionist if they prioritized young children in distress, she looked at me blankly and said she'd have to ask. The wave of pain passed and I asked Kai if he thought he could get in the car again and hold out until we got to another hospital, to which he said yes. Neither one of us wanted to stay there. It was a scary place and all I could think was that if they did admit him there, they'd kill him.

Anyway, I grabbed him up, got back to the car, and drove him to Hackensack where my friend told me to go.

Hackensack was amazing. From the second we walked in (valet emergency room parking) to the moment we left I was stunned with how good everything was, how effective they were even at 1:00 am when they ran him in to the emergency BE procedure (they let me stay with him the entire time, even when they were working on him and explained everything to both of us as things progressed. You just don't get that philosophy in general with doctors ANYWHERE), and in general, how happy and nice everyone was there. Nurses in particular. A sign of a good hospital vs. a bad one in my lengthy experience with them is if the nurses seem alert and happy. If the nurses walk around looking vacant and hostile to the patients, get your kid out of there because they're the ones feeling the worst of the trickle down effect of a bad administration IMHO.

Had we gone anywhere else they wouldn't have had the staff to take care of Kai as quickly as they did. Kai would have been left in agony till the morning, and then would have required surgery. This is a web page that sums up what was wrong with him pretty well in layman's terms with pictures.



As soon as we walked in they identified him as a critical patient and ran us back to the ER. The head of ER took care of us directly. She identified what was wrong with him based on his symptoms almost immediately and sent us back for an x-ray and ultrasound. Within the next half hour we were run through both. As soon as the ultrasound tech identified what was wrong, the radiologist was brought in, he did a follow up ultrasound while Kai was on the table, confirmed the blockage in Kai's intestines, explained to me that he had to have a Barium Enema to try to clear the blockage while they watched it, told me that because of the location of the blockage it might not work so to be prepared for them having to run him in to surgery immediately. I called Sanchie at that point because I wasn't sure if I was going to need her present or not and she headed out to us (I just had vascular surgery myself this past Friday and am still recovering) At this point Kai was falling in to unconsciousness in between waves so it was hard for me to try to explain to him what was about to happen. Within the next half hour, they got Kai in to the room for the BE, prepped him, and began. Unfortunately it began at the same time as another wave of pain hit Kai. Closest thing I can compare to what Kai experienced yesterday was being in labor for 6 hours. Anyway, they again let me stay in the room with him while they did the BE. They had to lay him on his stomach, push a catheter up his tush, and tape him closed. He was screaming in agony but was so brave. I kept talking him through what was going on and he was so good. He kept listening to me, he understood that they were fixing him and that this was necessary. He did everything the doctors asked him to do even though he was terrified and in pain. He was so amazing. He really was. They had to pump about 2 gallons in to him before they managed to clear the blockage and at the moment they unblocked him, he switched from being in pain to yelling that he had to poop and couldn't hold it in :^) Poor boo. I told him to let it come out and he just started yelling "EWWWW!!!!" He ended up laying in a pool of all of it by the end, shivering and stinky, but he was pain free and realized that he was ok. At the point when we got him off the table, Sanchie had arrived. The receptionist in the emergency room actually walked her through the hospital to find us. I was really surprised. We got him cleaned up and sat with him while his system cleared itself out, then headed back to the ER where he was admitted overnight for observation.

Anyway, it was really rough and he's under close observation for the next 6 months, but he's fine now. Once the enema was done and he was pain free he IMMEDIATELY bounced back and decided that he was having an adventure. He thanked all the radiologists and doctors who helped him get well, threw me out of the wheelchair they were carting both of us around in because he wanted to ride in it "by myself", and then actually jumped for joy once he found out we were staying the night. Go figure. The room was better than some hotel rooms I've stayed in to be honest, and there was a family kitchen and huge playroom on the pediatric floor. Seriously, I'm stunned at just how good the hospital was and am so grateful to Theta for INSISTING that I take him there on the phone, and the hospital itself. With what was wrong with him, I really feel the night would have gone in a MUCH different and MUCH worse direction if we had gone anywhere else.

That's it. We're home, Kai is up to mischief, we're cleaning the house.