Nope, it’s NOT appendicitis

Today’s hospital adventure has been brought to you by the word “misdiagnosis” and the the sentences “If you say ‘April Fools’ I’m going to thread your stethoscope through both your GI and urinary tracts” and “And then I’m going to yell in it.”

Okay, I’m not as angry as all that. I’m just emotionally drained.

The salient bits first: Gleek does not have appendicitis. Her appendix appeared slightly enlarged on the CT scan, but everything else was asymptomatic. Further poking (and a little bit of thinking on the part of a couple of women who are not paid to do diagnosis but who have “been there and done that”) revealed a urinary tract infection with a possible secondary infection in the kidneys. Gleek is on an antibiotic drip now, and will probably be bouncing around on an IV tether by tomorrow morning.

Some musings:

The surgeon who correctly decided NOT to operate is probably brilliant, but has the conversational skills of a Lorum Ipsum generator. He sounded impressive at first, and then I realized that he was repeating himself over and over and over… I’m pretty sure that what he was trying to do was make sure that I was convinced of his diagnosis. I wish I had the presence of mind to just say “Doctor, both Sandra and I are highly educated, extremely literate, and able to perform systematic logical analyses. Talk to us like we’re doctors. We’ll stop you if you go too fast.”

Alternatively, the next time someone asks if Sandra or I are nurses, I could just say “not licensed here” and let them talk to us like grown-ups.

The nurses who checked us in seemed preoccupied. Maybe it was because they’d hit the end of their shift. Whatever it was, I didn’t get comfortable until the shift change, and new nurses showed up. These ladies were aggressively competent. The younger one called down for food, and I could tell she was rattling the “chef” when she said “No, it’s simple. Her chart says ‘food as tolerated.’ Just prep a tray for a five-year-old, and I’ll be down to get it.”

The older one talked with Sandra for a bit about Gleek’s symptoms, and they both had an “ah-HAH” moment after Gleek peed, and then said “it feels like I still need to pee.” I was ready to plop her back on the toilet. Sandra and the nurse assured me that no, that wouldn’t be necessary. And very, very shortly after that we began the antibiotic drip. Sure, it was scheduled anyway, but now everybody knew what we were up against.

Gleek… she’s my little firebrand, and it tears me up to see her lethargic. I just about lost it when I saw her curled up in a ball, completely dwarfed by the bed. She should have been jumping on it, not huddled in the middle of it.

Probably the most frustrating part of this whole event — for me anyway — was when I failed my skill check for “man of action.” After Sandra told me we were probably going to have surgery (which didn’t end up being the case, but I wouldn’t know that until much later) I realized that I needed to take charge of the house. And suddenly I couldn’t. I glitched that roll hard.

Fortunately, I realized that there were others who COULD take charge. I got on the phone, and within 5 minutes I had chalain and chaliren volunteering to be at my house to help out. Very shortly thereafter I dragooned my sister Aly into holding a slumber party at her place. And then all I needed to do was not cry in front of my easily excitable 10-year-old, who would fly into a panic if she caught Dad being emotional.

Knowing that competent, trustworthy people were going to show up and help made all the difference in the world. By the time the Chalainovitchs arrived I had managed to pack hospital bags for Sandra and me, and I was ready to brief the kids. The briefing went fine — I was calm and reassuring, and Kiki, Link, and Patches all knew everything was going to be fine. AND they were getting a party out of it.

I’m rambling. Just so you and I both know that I know. I mean, I know you know, but I need you to know that I know.

Re: misdiagnosis — make no mistake, as frustrated as I may be, I’m not MAD. After all, they caught it. Nobody went unnecessarily under the knife, and everybody was careful to make sure that all bases were covered. Was the CT scan necessary? No, we probably could have figured it out with the “I still have to pee” thing. Except that we’d still want to be sure it wasn’t an appendix problem, and someone would have called for a CT scan anyway. I’m all for using the full suite of diagnostic tools, provided we save the invasive ones for last if possible. More data is a good thing.

Hopefully the insurance company feels the same way. I really don’t want to have to armwrestle over the bill for this one.

I’m tired. Sandra is staying at the hospital tonight. They’ve got a rollaway bed for her there. I’m sleeping here, and hopefully getting enough rest that I can manage the household tomorrow. Sandra’s job is to keep Gleek safe and happy. My job is to rest up, so that I can be on duty, whatever that duty may be, come dawn. Hopefully far enough from dawn’s crack that I don’t have to smell it. I know some folks like sunrise, but for me dawn is a 300lb plumber with his head under the sink. Wake me in time for MORNING, with the sun safely clear of the horizon, and the crack of dawn planted in the seat of his pickup where I don’t have to see it.

23 thoughts on “Nope, it’s NOT appendicitis”

  1. Sleep well, Howard. We’re still praying for you and Gleek and the rest of your family.

    I know that you are serious about this. It’s just a shame you missed the April Fool’s joke the Cartoon Network did with Full Metal Alchemist tonight. It was juvenile and silly, but it was expertly done childishness.

  2. Glad to hear the kidling is ok.

    And yeah, the “feels like I still need to pee” is a dead giveaway. I speak as one who has *had* such an infection and doesn’t ever want another.

  3. Oh my. That’s a rough way to spend a day.

    Glad to hear that it wasn’t appendicitis. Hope it resolves quickly with the anitibiotics.

    [[[hugs]]] and prayers

  4. As a fellow parent, I just want to say–nobody does the “man of action” thing well when a loved one is sick. Nobody. Me, I’m impressed that you had the presence of mind to call the right people, and delighted for you that you had “right people” to call.

    *hugs* and prayers.

  5. Learning late what your girl had contracted
    I am pleased that you weren’t too distracted
    And that they spared the knife!
    Best to you, kids, and wife
    And especially the one I. U. Tracted.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  6. I know some folks like sunrise, but for me dawn is a 300lb plumber with his head under the sink. Wake me in time for MORNING, with the sun safely clear of the horizon, and the crack of dawn planted in the seat of his pickup where I don’t have to see it.
    A “moon” has no place in the daytime anyway.
    Glad to hear things are improving.

  7. Congratulations on having had as little medical care inflicted upon your family as possible. Glad everything’s going to be okay. Get some rest.

  8. Probably the most frustrating part of this whole event — for me anyway — was when I failed my skill check for “man of action.”

    More like you missed your “Emotional Turmoil Worrying About Your Child” save.. You’re still Man of Action.

    I can prove it.

    First, in order to act, the brain has to be working in the correct areas such that your conscious mind realizes that Action is necessary.
    Second, your brain was overloaded with worry for your child, which is as it should be.
    Third, once you recovered from the stun, you grabbed your cellphonepistol and shot the problem square in the head by getting your friends notified and in place.

    So, you’re still ActionDaddy: you didn’t Fail.

    Hope you can deal with that, ’cause that’s the way it is, as I see it.

    1. Agreed. You may not have been in a state to take care of things yourself, but you were still an effective leader in that you did what you needed to do to ensure the kids were taken care of, even if it meant pulling in other people who were able to handle the situation better.

      It’s effective delegation and accurate assessment of your own capabilities. You may have fumbled your original “handle things yourself” check, but you certainly didn’t fall short on overall problem management.

  9. I was just smiling the other day about the kiddo and the Beethoven thing. I’m glad she’s going to be all right, she sounds like a doll.

  10. Good news is, that’s the sort of thing she’ll recover quickly from… the bad news is, she’ll still technicaly be sick when she’s feeling better.

    Next few days are going to be interesting.

    Oh, and you didn’t fail your Man of Action thing. You did the smart thing when you realised you couldn’t do it all by yourself and got competant help. Failing would have been to not realise you were unable to cope by yourself, and screw up as a result.

    1. I second this. You didn’t fail the roll… you aced it. Everybody has times when they are overwhelmed with their duties… knowing when to shout “Help!” and who to shout it to is the very BEST thing you could do!

      I’m glad Gleek’s problem is more simply delt with than was first thought. she’ll be bouncing on the bed to Beethovan in no time.

  11. Glad she is better.

    And I agree with the others, you Crit hitted the ManOAction role. You identified the most important thing that ONLY YOU could do, and did that, then called in an air strike for everything else.

  12. Congratulations to the staff that caught the misdiagnosis, and thank goodness that apparently this hospital’s staff is encouraged to think twice.

    All the very best to Gleek, may she be bouncing off the walls as soon as can be!

  13. I read somewhere once that bedside manner inversely correlates to tableside skill.

    Best of wishes for Gleek’s fast return to her energetic self.

  14. Wow. I must’ve had sympathy pains or something. I too went to the hospital for possible appendicitis. I had 2 CT scans (I was too skinny so I had to drink bairum sulfate and get scanned all over again, blargh). I also have a UTI and some other junk.

    Sympathy pains, ahoy!


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