2019 has not started out well for our family. My oldest daughter has been in the hospital since January 1st and we still aren’t sure yet when she’ll be able to come home. She could be there for a few more days.
It all started on Friday night, December 28th. The older 4 children spent the night at their grandparents’ house that night and Maggie got sick and vomited after dinner. She vomited on more time that night. Saturday we picked them up around 1pm and she came home and laid on the couch for the rest of the evening. No more vomit but she didn’t have an appetite and had diarrhea.
Sunday came and things were about the same. At one point she complained that her stomach hurt REALLY bad, but we assumed it was part of the stomach flu. In fact, a few people from our church were sick with it. One even posted she was having “extreme stomach pains” so we assumed it was very likely Maggie had the same horrible flu. Sunday she said her stomach felt better than it had on Friday and Saturday.
Now, like most moms these days I had been looking up appendicitis symptoms online. It’s that scary thing no one wants to ever happen to them. Some of the symptoms matched up, but they also matched up with the stomach flu. She kept saying she was feeling better each day and all those people at church had it, so we just kept monitoring her.
Monday rolled around and Maggie said she felt better than the day before. She still said her stomach hurt, but she kept saying it was the middle of her belly, not the right side that you typically think of for the appendix.
Tuesday was the same thing. But, I was noticing that she was walking hunched over, still. She had been walked hunched over since Saturday but I had assumed it was her stomach just hurting bad from the stomach flu. I asked her to jump and even though she could, it was painful. it seemed weird that she would still walk hunched since she hadn’t vomited since Friday night.
My husband and I decided to take her into the ER. Fully believing they were going to tell us she had the stomach flu like everyone else and send her back home. But, we wanted that peace of mind. Another family member had appendicitis a few years ago and nearly died, so we knew how bad it could be.
The nurses at the ER mentioned that, because of her symptoms and the fact that you could push on her belly without her crying out in pain, they didn’t think it was appendicitis either, but they were going to run all of the tests, just to be sure.
We were wrong. It was appendicitis.
Maggie has been in the hospital since Tuesday evening. On Thursday they transferred her via ambulance to a children’s hospital 2.5 hours from here.
I’ve learned so much about appendicitis over the past few days, especially when it comes to children. When they look at her CT scans, they can’t even find Maggie’s appendix and believe it burst open, died, and is being reabsorbed into her body. The hospital said they no longer always do surgery right away because of that. They found that they were opening children up to take out an appendix that wasn’t even there anymore.
Instead, what they are doing right now, is giving Maggie doses of strong antibiotic in hopes that the antibiotics will clear all of the infection out of her body. Right now we are going day t0 day and waiting to see if the antibiotics work. If they don’t, then they will likely have to go in and drain things out in there.
Today was the first day in quite a few days that I heard Maggie laughing. She was laughing at her siblings as we Facetimed. It was so wonderful I had to hold back the tears.
It has been incredibly hard on all of us to have Maggie in the hospital, especially now that she was transferred to the children’s hospital. Aram is only 7 months and has never taken a bottle. He’s barely eating any solid foods right now. That means he relies on me for all of his feedings. We didn’t want to expose him to all of the germs at a hospital (the flu and RSV are going around our area right now) so I made the very difficult decision to stay home with our other 4 kids while Orin stayed with Maggie.
We Facetime a few times a day but that’s not the same. I can tell that she misses me and wants me with her and I want to be with her! There’s nowhere else a mom wants to be than with her children when they are sick! It’s been brutal!
I am making plans to go see her tomorrow and taking my sister in law along to watch Aram for me so he doesn’t have to go into the hospital because I can’t NOT be there anymore. We are praying that test results will show that her body is responding well to the antibiotics and she will be able to come home soon! I miss my girl so badly and just want her well again.
I will be sure to update once Maggie is home!
As you can imagine, I feel like I have been in a fog for the past few days. I’ve been so concerned about my girl it’s hard to concentrate on much more than taking care of the other children. We are weary from lack of sleep, worry, and on top of it, I got a pretty bad cold myself.
What Can You Do
A lot of people have reached out to us asking what they can do for us during this time. First and foremost, please pray! I believe in the power of prayer and believe that Jesus is watching over our girl! Please pray that the antibiotics they are giving her will work and will work in record timing. We want her back home as soon as possible! Please pray for peace and comfort for her and wisdom for her doctors.
For anyone who would feel inclined to donate to Maggie’s medical expenses, my sister did set up a Go-Fund me for Maggie. We know there will be some expenses, like the ambulance transfer, that will not be covered by the healthcare sharing company we use. Since we are both self-employed, we are also essentially taking unpaid time off of work as well. We are hopeful though that most other medical expenses will be covered by our sharing company and trusting God to provide for our needs during this time.
Some people have also asked us about sending Maggie flowers, stuffed animals and balloons. She actually has gotten a few of those already so, if I could make a suggestion, if you’d still like to send her a little something to occupy her during this time, here is a link to an Amazon wishlist I set up. It has some of her favorite books on it as well as crafts and board games. That what she has been doing while she is at the hospital to keep herself busy. Those things are great because they keep her busy and her mind off of being in the hospital.
Appendicitis Symptoms to Look For In Children
I wanted to share some things about appendicitis in children that you should be aware of. If you are like me, you think of someone whose appendix has burst as being in excruciating pain. That was not the case with Maggie. In fact, she told me she didn’t feel any worse than she did with any other stomach flu cases she has had in the past. I wanted to share her symptoms in case your child ever experiences these.
Here are some symptoms Maggie (age 8) had:
- Low-grade fever (it would even come and go)
- Low appetite
- Wanted to lie around
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting (but maybe not a lot, as I said, Maggie only vomited 2xs and that was at the very beginning of symptoms)
- She did NOT appear to be in excruciating pain
- Walked hunched over (this is inevitably what made us decide to take her in). In the future, if I ever noticed this symptom in any of our other children, we will be headed for the ER immediately.
- Could not easily jump. She could jump *some* but not like she normally would.