It’s been one of those days. It started off so well. Actually, Sunday was pretty darn good as well. Zack had a good night’s sleep. No doctors had to be called overnight. Sunday found him smiling and joking and with more spunk. We walked the hall three whole times, sat in a chair for two hours and made it the entire day without Dilaudid. Last night was a little bit rough, but that’s probably because mama was back. In my defense, the night nurse called the surgeon because his NG tube was having a mechanical issue which in turn made Z’s tummy hurt like crazy.
Back to today. Zack woke up happy. The surgeon didn’t have to drain anything, the NG tube was working again. Zack walked the hall and then the Child Life Specialist came and played with Zack and they painted a picture for his cousin. Shhhhh. It’s a secret.
After that, we had visitors and played. About 1:00 things started to go downhill. Zack began asking for Dilaudid. Yes, he knows the name and he knows when he wants it. We gave him one dose and he fell asleep for about 2 hours. Jim arrived soon after he woke up and then Zack began crying….not because his dad arrived! It was soon evident that this was some big pain. Z’s main surgeon was paged and actually happened to be right by the ward. He came with two of his residents while Zack was still in a lot of pain. Usually by the time they arrive he has calmed back down.
His surgeon drained him through his stoma while one of the residents worked on the NG tube. Between the 3 of them a liter of fluid was collected. We have been trying to keep from giving Zack Dilaudid. The surgeon wants him weaned as do we. Today the surgeon said we needed to give him a dose.
That brings us to right now. We were getting ready for bed when Z began asking for pain medicine again. We started with the IV Tylenol at 8. It’s a pretty busy time then with shift change and medicines being switched, vitals being taken and other important things. Zack was complaining of pain the whole time. At 9:00 I took him for one last walk. He made it half way down the hall and needed his spiffy car. While I drove him around he kept sliding down the seat because his tummy hurt. He also rode with his head completely on the steering wheel because he was so wiped out.
By 10:00 we decided to let him have more Dilaudid. I expected he’d go right to sleep. Turns out the medicine did nothing for the pain. He started crying and the staff decided to call the Surgeon of the Day. While we were waiting for him to arrive, Zack started crying that this was an emergency and to get the doctor. I have to tell you, I don’t like nights in the hospital. The doctor finally arrived and Z asked him to PLEASE drain his tummy. It makes me sad that my 6 year old feels so bad that he begs the doctor to drain his stomach through his stoma.
Zack’s intestines were drained, NG tube fixed and plans made to check in again. His main surgeon has said that if he is not better in the morning, Zack will have a CT Scan to check for the possibility of an abscess.
You may be wondering what this has to do with counting my blessings. When things go all kerflooey, I’ve got to stop and count my blessings. Let me count them for you:
1. Zack is not in the PICU.
2. Zack is not the sickest child on the ward. I’m not happy the other children are in worse shape, just happy that Zack is doing better.
3. Zack’s stomach looks better.
4. We have a wonderful surgeon and surgery team.
5. Our nurses have been amazing.
6. Last week, the doctor in charge of the ward was a GI doctor and he watched Z like crazy.
7. Our neighbors have been helping us with our dog and feeding our middle child.
8. Our church has been bringing us meals and visiting us at the hospital.
9. I have great friends who check on me daily.
10. My mom and sisters have been coming and sitting with Z so Jim and I can get some food and leave the building for a moment.
11. LOTS of people are praying for Zack.
When I list those things out, our current situation doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Add in a little stress relief in the form of exercise, an amazing husband and kids and our faith in God and things start to feel manageable. Most importantly, I remember to take each moment as it comes, keep my eyes on today and when all else fails, eat some chocolate.