The light at the end…

The dumbest thing you can say is this: I don’t think I can take any more.

I said it, and then I found out how much more I could take.

Last week I blogged (in a state of utter exhaustion, I must add) that I couldn’t watch my four year old writhe in pain any more. I was wrong. I watched helplessly for all of twelve painful nights as he screamed, pleaded,  moaned and whimpered, I held his little body as it went rigid with pain until his arms and legs shook.  I took him to four different doctors and had two come to me. All of them told us nothing serious was wrong, to ride out the pain. I believed them…for the first few days. But as five nights wore into six…seven…eight, I began to doubt. I was averaging four broken hours of sleep a night. I cried myself to sleep helpless in the face of his suffering.

After the ninth consecutive night of screaming pain (pain he had despite the three different medications I was loading him with as per the doctor’s prescription) I cracked and took him to the Emergency Department to see a paediatrician. She insulted me by asking why I hadn’t gone to my GP (they didn’t have any appointments and their answers didn’t satisfy me), so I told her it was because I wanted to see a paediatrician. She asked me why, if I was so concerned, I had waited this long. I wanted to tell her where to go, but I needed her help, so I told her I didn’t come earlier because the doctors she would prefer I had seen, told me he had to ride out the pain. She rolled her eyes. (ok, maybe I imagined that part. I also imagined making a big scene in her department when they finally did an ultrasound and found out that there was something wrong, but I didn’t.) She did a blood test, palpated his stomach, did a urine test and an X-ray to rule out appendicitis, constipation, urinary tract infection and a twisted gut. I could have told her all those things were not the issue, I did tell her all those things were  not the issue— I had come to her because I needed her to look a little deeper into the problem, to find a solution. I expected her to look outside of the box. She didn’t. She sent us home to ride out the pain even though I told her it was not normal for a four year old boy to have this level of pain over this length of time. I wanted to tell her to come spend the night at our house and tell Gabriel to ride out the pain while he shook his little fist in the air, his legs rigid and shaking as he begged, “When will the pain end.”. I wanted to, but I didn’t.

Within 12 hors I was back in ED with him. We waited four hours to see a doctor, but this time, they saw him screaming…everyone did (they stopped me in the halls of the hospital the next day  to ask if he was ok)…and the nicest, kindest nurses and doctors restored my faith in their profession as well as their humanity, and admitted him. By that night, we knew what was wrong…mesenteric adenitis…a condition where a child’s abdominal lymph nodes swell (in response to an infection somewhere in the system, in the same way your glands in your throat swell when you have tonsillitis) and cause considerable pain sometimes equalled with the pain experienced with appendicitis. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to treat the swollen lymph glands, but something can be done about the pain.

Another two days later (a total of twelve days after the pain began), Gabriel slept through the night. I am so relieved I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry. I’ve done enough crying, so I think I’ll laugh.

Thank God for doctors who recognise that a mother knows her child better than an x-ray can, who realise that a four year old cannot be expected to put up with pain just because they can’t tick one of four convenient boxes. To all those doctors who poked and prodded, stuck things down his throat and up his other end, who looked down on me and questioned my motives…I forgive you. It’s not about me at all, it never was. Your brush offs were more than made up for by one Scottish registrar, one red-haired, tattooed nurse and a bespectacled, matronly doctor who cared enough to see the boy behind the symptoms. It is to them, that I am indebted. You might strive to  be like them. I will.

To all the friends who made meals, sent texts, picked up the kids from school or spoke kindly to them, to the friends who prayed for us from afar, or sought us out to do so in person, to the friend who cried with me…thank you. Your friendship is worth more than words can describe…may you always reap what you have so lovingly and generously sown.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie Sampson
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 13:16:18

    What a courageous woman you are Arianne, well done on pushing through for your son – you are an inspiration, and so is your boy. Thanks for sharing your story…



  2. elaine Young
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 03:50:39

    Gosh Arianne! I’m so glad your boy is alright! What a dreadful experience for you all to suffer. I have not much faith in doctors I have to say. God bless you my dear.



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