I know every parent thinks her child is wonderful, but I’m so taken by my sixteen year old daughter’s ability to choose a good attitude even in the face of discomfort.
Last Sunday she spent hours in agonizing pain, throwing up 80 times in less than 24 hours. The doctor on call at the gastroenterology clinic we had taken her to a few days before told us there was nothing they could do for her if we brought her to the ER since they didn’t know what was causing the pain (the clinic is part of the same hospital), and after asking a neighbor who is a nurse to check for appendicitis, decided not to take her in. The ER isn’t a good place to be when you don’t have a doctor looking out for you and you have something not easily identifiably treatable that you’re suffering with.
As a doula, I’ve been with a number of women in labor. You know how during the last stage of labor, it’s so intense? But even then there are breaks between contractions, and being at that stage means you’re close to the end and will soon be holding your baby in your arms. Dd was experiencing that kind of intense sensation, but there was no pause and no comfort that it would come to an end – it just went on and on for hours.
It’s really, really hard to see your child in so much pain and not be able to do anything. By this time, it was late afternoon, and gratefully, someone I knew was able to do a long distance hour long reiki treatment on her as soon literally two minutes after I emailed her. Right after that concluded, our amazing chiropractor (who also does energy work) called and made space in her schedule to see dd16 a couple of hours later. Dd16 was so out of it – I hated to take her out of the house when she could hardly move – but I felt it was really important.
The next morning she had an appointment for a consultation with the oral surgeon about her wisdom teeth. When she woke up in the morning, she still felt horrible but her pain level had gone from a 10 (on a scale of 1 – 10) to an 8. I made this appointment 7 weeks ago and it really was important to take her, so although I wished it wasn’t necessary, we went. All he did was briefly glance in her mouth and tell us what the procedure would entail, so it wasn’t physically difficult for her, it was getting there that was hard – we walked very slowly, but she still threw up a few times in the hallway of the office building.
From the waiting room of the oral surgeon, I called her gastroenterologist to let her know what was happening. The GI was very upset to learn what the doctor the day before had told us, and told us to go to the ER immediately. I asked her to send over the test requests and paperwork for dd – it helps get things done, and that really made a big difference once we got there. Because telling them your stomach hurts isn’t something they really pay much attention to, but if you tell them your GI told you to come in, then they realize you have something going on.
We spent all day in the ER, while they did more blood work and dd prepared for an MRI. As the day went on, dd felt increasingly better – I felt like the energy work that had been done the night before was clearing out some stuff in her system. Preparing for the MRI required drinking a solution, but the problem was that she hadn’t been able to eat or even drink anything for over 28 hours by that point – if she even sucked on an ice cube, the pain of the liquid entering her system caused her to vomit. Fortunately, as the pain decreased throughout the day, she was finally able to drink the solution, even though it took her two hours to drink it. (There’s no way she ould have done that the day before.)
Finally we got the report back on the MRI, and they told us she had a ruptured ovarian cyst. They were happy they found the problem – that definitely would have been very painful – but I wasn’t convinced that was the root of the issue since the area she would have had pain in didn’t match up with where she was experiencing it. So we finally went home – just in time for the home buyers tour that took place a half hour later. By this point, dd was at only a 4 on the pain scale, and she was downright chipper – she kept saying she couldn’t believe the difference from the day before (when she “felt like she was dying” – she’s not given to exaggeration or complaining) to then. I took the kids out to the lake and we had a picnic dinner there, and I was so grateful that she was feeling better. It was very emotionally draining for both of us.
But even though the unusual sharp pains had passed, she was still experiencing her regular stabbing stomach pains, so off we went on Thursday for an endoscopy and colonoscopy. She felt pretty lousy after that, and spent the day in bed afterward. We were hoping for answers but after meeting with the GI and looking at all the pictures from the procedures, I wasn’t feeling encouraged.
We had the follow up appointment with the GI Monday morning, but when we got there, the secretary had accidentally cancelled our appointment, and after waiting 45 minutes, it was clear we weren’t going to be able to get to dd’s next appointment on time – having her wisdom teeth removed – unless we rescheduled the GI for the next day.
So off we went to have her wisdom teeth out – I chose a different oral surgeon than the one who took care of ds17, because even though he was technically a good doctor, his bedside manner was very…lacking. I was especially grateful that I found a different doctor for dd when the morning of our first appointment arrived and she was in such bad shape- in addition to being highly competent, he was very pleasant, which was particularly important right then.
With her wisdom teeth freshly removed, she was feeling pretty good even though her mouth was bleeding quite a bit, and right after we finished she went shopping with her grandmother to buy supplies for the birthday party she’s planning for ds5. (I discouraged her from this, but she insisted she was fine.) But as she was in the store, the pain medication started to wear off and her face began to swell, and she was feeling really horrible by the time she got home. Fortunately, I had filled her prescriptions while she was out, including one for pain killer (which she’s never taken in her life).
The first one didn’t help, and a few hours later I suggested she take two. She spent the rest of that day in bed, too. Then I took her out to our chiropractor for another visit that evening (I had scheduled it the week before, when the oral surgery had been scheduled for later in the week; it was moved up the morning after we saw the chiro). That was wonderful – our chiro is very gifted and I feel very fortunate that she cares so much about dd and went out of her way to accommodate her – she didn’t have any availability for three weeks and arranged for dd to come in three times before she goes back to Israel by taking her on her free evenings.
This morning when she woke up she told me she was so dizzy that the room was spinning – we then learned this was a side effect of the pain killer. She told me if she had known this would be the side effect, she would have rathered have the pain. Sigh.
So today, off we went again to the GI, 24 hours after she had all four wisdom teeth out, dizzy, with her face swollen and feeling like a chipmunk. The GI wants me to call her tomorrow – there’s one more thing they’re checking – but suspects it’s some form of gastritis that is causing the stomach pain. I hope she’s right – she gave us another prescription to fill (it was strange at the pharmacy to fill 5 prescriptions for dd – 3 for the oral surgery, 2 for her stomach pains- who has never had any medication at all before this). I have some ambivalence about all of this but told dd that she should take the recommended medication once she finishes with the wisdom tooth pain. We’ll continue addressing the issue on the energetic level, as well. She’s also taking some homeopathic remedies that her chiropractor gave her, has another appointment scheduled for energy work the night before she leaves (next week), and is listening to relaxation and positive imagery cds to relax and focus on good things.
I told dd that I was sorry that so much of her time at home has been spent going to doctors and being in pain. And she told me that it wasn’t so bad, and she was glad that she was home when all of this happened. In spite of all of this, she downplays all of it and finds a positive way to look at it.
I love that girl.