How I recognized Appendicitis in my Child… because some friends on FB asked.

by redblossom on August 8, 2014

Most people I know worry, or at least question whether a sudden onset of pain in the abdomen may be appendicitis, in their own bodies…  People sort of know that pain in the lower right abdomen may be serious.  But when faced with trying to sort out abdominal pain in a child, it becomes more like veterinary medicine.

First of all, my daughter had a mild tummy ache before bed.  This is not terribly unusual.  I kissed her goodnight as usual and she fell asleep as usual.  At one o’clock in the morning, she arrived at my bedside to inform me that her tummy pain was waking her up.  My daughter is seven.  I have experienced ridiculously ear piercing fire alarms in the middle of the night that did not rouse her.  So, as I stumbled around giving her a hot water bottle, I said to myself, “This is strange”.  Her pain was not bad enough to have me packing up for the hospital, but enough to keep her awake all night.  As I went back to sleep, I scanned her energy field in my mind.  I didn’t feel like it was a stomach flu, it didn’t have the feeling of wanting to infect everyone else.  How would I know that?  Well, a stomach flu likes to spread and will cause vomiting and other fluid explosions.  Many times with appendicitis, the patient may be throwing up.  That would have confused me.  But this was a key sign, Her pain was in the belly button.  But no fever.

What I am trying to say is that my maternal intuition was seriously on guard.  And as mothers, we must place great faith in that.  At the end of the day, it is more reliable than a lab test.

She woke up several times through-out the night.  In the morning, when I went to check on her, she was sleeping on the floor.  She has a loft, so I immediately assessed whether she had climbed down the ladder with her blanket, or fallen.  There were no signs of trauma.  But again, very unusual.  It was as if the bed was too soft and the firmness of the floor gave her some comfort.

She didn’t eat anything.  We had had an unusual celebratory trip to junk food at the A&W the night before, and had hamburgers.  If she had been throwing up, I might have thought it was food poisoning.  Luckily, she wasn’t.  She had had a normal bowel movement the day before, and sometimes appendicitis is preceded by constipation.  So the lack of really intense pain, preceded by constipation, kept me at home, on guard.

At 10 am, still no appetite but now she had the fever (100.9F).  I did an abdominal exam with massage oil.  Her tummy was puffy.  The pain in her belly button was now in her lower abdomen.  This was an ominous sign.  Her belly was sore to touch in the “corners” just inside her hips.  And worse, when I pressed down slowly into her abdomen it was ok, and when I let go quickly – she howled.  This is called rebound tenderness and is a hallmark sign of appendicitis.

Everyone else in my family thought we were having a normal Sunday.  I began to pack up for the hospital.  Now I am a woman who gave birth to a premature baby and breech baby at home because I really don’t like being in the hospital until I realize it’s my only choice for survival.  I just knew it.  And with appendicitis, it’s better to act quickly and avoid the explosion that will take months instead of days to heal from.

I asked my daughter to walk the length of the hall, and it was clear that her right hip was restricted in order to protect herself from the sensation.  This is called antalgic posture.  It means that you change your posture to avoid pain.

Once again, if you feel a steel rod of concern in the center of your being, go to the Emergency Room.  Your instinct is more reliable than a lab test.

At the hospital, the ER doctor had the same impression I did.  Pain not so bad, but the checklist of signs and symptoms was get checked off one by one.  He understood that I would never be presenting at the Emergency Room if my intuition weren’t driving me there. That was reassuring.  Also, reassuring that he was not entirely sure either.

The CHECKLIST AKA “The Order of Occurrence” according to Sir Zachary Cope:
pain, usually epigastric (upper belly) or umbilical
no appetite, nausea or vomiting
tenderness – somewhere in abdomen or pelvis
fever
increased white blood cell count.

My daughter’s illness took exactly this course, in order.  (Amazing that something in nature could be so consistent, no?)

The most confusing thing in my daughter’s case was that the pain was fairly moderate.  We tested her blood and her white blood cell count was REALLY high.  CHECK.  The ER doctor ordered a CT scan.  I was reluctant for having 140 chest X-rays worth of radiation over her ovaries, but I was also reluctant to ask for exploratory surgery instead, being terrified of my daughter going under General Anesthesia.

By the grace of the goddess, the GI surgeon arrived and advised against the CT scan, stating the risk of general anesthesia and surgery was less, in his opinion, than the radiation from the CT scan.  He said he had been practicing for 35 years and this seemed fairly straight forward to him, appendicitis.  In one of those terrible crucible-like moments of parenting, I gave the care and responsibility of my most beloved into the skilled hands of two men I just met (surgeon and anesthesiologist).  Then I sat in the waiting room alone, because I am a single mother, and prayed inviting in all the loving support I could muster.  I imagined myself floating in the cosmos with my daughter while she was under general anesthesia, keeping her body warm and stable so she could easily return to it, and waited for 45 minutes to hear that the appendix was infected, and had not burst and my child suffered no complications at all.

Then I crawled into her hospital bed and held her all night, like I did when she was first born.  She became tiny again, the world outside became meaningless to me.  My babysitter and my boyfriend took over the care of my toddler and I cancelled all my patients for the week.  Together we took deep breaths to open the energy from a contracted state, to the expansion that occurs once the trauma has cleared.  Together we breathed into her incision site.  She felt tiny little stars opening and sparkling as her energy resumed presence once more in her right lower abdomen and down the leg.  She is healing beautifully.

So, if your instinct says GO, get help from the conventional doctors, then GO!  Don’t second guess yourself.

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