Our cell group was recounting the year past, with an emphasis on thankfulness. I personally don’t feel like the year just past is very fun to look back on. “Sometimes I find myself just waiting for the next disaster,” I said, “but I do not want to live like that.”
A week after that conversation, Addy came to my room at midnight with acute stomach pain. Gabriel was working in Pittsburgh, so I couldn’t confer with him. Her pain was right under the ribcage, not lower right lateral like I thought appendicitis would be. We tried everything we normally do for stomach pain: a warm bath, massage with soothing oil, warm drinks, rice bag heated up for the affected area. I finally called Gabe in the middle of the night to see what he thinks, but it is hard to tell when you can’t see the person in pain, and maybe even harder if you know this is a child with a lower pain tolerance than some. At 2:30 I decided we would go to the ER to check her out. She was doing her best to be brave, but she was chilling under mounds of blankets, writhing in pain.
Upon arrival, she was given an IV and some morphine, after which she became quite chipper, chatting with the nurse and watching while they drew blood for labs. Suddenly she threw up all her supper on the bed and the nurse looked at me with eyebrows raised. No fever, no obvious flinching when they palpated her stomach, and less pain once she had tossed her cookies. I thought for sure that we had just gone to the ER to be diagnosed with a stomach bug.
It didn’t take long for the CAT scan results to come back. It actually was an inflamed appendix. Since she is still a child, we got sent to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh for the appendectomy. I had time to drive home and pack some extra clothes and supplies. I woke the other children and told them what was going on, then Addy and I had a nice, bumpy ambulance ride in the chilly morning. By the time we got to Pittsburgh, Gabe was already working just a few minutes away at another hospital. It was good to know he was right there if we needed him.
Meanwhile we got VIP treatment, escorted by the EMTs straight to a private room. I could have cried when I saw the couch with pillows and sheets ready for weary parents. We were warned that it might be a day before they could add her into the surgery roster, and we settled in. I crashed hard on that couch, but had only slept an hour before a nurse cheerfully informed us that she could go to surgery right away, since she had not eaten anything recently and it looked to be a fast and routine operation. Probably it will take about 60 to 90 minutes, they told us.
I decided to grab some food and eat in the courtyard in the sunshine. My stopwatch was set so that I would for sure be back in the waiting room when the surgeon came out to tell me how it went. At exactly 55 minutes, he breezed in and said she did great, appendix was out, and she could probably go home in a few hours since there was no leaking or infection. I was astounded, grateful, relieved.
Gabriel had a motel room reserved for that night, so we decided it would work out well to stay with him there, get a good night’s sleep before heading home together. This was a double blessing because I didn’t have a vehicle in town. Gabriel picked us up at the end of his shift and settled Addy on a cot. She choked down a large syringe full of cherry flavored tylenol and fell into a sound sleep. So did I! Twelve hours later we woke to sunshine and renewed energy. Addy walked very carefully and slowly, but she was hungry and happy to be going home.
Sometimes a potential disaster is a simple little interruption where God shows Himself present, able to take care of all the little details on the surgical floor, the other children at home, the lodging, and the transportation. This is a week later, and Addy is bouncing like usual, no more cherry medicine necessary. I am very grateful!