Some years ago, when our two oldest kids were 1-year-old and 4-years-old (our 3rd child had yet to be born), a friend of mine, whose three kids were in middle school and high school, began to list the trips, hours, and evenings that she had spent with her kids in the emergency room at the hospital. I made a comment about how her kids must have been injury prone when they were younger.
She looked at me with disbelief and said something along the lines, “Are you telling me that you have never been to the emergency room with your kids? ALL parents send time with their kids in the emergency room!”
When I told her that we had fortunate, she just shook her head and told me that I am the only dad in history who had not spent hours in the emergency for various afflictions! Well, all of that changed when our middle child reached the ripe old age of 4!
One day while I was at work-related conference about two hours from home, my wife called me to tell me that our 4-year-old son was complaining of stomach pain and that he appeared to be quite ill. We discussed the situation, called the doctor, decided on a specific home treatment including rest and medicine, and let time dictate the next move.
A few hours later, she called again to indicate that the pains had seemingly gotten worse and that he really seemed to be in dire straits. We decided to wait no more. Off they went to the emergency room to get his ailing stomach checked out
Since he had never been ill in this manner before, we were quite concerned that the pains had suddenly come on and that they seemed to be of a severe nature.
Well, the doctors checked him and they ruled out all of the major issues (WHEW!), but they could not pinpoint the problem. They admitted him to the hospital, gave him more medicine, hooked him up to a variety of machines, and ran a few more tests.
Hours and hours passed, but no diagnosis came forward. My wife did her best to keep me informed (these were the days before everybody had a cell phone) and I was poised to leave at a moment’s notice. Through her consultation with the doctors, neither of us believed that the issue was too serious.
Near the 4-hour mark in the hospital, we decided that it would be best for me to come home early. My wife’s belief was that, by the time that I arrived home, she and my son would be there, too.
I arrived home and, …….. no family at all! A friend had the other two kids (1-year-old and 7-years-old), while my wife and son were still at the hospital. Again, inexplicably, the doctors could not discover the issue that was causing massive stomach pain with my son. They actually told my wife that they had never seen anything like this and that all tests had come back just fine!
(Please come back next week for Part 2)
Paul W. Reeves