A year ago today I was sitting on the phone with my family doctor worried about my boy who I thought probably had the stomach flu. There was something in my gut though that was telling me that maybe there was something more there. Luckily for me, my doctor had the same gut feeling. She told me to bring him right in after telling her of his flu like symptoms and severe stomach pain. After seeing him she believed that there was something more going on and feared of an appendicitis. She was calm but urgent about her message to get Shea to Children's Hospital in Dayton as quickly as we could. The rest was a bit of a blur. My mom quickly came and picked up Jax, Russ ran home from work, and after a few kisses from Grandma Judy we were on our way. After sitting in the ER for about 4 hours the doctor nonchalantly said with a shrug of his shoulders that the kid was probably just constipated. I was a little shocked and insisted that his symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, and fever) just didn't fit. He disagreed and said that after an enema he would be good to go back home. Unfortunately the sickness continued throughout the night and into the next day.
The next morning my doctor called to check on him. She wasn't satisfied with the diagnosis and had also already called my insurance company to pre certify a CT scan of his abdomen. When I tell you that she is amazing that is no understatement! At this point he was throwing up green bile and unable to walk at all. I carried my boy into the hospital for the scan and the nurses face said it all as she watched the giant machine pass over his little body. She simply said that his bowels were a mess and we were sent back to Children's for the second time. The car ride there was a long one. He was completely out of it the entire ride and as we got closer and he was no longer responding I started to panic. I screamed at Russ to drive faster as his eyes rolled back in his head. We ran through the ER doors as fast as we could and they calmly told us that we simply would have to go through the entire ER process again. Another 6 hours later, more CT scans, blood draws, and 4 different doctors passing through and we were finally admitted. After speaking with the surgeon that night the nurse finally told us that they simply didn't know what was wrong with him. It didn't appear to be an appendicitis but they weren't completely ruling it out. His bowels were shutting down but they had no idea the cause. I was just so relieved that he had an IV in and was getting some hydration and much needed rest.
The next few days were much of the same. More tests, little sleep, and no real answers. Shea was still unable to walk much, threw up constantly, and seemed to have lost any sense of the rambunctious kid that we knew was somewhere in there. The doctors concern grew every day and they would look at me with worried expressions on their faces after checking his abdomen for what seemed like the hundredth time and telling me that there still were no bowel sounds and no activity. After 4 days they started talking about other possibilities. Crohn's Disease was at the top of their list (especially since there was a family history on my side) and they were planning on an upper and lower endoscopy the following day if there were no changes. My mind raced and the realization that this could affect him for the rest of his life was now a strong possibility.
I will never forget the look on the nurses face as she came running into our room the following morning. She said "Have you heard the news? They found out what it is!!" My heart raced as she grabbed a note card and laughed that she had to write it down so she could remember the name. Aeromonas Sobria. His stool test had come back positive for a water born bacterial infection. They said it probably came from a pond or a pool but they never really would know for sure. We had visited a large water park in MI a few weeks prior and they said that those seemed to be breading grounds for bacteria. She said that none of the doctors had ever even heard of it so they had a team of researchers on it trying to figure out what exactly it was and how to treat it. I can't describe the feeling of relief that washed over me. It was treatable. It was not a disease that was going to be with him the rest of his life and he was going to be okay.
After 7 days of not eating and a few rounds of strong antibiotics he finally sat up and ate a few Froot Loops and was able to keep them down. We all celebrated like we had just won the lottery! They kept us over the weekend and we kept ourselves busy by visiting the fish tank, participating in their daily activities, and thank god for the Olympics that helped keep our minds occupied. I couldn't get out of the room fast enough when we were finally released. Shea and I hadn't felt the sun on our faces in over a week and it felt better than I had ever imagined.
I will never be able to thank all of the people who helped us and touched us in someway that week. Our parents who seamlessly took Jax under their wings and made sure that he was taken care of and loved, my amazing clients that never complained about having to reschedule sessions but instead sent words of encouragement, all of Shea's friends and our families who sent cards and balloons to let him know they were thinking of him, and to all of the awesome doctors and nurses that took care of us that week especially Amy Wendel.
We came home a different family..a stronger family. We always said that we were a team but that team was really tested that week. I will forever look at the world in a different light. Nothing else matters when your child is sick. Time just stops. I thank God every day for my healthy children and never for a second take that for granted. I will now forever be the mother that analyzes every cough and sneeze and rushes a little too quickly to the doctor. Not everyone will understand the extent of what we went through and I am okay with that but I know that I will do whatever it takes to keep my children as safe and healthy as I can. And I am pretty confident that we probably won't be visiting any water parks for a very long time!