Friday, December 25, 2009

The Hospital Stay

“This leg doesn’t look good,” the doctor told me gravely on Tuesday. “I’d like to have other people look at it.”

I nodded. I was getting scared. I did not like the expression on his face. I comforted Natalie, who had started to yelp on the exam table.

A few minutes later, two more people walked into the room and checked on Natalie’s leg.

“NO! STOP!” Natalie screeched.

I could see that her leg was really red right near the thigh.

“I think it’s filled with puss,” the doctor said. “That also needs to come out.”

The other two people peered at it. One had to touch it and Natalie screamed at the top of her lungs.

“It really needs to be drained.”

They started to talk amongst themselves for a few seconds.

“…really big puss pocket…”

“…needs to be drained now...”

“….may even need surgery because it’ll be painful to drain...”

“Surgery?” I said. I so wanted to bite on my fingernail. I do that when I’m nervous but I figured it was not the time to do it. Most people freak out if you start gnawing on yourself.

The doctor turned around. “I think surgery would be the best option. It really is going to be painful to drain. She’ll probably be put under…”

“Put under?” I gasped. I felt my eyes prickle with tears. None of my kids have ever been put under.

“It’ll be better for her, I promise,” the doctor assured me. “I’m going to make a phone call to the Denver Children’s Clinic. They’ll know exactly what to do there.”

“The Denver Children’s Clinic?” I echoed. My mind wasn’t working properly.

“Yes, just take a seat and I’ll let you know what they say,” the doctor told me.

I tried to settle down in the seat. But I found I was too nervous to sit. What did they mean Natalie had to be put under?

This is around the time when I started to freak out a little bit. The tears started to flow and I couldn’t get them to stop. Natalie was crying because people kept poking at her leg. Tommy was freaking out because he can’t handle it when people cry. He tends to have a melt down himself. So there I was in a tiny room with tears dripping down my cheeks with a wailing two-year-old and a seven-year-old who kept moaning that it was too loud and could Natalie please be quiet now?

I called Tom at work. As soon as he picked up I started to cry all over again.

“Natalie...put under...Denver Children’s Clinic,” I croaked out as a snot bubble exploded from my nose. I really wish I were a prettier crier.

“What’s happening?” Tom asked.

“Natalie...put under....Denver Children’s Clinic.” Then I started blubbering loudly.

“Where are you?” Tom demanded.

“Pediatric” I managed to spit out.

“I’ll be right there!”

Tom later told me that he even put the lights on his cruiser so he could get to me faster. He said I really freaked him out. He rushed into the room and found me cuddling a sniffling Natalie and Tommy all balled up on the floor.

The doctor came out then and reported that we could go to the Denver’s Children Clinic.

“We need to get the leg taken care of as soon as possible,” he said and his tone made me cry all over again.

Nurses kept asking me if I needed anything. I think I was making them nervous.

We hurried home and packed some bags since we were told we’d probably have to stay overnight.

Tom was able to get off work since the base hospital contacted his commander.

We started the two hour drive to the Denver Children’s Clinic.

When we got there, we went into the emergency section and checked in. They knew exactly who we were.

We were shown into a room and told that the doctor would be right with us.

Of course ‘right with us’ meant an hour later.

“I’m going to show my attending her leg,” the doctor said when he finally came in. “If you’re not aware, an attending is…” he began.

“I know what an attending is. I watch Grey’s Anatomy,” I said with a sharp nod.

He seemed a little taken aback. “Right. Well. Good.”

Then the attending came back with him and they looked over the leg and said yes, surgery would be best to minimize her pain.

“It’ll only take fifteen minutes,” I was told.

Then someone came in to start an IV and Natalie flipped out. It’s a teaching hospital so they had someone training to be a nurse put it in and she did not do a good job. She couldn’t find a vein and was messing around for five minutes. I was on the verge of saying, “Let the person who knows what she’s doing put the IV in!” because Natalie was screaming at the top of her lungs and trying to get away.

The IV wasn’t attached to anything yet so Natalie was still able to run around:

Then about two hours later, they were ready for the surgery. I started to shake.

“Will she be okay?” I kept asking a billion times.

“Yes. She’ll be fine,” the doctor told me.

Natalie was given the drugs to knock her out. She started swaying and talking to her hand.

“Someone will come out and get you in fifteen minutes,” the doctor said.

Leaving Natalie was one of the hardest things I had to do. She looked so small.

“Come on. She’ll be fine,” Tom said and practically dragged me to the waiting room.

Tommy was happy because he finally got a blown up glove. He had been asking about one the second we stepped into the hospital.

“All I want is a blown up glove!” he kept saying.

Then he got one when he told the doctor, “I could really use a blown up glove to cheer me up.”

And he got a surgical hat and said that he was now a doctor and did anyone need a surgery performed?

I kept pacing around the waiting room.

“Sit down,” Tom urged.

“I can’t,” I said. Pace, pace, pace. Chew, chew, chew. Because yes, I was munching on my fingernail which I know is probably covered with germs but it helps calm me down.

“Pacing isn’t going to help,” Tom pointed out.

Pace, pace, pace. Chew, chew, chew.

“What if something goes wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing will go wrong.” Tom patted the seat beside him. “Sit.”

So I did even though I didn’t really want to. I started swinging my legs and Tom rested a hand on my knee. “Chill. She’ll be okay.”

“How can you be so calm?” I asked.

“Because I have faith.”


“My Dad will watch over her,” Tom reminded me. His Dad passed on a few years before.

A doctor came back fifteen minutes later.

I jumped up and nearly smacked Tom with my hand on accident. “Is she okay? Is she okay?” I said.

“She’s fine. She’s still kind of out of it thanks to the drugs but she’s in recovery now.”

We were led back into recovery and Natalie was in a crib with wires coming out of her. Her eyes opened for a few seconds and then closed again.

“Mommy,” she said and I rushed over beside her and took hold of her hand.

“Mommy is here. Mommy is here, princess.”

The doctor reported that everything went well. It turns out that it wasn’t puss in her leg but dead fat cells.

When Natalie started to come to, we were led to our room.

“Mommy,” Natalie kept saying as I held her.
“Mommy is here.”

Then when we were shown to our room, Natalie focused on Tommy’s glove balloon.

“I want that,” she said softly.

“This is mine, Natalie,” Tommy said, hugging it to his chest.

“I WANT THAT!” Natalie bellowed.

Tom and I exchanged a Look. “And…she’s back,” I said.

Natalie got her own balloon glove and a nurse came in and introduced herself.

“Your son can stay here now but we have a strict visitor’s policy,” she said.

“What are the hours?” I asked.

“9-9,” the nurse said. “But kids twelve and under can’t be up here at all.”


“Because of the swine flu and other illnesses,” she continued.

“Where is he going to go?” I asked.

“Someone will have to stay with him in a hotel,” the nurse said.

“But Natalie needs us both!” I said.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse shrugged. “He can stay here tonight but tomorrow he has to go.”

So Tommy and I shared the tiny (and I mean tiny) pull out couch and Tom took the fold out chair.

Natalie woke up several times during the night screaming because of her leg. The nurse would come in with pain medication for Natalie to take but Natalie would spit it back out at her.

“NO LIKE!” Natalie yelled. “NO LIKE THAT!”

Then the next morning Tom and Tommy had to go. There was a day care center downstairs were siblings could go but no one showed up to run it. I mean, hello? The hospital was nice but they really should make a place where siblings can go so the parents can be together. No one seemed to really care about our predicament.

Natalie was able to run around the room. When the nurse came in to check her blood pressure, Natalie started to wail.

“Get OUT!” she said and pointed to the door.

The nurse chuckled. “Someone is getting cranky. It probably means she needs some pain medication.”

“Erm. No. This is just Natalie’s personality,” I said.

The nurse blinked. “Oh really? I can’t believe that someone with such a sweet face could be so—”

“GET OUT, BYE!” Natalie bellowed.

I had to see Natalie in pain several times and I hated that. She would yell, “I want to go…HOME! I want to go…home!” as they changed her leg bandage. It was awful. I never want to go through that again.

Finally, on Thursday we were able to go home since her leg looked good. The thing is though, Natalie did test positive for a bacteria called MRSA so she’s still on antibiotics. We have to take her back to the base clinic on Monday so they can check to make sure the leg is healing. Right now it looks like she has two bite marks on her thigh.

As we pulled up to our house, Tommy grinned and went, “We’re home! It’s a Christmas miracle!”

I smiled too. “You know what, Tommy? I think you’re right. It is a Christmas miracle.”


  1. THANK GOD! I am SO happy Natalie is going to be OK!! Thank you for updating... I was thinking about her so much today.

  2. Good news! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

  3. Wow, what an ordeal! I can feel for you-- I've seen both my kids have surgeries, and letting them go into that O.R. is SO hard!

    Natalie is so lucky you were all there with her, and so lucky you had such good medical care! (Except for the I.V. insertion-- I would have choked the one trying to put it in!)

    So, so, so glad you got a good outcome, and that she's being watched... These things scare us to death, don't they?

    We're all happy that all is well!

    Merry Christmas-- hope the kids had a ball and that Tom got you something wonderful, too!

  4. It's been a while since I've been over here - I'm SO glad Natalie's doing OK! Poor thing! You had me crying right there along with you!

    Glad you're home for Christmas...

    Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas! :)

  5. Glad to know she's back to herself.

    Very Merry Christmas and hoping the appointment next week is completely uneventful.

  6. Wow, what an ordeal you have all been through! I'm glad she is getting better- MRSA is some serious stuff.

    Merry Christmas.

  7. I'm really glad to hear all is well. That must have been so scary. If you ever need it for future reference, and hopefully you don't, you can refuse them having the student put the IV in. You absolutely can tell them that you want someone experienced to do it. I'm glad you were home in time for Christmas.

  8. WoW! What an experience! It is so hard when small ones are ill! Hope everything continues to go well!

  9. What a week! Im so glad everything is ok

  10. I am so glad that everything turned out alright and I am glad that you got home in time for Christmas.

  11. my daughter had mrsa on her butt.. she screamed big time. when they squeeze it, it shot across the room onto the wall. They just told me i had to put cream on it and sqeez it every time and let her soak in the tub of warm water.
    So i feel your pain when you have to watch your baby girl go through all that pain. Hugs to her :)

  12. Glad you were all home for Christmas and Natalie is on the mend. Scary stuff when it's out kids, huh?

  13. Thank God she's okay, poor little kitten. What a harrowing ordeal for all of you. I'm so happy you made it home for Christmas! Please keep us posted as the mini-mite heals. . .

  14. Oh - my - hell!!! I simply cannot imagine what you have gone through!! But Tommy was right - it was a Christmas miracle!

    Glad to hear she is doing better and will keep her on my prayer list! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  15. I'm so glad she's okay & you were able to make it home for Christmas! Hope she heals up & feels better soon!!

  16. Thank God! It was a Christmas miracle. I had to choke back the tears when I read what Tom said about his dad. You know that is the sweetest thing a man can say! Merry Christmas. Thank the Lord she is okay.

  17. Wow - just read your last four posts on this whole ordeal. So glad that Natalie is doing ok. I'm sorry she had to go through that - AND you guys! It's tough as a parent to see your child suffer through ANY pain, that's for sure!

    What did she have the bite marks from I wonder?

    This will certainly be a Christmas you will remember!

  18. Wow, I'm so glad she's okay. What a scary ordeal- Tommy and the hand is very cute though :)

  19. I'm so glad that she is okay. Enjoy your Christmas at home!

  20. Oh Geesh...I'm so lame I haven't been around bloggy land too much and I'm sorry I wasn't here to offer my support!

    Hope YOU and Natalie are doing better?


  21. My eyes welled up reading glad she seems to be on the mend.

    And you don't have to let people practice on you or your kids, even though it is a teaching hospital. Refuse next time.

    Good luck with the MRSA..
    Keep us informed. xx

  22. That made me cry! Poor baby! Poor momma! And Tom saying he had faith made me start crying again. So glad you all made it home by Christmas and she is on the mend.

  23. Please don't think I'm trying to scare you but watch MRSA very carefully, it is one hell of a staph infection that is very resistant to antibiotics. On a cheery note, I'm so glad you guys got to spend Chrismtas at home. I agree about the nursery thing, where were the staff and anyways why couldn't Tommy just wear a mask? Sending happy and loving thoughts your way!

  24. Well now that I'm crying... I was so scared she had MRSA and that's why they sent her to the Children's Hospital :( I sure hope the antibodies kick the MRSA butt. Bacteria infections like that and C-Diff that Noah had back when Nathan was born are nothing to screw around with. I'm so happy, though, that you guys got home for Christmas!! I'm sorry that Megatron bent your fingernail and all the twisty ties are going to attack you ... but it's all worth it in the end isn't it?

    {{{HUGE HUGE HUGS}}} to you all Amber! Give Natalie an extra squeeze from us.

  25. OH MY!! What a way to prepare for the holidays!!

    So glad you all are together and fine. Please keep us posted on her MRSA! I have heard terrible things also...and did she get it? Did the Grays Anatomy peeps tell you?

    Happy New Year to your gorgeous family!!

  26. I'm so happy she is OK and sounds like she is back to normal :)

  27. I'm glad she's okay. I hope you had a Merry Christmas despite the ordeal.

  28. Ho.lee. Shit. I am so sorry it was such a rough ride, but damn. I am so glad she's ok now. Take care and Thank God Tom's dad was watching over her...

  29. Good news! :) Natalie sounds like quite the trooper! And I agree on the sibling daycare thing...a hospital of that magnitude should really have a program in place. LOVE the Greys Anatomy comment to the doc, lol!

  30. You go right ahead and chew your entire finger right up to the elbow if you want. It is your right after all that.

    I am SO happy to read to the end that she is ok after all. It is terrifying when a little one has a medical problem like that. Not the least of which is because they can't tell you what happened a lot of the time.


  31. Same as everyone else... just so happy it was all okay in the end. :)

  32. im so glad everything was ok.. i was very worried and after that first post would come back to check for an update... im glad you all made it through it and also made it home for Christmas too...

  33. Christmas miracle indeed! Thank God she is okay. Good luck with the antibiotics. What a terrible ordeal to go through right before Christmas! Prayers for her continued recovery!

  34. what a story, and you're so good at writing it sister, sheesh i was right there with you. im so glad everything turned out. hope you had a wonderful christmas.

  35. I was worried for you when I heard about it. I am so glad you are all home.

  36. Glad you are all home, hope those antibiotics work well for her and she gets a nice clean bill of health at that next appt. You brought back a lot of memories of Josh in the hospital. Thank GOd there was a hospitality house for us to stay in - we had two little ones 22 mo. and 4 mo. to take care of too, we HAD to split our time with Josh and it sucked so much and the girls couldn't be in his room at all. ((hugs)) I understand the fear and the hurt watching your baby in pain.

  37. I'm so glad she's okay! I have an award for you, come get it when you have a chance!

  38. Ohhhhhhhh, look how little and cute she is!!!!!!!!! I'm so glad she is okay!!!

  39. Thank god she's okay. I was worried. I even checked Twitter a few times to see if you gave any updates and I'm the worst twitterer ever. So glad that you're all home safe!

  40. Man catching up on all your posts was just tugging on my heart strings! Poor girl! Im glad she is at least on the mend

  41. Hope she gets a clean bill of health tomorrow! She's in my thoughts!

    Have you seen the Yo Gabba Gabba Friends website, it's kinda like GF. But they have tons of party ideas and such. I'll probably end up doing YGG for Tatum's 2nd birthday.

  42. i'm SO glad she's ok!! i was wondering how she had been!! and man, MRSA, that's rough. we knew a family who's son had it and went through a similar ordeal. natalie's in my prayers! i hope you had a wonderful Christmas despite the scare! hugs!!

  43. Sorry to hear about your hospital visits during the Holiday. How awful! But I am so glad to hear Natalie is going to be OK. That is wonderful news!

  44. So glad everything worked out! And home in time for Santa to visit! Perfect.

  45. This post made me cry. It's horrible to have to watch your children suffer.

  46. What an icky thing to have to do during Christmas.

    I hope Natalie (and you) are feeling much better and recuperating.

    Who knew pus could ruin your holiday?

  47. Oh my gosh, you guys have been through the wringer! I'm glad Natalie is back to being her feisty self! (((hugs)))

  48. So glad to hear that she is back to her old self again! I know it must have been so hard on all of you nad to have it happen so close to Christmas too.

    So what was it??? MRSA and infection...what???

  49. I'm so so so glad she is okay. You and your husband are such amazing parents to sit with her and be there whenever she called for you. I'm sure that was a huge comfort and helped with the healing, while his dad also watched over her:) Good Luck with the rest of the doctors appts.

  50. I hope things have returned to normal and that Natalie is well on the way to being much better.

    Hugs - what an ordeal - This is truly a demonstration of parent's loving their child.

    I hope YOU got to enjoy Christmas.

  51. I thought it sounded like MRSA. So glad you caught it now! Merry Christmas (a bit late...) and enjoy your New Year!

  52. Oh my! I'm so sorry you guys went through that. I'm glad you got to be home for Christmas though.

  53. I'm so glad that everything is all right with natalie.

    Boy, she sounds like a pistol. And a handful. She makes my Kate sound tame, and that's a feat.



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