Owen’s been lethargic and without an appetite since Wednesday. We took him to urgent care Friday, hoping to figure it out. No luck. No strep, no ear infections, no obvious signs of anything wrong.
Over the weekend, we watched him closely–hoping to see signs of recovery. Instead, he seemed to be getting slightly worse. He fought every bite of food I tried to get him to eat. He drank a little bit of water, but that was it.
Bryan suggested using his G-Tube, so we broke out the syringes and gave him water. (We haven’t used that tube for a long time, so it was such a weird feeling to use it again…) We are so thankful that he was able to stay hydrated!
Monday, I called his pediatrician again. They had an opening for Wednesday, so I took it.
After I hung up, I realized that Owen’s hands and feet were purple. His lips were off colored as well. Not good.
Off to the ER
I called Bryan, and we decided I’d take Owen and Brynna into the Emergency Room at the Children’s Hospital.
By the time we arrived, Owen’s coloring was fine again. Feeling a little bit like a hypochondriac, I checked Owen in. The ER doc agreed that he looked sick, but had no idea what was wrong. They did blood work and a nasal swab, thinking they’d find signs of infection or a virus.
As we were going over Owen’s extensive medical history, I mentioned his Pica. The doctor suggested taking an x-ray of his belly, just to see if anything was stuck. I agreed, and a little while later the technician came to get Owen.
The order had been changed at the last minute, requesting an x-ray of Owen from the nose down, following the GI Tract.
After taking an image, the X-ray tech asked if Owen had anything unusual in his chest and throat. I told them about his VNS, and he called me over to check out the screen. We definitely saw the VNS device in his chest, and could follow the leads up into his neck.
But…there was also this large round object. In Owen’s throat. That was NOT related to the VNS.
We had no idea what it was. It looked sort of like a K’Nex piece–one of the gears–but I had no idea how it was possible for Owen to swallow that.
At least now we had a diagnosis. Another x-ray confirmed that it was in his esophagus, not his trachea.
The ER doctor has no idea how Owen was okay for so long with that in his throat. It’s definitely a miracle.
Needless to say, Owen went in for surgery with an ENT last night. He had swallowed a piece of a knob off a piece of furniture. The round metal portion got stuck, just past the valve in the upper throat.
We got home late last night, and are spending the day recovering. Owen is recovering physically. He was intubated during surgery, and I know his throat hurts. There’s a chance his esophagus will scar badly as it heals (the metal cut into it).
I’m taking a much needed mental break. My emotions are running high.
I’m shocked at what they pulled out of my boy.
I’m thankful that he didn’t choke to death on that.
I’m feeling bad because he suffered for so long without me knowing what was the matter. Mommy guilt. It’s definitely real!
I’m missed the other kids (many thanks mom for keeping them!).
It’s not a normal day.
So here’s what we’re doing:
5 Tips for Recovering from an Unexpected Surgery
Spill your Feelings
Talk about it. Or do like I do and write about it. It helps!
However you best process shock and other strong emotions, do it. Get it out of your system and don’t keep it bottled up.
I spent time today talking to the kids, making sure they’re given the opportunity to express their emotions as well.
Yesterday was a crazy day for everyone, and we all have unique emotional needs to process a it.
My mom and step-dad watched the kids and mom is tackling dinner tonight. My sister made breakfast for us today.
Our Pastor drove Bryan into Spokane last night after work.
Dad fed the barn cats and locked up chickens.
Many people were praying for us.
When you’re in recovery mode (both physically or mentally), take help. It’s definitely a blessing!
We’ve got some convenience food in the freezer that we’ll be pulling out this week. The house isn’t getting cleaned as thoroughly. The kids and I will be watching more TV.
And that’s okay.
Lowering your expectations helps so much to make a successful recovery! Right now, we need to focus on recovering not keeping up with our massive to-do list.
Owen especially needs to spend the next few days resting, helping his throat to heal and his body to recover. He lost weight after not eating for almost a week, and will take time to heal.
The rest of us need rest as well. Our minds need time to process and unwind. We’ll be snuggling this evening on the couch, just resting. I can’t wait!
I’ve cleared my plate from a couple of things going on with my freelancing, and am focusing on resting as well.
Prayer is essential for recovery! We saw God’s hand in so many ways during this ordeal (for instance, all OR rooms were booked, and Owen was going to be admitted overnight until one miraculously opened…). We’re thankful for Owen, for the doctors, and for our family.
We will continue to spend time together in prayer as we recover.
The shock of an unexpected surgery is very real. Do yourself a favor and don’t jump right back into normal life!