I don’t know what day it is. I barely know what time it is. Everything is running together. People’s faces are blurred. I can’t tell one doctor from another. They all look the same. We’re in the hospital. Ari is in the hospital. I write those words and I don’t believe them. It’s surreal.
At some point in time, I realized that Ari wasn’t getting better. The mass on his throat was swollen and red. I called the pediatrician and said:
“Look, he isn’t getting better, what can we do?”
“The next step is so see an ENT doctor.” Ear, Nose and Throat.
The ENT I wanted to see (the one affiliated with my pediatrician) wasn’t available for two days. So I took a second choice appointment with a back up ENT. It was a mistake.
The doctor, we’ll call him Dr. Y, barely looked at Ari and said he needed a Cat Scan. Whoa…back the bus up! He called in his partner who said “He doesn’t need a Cat Scan, the mass is superficial. You should aspirate it.” I went along with that plan; another mistake.
Dr. Y strapped Ari into a papoose like structure. He stuck a needle in Ari’s neck and he screamed. I rubbed his head. Not much came out. A little blood, that was all.
“I thought there would be puss.” I said.
“So did I.” said Dr. Y. He said he was going away for the weekend with his wife who was 9 months pregnant, but Ari should have an ultrasound the next day. I numbly took the prescription for the ultrasound in my hand and Ari, Samara and I went home on the train.
The next day, the day of the ultrasound, the pediatrician called. I told her what happened at the second choice ENT’s office.
“Do you still have the appointment with Dr. X?” Dr. X was the Dr. I would have preferred to see. The first choice Dr.
“I canceled it because Dr. Y scheduled an ultrasound today.”
“You should get that appointment back with Dr. X.” She said ominously.
“Oh…okay,” I said.
“Yeah, cancel the ultrasound and get the original appointment back.” She reiterated.
So I did just that.
We got to Dr. X. My dad came with me because Wil was sleeping (he’d worked the night before) and I had both kids with me. Ari was playing in the waiting room while I nursed Samara and my dad helped me fill out forms. It was a rather large waiting room and I feared we might wait a while. We didn’t. We were called in within five minutes of our arrival.
When we got into the exam room, Samara started crying. I handed her to my dad and he took her into the waiting room.
Dr. X was great with Ari. Before he examined him, he talked with him, gave him high fives, and warned him that he was going to look in his mouth, and examine his neck. After the exam, Dr. X locked eyes with me.
“It looks pretty bad,” he said gesturing at the enlarged lymph node on Ari’s neck.
“My recommendation is that you admit him to the hospital.” My jaw hit the floor at the words “admit him to the hospital.” Dr. X explained that since the oral antibiotics weren’t working, he wanted Ari to receive IV antibiotics and be monitored at the hospital.
I returned to the waiting room and told my dad the news, mistakenly, in front of the whole waiting room.
“WHAT?!” He practically yelled.
“Never mind, let’s talk about this when we leave.” I said.
We left the office and headed to the Emergency Room. The pediatric Emergency Room was full of toys and DVDs. Ari was happy to curl up in bed and watch Disney’s Robin Hood while he played with a pack of playing cards and a rubber duck that the nurse, Doug, gave him upon admission.
I called Wil obsessively (until he woke up) to let him know what was going on. I finally reached him and told him the news. He got to the hospital within the hour to meet us.
Ari was evaluated quickly and admitted to a room.
Since his admission, he’s been on IV antibiotics, and the doctors have been waffling back and forth as to whether or not they want to do a surgical drainage. If he doesn’t respond to the antibiotics, he’ll go to the Operating Room. I’m trying not to think about it.
The nice part about this hospital is that they have a wonderful pediatric unit. The nurses and doctors are really kind and super responsive. They have a play room where the kids can hang out and a giant fish tank to look at.
Ari has also been bribed with toys so that he can feel more comfortable under these circumstances.
The challenging part of this whole situation has been caring for Samara. She’s not allowed to stay in the hospital with us. I’ve been pumping every two-three hours (they have a pumping room) and my dad has been delivering breast milk to my mom who has been watching Samara. My parents have been staying at a friend’s place near the hospital.
I’m trying to stay strong. Please send good thoughts.