Monday, March 26, 2007

Stomach Pain

DQ reader Nathan Carpenter sent a nice e-mail asking about Eli 5.7 when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Then last weekend, he sent me this:
Looks like my email last week of “I hope we never have to go through that with our kids” was a bit premature.

Corey (4 year old) started having severe stomach pains Sunday night at about 2 am. They came and went in waves of about 45 minutes then subsided. After the first round, we thought “gastritis” (my wife Patty is a nurse so she knows big words like that). After the second and much worse round, we packed up and headed to the ER. In seemingly no time flat, they had Corey under the knife for appendicitis. Luckily it hadn’t ruptured. We came home yesterday, he’s doing great today, and all is back to normal – he’s already been in time out once today so he’s full of “urine and impure dilute acetic acid “ so to speak.

Here’s the public service bit – we talked to the pediatric surgeon afterwards, and he told us that with young kids, it’s very hard to tell when they have an inflamed appendix. They don’t really feel it the way teens and adults do, and only generally start really hurting when it’s too late. And appendicitis can happen at pretty much any age, although it’s most common in teens. So if you feel like something‘s “not right” in the tummy department, go be miserable in the ER and let the pros do their thing. If we had waited too much longer, we could have been looking at a much more serious situation. As if getting any kind of operation at 4 years old isn’t serious enough.

I asked him if he had any additional information he wanted to add, and he followed up with this:
The key is severe general stomach pain that migrates to the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, with nausea and vomiting likely following the pain. If pain is pretty much confined to the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, then it’s most likely appendicitis. Fever is usually low-grade until the appendix is ruptured, then it gets high.

In our case, and I’m sure everyone’s kid will be different, something just didn’t seem right about the pain. Corey’s reaction to the pain was unusual. Usually kids with the stomach flu or whatever just want to lie there and like to have their tummy rubbed and so on. In this case, he was completely inconsolable and actually got up and moved around to try and get rid of the pain.

A thorough, if technical, description is at

So there's something else to worry about, but it's good to have the information.

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