Friday, February 18, 2011

Hernias and Her-Knee-Uhhhhh

One night at the end of October I discovered that Alex had an incarcerated hernia (his bowels were stuck out of a little hole in his abdomen). He was really miserable and I noticed the swelling and knew something was wrong. After talking to the doctor we decided I needed to take him to the ER.

We had just moved here a few months earlier. I knew people, but no one that I really felt comfortable calling at 8pm on a school night to come over to my (always) messy house and stay with my 3 big kids so I could rush off to the ER.

Johnny was working on a project in New York City at the time. It was at least an hour and a half commute, but when he heard what was wrong, he literally ran to the next train. Alex had fallen asleep in my arms so I decided to wait for Johnny. Alex slept fitfully in my arms as we waited.
When Johnny got home I went to show him the lump and it had gone away. We called the doctor and she told us that we didn’t need to go to the ER but we needed to get in with a pediatric surgeon soon.

They scheduled him for surgery about a week later at Yale New Haven Children’s hospital.
The doctor told us they would give him some baby Valium so that he wouldn’t have a hard time separating from us. They said it would make him ok to go with anyone. When it really came down to it though, he only wanted his daddy. I tried not to get my feelings hurt!

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Even though it was a relatively low risk surgery it was still scary to let him go. In that moment I thought about the trust I was placing in this doctor (a stranger I really knew nothing about) to take care of my baby.

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He handled the whole thing like a champ. He was a tiny bit miserable, as you could expect, but by the time they released him an hour or so later he was pretty happy. Johnny and I even took him and his new dinosaur (a prize from the hospital) to lunch on the way home.

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Everything was going great, until about 3 weeks later when I noticed a second hernia on the other side. When doing hernia surgery they used to just check both sides when they were doing the surgery but our doctor said that the latest research recommended that they only do one side. He said that he does over a hundred hernia surgeries a year and only about four or five end up coming back with double hernia. Just our luck…

So they scheduled a second surgery exactly four weeks after the first.

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He handled things great and just like before, he wanted his daddy… which was lucky this time because Mommy could barely hobble through the hospital on my newly acquired crutches…

Her Knee… Uhhhhh…
A few days before the second surgery and the day before Thanksgiving, Johnny picked up his parents from the airport. We were excited that they were coming to visit. I was putting some things in the freezer in the garage and missed the last step. My knee twisted and I fell.
I had one of those moments where you wish you had one of those medical alert things. “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

Luckily I had my phone in my pocket and called Johnny to come rescue me. When Abby saw me laying on the garage floor, she went in to report to Johnny’s dad that he better come quick because “THIS IS SERIOUS!!”

Turns out it was. Johnny took me to the ER and they drained about a cup of blood out of my kneecap (I will spare you the pictures!). The blood indicated that I had definitely torn something.

Johnny’s mom ended up making her own Thanksgiving dinner and they spent the weekend doing laundry, taking care of kids, and taking care of me!

An MRI showed that I had dislocated my knee cap and torn some of the surrounding tissue. I stayed in bed for days and used my “crotches” (Lila’s term for my crutches) to get around. It was weeks before I could walk unassisted.

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My mom flew out and helped take care of the kids and Johnny was able to use some vacation to stay home and take care of all of us.

It’s been about 3 months now and I am feeling much better. I have an awesome brace that I wear (NOT that ghetto one pictured above) but I still struggle with a lot of things like stairs. I am hoping physical therapy will cure me, but the therapist said that the swelling could take up to a year to go away.

I’ve decided that “disasters” are great for helping us keep things in perspective. I don’t take walking for granted like I used to and I feel lucky every day when the kids pray “for mommy’s knee to get better”. Though it is incredibly frustrating to have limited mobility, I realize there are so many people who are worse off. I also got to know so many people through this experience as new “friends” stepped up to help.

I am also so grateful for modern medicine. It truly is a miracle and I can’t imagine what might have happened to my sweet baby boy without it.


Tami said...

I am amazed with the sheer fact that you can come up with such a clever title. Alex looks miserable in the last picture. So glad he is better and you are on the mend. Boy with your concussions and surgeries and your knee it makes it seem like you guys should just live at the hospital.

Shawnee said...

Enough with the need for medical attention already! Stay healthy!!! PS-like you though, grateful it's there when you need it.

Shay said...

Oh my gosh Emily! If it's not one thing it's another. Wow! Good Luck with the recovery of your knee.
I know how you feel about putting trust in a stranger surgeon to help your child. I'm glad that Alex did so well!

the Bunker Family said...

Oh my goodness! Your poor family. Normally when you move you try to get to know your new neighbors/ward members really well, not your local ER and pediatric surgeons. Concussions, hernias, Johnny's back, your's kind of starting to sound like the Russ's version of the game, "Operation." Hopefully that will be the end of things for awhile, aside from maybe Lila losing a tooth or two. Wish we were neighbors again so we could watch your kids so your could take a well-deserved nap or at least bring you some Ben & Jerry's therapy.

Josh and Melanie said...

I wish I could be the one helping out. I am glad everyone is doing better. I totally understand the whole thing with trusting doctors with your baby. I will never forget when they took Paul the day he was born to a different hospital and put him to sleep for a surgery. It is a good thing I was too sick to think the whole thing through or I may not have let them take him. I also will never forget watching the doctor clip his heel cord at eight weeks old. I wish he would not have let me in the room to see it. Kids are pretty tough. Paul is so layed back and happy all of the time you that you would never know he has been through so much poking and prodding. Love you guys! :)

Heidi said...


I'm totally behind. Shayna just told me about you and all your injuries the other day and I'm finally getting around to checking your blog. I miss you, for so many reasons. One of them is that our lives are ever so similar. Your life helps me feel more normal about mine. I wish we still lived across the street from each other (essentially), but I'm really grateful that both of our husbands have jobs now. Good luck with your knee, that sounds horrible. And seriously, you guys should try to stay away from the hospital for a while... :)

Eliza said...

The picture of your baby with mask on getting his "baby Valium" made me want to cry & then the picture of you holding him made me want to cry even harder. I am so glad he is okay & glad to hear that you are feeling better too. Those knee injuries are so tough. You are a champ of a human!