I Wasn’t With Waldo

No, I haven’t fallen off the planet.

Twelve days ago, my son Jake started complaining of a pain in his left side. He’s an active sixteen year old boy who likes to play rough, to wrestle. He grapples and takes a course called Combatives. We figured he pulled a muscle or something. We told him to take it easy, wrote a note to the school excusing him from Phys. Ed. and went about life, business as usual.

Four days later, last Tuesday, Jake could barely breathe. In the emergency room, after x-raying and ultra-sounding Jake, they saw fluid around his left lung. They immediately transferred him to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

A quick note about the Children’s: affiliated with the McGill University Health Centre, it opened its doors in January, 1904. From what I have experienced there over the past week, over their 100+ year existence, they have perfected the art, the science, the calling of caring for sick children. I have never been to a hospital with a staff more devoted to their patients. Nobody had an attitude. Nobody seemed tired of working double shifts, frustrated or fed up with the flaws in our medical system. Everyone truly made us feel there was no other place they would want to be. They were kind and patient and answered all of our questions. The home page of their website begins with this simple phrase:

The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC is a special place.

I couldn’t agree more.

But back to Jake. After numerous tests, x-rays and ultrasounds, Jake was brought up to the 7th floor. The surgery ward. They inserted a catheter into Jake’s chest and began draining the fluid that had accumulated around his lung, causing part of it to collapse. The lung itself was about half full of fluid. Jake had severe pneumonia. We were astounded. He’d never even coughed. They put him on antibiotics.  

It’s been a tough week, to say the least. They changed Jake’s antibiotics on Saturday and scheduled another procedure for Monday because he wasn’t improving very much. The new antibiotics seem to have made a difference though, because they ended up postponing the procedure and opted to observe his progress for the next couple of days instead.

 Last week I was whining about not having enough time. Since then, I’ve missed quite a few days of work and spent an awful lot of time sitting, waiting, watching my man-child fight to catch his breath, watching the numbers climb or drop on the monitor attached to my son. I think this was the universe’s way of letting me know that I should quit my bellyachin’ before it gives me a real reason to bellyache.

Lesson learned.  

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  • oh, poor jake (immediate special place in my heart as my son’s name is also jake..well jacob but we call him jake) and poor you. glad to hear that he seems to be improving. and tickled pink that your experience at children’s was a good one.

    life does have a way of putting things in perspective!

  • Nicky, I’m so sorry to hear about Jake, but I’m glad he’s starting to get better. Here’s to a speedy recovery. It takes a pretty strong and healthy boy to walk around with pneumonia without at much as a cough. And give him a hug from me, will you? Tell him I’m 25 and seriously hot, that should make him feel better.

  • Dear God, Nicky! I am so sorry that you and Jake and your family are going through this. Please let me know if there is anything you need. Give Jake a hug and a kiss from me and tell him that I’m 64, but seriously hot too. (No, don’t tell him that. It will scare him.) Please keep me posted on his recovery. This has just been the worst reason I could imagine for you not being around. I thought you went off to Greece with Jepeto or something. Seriously, Nicky, if there is anything I can do please let me know.

  • Jepeto

    Please send pictures, videos, whatever. I will relay them to jake. Later on.

  • Jepeto

    In Nicky’s last post i wrote a comment about this. Nevertheless Jacob is getting really better.

  • Thank God he’s better! I’m so sorry I didn’t see the previous Nicky post comments. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for any of you. This is so upsetting for you all, I know.

  • That’s so kind of you. Will the video of me and a friend mud wrestling do?

  • Jepeto

    100K won’t hurt :-). Hey laughter is the best medecine. Thank you very much for your concern, we appreciate it.

  • Mikewj

    Copies for everybody, please.

  • Jepeto

    Only if you are dressed as slutty nurses. Jacob must relate with his current environment. I must first analyze the contents…to see if it is…hum…properly done, ya know, as a grown-up it is my responsability. I’m sure you understand. Send ASAP.

  • Mikewj

    I don’t suppose that if Jake nearly had to die, the illness didn’t also leave him speechless, did it? Because it seems to me–the father of two troublesome teenage boys–that it would be a great gift from God to balance out the Devil’s pneumonia by suddenly rendering a 16-year-old boy unable to speak. Or grunt. Or fart. Even if just for a few days.

    Seriously, though, I’m sorry Jake’s still speaking.

    Oops. I mean, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this hardship. It sounds rather serious, and my heart goes out to you. Please give Jake a hug and a kiss for me and let him know that I’m twice Ziva’s age but also twice as hot.

    Jepeto and Nicky, I know you want Ziva’s mud-wrestling tape, but do you also want a copy of the DVD of me and my incredibly buff and well-oiled friends playing strip Pee Wee Golf?

  • I’d like a copy of that DVD, please. There’s got to be some lame TV-show somewhere that would pay me $50 for it.

  • Uh oh… Guess that’s a no then; it was a strictly bikinis kind of video, no slutty nurse uniforms. It seems you’re out of luck.

  • Jepeto

    Maybe Nicky wants it. But why get a DVD when she has access to the real thang everyday, every minute, every second? Ok yup, send her the DVD. As for me, no thanks. Well only if George Dubya Bush is in it. What a man.

  • Jepeto

    Just put a red cross on one of your melons. The guy is in pain here, and i ain’t talking ’bout Jake. 🙂

  • Thank you Roschelle! My Jake is a Jacob too 🙂 I sent along everybody’s well wishes, and he was very touched.

  • You made both Jake & I laugh with this one Z! A couple of days ago, when his fever was quite high, Jake’s nurse was examining him and said “Wow, Jake! You’re very hot”. He smiled and said “Thanks!” We all cracked up, the nurse included.

    He’s now saving up for a plane ticket to Finland. 🙂

  • Thank you Hon! Jake is doing remarkably well, and seems well on his way to a full recovery. He still tires easily, but he is so much better than he was even just a couple of days ago.

    BTW, I told him you are 64 and seriously hot, and he wasn’t even scared a little bit 🙂

    As to what you can do, just keep writing! I’ve become quite a “lurker” this past week. No time or spirit to comment, but I have been reading just the same. It may seem strange, but it felt very much like being among friends.

  • Be careful what you wish for, my friend! For a few days, Jake didn’t have the strength or the breath to speak. Or grunt. He continued to fart, though.

    Thank you for your concern, well-wishes and slightly-disturbing-affection for Jake. I know I speak for him when I say “Seriously, dude…ewwww”

    I would love the DVD of you and your friends. Really. You can send it to me at the following address:

    3rd Igloo on the left

    Thanks, man. You’re the best.

  • Nicky, I’m so glad he’s going to be fine. But I do understand how scary
    this has been for all of you. My daughter at 14 months old got the bad
    kind of spinal meningitis (the kind that was killing soldiers at Fort
    Ord). It was touch and go with her for over a week. I didn’t eat, or
    sleep for a whole week.

    Nothing ever felt the same to me again.


  • And Sweetheart, you are among friends!

  • Oh Nicky. Im just glad the new antibiotics are helping Jake improve. And, you are very fortunate to be in such a wonderful hospital and getting such good care! *I am sending love, hugs, healing vibes and all that jazz*

  • Thanks so much Meleah. I’m relieved that you are feeling better as well, and that you are no longer scaring the elderly wherever you go 🙂

  • Ahahahahah!

  • Nicky, I’m so sorry. Thank God you live in a country where you are able to get such excellent care for your sick child without financial worry adding to the stress of such a situation. I hope Jake is up and rough-housing again soon. Big hugs…

  • Mikewj

    Middle-Aged Lumpy Guys Gone Wild?

  • Mikewj

    I shouldn’t make light of a serious situation, even if it’s my style. I really am sorry Jake’s sick and been in the hospital. My wife nearly died one year ago next month, and I remember all too well what it felt like to be by her side in the hospital for days on end, worried and fearful.

  • Mikewj

    Money’s the best medicine. With money, you can hire comedians to come over to your house and make you feel better.

  • Thank you Jayne. I was thinking the exact same thing. The Children’s is a teaching hospital affiliated with a world-renowned university. The first day alone would have cost me $5000. Instead the entire week has cost about $100 in parking, sandwiches, tea and magazines. I cannot even begin to imagine how stressed parents with sick children and no health insurance must be. Jake is feeling much better and we’re hoping he’ll be out by the weekend.

  • You don’t have to apologize. As soon as Jake was able to laugh without immediately turning blue, I started teasing him mercilessly. It sucks when someone you love is sick, you know that. Humour helps. So do friends with warped senses of humour 🙂

  • ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. Our older boys are strong… they look like men, they sound like men… and yet you had to sit there and watch yours struggle to breathe…

    I work for a children’s hospital. The doctors and nurses are all amazing. I could never do that. But thank heaven they all do.

  • I love you my girl!

  • Katherine, it really was mindboggling! The thing is, Jake has always been the healthiest of kids. He’s probably missed less than a handful of days of school in the last 10 years! And he wasn’t sick, no cough, no cold, no fever. This came completely out of the blue.

    Pediatric doctors and nurses are, indeed, special people.

  • Sheila Sultani

    Wow – Life sure has a way of slapping us in the face. I hope your baby gets well quickly. I hope you make it through the long days and nights with no sleep and way to much time to think. We are lucky enough to have a Children’s Hospital right down the street from our house. My sister in law is a nurse in the NICU there – they TRULY are amazing – a world apart from regular hospitals.

  • Awesome! Let me know when he’s arriving, I’ll meet him at the airport. And then I’ll show him how to work the vacuum cleaner. Also, is he good with dirty dishes?

  • Oh he knows how to work a vacuum. He just doesn’t do it though. And could you please clarify? Is he good with dirty dishes? Making them, yes, cleaning them, not so much.

  • Thanks Sheila, we actually got some good news today. It looks like Jake will be out of the hospital this weekend, Monday at the latest! Yay! No more sleepless nights 🙂 Children’s hospitals really are a world apart, aren’t they?

  • Wintergurl88

    GOD bless your boy , he will be fine soon.

  • Thank you Wintergurl! Jake was released from the hospital yesterday and except for being a bit discouraged by the mountain of schoolwork he’s got to catch up on, he’s feeling much better! 🙂

  • Holy crap, girl! I’m glad to hear your boy is better and thank goodness for such rare places as that children’s hospital. Just for your sake, I’ll stop bellyaching myself for 7 days.

  • Thanks Margaret! Let me know how the lack of bellyachin’ goes for you…I think I made it 4 whole days before I started whining again 🙂

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