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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