Living Nightmare

From reading my previous post, you would have read that my son underwent minor surgery.  Nothing serious in the doctor’s opinion, but freaky for any parent to put your child under the knife.

Anyway, our son had been discharged and it was time to recover in the comfort of our own home.  It’s always best to be in safe surroundings and have access to toys.

Before departing, the doctor gave us a few hints and pieces of information.  At the time, we thought it was typical doctor speech, exaggerating everything and looking at things from a morbid angle.

What to expect when your child have had tonsils and adenoids removed (+ other bits):

  1. Swelling in the area that might cause some discomfort when eating
  2. High fever between day 3-10
  3. Highly toxic and lethal breath
  4. Some minor bleeding from nose
  5. Worst case – major bleeding from wounds in throat

If 5, then bend him forwards and call 911.  As if that would happen!

On the 4th night back at the ranch.  We went about of routines and had family dinner.  After dinner we played a bit and prepared for bed.  I had had a strange long day at the office, so was not going to amuse Shaun T with my sweat dripping exercise session.

We had experienced points 1-4, with the bad breath being present from day 1 of surgery.  At times so bad it could melt your face clean off.  The other symptoms were handled calmly with superb painkiller.

An hour into the kids sleep time, our son started to cough.  He has done that before, but I still went to check on him.  I was not prepared for what awaited me.

He was sitting up in his bed, with his CPAP mask on, coughing.  I calmly ripped off the mask only to discover that it was full of blood.  Worse.  He was dripping blood from his mouth.  The worst case scenario had just kicked in!!

Not too sure how the next events unfolded, but I dragged him into the bathroom, bending him forward as the good doctor had told me.

It was like being in a slasher horror movie.  Blood was coming everywhere.  There wasn’t any sign of it stopping and for some unknown reason I tried to catch it all in my hand, instead of letting it drip into the toilet.  As a result, the floor, walls, furniture, toilet, sink, tap, clothes … everything was sprinkled with blood.

My poor wife was frozen for what felt minutes, until I asked her to call 911.  Bizarrely, and totally out of place, the theme song from 911 was starting to play in my head.

Within minutes, the police arrived at the house and started to check status of ambulance and my son.  I could see that the female officer was a bit uncomfortable seeing my son covered in blood, and I don’t blame her.

I admit, it was scary, but in the moment I was not really looking at the blood.  It must have been adrenaline pumping, and the fact that my son was fighting hard with me.

Deep inside, a wave was starting to form.  An emotional wave that was going to hit as a tsunami against my emotional barometer.  The feeling of loosing something so dear to me was painful, and I was determined not to let it happen.  I had to calm him down to stop the coughing and bleeding.

I’m telling you.  250 ml of blood is a lot, especially when coming out of your child.

Not trying to sound like a true He-man, but I had to be strong for my son, my wife and our oldest daughter.  Our daughter was watching all this unfold just before bedtime, seeing her brother covered in blood and me holding him.  Not to mention all the people all of sudden in the house and all the lights in the street from the paramedic vehicles.

Almost just as suddenly as this nightmare had started, just as quickly did it end – almost.  A large blood cloth came out from his mouth and the bleeding miraculously stopped.  I picked him up and carried him to the ambulance.

The police and paramedics were brilliant, and very supportive.  They stabilized our son and helped my wife get stuff for me.  At least just a clean shirt.  They even took time to comfort our daughter, who was standing crying alone, watching all this happening.  That calmed her down a lot.

Once he was stable, the driver hit the pedal to the metal.   We flew down the dark roads towards the hospital.

As a boy, I always thought it would be so cool to drive super faster, mac speed, in an emergency vehicle – but now I didn’t want to be there.  It was too real and happening to someone I care for.  Was it a bad dream?

Then again, looking through the windows, I could see that the police were carving a route for the ambulance and blocking side street traffic along the way.  This happened the entire way to the hospital – our own police escort.  How cool was that?  Not very in the moment, but extremely cool in hind side 🙂

Now, I have to admit it.  I almost got car sick in the ambulance.  The driver, a super female driver, was flying across bumps and the heat was unbearable.  Such a combination can be difficult to handle, so I was desperately asking for water, which they handed me.

At the ER entrance, the welcome committee was waiting and took my son into a examination room.  My son had started to calm down and was not too impressed with all the attention he was getting.

When the doctor was attempting to examine his throat, with these surgical wooden sticks, my son bit three of them over out of pure anger.  Wow, that’s like Hulk!

The paramedics stayed for a few minutes, enough to get me to sign for the trip and for me to thank them for all their help.  I even hugged the female driver and female police officer, which I think they really appreciated.  It just felt right to thank them.  Not too sure how often they are appreciated for what they do.

Some 3 hours after the horror show started, we were back in the ICU where we were the previous week.  The staff recognized me and my son, and made sure we were well looked after.

The next 24-48 hours were spent monitoring his recovering, making sure nothing else was starting to bleed and making sure that he reproduced the lost blood.

I was very proud when the doctor told me that what I did probably saved his life or at least made sure he was not in any danger.

To be honest, I’m shitting myself of the thought of bringing him home, in case this happens again.  Not too sure my nerves can handle such an emotional roller coaster again.

I am conscious of the fact that we still have another 7-10 days of recovery ahead of us, before we are fully out of the woods.  I just hope I can find a safe trail through the woods, guiding him to a safe recovery.

Wish us luck!

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