“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Last Wednesday, HJ and I were going to have lots of fun. My last day of work had been Tuesday, and I was taking the rest of the week off before starting my new job. We had plans to run a few errands in the morning, and slip n’ slide the afternoon away. I was looking forward to relaxing and hanging out with HJ before starting this new chapter in our lives.
I woke up at 6:15am to HJ opening his bedroom door. He usually climbs into my bed and falls asleep for another hour or two. I remember he was kind of whining on his way in and took a really long time to actually get in the bed, but he did, and we fell back asleep. Around 7:15, I got up to get coffee and started picking through my box of things from my old office. I thought it was weird HJ hadn’t come out of bed, but maybe he was tired.
I went back to check on him and asked why he was just sitting there. He told me his legs were sleeping. I figured he slept weird on them or just wasn’t ready to get up, so I checked some emails, took care of the dog and came back to the room. He still insisted that his left leg hurt.
I warmed up a rice bag and told him it was medicine. I said once it was cool, that his leg would be better. I jumped in the shower, and got ready. I went to take the bag off his leg and he told me the medicine wasn’t working yet. I was getting a little worried. By this time we had been up for well over an hour, and he hadn’t moved. I told him I was going to put my purse in the car, and if he wasn’t able to stand when I came back, he would have to go to the doctor. I thought that might break him of this funk.
But when I came back, he still hadn’t moved. I went to pick him up and carry him over my hip. his body stiffened, he cringed, and tears streamed down his face.
Something was wrong.
I got him in the car while he howled in pain and I drove to the Urgent Care close to our house. I had no idea what could have happened. The night before he had been running through the sprinkler and chasing kids around the house. And now he couldn’t stand.
We met with the doctor and he seemed fairly confident HJ had injured his leg the night before, and it just swelled up over night. He recommended Tylenol, and a wrap, but wanted to take an x-ray just to be certain. HJ was decent through the x-rays, but I could tell he was in a lot of pain. He couldn’t straighten his leg well, and this made it difficult.
We went back to the room and waited.
The x-ray tech came back in and said the doctor wanted a few more pictures. I felt my heart drop. I know what that means. They saw something. This time, the x=-ray was hard to do. He was in a lot of pain and did not want to cooperate. I had to physically pin him down while he wailed. It was awful. I felt horrible. And I was so scared.
We went back to the room and sat down. Within a few minutes, the doctor came in. He mentioned there was “something” in the x-ray. He wanted us to get a CT, and the nurse was working on the referral. Meanwhile, he wanted to go over what they were looking for. A tumor. Possibly cancer. And they needed to rule it out.
Tears streamed down my face as he offered to let HJ sit with the nurses while I call someone. He suggested I have someone with me during the CT for support. He let me know he was hoping for the best. I just couldn’t believe what was happening.
I called my mom to meet us at the office where he would be getting the CT. I cried the whole way there. My poor baby.
We were called into the office to get the CT, my mom had to wait in the waiting room while I took HJ back by myself. He saw the table similar to the x-ray machine and freaked. The techs tried calming him down with stickers and I was showing him pictures on my phone. But we couldn’t get him to hold still. He is 3 and scared. He thought they were trying to kill him. He wanted out. After a few attempts, they said they think they got enough and put HJ, my mom and myself in a private room with a phone so the doctor could call me.
I call HJ’s pediatrician, who instantly called the other doctor. I was told the CT scan was being reviewed by someone else, a specialist, after the first reviewer asked for a 2nd opinion. I knew a 2nd opinion meant there was something there. If it was fine, you don’t need 2 people to look it over. I asked the doctor if he should head to the hospital in Iowa City (the best in the state), he said it was a possibility.
The pediatrician told me to go home and wait for a few minutes, but let me know they were thinking about sending us to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. On the way out of the building, one of the techs followed us out. She said that sometimes they just need second opinions and it didn’t necessarily mean anything. I asked her if she thought I should just go home and start packing for the trip to Iowa City. She said to wait, but hesitated.
I got my baby home and made sure he was as comfortable as possible on the couch. And the phone rang. HJ’s pediatrician said he had a referral for us to go to Iowa City and to get there as soon as we could.
I started throwing things in a bag while my mom ran to pick up the CT images from the clinic. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Less than 18 hours before my child was running down the street and now I was taking him to a Children’s Hospital.
I quickly loaded the car and got HJ comfortable with a movie. By 3pm that day, we were heading to the hospital in Iowa City, knowing my son couldn’t walk, something was seen on the images, and we had a team of doctor’s expecting us.
I would like to say I was staying strong for my son, but I wasn’t. I was a mess. I was confused. I was more terrified then I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t hold it together. The hour and a half drive seemed to take forever. I drove part of the way, I needed to keep distracted. After a while, I asked my mom to drive. I had tons of missed calls and numerous texts asking what was going on after I posted a facebook request for prayers. I talked to a few friends and updated everyone else over facebook. I couldn’t stand to tell the story over and over.