In Part 2 ...I hopped on the last flight back to MN and went straight to the ER and after a two night stay, as I was preparing to leave...
The doctor came into the room and introduced himself saying he was here for the surgery consult...
So there I sat, on the bed next to Hattie, looking at this doctor with his 2 assistants close by his side. I shrugged it off and sort of smirked. I guess that's one way for a doc to come in and break the ice...start it all off with a joke. So I decided to play along.
Me: Surgery, huh? Ummmm....okay.
Doctor: Yes, so I was asked to come down and speak with you today about her gallbladder. Now, I don't think there is a high likely hood of her actually having stones, but I have been...
Me: What?! Oh, are you serious? I'm so sorry, I thought you were just joking. Ummm...I'm sorry to tell you that you have the wrong room. We are just in here for a virus and I thought you were the pediatrician on call for the day coming to let us know when to expect getting discharged.
Doctor: OH! I am soooo sorry maam. I...ummm....I'm really sorry, my apologies.
Me: No problem, just glad it's a mistake. Have a good day. :)
And the doctor and his team took their exit. I looked at Hattie with wide eyes thinking to myself "Well good grief! This is why you hear of stories where people come in for heart surgery and end up getting a foot amputated or something!" They really really need to be more careful! Seriously!!
And as I sat there bewildered and dumbfounded that this had just occurred, the doctor re-entered the room. He looked at me and we had another conversation:
Doctor: This is Hattie Hubler, right?
Me: Yes (in a very tiny voice)
Doctor: And she had an abdominal ultrasound yesterday, right?
Me: Yes (in an even smaller voice)
Doctor: Then...I have the right room, maam. I do need to discuss your daughter's gallbladder with you.
And my eyes started to fill with tears. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut and I couldn't seem to find my voice at all anymore. My brain was whirling and my eyes were darting back and forth at all three of these people standing before me, trying to make sense out of what was taking place. I swallowed hard and felt a lump in the back of my throat and told him I needed just a minute to call my mom who was most likely just down the hallway searching out a snack. I knew that my brain was just not going to absorb all of this information since it was still traveling at the speed of confusion.
I quickly dialed best I could as my hands shook. It rang and went to voice mail. I frantically hit redial and once again it went to voicemail. I knew that I was going to have to calm down and focus. I took a deep breath and reluctantly looked up at him and told him that I was listening.
Dr. Rustad went on to say that the ultrasound showed that Hattie had some density in her gallbladder. He wasn't terribly concerned about it, but the pediatrician had ordered a surgical consult because of this abnormality. It seemed most logical that since it is so rare for a child of her age to develop gallstones, it was most likely just sludge.
**Rabbit trail: Here's a little medical information in case you (like I) didn't exactly know what the gallbladder is for. The gallbladder is a smaller, pear shaped organ that lives right underneath the liver. It's job is to store bile. Once you eat food, especially fatty foods, it releases bile to help your body digest your meal. It's a digestion-aid helper. :) How's that for medical jargon?!**
So Hattie's ultrasound showed sludge, but Dr. Rustad wasn't too worried. Why? Because he figured that the odds were so much more in her favor that she had a virus and this wasn't a gallbladder attack at all. And because it was most likely a virus which had caused her to thrown-up 19 times, she obviously hadn't eaten in a few days. Hence the gallbladder had not needed to spit out any bile to help digest anything, it had gotten a little sluggish and the bile itself had gotten a little thick just sitting around.
Not to worry, he told me...it is so rare for a 2 year old to develop gallstones...this most likely isn't anything to worry about. BUT...just to be on the safe side, come back in 3 months for a repeat ultrasound and we can rule it out 100%. And he left the room for the second time.
There Hattie and I sat, me stunned, shaking, and processing and Hattie playing games on the ipad.
My mom returned shortly after and I poured out all of the information I had been given. I didn't know what to make of this new information: should I be worried...or not. Is something more serious going on here...or not. Is there a possibility we will be back in this same hospital for surgery...or not.
My head spun and my heart ached.
Within an hour, the on-call pediatrician showed up, apologized like crazy for not giving me the heads-up for the surgery consult being ordered, told me not to worry...that it would be so rare for her to have gallstones, and told us we could get the IV out and head on home.
Hattie was such a trooper, she endured that IV so well and was so brave when they had to take rolls and rolls of tape off her arm in order to pull the thing out.
She was more than ready to have it gone.
She had to watch every little thing...
We changed her out of her little hospital gown, loaded our things into the wagon, and made our way to the van. The weather was cold, blustery, and white with snow. It's how I felt inside: cold and numb, thoughts whipping around in my head, and a blank canvas of not knowing what lied ahead.