OUTTAKE: DOUG’S APPENDICITIS   2 comments

Warning, this is a long excerpt. It helped a lot in shortening the manuscript, though.

“On the way home from Vermont, Doug started complaining about stomach pains. Poor kid. I think we weren’t sympathetic enough. We thought the hotdogs we cooked out must have disagreed with him. It’s not like Doug to complain, so we wondered if we should take him to the emergency room when we got home to Hamden. Instead we called Bill Lavelle across the street. As a fireman he’s trained in emergency diagnosis. He asked us a few questions and then came over and poked around a bit. Poor Doug. He was really hurting. I wondered if it might be appendicitis, but Bill said no. I called Dr. Wessel too. When I told him the symptoms, he said it wasn’t appendicitis – that we should give him aspirin and put him to bed.”

“Oh dear, I can feel it coming,” Jennie had pulled herself out of bed when she knew who was calling.

“But when he woke up in the morning,” Mona went on, “the pain was just too intense. Lou was off to work, and Marjy Ehmer and I were in the kitchen planning for the fall semester. I called Lou to come home so we could take Doug to the doctor and made last minute arrangements with Marjy. Dr. Wessel was so sweet when we got there. Usually he chats with me while he examines the kids, but this time he gave Doug his full attention.

“What do you think it is?” he asked Doug.

“Appendicitis,” was the Pain-filled response.

“I think you’re right. Let’s get you straight to the hospital. I’ll call ahead.”

“Oh, mother. The poor kid. It turns out his appendix was about to rupture. Thank God we live after Sulfa drugs were discovered.”

“Oh my poor Doug,” Jennie’s memories went back to the baby she helped care for eleven years ago.

“Mother, it was so awful. Yale New Haven is a teaching hospital and the medical personnel kept coming in to poke him in the stomach while we waited for him to go to surgery. Now that everything is over, I’m just mad at myself that I didn’t make them stop. But I’m proud of myself that I insisted they let me stay in his room afterwards. I had to call Dr. Wessel to intervene and make them allow it. I can’t imagine leaving any child alone waking up from surgery.”

“How is he now?” Carl asked. “Can we come to visit?”

“The doctors agree with me that it’s probably best if only Lou and I visit. And Lisa wants to come, but I have to go the route of Dr. Wessel again to get permission.”

The next report set Jennie’s mind at ease. “He’s doing fine. He’ll be here for a week before they remove the stitches. Then they’ll let him come home in a day or two.”

“I stopped by school today to leave the materials I need to start the semester. I have to thank Doug for having his attack at a convenient time. It seems like my kids have always known to do their sicknesses when I could be home anyway. But the poor thing, mother. He looks so pale. And you can tell he’s in pain the way he orders me around like a slave.”

Mona, spending each day in the hospital with him, called every evening to report. “You wouldn’t recognize our Doug,” she told them. “He is so cranky and bossy, but it kind of pleases me that he’s not holding back.”

Then came the day of stitches removal. “Lisa was with me and we both watched. The doctors wanted us to leave, but I insisted we wouldn’t cause a problem. Lisa was great, sitting on my lap and watching. I think she has a stomach for this kind of stuff.”

Mona called Jennie and Carl right away on homecoming day. “He’s so happy to be home and quiet with me. Lou and Lisa have gone to Branford where Lou will be Godfather to Genny and Bill Goff’s baby.”

“May we come see him”?”

“Sure, I know it will make him happy to see you.”

They made it a short stay, giving him a gift of a basket organizer for his desk.

“It made me feel so good to see how happy he was when we came. Poor kid. He looks so pale, though.” Jennie settled into the passenger seat.

“Surgery is nothing to fool around with” Carl remembered. “It takes a lot out of a guy.”

A few days later Mona had another message.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call you sooner, but I had to take Doug back to the doctor. He said it was an abscess — very unusual. ‘He must have suffered some stress,’ he said.’”

“All I can say is, Lou’s parents came after you did — and stayed, — and stayed, waiting for Lou and Lisa to get home. Mama was so worried, she kept hugging him and pinching his cheek. It’s all because they love him, I know – and he loves them — but after they’d been here almost two hours, Doug drew me into the bathroom and, his face beet red and his fists tight, commanded ‘Get them out of here!” Oh mother, I felt guilty I hadn’t asked them to leave sooner, and I got in trouble with Alma for doing it. But all is well now. He’s getting better. I told him he could have one more day of being mean to me, then he had to stop. He did just that – one more nasty day, then back to his own self. Now he’s having a good time doing quiet things and should be able to start school on time.”

 

2 responses to “OUTTAKE: DOUG’S APPENDICITIS

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  1. We do get through such things. And things have changed. Last adult I knew to have his appendix removed was back to work in a week. Hospitals are no longer thought to be a place to rest and recuperate. And some of that is good.

    Nancy J Gustafson

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