Wednesday, October 3, 2012


We are home now from the hospital. Thank you for the prayers!

I've had people ask what happened so I thought I would post the entire story here.

On Friday night, I put the boys to bed, and headed to bed myself. At 10:15 pm, I heard a "thud" followed by a scream. I met Riley in the hallway, he had fallen from the top bunk. (no, he is not supposed to be up there, but he crawled up to sleep with Jackson.) He was screaming, and holding is stomach. I picked him up, and headed to our bedroom, laid him on our bed, and got his inhaler (he was wheezing from crying/screaming) and the motrin. Gave him both, and looked over him well. He had no bruising, but we could not get him to settle down. He kept saying his tummy hurt. I called the pediatrician, they told me a list of symptoms to look for, and he had none of them. They suggested to just bring him into the office in the morning (they are open on Saturday mornings). But, if I felt like he needed to be seen asap, to take him to the ER. I hung up the phone, he had drifted off to sleep, but was whimpering in his sleep. His color was strange, a white/grey/green. I decided to take him to the ER. I just did not have a good feeling.

When we arrived at the ER, there were five police cars in the parking lot, and a man on the ground in handcuffs. It was about 10:45pm. I didn't want to get out of the van, for fear that a crazy person could be loose in the parking lot! There was a nurse outside on the sidewalk watching it all go down, and he came out to the van and helped us inside. I got to the front desk and told them "My son is having difficulty breathing,he has asthma, and fell out of his bed, he says his tummy hurts too." I know that was God that had me say it exactly like that. Because, if I had just said "He fell out of his bed, his tummy hurts". We would of been told to take a seat,would have waited hours to be seen, and the outcome could have been horrific.

The same nurse who walked us in, took his vitals.

His blood pressure was high, but everything else was fine. The nurse said it's not uncommon when you are in pain to have high blood pressure. Typically at this point they send you back to the waiting room to wait for a triage space to open. This nurse looked at me, looked him over and said "His color is off. I'm taking you right back."

We got back to a room, and Riley was dozing in and out of sleep, his vitals were okay, blood pressure was still high. He kept complaining he was hurting, then he started to cry again. I went and found his nurse (His name was Brandon, God knew I'd need to remember his name.) he came in, and literally ran for the doctor.

The doctor came right in, she looked him over, felt his tummy, and said he needed a lab draw. From that she said she would know if he would need a CT scan. I honestly thought the lab draw would come back fine. And we would head home with a "He fell, and has a bad bruised rib" diagnoses.

His labs came back, his liver enzymes were high. They quickly took him back for a CT scan. What I thought was strange was that Riley slept through it ALL. He was totally lifeless. And so pale. Hindsight, I should have asked them to take his blood pressure. They finished his CT scan, he stayed asleep through it, we went back to his room. The doctor came in not five minutes later and said "Mom, I need to talk to you in the hall." At the same time about eight nurses came into the room, carrying all kinds of things. They took his blood pressure, and I heard someone yell "Unstable!". I stood in the hall while the doctor told me he had a category 4 lacerated liver, he was bleeding internally, and would be transported via ambulance (lights and sirens) to the Children's Hospital in Macon (45 mins away). That he would likely need surgery upon arrival.

I walked back into his room, he was still so peacefull and sleeping. I called Brandon, in shock. Attempted to tell him what was going on. Unlike so many other times, I had not called/texted any family members. I mean, I really thought he would be just fine. And did not want to worry them if it was just a bump/bruise. Brandon contacted family, and I watched a crew of nurses/EMT's prepare to transfer my "Unstable" baby.

By that point his blood pressure and heart rate were all over the place. They decided that Brandon the nurse, would go with us in the ambulance. They had two IV's in him. Why? Because, Brandon actually worked at the children's hospital on the trauma team. He just "happened" to be in Warner Robins Friday night to pick up some extra hours. He knew they would need to put two iv's and pump him with fluids to keep him stable, and prepared for surgery.

Upon arriving at Children's we were met by a team of 9 surgeons. They were waiting for us. Riley was dozing in and out of sleep. The doctors were all on their computers/phones consulting with other doctors and looking at the CT scan over and over. Trying to decide what to do. He was stable after getting so many fluids. They told me the many risks of doing surgery, and the chance that he might stop bleeding and not require surgery at all. We decided it best to wait 24 hours. In the meantime, they put him in intensive care. Did labs every two hours, and checked his blood pressure regularly. He was on blood pressure medications, Morphine for pain, and vitamin K. Oh, and he could eat and drink nothing for at least 48 hours.

By the time we got to Intensive Care it was about 5am. We were both exhausted. He slept most of the day Saturday. Giving us more than a few scares with his blood pressure/heart rate. I could not sleep a wink. Every time the monitor went off, my heart sunk. By Sunday he seemed to be rounding a corner. Though labs were not better, they weren't worse. He was still very tired, and dozing in and out of sleep all day.On Sunday night we were moved to progressive ICU. They put us in the biggest room on the floor because the charge nurse really thought we'd only be there one night. Riley's labs showed his hemoglobin was still very low, and taking a while to come up. So they kept him till Tuesday afternoon.

We are SO thankful to be home. He is on strict activity for 8 weeks (Ie: can't do ANY physical activities) We go to the doctor tomorrow morning, for more labs to make sure he is getting better. And we follow up at Children's Hospital in two weeks for another CT scan to make sure it's healing properly. Pray he does not do anything to rupture it again.  Life is so fragile and a gift, and though I've always known that, this past weekend I learned it first hand.

When the doctors came to discharge us, the doctor looked at me and said "Mrs. Hartman, you are a very lucky Mom. Had you made the choice to just let him go back to sleep, you would of had a very different week."  I then listened as he and the students talked about the "What if's".

The doctor said lets play devils advocate for a moment: "What if she had just had a glass of wine, she had friends over, she heard her son goofing off and fell out of the bed, she called the pediatrician, he was ticked she woke him up at 11pm, he told her to bring him into the office in the morning. She put him back to bed, went on with her party of friends."

 A student piped up. "His blood pressure would of continued to drop."

 Another student "He would of kept bleeding internally,while his organs shut down"

Another "He would not have woken up, and been in septic shock."

Another "By the time the mother woke up, her son could of been gone for hours."

At that moment the pediatrician looked at me and said:

"Mrs. Hartman, we are glad you are taking your son home today. You were right, remember this :"The pediatrician did not give birth to your son, you did. Always follow your intuition.".He shook my hand, patted my shoulder, and left the room.

That my friends will make any mother weep. I had not let myself think of the "What if's".

I know that none of the "happened to be's" were accidents. God had his hand on our boy.
 And we are just so thankful he is home, on the road to being healthy again.

Edited to add:
If your a mom, reading this, please, always go with your gut (no pun intended.). Ask God for wisdom and discernment, and then do whatever you have to do. I had a doctor tell me, "If you take your child to the ER, and they dismiss you, go to another ER!". I honestly don't think I would have ever thought of that. But, now, I know. If you think the ER you are at does not know how to handle a pediatric emergency  request a transfer to a children's hospital. If you live close to a children's hospital, don't waste your time with a local ER, drive to the children's hospital and go through their ER! Riley let the doctors push all over his little tummy, and told them it didn't hurt. But I could see him holding back tears. He just didn't want them to poke him more, and was scared, and is SO SHY! As soon as they left the room, he burst into tears saying how bad they hurt him. That is when I walked out of his room and found his nurse, and told him how much pain Riley was in, and in a sudden moment everything changed.
You know your child, you know when they are hurting, don't let anyone that does not know your child tell you differently. You are their advocate and voice when they can't speak up for themselves.


Its Me Again Margaret said...

This story is a true testament of a mother's love. Being in healthcare I completely agree with every bit of advice you put on here. I am so happy for your family that your baby is healing! I found your blog thru Kelly's Korner. I will pray for both your and your friends during this very difficult time!

6HartsforHim said...

Thank you so much for your prayers!And thank you for the encouragement!

blessedmomof3 said...

You are SO RIGHT with this advice!!! My daughter was having severe stomach pains one night in February. We took her to the ER and they basically doped her up on pain meds and sent her home. The next day when the pain meds wore off (a Saturday) we were right back in the ER. Once again because test results showed nothing they were going to dope her up and send her home. We insisted that they admit her and they did. The WONDERFUL nurse on the pediatric floor took one look at her and her symptoms and said this is gallbladder. She was bold enough to pick up the phone and call the pediatrician and later the surgeon herself. The next morning tests were run and my daughter was scheduled to have her gallbladder removed. Had we not followed our gut feeling , my daughter would have gone through a great deal more pain and suffering before we got to the bottom of the problem. Never be afraid to be your child's advocate! No one knows your child like you do! I just found your blog through Kelly's Korner. I will be praying for your family and for the family of your friend.

Brandon said...

My friends Stacey and Erin sent me this link and I just wanted to say hey.

I am so glad that your son is doing OK. I am glad to see that he did not have to have surgery. I am also glad that my co-workers "trauma team" did such an excellent job. I know that it was a stressful time for you and the little brave patient. I just want to say that you and Riley handle the situation remarkably. I just wanted to say hey since I never get to follow up with my patients. I tried to call the PICU but since I am in the emergency room it was against the rules. I will be sure to tell the DR from Houston also, she still asks me if I ever heard anything about Riley. Lastly I totally agree with what you said about following your instinct. Even trained medical professionals can miss things compared to "mommy instincts". Accidents happen and usually its the "mom's" that heal the wounds more than us nurses.

I am glad that he is safe and sound.

Brandon RN

6HartsforHim said...

Brandon! SMALL WORLD! Thank you SO much for being such an awesome nurse! It's so great to hear from you! We really appreciated your attentive care for Riley. I know nothing happens by "accident". God really watched over us that night,and we are grateful you were there! Blessings to you!