Tag Archives: appendectomy

Boy Scout Camp Debriefing

This post is a day or two over-due, and if you have been waiting for an update I apologize.

Scout (12yo ds) left for Many Point Boy Scout Camp the morning of July 28th. We live in south eastern Iowa and Many Point is in eastern Minnesota. This makes it most of ten hours away by car. This was destined to be an extra fun summer camp experience for him. It was his first time going to Boy Scout camp (vs. Cub Scout or Webelos camp) and he was going to turn twelve while at camp. Boy Scouts love any excuse to celebrate, and two of his leaders (Joe & Annette) have had him since he was a Wolf Cub (four years) and this was the first time they were going to have him for his birthday.

I sent texts to Joe & Annette on August 2nd, asking them to wish him a happy birthday. I got a call in the evening from Scout. This should have been my first alarm bell that my child was not feeling well. He normally couldn’t care less about home when he is at camp, because he’s having too much fun. We talked for 10-15 minutes (a really long phone conversation for Scout – alarm bell two). He sounded tired (expected) and whinged a bit about how EVERY counselor and EVERY Merit Badge group sang Happy Birthday to him (also expected), but didn’t say anything about feeling poorly. We went on about our evening and started getting ready for bed.

About 10:30 I got a call from a local mobile number that I didn’t recognize and that wasn’t programmed into my mobile phone (alarm bell three). It was another scout leader, Dr. Ron, calling to tell me that he was on his way to take Scout to the emergency room in Detroit Lakes (about 45 minutes away from camp) because he was having symptoms that indicated possible appendicitis (cue: Mommy Panic Attack). Dr. Ron has been Venture Scout’s allergy doctor for about ten years, so I trust his medical and personal judgement immensely. We talked for about ten minutes, and ended the conversation with Dr. Ron telling me that he would call as soon as they got to the ER.

I made the phone calls that I needed to in order to rearrange our vacation plans for the following week. We arranged to go to my mom’s house two days early, on Friday instead of Sunday. M’duine and I discussed how we were going to get five people packed for a week-long vacation in half a day while I was at work.

True to his word, Dr. Ron called when they reached the ER, but informed us that there was a roll-over car accident ahead of them in the ER, so it might be a while before he was seen. We went over some general and insurance information with the ER and gave them verbal authorization to treat Scout. Then I occupied my mind by creating soccer teams and sending out a few emails to let non-family know what was going on.

The next call was from the surgeon that the ER called in to assess Scout. He had performed an abdominal ultrasound and thought that Scouts symptoms warranted an immediate appendectomy, which we verbally authorized. At this point I gave up, laid down and tried to get a little rest. It was just after midnight at this point.

I was still awake when we got the call from the Nurse Anesthetist so that she could get verbal authorization for the anesthesia. She had the wonderful thought to grab a cordless phone and asked if we would like to talk to Scout. DUH! Of course I want to talk to my son, why didn’t I think to ASK someone before?! He had been given medication for the pain, so he was a bit out of it, but it was wonderful to hear his voice and know, all things considered, that he was alright. I laid back down to try a get a little sleep. It was after 02:00 and I was due to be up at 07:00 so that I could go into work, explain the situation to my boss and try to get the office squared away before I was gone for a week.

I woke up when the surgeon called to let us know that Scout was in recovery and definitely had appendicitis, so it was good that we allowed the appendectomy. He said everything went as expected and told us that we could anticipate Scout being released on Saturday sometime. I laid back down and got a couple more hours of sleep.

My alarm went off as expected, I zombie walked through my morning at work, ran a couple of required errands, packed my clothes and toiletries (m’duine had everything else packed), forgot my hair brush (it’s a good thing I keep a small comb in my purse or I would have dreadlocks by the time we get back), loaded the Hot Rod Minivan (HRMV), and started on the six hour trip to my Mom’s house. We had a fairly uneventful trip and made pretty good time considering that we had four children (8mo dgs, 3yo ds, 8yo dd, 10yo dd) and three adults! We made it to my Mom’s house and unpacked everything except the overnight bag that I had packed for my trip to the hospital. I then met my ex-husband’s mother in Maple Grove so that I could pick up Venture Scout, who had volunteered to ride the three-and-a-half hours to Detroit Lakes with me.

Venture Scout and I battled weather, bad GPS maps, and an area in Minnesota that I have little to no experience with. We made it to the hospital at 02:30, thanked the Scout Leaders On Duty (they had been taking rotations since Scout went to the ER) and tried to get a little more sleep. We woke up bright and early when the nurse came in to check Scout’s vitals and tell us that he could have a cup of apple juice and a popsicle. She kindly brought Venture Scout and I apple juice also. Dr. Surgeon came in to check on Scout, said he was doing well, and told us that he was upgrading him to a full liquid diet, so Cream of Wheat and Jell-O for breakfast it was! He also told us that he had another appendectomy in a few minutes, but that he would come back after than and probably discharge Scout, which he did!

The most traumatizing part of the discharge instructions was when Scout realized that “no strenuous physical activity” meant “no soccer” for six weeks. You would have thought the doctor had just told Scout that Christmas was cancelled. Actually, I think he might have taken that better! We loaded him and all his camp stuff (which his leaders had so kindly brought to the hospital) into the HRMV and started the trip back to my mom’s, which took closer to six hours than the previously scheduled four. I would not normally advise trying to drive a post-op patient two hundred miles immediately after discharge!

We are at my mom’s now. He’s sleeping, comfortably I hope. He needs to work on letting me know he’s in pain before the pain is so bad that it makes it hard for him to breath! He’s a wonderful, sensitive, stoic young adult who takes the world on his shoulders, doesn’t want to inconvenience anyone and likes to feel independent and helpful, so the next six weeks are going to be an exercise in living some of the Boy Scout Virtues. As the Boy Scout Law states,

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

He will need to be Trustworthy & Helpful by telling me when he is in pain, my telepathy is broken. Friendly, Courteous, Kind, and Cheerful he’s already practicing towards Stud, who just doesn’t understand that Bubba’s owies AREN’T helped when you climb on his lap to give him a hug! I think these may become more difficult after he starts to feel a little better and is bored with sitting around “doing nothing” as he keeps putting it. He will need to practice obedience to his doctor’s orders. He will need to learn to be thrifty with the energy he expends doing things, something he is not used to. He’s already pretty good with clean, but will have to make sure he keeps his incision site clean and dry for the next few weeks. I think he had Brave in Spades, and needs to maybe back off on that one just a bit. Loyal and Reverent probably apply somewhere, but I haven’t quite figured out how.

Good Night, all, and I hope you had a less eventful weekend than we did! My Silver Heart is feeling a little tarnished today.

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