My little underdog is my love story. He’s my easy-going, chill temperament, feels like home, calms me down, cuddle bug, non-complainer, into everything, obsessed with cars and all things fire trucks, full of energy loves his “Ani”, sleeps on Daddy, loves him mommy, sweet and kind-hearted, could care less if he plays alone, does whatever his sister tells him to do, remorseful, easily scared, resilient, obsessed with being a “bad guy,” everything weird happens to him, been to the ED 4 times, extra small little boy. He’s the opposite of his sister, but they are the other half of each others souls. Hudson’s 4th birthday is coming up so it’s only natural I start like this.
Hudson broke his fibula last year falling out of his crib, twisting his ankle and getting it stuck. He started to limp, but never complained or cried once. We are the type of parents who don’t like to rush off to the doctors or hospital because we don’t want to put our kids through it (#whitecoatsyndrome) and also because it just takes a lot of energy and insurance crap. So a few weeks ago he started to tell us that his “knee” hurt. We attributed it to growing pains and passed it off, but when he mentioned it a second time, I immediately made an appointment with his pediatrician. I felt stupid, but my mom gut was telling me to just check it out in case. Howie brought him and they told him it was most likely constipated and to start Miralax right away. I wasn’t convinced since his poops are the size of my head and he goes twice a day on the dot. We snuck some Miralax here and there and just went about life per usual. Disclaimer, this story doesn’t end sad.
This past Sunday (3 days ago) it was a beautiful spring day and we were outside all day. My Mom and Dad came over in the morning and Howie’s parents came over that evening. The kids were outside, on scooters, running around the yard and in their perfect element. He was completely fine all day. Hudson started to limp a little around 3pm and by 4-5pm he started to limp significantly. We kept asking if he was okay and he was pointing to the same exact spot he pointed to a few weeks ago- his left groin area. He thought it was his knee, but consistently pointed to his left groin. A few hours passed and he was completely immobile. He wouldn’t even walk across the room and then just stopped moving his left altogether. At this point he was crying in pain and kept pointing to that area. I immediately thought it could be his testicles (since he surgery for undescended testicles at 4 months old). Then I thought maybe he broke his hip or it was a hernia. I wasn’t in freak out mode just yet, but I was definitely worried. All through the night he was up crying and then wincing in his sleep. It was horrible. I didn’t realize how a kid could be jumping and happy one minute without falling or any sort of trauma to then limping, not moving and then crying in pain. And of course at the time we had no idea why. It’s SO hard watching your kids in pain, but I don’t have to tell you that.
In those moments of parenthood is when we are reminded how strong we really are. We may not seem like we have it all together and we feel like a hot mess everyday, but we are damn good parents in these moments. We all are.
Anyways, Sunday night sucked. It was hell. It was like he was paralyzed and we just wanted to get through the night because we knew we would head to the ED in morning and didn’t want to spend the night in there at all- not for him or us.
It took us an hour to get Hudson in the car because he wouldn’t move and every time we tried to change him he would scream and tell us no. That morning was so scary because he wouldn’t pee, he wouldn’t move, and wouldn’t even get out of bed, not even for the iPad. He stayed in the bed as Howie and I scurried through the house like crazy chickens to get Jules ready for school, a bag packed for the hospital, breakfast for each babe, calling our family to see if they could take Jules to school, etc. When I get nervous I start to pace and then pack too many bags with way too much food and always forget something. When we finally got him in the car, at this point thinking he broke his hip even though no one saw him fall or do anything that would warrant that, we drove straight to the children’s hospital. Last time we were there it was horrible because he was unconscious at our house and we had no idea his blood sugar was 32. Another random weird thing, right? I carried his cute little self in and decided to keep him in a pull up since he couldn’t walk or stand and by the grace of God, they let Howie and I both in because just the week before they lifted COVID visitor restrictions. Thank God they did because it was awful. He was latched around me like a koala and was so scared all day because of white coat syndrome and naturally not being in his own environment. We got a bed and when they saw him crying in pain and holding his hip, they immediately took him for x-rays and ultrasound. It was so hard to transport him as we couldn’t even really carry him without it being uncomfortable. During the ultrasound, the tech told us there was a significant amount of fluid in his left hip, which we could see. She even showed comparison to left and right hip and the right hip had nothing. They scanned his boy parts too due to past history. Again, you just never know what the heck is going on with kids and sometimes it’s harder when they can tell you that something hurts and no one knows why. While we waited for those results, a PA came in to assess our little underdog and really poke and prod. Poor kid was a disaster. When she felt his butt area, he winced the most and cried SO hard- more than I’ve ever seen. I cried so much through my glasses and mask because it’s plain shitty to watch your little loves in so much pain and you just can’t help them feel better no matter what you do. I couldn’t hold him the whole time because he didn’t want to be touched, but at this point nothing comforted him, not even Blippi. They kept pushing Motrin and bringing him toys. He was both annoyed and happy in that big bed.
As you can imagine, all of this is unsettling for a parent. This kind of hip pain is random and far from what any of us know. I mean just a bit ago, he was running and jumping all over the place, because hi, 3 year old. His little body in this big bed with all these “dockis” (doctors) everywhere. Imagine their little worlds trying to navigate this big crazy world?
The X-ray showed nothing serious, but the ultrasound showed significant fluid. The doctor came in and told us it could be a few things: 1)Transient Synovitis- a post viral infection “disease” that inflames the joint and will eventually go away, but can recur and lead to other things like juvenile arthritis and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, 2) Lyme disease, 3)Septic arthritis caused from bacterial infections leading to surgery to drain the hip and clean it out. Transient Synovitis was our best outcome, but we needed to do blood work to make sure the inflammatory markers were not raised. The IV team came in and the child life specialist with their bubbles and toys and Hudson lost it when they drew his blood then kept the needle in his arm. I had them put a “cast”/face cloth wrapped around it so he wouldn’t see it. The the orthopedic team came in to assess Hudson and told us to prepare for surgery if the markers were high because they had to clean his hip out immediately and test the fluids. That sucked to hear but I kept telling myself there were so many sick kids and kids who were way worse- like a real-life angel I know who lost her son to mitochondrial disease and whose daughter is following a similar path, but experiencing major seizures and in and out of the hospital. I just kept looking at my cute little boy laying in this big huge bed with a needle in his arm, legs looking like a frog, half naked in a pull up because we wouldn’t change it or put his clothes back on. We just kept hearing codes, major traumas coming in, and kids screaming. It was a bit overstimulating. But anyone who knows me, knows that that is my element. I like adrenaline and I like hospitals and as sick as it sounds, it feels homey to me. That doesn’t take away the fact that I HATE being there with my own children. It has always been a dream of mine to make a HUGE difference- I want to feel important and I want to make a HUGE difference using all of my heart and soul. I felt every single emotion that day and allowed myself to feel them when he took a nap. I couldn’t rest my soul, but I absorbed my own thoughts and emotions along with everyone else’s and prayed for good blood work and all the families there. Howie and I were both exhausted from not sleeping, worrying, and trying to take away Hudson’s pain- Parents: when you know, you know. Empaths: when all you do is worry, feel other people’s energy, and then you’re in the ED with your own child who can’t walk and keeps crying/won’t eat or pee, you get it.
Blood work came back good! CBC was fine, inflammatory markers took awhile, but came back normal, Lyme disease still pending (3 days later). However, they still admitted him due to pain- it was getting worse as each hour passed. He was also being poked and prodded all day long and was so tired. I wanted to pick him up and go home. He wanted to go home so bad, but the doctors kept telling him he had to get up or walk before he goes home. It was horrible.
It took FOREVER to get a bed upstairs because of all the traumas in the ED. I kept thanking all the nurses and doctors and I kept apologizing- not sure for what, but I just felt so overloaded all day. Still pending results, telling 1,000 doctors and nurses the story- “No, we didn’t see him fall, No he didn’t get any colds or coughs, Yes, he is an active boy.” There was no apparent trauma or injuries, no swelling, no bruising, but he’s our kid that everything weird happens to. Who the heck gets Transient Synovitis? I’ve never even heard of it, but of course he gets it. All signs were and are pointing to this and no one really knows why, but they were very clear on telling us that it could lead to more things that we need to watch out for. That wasn’t so re-assuring, but it’s what it is.
The night was okay, better than expected, except for when he tried to rip out his IV at midnight. I started to get anxious with it in his arm because he now wouldn’t move his arm or his legs. They kept his pain under control, but he was so restless and just wanted to cuddle. He wouldn’t even move in his sleep because then he would cry. The doctors told us the pain will pass within a few days and the PT team would come see us in the morning to “make him walk.” I’m not that overprotective parent where I’m like- don’t touch him until he’s ready. I’m a bit more assertive and Howie doesn’t love it. I don’t need bubbles and clown shows during an IV for him- just do it. If he needs to walk and you think he can and we know he didn’t break a bone, then do what you have to do. By the morning, the pain subsided, but his confidence was shot and the PT team wanted to show him that he can walk- he was just scared. He was SO frightened of feeling that pain and that was so hard for me because I felt so helpless and I hate seeing him scared- Those 2 things are horrible for me to see with people I love- fear and hurt. My little cute naked underdog would cry anytime anyone came in the room and was so afraid for anyone to touch his leg or move it- rightfully so. But he was so sweet the whole time, especially when he finally took a nap.
It was really cute watching him walk with the angel PT, Lauren. She was a game changer for us. Kind of why I want to be a nurse. I want to be a game changer in someone’s life. Hudson looked like a newborn horse trying to walk. It was painful and rewarding watching him, but I knew he was going to leave and be okay. Other kids were living there on that same floor so I kept perspective. They kept coming in and telling us they didn’t know when we could go home yet because they wanted to make sure no more tests were needed. I was just relieved no surgery, but still worried about other things that it could be. At this point, after 4 hours of sleep on a hospital cot sleeping on a stuffed Batman with 2 sheets, I just wanted to go home and cuddle my boy and see my girl. Plus all he did was talk about his “Ani.” He adores his sister so much and seeing how he talked about her to all the doctors melted me. We also got to FaceTime her thanks to my sister angel. She made him get well cards with her best friend cousin and it was heart warming. Hudson was so happy. I was a melting mess being there in an amazing hospital where I want to work, surrounded by angels and heroes, next o my husband who could finally be with me meaning there is a light at the end of the pandemic, adrenaline loving traumas, sad families, crying children, my own hurting child without answers at first, sleep deprived, a PTSD husband who was slowly dying inside in that atmosphere, a family that always shows up- wooooo that’s a lot for anyone.
Needless to say we are home and back to our normal chaotic routine. As much as being in the hospital is any parent’s worst nightmare, I felt a great sense of peace- almost like when I first had Hudson and it was just him and I in the hospital. I knew we were going home and I knew he was healthy otherwise. Of course we need to be pay attention to how he is walking and playing and all that other stuff/pending blood work. He is walking better, still limping and still looking like a newborn horse, but God these kids are so resilient. I learned so much just from that day.
My little underdog is my love story. Him and I bonded so much just being there together and I felt such peace knowing how much he loves me and I love him. I know this story isn’t a sad story or I may not have needed to even tell it, but here’s what I took away: *No matter how big or little something may seem to anyone, it doesn’t matter- it’s YOUR child and it will always be big when you love them so big. “You want to take away ALL of their pain- especially innocent little babes. I mean I love my kids so much it actually breaks my heart. The love explodes inside of me. *I will be something BIG soon. It’s my calling. Your calling gives you goosebumps. *When your child complains of something consistently, even if it’s intermittent, don’t dismiss it. Listen to your gut. *Family and friends will always be there for you and you don’t have to apologize a million times for thinking you are ruining their plans. You’re not. *Teach your kids to love each other. It goes a long way. *Love, always. It’s what life is really about. No matter what anyone tells you. From the minute you are born until you take your last breath. It’s always been about love.
Hudson is home and we are all so grateful. Thanks for listening to my underdog’s story. He’s my resilient little fighter and I love everything about him and our little story.
Next up is a brain MRI to check his pituitary gland and x Ray his hands because he is way below growth chart. We are hoping nothing serious and he may be starting growth hormones after all else is clearer. Keep the prayers friends. Love to all.