· By Tiny Hearts Education
Archie's Intussusception Story
Archie went to bed, a normal healthy, almost 9-month-old, on a Thursday night. Friday morning, I woke up to his cot covered in vomit, thinking, "great! gastro AGAIN." So I gave him a smaller bottle to see how he went. After he finished it, he screamed in pain, followed by a giant vomit of milk and bile.
This went on all morning. I already knew the pain cry was very out of character for him. By lunchtime, he was still screaming, followed by vomit, but then he started to go limp in my arms after the vomit. Straight to our amazing GP we went. He felt his tummy, and everything seemed to feel fine. He suspected gastro or extreme dehydration, and if he didn't improve in the next few hours, we were to go to ED for fluids.
Not long after we got home, my husband also got home from work, and we discussed what we were feeling and decided to go to the hospital then because it just wasn't right. I wish I had gone earlier, but with a background in healthcare, I always feel bad about clogging up the waiting room.
We got to the hospital, which was packed, and Archie continued crying, throwing up bile, and then going limp. Luckily for us, the Paeds emergency ward wasn't as packed, and we didn't wait very long. The doctors and nurses were very attentive and organised fluids right away. While waiting for them to come back, I was hugging Archie and all of a sudden smelt blood. Panicked, I ripped his nappy open and was shocked by what I saw. His nappy was full of jelly-like blood. I was trying to make sense of it, but at this point, any medical knowledge I had went out the window.
The doctor didn't stuff around. She explained that she thought it was intussusception which is where part of the intestine telescopes into itself, and that we needed to get him to a children's hospital immediately to confirm it. She called for PIPER, but they were flat out, so we went in an ambulance to the Children's hospital. Upon arrival, Archie had an ultrasound immediately, which confirmed it. The doctors explained the steps that needed to happen, starting with an air enema to try and dislodge it. During the procedure, Archie was awake, and we sat outside the room and what we heard was gut-wrenching. They were in there longer than we liked, and it didn't work. We went to the ward and discussed trying again in a few hours after his swelling went down and he had more pain relief and fluids. We had to go through a second time of hearing his horrible screams, and it still didn't work.
So we sat by as they prepared him for surgery. We were exhausted as it was now lunchtime on Saturday, and neither of us had slept more than an hour. They told us surgery would take about 30-60 minutes, so once three hours ticked by, panic stepped in. I was starting to nag every nurse for an update. It took almost 4 hours, and the surgeon called on his way to us, telling us he was fine and would see us shortly. He explained that during the attempt to dislodge during keyhole, it was too stuck, and they couldn't do it. But luckily, by having to make a bigger incision to remove, they could see that his intestines were a lot more damaged than they anticipated, and he ended up having 42cm removed as well as his appendix. Archie stayed sedated for about 24 hours after this. Once he slowly woke up, he was miserable, in pain, and sleeping about 20 hours of the day. 3 days later, Archie had his first small bottle and my god, did he improve quickly after that. After two days of much more milk than they thought he would take, he started solids.
He recovered so quickly and so well. I don't think I ever will. It was the hardest, longest week of my life. I couldn't speak more highly of every nurse, doctor and surgeon we came into contact with. Archie's 6-week checkup went perfectly, and he has been discharged. I'm glad we trusted our gut and took him as soon as we did. Archie boy is turning one this weekend, and he's never been happier or healthier.