My daughter Hannah really went through the wringer as a kid. She’s almost 21 now, and with her being home from college with all this quarantine stuff, we’ve reminisced a lot.
At the very beginning of her 4th grade year, after just a couple of days into the school year, we decided to go camping. We camped a lot back then, and Hannah liked the camping part; she just didn’t like the port-a-potty part.
On the day we were leaving for camping, Hannah came down with a “stomachache.” She kept going to the bathroom and complained that she just couldn’t go camping because of her stomach. I chalked it up to Hannah not wanting to use the pit toilets at the campground.
We camped with two other couples and their kids. We had a great time playing games, grilling out, and making s’mores by the campfire. But I frequently had to stop one of those fun activities to take Hannah to the bathroom, which just got more traumatic for her as it got darker. At some point, late into the night, the kids all retired to their individual family tent. The adults all sat around the fire, enjoying the conversation and cocktails. Hannah’s need for the bathroom persisted. I stopped drinking. And tended to my girl.
We traversed back and forth, back and forth, from tent to toilet. At some point, Hannah needed to be carried by piggy-back and I knew something was really wrong. She didn’t have the energy to hold herself up on the toilet. She was crying because her stomach hurt so badly. This went on until the sun started to come up. I woke everyone at the campsite early and started packing up. It was a Sunday and Hannah needed a doctor.
I took her to the ER when we got home. They gave her an IV and chalked her symptoms up to a virus or “something.” The blood in the toilet after she went to the bathroom was certainly something, but they were not concerned and sent us home. That night was the worst yet; Hannah slept on the floor right outside one of our bathrooms. A trip to the doctor’s first thing Monday morning resulted in a hospital admission; Hannah had lost 10% of her body weight over the weekend.
Hannah spent 3 days in the hospital. I spent them there with her. After growing cultures for 3 days, the doctors were able to determine that Hannah had E-coli. If you’ve ever experienced this, or had a child who did, you know that it’s not only extremely painful, but it’s shocking to see what comes out of the body when you are sick with this bacteria.
Hannah missed her entire first full week of 4th grade, but had quite a story to share when she returned. This story is only one in the many of the Adventures of Hannah. Luckily, her teenage years and adult life have been pretty calm. So far……