From the age of four Archie had episodes where he complained of ‘a sore tummy’. I took him to various doctors and asked if it could be his appendix but they all said he was too young and it was probably just ‘a niggly appendix’.
The ‘niggles’ came and went but one Monday morning when he was seven he said he didn’t want to go to school. He said the niggles were back and that they were quite bad. I took him to a GP who is also a naturopath and she told me to take him home, cook up some organic brown rice, discard the rice and give him the water to drink and make him drink lots of it. Righto! So Archie was lying in bed not looking too good, and I gave him the rice water which he drank until he vomited. I put him in the shower that was over the bath and after scrapping the vomit up out of the carpet I went back to the bathroom and found him sound asleep (as in almost in a coma), in the bath with the water running. Not good! So back to the doctor we went.
During the car ride he complained of sharp niggles every time I went over a bump. He hobbled into the doctor’s surgery all hunched over and hugging his stomach and the rice water doctor wasn’t there but another chap saw us and he sensibly said, ‘Archie, see if you can hop on one leg’. And Archie couldn’t do it so he said, ‘It’s his appendix. He’ll need it cut out. Take him straight to hospital’.
I drove him to hospital and as we were walking up to the counter at Accident and Emergency Archie was walking very slowly and another set of parents charged in front of us with their daughter who had her arm all wrapped up in tea towels. We were taken straight through and Archie was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and we were told that Archie was next on the list for surgery after the girl with the arm in tea towels. As she had arrived ‘first’ she would be operated on first and have a closed reduction for her broken arm that would take ‘five minutes’ then it would be Archie’s turn.
Two and a half hours later that’ five minute’ surgery was still going as the break in the arm turned out to be a lot worse than first thought and her arm was now being nailed back together with pins and plates. The doctor came in and said, ‘Unfortunately we now have to do two emergency caesarians and they’ll have to come first I’m afraid but we’ll be calling down for Archie as soon as we’ve finished with the caesars’.
So we kept waiting like we had been for the past five hours and it was now about 10pm. The doctor came back down and said there’d been further delays so Archie wouldn’t be able to have his surgery until about 1.30am which is a bit late for surgery so it would be best for Archie to go to the ward for the night and be operated on first thing in the morning. I asked, ‘You don’t think it could burst do you?’ And he brushed off the comment like there was no state of emergency and Archie was just fine.
Just before midnight we arrived on the ward. Archie was to be given some pain relief and I told Archie I would wait with him while he had the medication via an IV, watch him get settled, then I’d leave and be back first thing in the morning. The one and only nurse on duty that night came over and told me I had nothing to worry about, ‘You just go home and get some rest because you need to be back here first thing in the morning’.
I said, ‘Yes, thank you, but I’ll just wait until he has the morphine and then I’ll go.’
‘I won’t be able to give him the morphine for about five minutes so you go and get some sleep. He’ll be fine.’
‘It’s okay. I’d like to stay thanks. I told him I’d stay with him until he had his pain relief.’
‘There’s no need for you to do that, he’ll be fine, you just make sure you leave now so you can get plenty of rest. Tomorrow will be a big day for you too you know’, she said as she beamed at me.
‘I know but I’d just like to see him have his pain medication, he’s already been waiting a long time for it, and I told him I would stay with him.’
‘Don’t worry about that, I’m going to give it to him as soon as you leave and I’ll be watching him so you just go. He’ll be very well looked after.’
So I reluctantly said goodbye to Archie but I had a sinking feeling and hardly slept a wink all night. I was back at the hospital at 6.30am. I nearly collapsed when I saw Archie. He was the colour grey with his knees drawn up to his chest and breathing only shallowly. The nurse walked into the four-bed ward and I looked her in the eye and immediately she looked alarmed.
I asked, ‘What time did you give him the morphine?’
And she started heading out the door.
I yelled after her, ‘I want to see his chart. What time did he get his morphine?’
And she didn’t reply, she disappeared into another room. Then the anaethetist walked in and said he was ready to take Archie to theatre. I was standing there absolutely livid. The anaethetist took one look at Archie and immediately yelled for the nurse to come back into the room. He asked her when Archie last had some pain relief. She said she hadn’t given him any because he hadn’t called out for any. He said, ‘You get this boy some pain relief right now.’ She said, ‘He’s been called down to theatre so there isn’t time.’ He pointed to Archie and said, ‘This boy will not make it to threatre without pain relief. He won’t survive the journey. You can ring theatres and tell them there’s a delay because you didn’t give a boy with appendicitis any pain relief’.
The anaethetist apologised profusely to me on behalf of the hospital and said ‘this sort of thing should never happen’. The nurse gave him the morphine and 15 minutes later Archie was taken down to theatre.
The appendix had an abscess on it that had burst and was leaking pus into his peritonium. We spent a few extra days in hospital because of all the extra doses of antibiotics and added pain management he required.
And he made a full recovery!
Archie hasn’t been able to eat brown rice ever since but every now and then, when we know he’s out for the night, I make a dish with brown rice.
Brown Rice Pilaf with Chicken and Chick Peas
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: This is quite an affordable family meal you can make for less than $20.00.
- 1.3 ltrs chicken stock
- 500gms brown rice
- 2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tspns gnd coriander
- 2 tspns gnd cumin
- 400g can chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 BBQ chicken, flesh put aside and the rest fed to the dogs
- 150gms baby English spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
In a large saucepan over medium heat add onion and cook for a few minutes without browning. Add garlic and spices and cook for about 10 mins or until onion is transparent.
When rice is cooked add to onion mixture and stir well to combine. Add chick peas and shredded chicken and heat gently. Add spinach, currants and pine nuts. Stir gently until spinach is just wilted.
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