Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday evening at the emergency room

We're all good now, but we were very worried last night about Kenny.  We had taken a trip to Annecy yesterday (summary - about 45 minute drive there, beautiful town, interesting market, chilly to walk around, lunch at a very mediocre restaurant).  On the way back, Kenny complained of stomach pains.  We actually pulled over because he thought he needed to vomit, though he didn't.  He continued to complain of stomach pains, then right in front of the elevator of our building, he vomited all over.  We got him to bed, he continued to complain of massive stomach pains, was groaning and crying and couldn't find a position that didn't hurt.  Meanwhile, I'm researching online on the symptoms of appendicitis and food poisoning.  We called the emergency line, they suggested some ibuprofen, and then to come into the emergency room if it doesn't help.  I gave it an hour, and he was in as much pain as before, so Kenny and I took a taxi to the emergency room.  We waited there, with Kenny tossing and turning on a bed, for about an hour before seeing a nurse and then a doctor.

The doctor tried to do an abdominal exam, but couldn't get very far, because Kenny was in so much pain.  He ended up giving him pain medication in a suppository format, then did another exam which indicated to him that it might be - get this - constipation!  That's something that I would NEVER have thought of.  Kenny was finally able to move his bowels, with some help, and within an hour was as perky as ever.

Whew!  Certainly a much better outcome than gastroenteritis or appendicitis.  Overall the experience left me with a positive impression of the health care system here.  They discovered the problem, fixed it, the wait wasn't too horrendous even in the emergency room, and Kenny is healthy again (though with strict instructions as to diet).  I thought we ate plenty of fruit and fiber, but apparently not.

Other happenings this weekend - we went to CERN, the research facility here with the particle accelerator.  We got there around 10:30 and thought that the visitor center was closed, because it looked empty, but it was just early.  Eric ended up talking for hours with a retired physicist there.  He had worked there for 30 years, then had been retired for the past 10, but volunteered at the visitor center regularly.  I don't know a whole lot about physics, but Eric was very curious and interested, and the volunteer ended up talking to us at great length.  Luckily, with mobile phone games and movies, the kids were occupied.  We had brought a packed lunch with, but it didn't appear that there was anywhere we could sit and eat it.  So, we asked the retired physicist where we could go, and he told us that he'd take us to to the staff cafeteria.  Okay, sure - sounds interesting!  He brought us over to another building, let us in with his cardkey, and told us where to go, moving a garbage can aside which was blocking the staircase going down.  He said something like - oh, they're probably mopping.  He went back to the visitor center, and we walked down the staircase and down a hallway.  Then we encountered a custodian, who scolded us vigorously, so we retreated.  It turned out that they weren't just mopping, they were applying some kind of (very smelly and slippery) waxy coating to the floor, and that we were definitely not supposed to be there!  

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