Sunday night around eleven at night, I was sitting in the living room waiting for Connor's night nurse to arrive when I heard him start throwing up. I put down my book, walked into his room, turned on the light and my heart sank. A sizable patch on his sheets was stained pink and bright red. Even though we'd had a false alarm a few weeks ago, there wasn't any doubt in my mind this time as to what was going on.
Connor was having a gastric bleed.
I got on the phone to make arrangements for Eden, and started packing up the things we'd need at the hospital. Connor threw up more red-and-pink Pediasure while I was getting him ready to go. Other than the fact that he was vomiting blood, he actually seemed perfectly fine-- a bit crabby that I was making him get up in the middle of the night, but not in any real pain. So I drove him to the ER myself.
Because he really seemed like he was okay (and also possibly because of that false alarm earlier in the month) it took the ER about four hours to test the residual I brought with me and that was pulled in the hospital for blood. Both tests came up positive. At that point they inserted an IV-- which thrilled the kiddo, let me tell you-- drew levels, and gave Connor's GI doctor a call to figure out what he wanted to do. Connor spent the time flirting with the nurses, complaining to me that he wanted to go home and patting his new gigantic teddy bear one of the techs brought him. I spent the time watching back-to-back episodes of Sungkyunkwan Scandal and drinking massive amounts of coffee. Thank goodness for wifi and caffeine.
The little guy's blood levels came back without any troubles and he wasn't anemic, so that was a very good thing. The GI doctor prescribed two new medications for Connor to help his stomach heal, and they sent us home around six-thirty in the morning.
It wasn't until much later in the day that I realized the emergency room doctor hadn't said anything about the fact that Connor was on aspirin. The little guy takes it for stroke prevention, and he's been on it since he was six weeks old. Long-term aspirin use is pretty notorious for potentially causing gastric hemorrhaging. I was pretty surprised they didn't at least stop it while he was actively bleeding, so I called up the GI triage and asked them about it. I got a call from the doctor this afternoon and we're stopping the aspirin until at least next week. Hopefully that will give Connor a chance to heal while we figure out our next move.
So that was not a particularly fun couple of days. I finally stopped pulling bright red residual out of Connor late Monday afternoon, and by the next morning it looked pretty dang close to the first time I'd taken him in. By this evening I couldn't see any evidence of bleeding anymore, so that's a very good thing. I'm glad it wasn't a serious bleed, and I'm hoping that he'll be more comfortable now that he's getting some treatment for it-- I can't imagine his poor little stomach has felt particularly wonderful lately.
But I would really like to never, ever do that again. As a mom of a medically fragile kid, my sense of what situations justify a freak-out on my part is waaaaay off. Over the course of the past few years, I have performed mouth-to-mouth on the side of the highway, reinserted a g-tube on the changing table in a mall bathroom, and called 911 on multiple occasions without skipping a beat. I have now discovered that watching my child vomit blood is well over that line, and I would never, ever like to see it again.