Jacob was 12 years old. We had just gotten an opportunity to go on a business trip with my husband. He was attending a meeting on a cruise ship that would dock one day only in Cozumel. Just enough time to take a trip ashore and live a dream of the boys to see the Mayan Ruins. We had surprised them with it for Christmas.
On the trip down to New Orleans to catch the ship, Jacob started complaining of stomach cramps. We thought it was the excitement because it seemed to get better if I read to him. So we decided to continue on. First bad idea.
We made it to New Orleans and boarded the ship. As soon as we got packed away and the ship pulled out our nightmare began. Jacob's cramps escalated through the night. His pain lasted all night and of course since we were taking our trip in February the weather wasn't the best so we jumped waves all the way through the night. It was horrible. When we woke the next morning, he was weak but felt he could make it. You know I really wished hind sight was foresight because I could kick myself thinking of him walking in 100 degree weather with a swollen colon. How miserable he must have been.
We saw the ruins and had to try to beat it back to the bus so we wouldn't get left behind. But that is when the bathroom problems began. Just an urge but it was too bad to ignore. We did make the bus as the last ones to get on. Made it back to the ship and the horror started again. From this point he couldn't get out of the bed. I was terrified. I was thinking here we are stuck on a ship in bad weather and my child is deathly ill and I can't get off.
We decided to go to the ships doctor to rule out his appendix and see if he could help. Well he ruled out the appendix and informed me that American mom's just want to medicate their children. I stopped him there and politely yet sternly informed him not this mom. He proceeded to give me the oh so brilliant prognosis of a preteen that was swallowing too much air. Yeah.... Thanks.....that is so very helpful. Even better the treatment for this was a laxative. I am beginning to wonder if the doctor missed the ship and they pulled a random person off the deck to fill in for him. 80 dollars later my child is still sick and we are still stuck on a ship that is leaping waves through the Gulf!!!! Not my idea of a dream vacation by any stretch.
Some how we managed to make it through the 4 day cruise and back to our car. We live 3 hours from New Orleans but it took us 7 hours to get home because he was so miserable and we kept needing to stop. When we finally reached home I took Jacob straight to the emergency room. We waited hours only to get an X-ray and more laxatives. Which I never gave him. We were now 4 days in to a massive Ulcerative Colitis Flare and an emergency room doctor ignored us and sent us home.
The next morning and the following 3 mornings after, I was in our doctors office pleading for help. Each night before was spent with Jacob screaming in pain and having absolutely no relief. He couldn't eat or drink and was making about 30 trips to the bathroom a day. This was of no urgency to my doctor who was determined it was a small case of Salmonella and he would be over it soon. By the 6th day of symptoms , Jacob had lost 10 pounds and he was laying across my lap in the doctors office. On this day, my doctor got flustered with me for being there every day. He was telling me it would run its course and the more I tried to get him to see there was more to it the more he got flustered with me. Thankfully, I had a friend who worked for my doctor and she called an urged him to at least give Jacob fluids. The next day, he did and that was all sent us home. OH he did tell me that he could put him in the hospital but it would just be 50% treating him and 50% treating me.
On the 8th day, Jacob began bleeding and just as we noticed this our doctor called and upon hearing the news panicked and told us to rush him to the hospital. He was so weak he couldn't walk. It was the most agonizing thing to watch and to make matters worse not to have any help from those who are supposed to help you. After 2 more days in the hospital with no answers and still pursuing the Salmonella course. A new doctor came on and called in a GI who asked first off how many times he was in the bathroom each day. When he heard my answer he said, "OH it's ulcerative colitis!" .... To be continued