Our Monday was filled with so many firsts... first trip to the ER, Ben's first operation, and our family's first and (please, God!) last foreign object from the lung extraction surgery.
Sure, this may look like a healthy almost-eight-year-old lung... and it is, except for the teeny Lego that is lodged in the right bronchial.
I can hear you thinking right now, "Hmm... Jamie, I'm not a trained medical professional, but I don't think that Legos are supposed to be in lungs." Right you are, astute reader, Legos don't belong in lungs!
You're probably wondering, "How does one get a Lego into one's lung? And, more importantly, how does one get it out?"
This particular adventure began on Saturday when Ben rode his bike to Smith's (the grocery store up the street) to use his allowance money to purchase two extra chocolate Easter bunnies, because you never know when you'll experience an unacceptable chocolate shortage. The twist here is that he rode his bike to Smith's with a little Lego in his mouth (this is not the time to ask why) and on the way home managed to inhale it.
When Ben got home with his chocolate bunnies he was visibly shaken and after a little coaxing told us that he breathed in a Lego. Good parents that we are, we determined that he wasn't blue, so it probably wasn't super urgent, and Steve called our pediatrician for advice. The pediatrician said that if his airway wasn't obstructed, which it wasn't, that Ben probably just swallowed the Lego, since that's what the human body is designed to do with foreign objects. The doc advised us that if Ben started wheezing or coughing (harder than you might think since most of our family has chest colds right now), then maybe he really did swallow it.
So, we put Ben under observation (read: enjoyed the remainder of our Saturday, Sunday service, an Easter egg hunt, copious candy, and Easter dinner) and assumed that his body did its job and that the Lego was working its way through his digestive tract. But by Sunday night it became obvious to even non-medical professionals like ourselves that Ben's chest was kinda whistly when he breathed and the cough was getting worse.
So Monday morning Steve took Ben into the pediatrician's office where they immediately confirmed the whistly breathing and sent him downstairs to the adjoining hospital for an xray. The tech and doctor agreed that Ben probably had a "foreign body in bronchial" and advised us to head up to the ER at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake.
Over the next three hours, Ben was seen by 3 nurses, a respiratory therapist, 2 doctors, and 2 surgeons and at the end of it all they decided that the odds were pretty good that he had, in fact, inhaled the Lego and that surgery was the best option.
The surgeon explained that they knock him out (ok, the surgeon said he's "go to sleep") and the stick a camera scope down his throat and look for the Lego and, if they found it, they'd pull it out. I asked how they removed it and he told me that they can use either suction or a grabber thingie (I'm sure he called it something different, but that's the name I remember). I asked if it was like a garbage picker-upper claw and he, bemused, confirmed my suspicions.
It was lodged in the first division of the bronchial on his right-hand side, which is apparently the most common place for foreign bodies to hang out because the right side is more of a straight drop down from the throat than the left side. He said that there was a lot of irritation and he'd probably cough a little for a few days, but other than that he should be right as rain as soon as he recovered from the anesthesia.
Sasha was coming out of anesthesia (I still have horrid flashbacks of that surgery), Ben is a grouchy drunk. He was mad about the IV, shivering, and pretty miserable. But by the end of his Popsicle and second slushie his spirits were improving, the coughing was lessening, and the medicine was wearing off (those are all related, I'm sure) and he was moved into a regular room.
Here's hoping the rest of our week is boring in comparison to our Monday!