Surrogate MAP

I've been doing/using/working with MAP for about a year and a half. I think I hit some kind of weird plateau. I also think I'm getting rid of some stuff.

I've got a 15 year old and an 11 year old who are also hooked up to MAP. This last fall my 11 year old, Hana, was wrestling with an adult friend on a Tuesday evening. I knew they were wrestling too hard, but I didn't say anything. That evening she was complaining about pain in her right side. I said you probably pulled something wrestling. The next morning she got up and went to school. She seemed fine. That afternoon she came home hurting so we took it easy. She was still complaining of pain on her right. I'm an OR technician, so my thoughts were going toward appendicitis. I tested her for echinacea and vitamin C and started doctoring her. That night she started doing better.

By the next morning she felt better so off to school she went. She came home hurting Thursday. She couldn't lay down it hurt so bad. We propped her up in bed on pillows and doctored her so good. (I know what you're thinking — hang on.) She started feeling a little better. Still I'm thinking she's got some kind of respiratory problem or pulled muscle. (She was born feet first and got fluid in her lungs so she has these respiratory problems.)

Well, by morning she wanted to go to school. She felt rough but wanted to go since there were tests. "OK," I said, "but I'm going to town at about 1, so if you need me call before then." I didn't think she'd last at school. (We live in the Ozarks, about 20 miles out of a small town — very rural.)

I went to town and was walking out of the grocery store when I saw my daughter and her papa getting out of a friend's truck. She was crying. "OK," I said, "Enough. Let's go to the doctor." Off we go to the doctor. He sends us to the hospital to get chest X-rays. Back we go to the doctor's office where we sit and then he calls me out to show me the X-ray. There's an air pocket in between her diaphragm and stomach. The doctor says she's got a puncture internally somewhere and wants to send her to the next town for surgery too major for our little hospital. Surgery. I'm very aware of what is going to happen to my baby. Something clicks: hook her up to MAP! I go into the room and open the coning and she quickly goes to sleep. Meanwhile my husband had to go back up the mountain to pick up the 15 year old from basketball practice and was coming back down to pick us up. The doctor wanted to put us in an ambulance and send us right away. My husband walked in so we left in our truck. (I work with the doctor so he knew I could take care of her.)

She slept the hour it took to drive to the big hospital. They were to check her there to see if she could go on to Children's Hospital in Little Rock. We walked into the Emergency Room of the hospital. She had her color back in her face, but she was scared. Before she didn't care if and what they did. They did more blood tests, and yet another chest X-ray. The doctor checked her again and was puzzled. He ordered another blood test. The chest X-rays were different. It hit me: the MAP team was fixing her. I said so to Hana and my husband, Bill. He told me not to explain MAP to the doctor. I couldn't help but laugh. Three hours later, the doctor said, "This is very peculiar. I can't find what the other doctor was talking about. There is no air pocket. I've already kept her one hour more than I should have." I said, "Doc, it's a blooming miracle (not very respectful I suppose, but I work with doctors). Can we go home now?" "Yes," he says, "but watch this and that and be very careful because you're so far from help."

MAP kept her hooked up three days and nights. We unhooked for two hours and hooked back up for the night she was hurting, then off for the day and on for the evening, then she was done. Can you believe that? Now! First lesson: How important is MAP? Jeez Louise! I felt so awful. I just assumed it was her respiratory stuff we're so used to battling or a pulled muscle.

Now we hook up soon as she feels a little bad and it makes all the difference. I was waiting until she was sick! I don't know why . . . didn't want to bother anyone . . . felt like I could handle it . . . DUMB!

So, we took a giant step forward. Oh, the doctor said all he could find wrong was a little torn cartilage on her ribs. She was up and going in less than a week.

J.T., Arkansas