4.30 a.m. red flags

it was after 11 p.m. before my daughter fell asleep last night.

she gets spasms of pain that jolt her awake. she’s had a number of bad evenings in the past week, the pain tipping her from sleep.

i remember after she was born, waking before she did in the night. i used to think it funny – a kind of trip wire. maybe that’s hardwired into me now.

it’s times like this when, cupped in silence, i find it hard to square my daughter’s symptoms with the diagnosis.

Determining whether CAP [Chronic Abdominal Pain] is physiologic or functional can be difficult. Although the presence of red flag findings indicates a high likelihood of a physiologic cause, their absence does not rule it out. Other hints are that physiologic causes usually cause pain that is well localized, especially to areas other than the periumbilical region. Pain that wakes the patient is usually physiologic.

The Merck Manual: Chronic and Recurrent Abdominal Pain

other red flags include: persistent pain that is localised in the lower right-hand quadrant and pain that is worsened by movement.

this characterises my daughter’s pain exactly, yet no-one has assessed how movement worsens her pain.

what’s our experience? once placed in the FAP box, it’s very difficult impossible to get out. it’s a deep, deep box. you have to haul your red flags a very long way before anyone will notice they are flying.

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2 Comments on “4.30 a.m. red flags”

  1. Sarah says:

    Have you tried asking the GP for a second opinion? You may have to travel to another hospital, but this may help you out of the FAP box.

  2. unfortunately, getting a second opinion is easier said than done. FAP is relatively common, and further investigations are seen as a drain on resources and often considered unnecessary. it is, therefore, difficult to challenge the diagnosis. i think if follow-up had been managed better – we would have been able to voice our concerns and our daughter’s progress could have been better monitored. i think the hospital feels it has done what it can – i.e. provided us with a diagnosis – but we feel completely adrift.


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