I had not felt well for a couple of days and was getting worse. I hadn't said anything to my mom about feeling sick and did my best to hide it from the very beginning because at school we had a field trip scheduled to a fire station and I was crazy about fire trucks. I had waited two weeks for the trip and wasn't about to miss it. The morning of the tour I got up and really felt bad. I knew if I got anywhere near mom she would know I was sick and I wouldn't be going anywhere so I pretended to be late and yelled goodbye to mom and slipped out the front She normally would have chased me down and made me eat breakfast but I guess she knew how excited I was about the fire station tour and just let it go..
When I got to school my sides hurt so bad I wanted to cry. I went into the bathroom and vomited and felt a little better. We walked to the fire station and started the tour and before long I vomited all over their floor and down the front of me. The teacher checked me and said I had a fever and was going to call my mom. A little while later mom showed up to walk me home. The teacher told her that several of my classmates had been down with the flu the last few days and was sure that's what I had. When we got home mom put me right to bed. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. That evening mom tried to get me to eat but I couldn't. The next morning I was worse and my sides felt like someone had kicked me in them. I didn't tell mom about my sides hurting because I knew she would take me to the doctors and didn't want any part of that. I slept the rest of the day and that night.
The next morning mom came in. I had wet the bed and there was blood in my urine, I was covered in sweat and both my sides were so sore I couldn't even sit up. I was turning yellow from jaundice and mom just about flipped out and hurriedly called my dad at work and he said he would be home in a few minutes and take us to the doctors and for mom to call ahead and tell him we were coming in. Dad had to carry me because I had the worlds worst case of the spinners and was so weak and my sides hurt so bad I couldn't walk. The doc had me pee in a cup and went into another room. When he returned he told my parents I had nephritis which was a very severe and dangerous kidney and bladder infection and had to go to the children's hospital at once. He called ahead and arranged to have me checked in.
As soon as we got there the nurses put me in a treatment room and they started IV's in both arms. by this time I was so out of it I didn't care what they did. Years later talking to my mom she said when I was admitted I was nearly in complete kidney and renal failure and went into a coma for four straight days. They had massive doses of antibiotics going in the IV and had to give me chilling baths continuously to try and control the fever. They told my parents it was a about a 50/50 chance that my kidneys would shut down completely and then renal failure would finish me off. They said the next 72 hours would be the most critical.and if I did make it I was going to have major kidney and bladder damage. Also because the fever was so severe and hard to get under control it was possible I would suffer some brain damage . My dad was a yardmaster for the union pacific railroad and had a reputation in the rail yard as fair and honest, but one very tough man who rarely showed any emotion. When the doctors gave them the prognosis mom said it was the only time in her entire life she had ever seen him cry. She never forgave herself for not taking me to the doctors sooner but figured I had the flu like the rest of the kids.
When I woke up I guess it was on the fourth day it was dark outside and I didn't know where I was. In the room were three beds that had wires and tubes all over the wall behind them. The other two beds were empty. A nurse was at a desk reading and noticed me moving and came over. She asked me if I was thirsty and I had never been more thirsty in my life. She got a glass of water from the stand with a straw and held it so I could drink. I was still about half out of it and asked where I was and where my parents were. She explained that I was in the hospital and said my parents had just left to go home and get a some rest and would they would be back in the morning. Both arms were taped to small boards and had IV's in them and there was a tube in my nose. My wrists were tied to the bed rails with gauze strips to prevent the IV's from being pulled out. I asked the nurse to untie them and take the tube out but she said they would have to stay in for the night. I blacked out again.
When I woke it was morning and my parents were there and said the nurse had called them last night to tell them I had regained consciousness and appeared to have gotten through it ok They returned to the hospital and even though it was against the rules the nurses let them sit with me the rest of the night. The doctor came a little later and told my parents the tube could come out that morning but the IV's would stay in one more day along with the catheter . My parents left right after the doctor did. When they took the tube out of my nose it hurt like crazy because my throat was raw and it almost made me vomit. I was pretty groggy and slept most of the day and all that night. The next morning I woke up when two nurses came over to my bed and removed the IV's and when they started removing the catheter it was the first time I was aware of it being there and more than anything else that really scared me. They gave me a sponge bath. One of them came back and had a diaper and baby pants along with a clean gown. As they started putting it on me I told them " I don't wear diapers" but they said " you have to have it on so you just lay still and we'll be done in a minute" she pulled it up between my legs and pinned it closed then put the baby pants under me and snapped the sides together . They sat me up to put the gown on then covered me up.
The nurses went back to their desk and I laid there completely stunned at what had just happened. The diaper felt like I had a pillow between my legs I could hear the baby pants rustling with the slightest movement. I remembered the time in my closet when I tried on the baby pants from my aunts bag and wondered what it would be like with a diaper under them instead of my shorts. Well now I knew and it wasn't anything like I expected. I was wore out and after a few minutes fell back asleep.
Later when I awoke I was instantly aware of the diaper and begged the nurse to take it off. She went over to a cabinet and returned with another and started changing me. I pleaded with her the whole time not to make me wear it and she said just take it easy and we would talk about it later. I told her I was going to take it off and she " if you do I'll have to retie your hands to the side rails like they were before". I was trapped not only would she put it back on me but my hands would be tied as well and knew my folks were sure to find out. That afternoon when I saw my parents coming in with the doctor and I brought my knees up to hide the bulge of the diaper from showing through the covers.
The nurse asked my mom to go out in the hall. When they came back in mom said "The nurse tells me your upset about the diapers. Honey you have been so sick that your insides are hurt and for awhile your not going to be able to hold it till you get to the bathroom so for the time being you are going to have to wear them. They can't have you wetting the bed because everything has to be kept real clean so you can get well. I want your promise you won't argue with them anymore about it ".
Stunned disbelief is the only way I can describe that moment. The nurse said lots of kids wear them when they are in the hospital and dad said " they'll just help you get better so you can go home ". I slowly lowered my knees in as I went into shock.
The doc told my parents I was going to get shots of antibiotics every few hours and my blood would have to be tested twice a day . They would do tests to determine the level of kidney function that was left and what if any other damage had been done. I wouldn't be released until the tests were completed and the antibiotics had gotten me stabilized and if every thing went well it should be about a week to ten days. When my parents left the nurse came over to my bed uncovered me and put her hand against the baby pants in the crotch area and then went to the cabinet. That's the first time I got a good look at the diaper. It was covered by a pair of snap on baby pants that were basically white with tiny little yellow dots all over them and the vinyl was much heavier than the ones I had tried on in the closet. I guess they were made heavier because they were for hospital use. The nurse brought over a new diaper and pants with some powder and started changing me. I promised to go to the bathroom if she wouldn't put it back on and she said "your mom told you not to argue, remember".
The whole time I was praying somebody wouldn't come into the room and see me. When she finished she covered me up and told me if I had to poop to let her know and she would take it off and get me a bed pan. Having not eaten anything solid in days that wasn't going to be for a while. They woke me up and took the diaper off to give me the shots and put a new one back on. Taking the blood samples from my arms hurt a lot. It seemed like every couple of hours while I was awake the nurse would check me to see if I was wet which I usually was. I wasn't to concerned about being wet. With typical six year old logic I figured it was automatic that if you had a diaper on you would use it and if you didn't you would hold it for the bathroom. I was just wishing they could understand that. I think it was the third or fourth day after I woke up when that evening my parents came back and the nurse told them I was going to be moved to a ward the next morning. "How about I get a wheel chair and we can go up there and see the ward " she said
I told her I didn't want to go. There'll be other kids to play with and lots of toys and things. I don't want to go I said. I think I know what the problem is she told mom. I'll get you a robe to wear and put a blanket over you so you'll be all covered up and with that she went and got the chair. When she took the covers off me I was so preoccupied at the thought of having to leave the room I was half in the robe before it dawned on me that mom and dad was standing there. By this time I wasn't upset about wearing them in front of the nurses anymore but when my parents saw me with it on I wanted to find a rock and crawl under it and never come out.