A Neligh family is counting their blessings after their toddler swallowed a metal marble, which became lodged in her bowels and wasn't removed for nearly a week.
Two-year-old Kyah Allemang, daughter of Nick and Megan Allemang of Neligh, was hospitalized recently when a marble she swallowed sunk into a pocket between her small and large intestines and refused to pass naturally, leading to an infection. Five days after she swallowed it, the marble was successfully removed at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
“It was very scary,” Megan said. “At first, I called the ER to see if there was anything to worry about. They thought she’d pass it, but by Monday (four days later), I was freaking out.”
Kyah swallowed the marble while playing near their neighbor’s garden on Thursday, June 11. Luckily her mother was near, although Megan couldn’t get to Kyah fast enough to stop her from putting the marble into her mouth.
Megan, who is an RN at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill, immediately spoke with nurse practitioner Jenna Thiele, who told her to watch for vomiting and a fever. Thiele told her if the marble hadn’t passed by Monday, then Kyla would need to have an X-Ray to locate it.
The X-Ray showed the marble had passed through the small intestine and was near the valve that connects to the large intestine. It was still moving, Megan said, and they were hopefull it would pass on its own.
By Tuesday, everything changed.
Kyah started running a fever, a red flag for infection. A CT Scan on Tuesday showed the marble was stuck in the valve where the intestines connect. The family was immediately sent to Children’s to see a specialist.
“The medal marble was heavy, so it was stuck in a pouch in the bowel area and was getting infected and causing the fever,” Megan said. “We were concerned about lead poisoning, but the marble wasn’t made of lead, so we were lucky.”
Doctors tried to flush out the marble, but it wouldn’t budge. Between the 103-degree fever, diarrhea and not eating, Kyah was getting sicker. That’s when the gastrologist decided to use the scope, which wasn’t long enough since the marble was so far into her bowels.
“We knew the chances were slim that it would reach,” Megan said. “They added fish net to the end of the scope to make it longer and just reached it.”
Megan said being an RN, she knew the warning signs to watch for, but if she would not have seen Kyah swallow the marble, it would have taken much longer for doctors to realize what was going on.
Any more time would have been much more dangerous.
The Allemangs, who have three other children (Kaleb, 13; Kanyon, 4; and Kendyll, 3), said parents should always be concerned when their children have abdominal pain accompanied by a fever and/or diarrhea and vomiting.
“We were very lucky because I was there when it happened,” Megan said. “If I hadn’t known what was going on, it would have been way worse. Kyah is only two and couldn’t have told me what happened, and we wouldn’t have known the marble was in there.”
The Allemangs raved about their care in both O’Neill and Omaha and thanked their family and friends for help and support.
“Jenna Thiele was absolutely amazing and kept checking in on us all of the time. She was very caring and concerned, as was our surgeon Dr. Raynor. And the nurses at Children’s were more than amazing. They could get Kyah to do things I couldn’t, so we had amazing care,” Megan said. “We also have to thank our family for keeping the kids and helping us so much. And also a big thank you to Pastor Kufahl for being with us.”
The marble that was lodged in Kyah's bowels.
The Allemangs raved about the care received from both Avera St. Anthony's in O'Neill and Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
The Vanderbilt baseball team visited Children's Hospital and Kyah.
Kyah swallowed the marble on a Thursday and it was removed the following Tuesday.