By Ross Forman
In pain one day in late-October, sophomore Brian Fiddes went to see the nurse at Barrington High School. He thought it was a simple stomach ache.
His mom quickly came to the school and brought him home. Neither thought it was anything too, too serious.
Brian went to his room and went to bed.
“After a little while, I determined this wasn’t any basic issue…and was bent over holding my lower left abdomen,” Fiddes said.
His pediatrician thought it was kidney stones, since the appendix is on the right side of the body and his pain was only on the left side.
His mom took him to the nearby emergency room for a CT scan – and doctors determined it was his appendix causing the pain. “Apparently my appendix was very long, which is why I felt the pain on the left,” he said.
On Oct. 26, he had his appendix removed as it had been infected, called appendicitis.
“If the appendix is not removed in time, it can burst, (which) would cause major issues and if they don’t get to you in time, you can die,” Fiddes said.
“I was actually quite lucky. My dad says it was the anesthesiologist (who deserves) credit.”
Fiddes had evening surgery on Oct. 26.
“The surgery was, in detail, cutting three small holes into me. One, for the cutting/pinching apparatuses, one for a camera for the surgeon to see through and one for a light,” Fiddes said. “First, they put me under anesthetics with knockout gas and then from there put gas into one hole so my organs were somewhat spread out so they could move their utensils about without harming anything else. Then they pinched off where the appendix is attached to the large intestine, cut it off and pulled it out of the largest hole, which is just below my belly button. Then, they stapled my holes shut, put gauze and a very sticky bandage over the holes and put me into a bed.”
Fiddes is a 5-foot-7, 130-pound, right handed-shooting right wing for the Ice Dogs U15 Central States midget team, his first year skating for the club that skates out of the Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills. He lives in Barrington and played last season for the school’s JV team, and has previously skated for the Hoffman Estates Wolfpack and even the Singapore Ice Dragons…yes, in Singapore.
In fact, Fiddes learned to skate when he was 5 years-old, living in Singapore.
“I immediately was (hooked on hockey) and despite barely being able to stand, I just kept playing and was excited that I could play with the older kids because they were short on players,” said Fiddes, who now wears Ice Dogs jersey No. 24.
Days after his surgery, Fiddes’ Ice Dogs were going to Saint Louis. He went, but didn’t skate; he didn’t even bring his equipment.
Fiddes missed two team practices and two off-ice sessions after the surgery.
“I really just wanted to get out of the hospital at first (and go to St. Louis),” Fiddes said. “I was discharged around noon and by 3 p.m., we were on the road. I was in very little pain and wasn’t tired at all. My mom felt that, since I could rest on the drive and the team would be in bed early and have rest periods in between games, I’d be OK.
“(The) team did really well, (winning all three games). My teammates were really happy that I (went to St. Louis); all (of) the parents and coaches thought I was a little crazy, but really appreciated the fact that I came.”
Fiddes returned to game action with the Ice Dogs in the CCM World Hockey Invite, against the Arizona Bobcats at Oak Lawn Ice Arena. He skated two 15-second shifts.
His next game on the ice, against the Dayton Stealth at the Southwest Ice Arena, Fiddes scored on his first shift.
“It was a very exciting moment and I think that it really pumped up our team. If the kid who just came back off an injury can score, then what is stopping the rest of them?!” Fiddes said.
Fiddes is now back to life pre-surgery.
“I’m really glad and lucky for a swift recovery. I’m glad that it didn’t turn into anything more serious,” Fiddes said. “Anything can happen to anyone, even (with bad) timing, when your life is full of things you are looking forward to.
“After something serious happens that halts your ability to play, support your team, because whether you know it or not, your team and coaches really appreciate it.”
Fiddes is most thankful this holiday season. “I’m feeling really well. I’ve been getting back into the groove of games and practices as well as our off-ice sessions,” he said.
***All Photos courtesy of Brian Fiddes***
SLAPSHOTS WITH BRIAN FIDDES:
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane
Favorite Sport (other than hockey): Football
Favorite Pro Athlete: Russell Wilson
Favorite app: Instagram
Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead
Favorite Sports Movie: Goon
Hardest Slapshot On Your Team (excluding yourself): Matt Koepke
Teammate Who, Someday, Will Make A Great Coach: Josh Wright
Best High School Jersey: Carmel Catholic
Worst High School Jersey: Barrington, alternate jersey
About The 2017-18 Season: “We are a really talented team, (with) very good chemistry. Coming onto the team as a new player with the club was a new experience, but I feel very welcomed and like (that) I am a big contributor on the team.”
Strength Of The Ice Dogs U15 CS Team: “We have tremendous goaltending (that has) kept us in so many games.”
Career Highlight: “As a peewee, my team placed in the Elite Division and although we struggled through the year we ended up winning the third-place trophy over the No. 1 team in our division. In overtime, I had the game-winning goal.”
Style Of Play: “I enjoy using my hands as much as possible and going around defenders using my speed.”
Influences: In my second peewee (season), I had Joe Hall as my coach for the Wolfpack. He taught me how to really get my whole body into shots and encouraged me to continue to strive to be the best on my team.”
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years, and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.