December 22, 2014

Baby Z Is In the Hospital

I didn't think he was that sick.

The week before last, 6 of the 8 babies in the infants' room at day care were home sick. He was one of the two who remained healthy. As far as I know, none of them had to be admitted to the hospital.

We thought that we had somehow avoided the inevitable - that we got lucky or that he had a strong immune system for a 4-month-old or a combination of both.

On Thursday, he developed a fever of 101.5 at the end of the day at day care. On Friday, Tylenol was controlling his fever (we only gave it when he reached 101 or higher), he was nursing well, and he was his normal happy, smiley self.

That night, he started to become fussy. He didn't want his last nursing session, and we could hear the cough with a bit of wetness start to develop. We had him sleep in his bouncy seat since that put him at an incline. He woke up and fussed several times, but we were always able to get him back to sleep, and he even nursed at 2:30 a.m.

Since he had a rough night, I called the pediatrician's office when they opened on Saturday morning and asked for a same-day sick appointment. (We're lucky that our Pedi's office is open half days on Saturdays and Sundays.)

The pediatrician told us pretty much what I expected - 'tis the season, crud is going around, keep him hydrated (using Pedialyte if necessary), use a humidifier (we already were), and suction his nose if needed (it wasn't). He checked his oxygen saturation level, saw that it was a bit low (in the low 90s) but said it was because the machine couldn't get a good reading with all the kicking Z was doing.

We went home, and he ate well at his next feeding. But then the feeding after that, he wouldn't eat, he was being fussy and we couldn't get him settled, and his fever, which had risen to 103.4, had only come down to 102.6 an hour after the most recent dose of Tylenol.

We decided I would take him to the ER, just to be safe. I figured they would look at me, say, "Lady, crud is going around. Keep him hydrated, use a humidifier, go home." We decided R would not come with us, since there were Christmas gifts to wrap and chores to do and he himself was still recovering from the flu, despite all of us having gotten flu shots in the beginning of October.

Despite the crud going around, we were the only ones in the pediatrics ER waiting room. We were taken into triage quickly. His temperature was 102.8, and his oxygen sat was in the low 80s. The triage nurse dialed the nurse's station. Then she ordered, "Grab your bags, let's move!"

Suddenly, we were in a scene from ER. There were 2 people already in the room when the 3 of us got there, and the doctor and one more person came rushing in. They were grabbing things off the walls, the doctor was rapid-fire ordering procedures, tests, and treatments, someone grabbed an oxygen mask and put it on Z while another person started working on an IV.

I stood against the wall, dazed, confused, watching my not-even-5-month-old become part of a medical drama.

I stepped out to call R. "Um, I think you need to come down here, now." The ER doc heard me and called out, "He's (meaning the baby) going to be staying." When I hung up with R and stepped back into the room, the doc looked at me and said, "Ma'am, your baby is SICK."

He wasn't meaning it as an indictment, he was just trying to get me to understand the gravity of the situation. I was still stunned. Z hadn't been screaming uncontrollably. He had been fussy, but he didn't seem particularly weak or limp. In fact, he fell asleep on the drive to the ER and did not make a single peep the whole time we were checking in, except for one tiny cough that even a totally healthy baby might have made. Because of his total calmness through that process, I had almost decided to turn around and go home.

It's a good thing I didn't.

He has pneumonia.

And RSV.

And enterovirus.

I feel so guilty. How could I have not known he was so sick?

People keep saying, "You must be so scared..." They're referring to him being in the hospital. But I'm not actually scared about that. He's on oxygen, he's getting IV fluids, he's getting respiratory services, so I feel that he's getting the care he needs to make a full recovery. And given our medical histories in the past decade, the medical setting doesn't intimidate us or even faze us.

What scares me is that I didn't know he was so sick.

That I almost made a bad call by almost turning around and leaving.

That I could have been trying to take care of a baby at home with pneumonia and two viruses and not even know it.

Yes, I realize he would have continued to get sicker and we would have realized at some point that it was truly necessary to take him to the ER, rather than just take him out of an abundance of caution. But what if we would have realized too late? There but for the grace of God go I.

Thankfully, after 2 more rough nights, he seems to have turned a corner.

He was able to come off the oxygen for a few hours this afternoon before having to go back on it, and the treatments the respiratory services team are doing are helping him to breathe easier today, which translates into him being able to rest more and both of us getting more sleep. The pediatrician doing rounds today said we may be able to be home in time for Christmas, but no guarantees yet.

I'm just glad I decided to err on the side of being overly cautious.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is scary! So glad he's getting excellent care. You can also focus on the fact that you DIDN'T turn around. You thought about it, but something in your instinct kept you going to the ER. You did the right thing!

MrsSpock said...

Our older daughter, E, was hospitalized 4 days with RSV when she was 2 weeks old. We still have PTSD. I'm a nurse, and I knew what I was seeing when we rushed to the ER, but it was still terrifying for my 2 week old not to be able to get a breath. Hope Z feels better SOON!

Silver said...

Yikes! You poor souls! So glad he seems to be on the mend. We narrowly avoided being admitted on our wee boy's first Christmas when he got the norovirus and couldn't keep even water down. Scary stuff! The thing is - you *didn't* turn round. Something inside you told you to take him in and it was right - look at it that way.

Silver said...

And now I'm reading the first comment by Anonymous - great minds think alike!

Mo said...

Terrifying. And there but for the grace of...go all of us. How could you possibly have known? these little kids can get so sick so fast it's really frightening. so glad he's on the mend now.

Mo

Libby said...

Oh that is terrible! Z must be one tough cookie! Hope he is doing much better by now. I think your mommy's intuition will always guide you to make the right choices. Docs see sick kids everyday, but you know your babies best. Hope your new year is off to a better start.

AP said...

How's little Z? Hope everyone is having a healthier New Year!