Thursday, October 30, 2008

TTs Hospital Stay

Now that we're a few weeks out, and things are (almost) back to normal at the homestead, I thought I'd share the experience we went through.
TT was under the weather starting that Tuesday. School sent her home on Wednesday, and that evening she had a low-grade fever. She stayed home again on Thursday, but wasn't too sick. Until that evening. She had a high fever, and I gave her some tylonal, then she napped for 3 hours (not typical of TT, at all). When she woke at about 8, she was at a temp of 103.8. We gave Tylonal again, but after an hour, the temp was still high. That's when we called the 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse said we should take her to the ER. We gave the meds another 1/2 hour to work, but when her fever didn't break, we decided it was time to take her in.
C stayed home with a sleeping Boo, and TT and I were off to Kaiser Sunset's ER at 10 pm. They took us into Triage right away, and gave her motrin which she proceeded to spit out. They took us to a room, where an ER nurse started wiping her down with cold cloths. TT just wanted to sleep at this point, and wasn't upset unless being poked, prodded, examined or wiped. The ER doc came in, and ordered a chest xray. All of this happened really quickly. Then the waiting began. I sat for 4 hours sideways in a gurney with my back against the railing and a 25 lb. TT in my arms. Every 10 minutes, the nurse came in to wipe TT down and check her temp. After about 1 hour, the doc ordered tylonal sepositories and an ice bath. Poor TT did not like either of these! The first speaks for itself, as far as the ice bath... imagine being wiped down with a freezing cold, stiff, scratchy hospital washcloth. BLAH! I don't blame her for crying. After a few hours of this, her fever was under control. She was hooked up to monitors, and when they found that her pulsox was low I had to hold a oxygen mask near her face as she slept. After about 3 hours waiting, the doc came back and said that the xray showed either RSV or pnuemonia, and that we were being admitted to the Pediatric ICU. A team of nurses came in to put in an IV. Now, I have to say, I understand that ER nurses are about getting the job done, not the comfort of the patient, but after 10 minutes of them holding TT down and trying 4 times to find a vein, I was crying more than poor TT. I finally asked if the PICU could do it, since they have more experience with babies. I don't know how long it would have gone on if I hadn't spoken up. The even more frustrating part is that the nurse said to me later that he knew he wouldn't be able to find a vein, but had to try or the PICU would get upset (a PICU nurse debunked this). That was the first of my many "breakdowns." I was so scared for poor T, and didn't know what was to come. It took T maybe 5 minutes to calm down, it took me a 1/2 hour.

So once paperwork was handled, they wheeled us (yes, I had to sit in the wheelchair so TT could travel, since she wouldn't let me put her down, and hospital policy says I couldn't just walk with her) up to an ISOLATION ROOM in the PICU. Nurses, doctors and visitors had to wear masks and gowns when entering our room. Talk about making you fear the worst! It was about 4 in the morning. The nursing staff was so nice and understanding. The Pediatric docs, too.
While waiting for the docs to rule out RSV, TT had to be administered oxygen through those little tubes that go up her nostrils and behind her ears. She didn't like that much, and pulled them out. The nurse suggested swaddling her, which many of you know was how she preferred to sleep well past 6 months old. Once swaddled and hooked up to oxygen, she fell asleep in my arms and I was able to set her down in the crib for the first time in about 7 hours. It only lasted 1/2 hour, as they needed to try for an IV again. The PICU nurses were way better, but still couldn't find a vein. They tried once, gave her a break in mommy's arms then tried a second time. Between the ER and the PICU, they tried her inner elbow, both her wrists, and two different spots on her ankles. They were going to get a nurse up from the NICU to try, but the doc said if she stays hydrated and keeps peeing, we wouldn't need it. It was a viral infection, so she wouldn't need IV antibiotics. My singluar goal became getting that child to nurse so she wouldn't need to be hooked up to an IV. I didn't sleep at all that night. C got Boo off to school, arranged for her to be picked up after school, and came straight to the hospital. By this time, we had a diagnosis of brochialitis, but didn't know if it was caused by RSV. The docs said we had to stay until she could get enough oxygen on her own. There were no meds that could be given short of tylonal for the pain/fever. We were there until Sunday, with me staying the night in the room, and C heading home each night to stay with Boo. TT did not let you put her down for very long, and she slept so much of the time. On Friday, C got her to smile and that reasurred me a bit. On Saturday, her FIRST BIRTHDAY, she spent a bit more time alert and awake. We started seeing glimses of the TT we knew. By Sunday, she was breathing enough oxygen on her own, but still had a mild fever. We were told this was normal, as she's still fighting the infection.
At her followup appointment the next day, the doc found not one, but two ear infections, so it was on to the antibiotics she went! She was prescribed amoxicillin, which I happen to be very allergic to. I didn't know just touching my skin would set off a reaction, however, and when TT wouldn't take the meds, I helped C hold her down. She proceeded to throw it back up on me, and I had a rash that covered my right arm. Since she wouldn't take the oral antibiotics, we had to take her for a shot every day for 3 days. When her ears still didn't clear, we went onto another oral antibiotic and now she's at about 75%. She has another appointment in a few weeks, but I think we've made it out of the woods.

A week after we first took her in, her personality was back. She was smiling more, not sleeping as much, and doing pretty well. But she was still so super-clingy. I was worried that she had lost that independent, adventurous spirit I had admired in her. Now, 2 weeks later, and with her feeling so much better, her independence has returned. She still needs to touch base a bit more often, but is off and chasing after her sister, or the cat, or a rouge Cheerio that she sees on the floor.

All I can say is that we survived our scare, and it truly could have been so much worse. It really makes me feel grateful for the good health my girls have had so far. I have an even deeper respect for families with cronically ill children. I know that you do what you have to do, and I know I'd step up if it were necessary, but I can't imagine a month, a year, a child's lifetime, spent as we spent just one week. Thanks to everyone for all your thoughts and wishes. We are so happy our little TT is okay!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

uncanny similarities

A year ago Friday night, we were heading into the hospital after feeling the first contractions. This Friday, we were sitting in the ER at the same hospital with TT having a fever of 103.8.

A year ago Saturday, we welcomed TT into the world. This Saturday, she spent her first birthday hooked up to oxygen in the Pediatric ICU, in isolation, because they feared RSV.

A year ago Sunday, we were bringing our baby home for the first time. This Sunday we brought a very sick, very tired, very scared TT home after spending 3 nights in the PICU.

So, we're not out of the woods yet, but we're doing so much better. TT has brochiatitis. Her lungs are now pretty clear, and she's getting enough oxygen on her own. She's still battling a fever and isn't eating or drinking too much, which puts her at risk of dehydration. But she's much more alert. And she's home. Two tired parents and one worried sister are very happy that she's home.

Thanks to all for their thoughts and well-wishes throughout this. Love you all!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Boo got a haircut! Not just a trim, mind you. And I love my little Boo, because she's donating her chopped hair to Locks of Love, where they use it to make wigs for children who have no hair. It inspired me to do it, too. And doesn't she look just adorable in her little bob??