Friday, August 8, 2008

Jacob's 1st Trip to the ER

(Little boy, biiiig bed.)

Following shortly on the heels of Lily's 1st ER visit...

Last Wednesday, I called the Pediatrician to see how much infant Tylenol to give Jacob, who had a fever of 101.8. They previous day, it had been 100.8. The nurse said a baby that small shouldn't have a fever that high, and we had to bring him in. She asked me how long it took to get there, and I told her about 20 minutes. "Great," she said, "see you in 20 minutes."

Um, what? I didn't realize I was making an appointment.

I called a neighbor to come stay with Lily, who had just gone down for a nap. I've never done this before and am a little nervous, but also worried I won't make it in 20 minutes if I don't act quickly. We get to the doctor and he is very concerned. He tells me babies that small don't have the ability to fight off infections, and when he can't find anything wrong with Jacob (after checking for an ear infection, pink-eye, or any other outward signs of illness), he tells me I'm going to have to bring him to the ER.

Come again?

He asks me if I can go straight to the ER from his office, and is obviously irritated when I tell him I can't. My daughter is home with a neighbor and I have to find other arrangements for her. "Can your neighbor bring her here, or to the ER with you?" No, my neighbor is elderly, has never watched my daughter before, and has no way to transport her anywhere. I don't want her taking Lily down the stairs, let alone for a joy ride.

At this point, my brain is barely working. There's something about being told, "Bring your child to the ER immediately," that is so all-consuming that suddenly, you're left with only half a brain. Or half of the part you normally use. I can't for the life of me figure out what to do with Lily, although in hindsight, it wasn't a very difficult problem to solve.

I eventually arrange for Lily's uncle to pick her up after work, and for my neighbor to just stay with Lily until he arrives. Ryan gets out of work early and meets me at the hospital just after I arrive and the triage nurses are taking Jacob's stats. This is the first of many many many times nurses will check the SAME EXACT THINGS throughout the night. I don't know why his belly needs to be pushed or his temperature needs to be taken or his ears need to be checked every 10 minutes by every nurse in the hospital. If your 20 colleagues were unable to find an ear infection or bloated kidney 10 minutes ago, I doubt you'll find one now.

After triage, we are led to the room in the ER where we will waste I mean spend the next 5 1/2 hours of our life. They hold Jacob down to draw blood from the inside of his elbow, then leave in a heparin lock so they won't have to stick him again if they need to come back for more later. This requires putting a splint on his arm so he can't accidentally pull the IV out, and the whole shebang is bandaged around his little arm. He looked like he was in battle.

(With the splint on his arm...)

The next thing they need is a urine sample. I won't go into detail about how they get this from a 2-month-old male, but I will leave you with one awful word: catheter.

Moving on...

Both his blood and urine are sent out for analysis, and we wait. Jacob falls asleep in my arms, so I sit back and watch TLC (we don't have cable at home) while Ryan goes to the cafeteria to purchase some severely over-warmed burgers. But anything tastes good when you're hungry and antsy.

At one point, the ER supervising doctor comes in to say they didn't get enough urine the first time around, and this time they have to "bag him," which basically involves a lot of waiting and checking said bag.

Many episodes of "John and Kate Plus Eight" later, we find out both his tests came back negative. Somehow, I knew they would. All along, I supsected there was nothing wrong with my son except the fever. He was still happy, chatty, gurgling, flirting, and sleeping like normal. All the hospital staff kept commenting on what a good and chubby litte boy he was.

(The return of our little burrito - the ER was FREEZING...)

Then we were told since they couldn't find anything wrong and had no explanation for the fever, and since the blood/urine cultures were going to take a day or two to come back, they were going to give Jacob a very high dose of antibiotics just in case. My mind starts reeling. Will this make him antibiotic-resistent in the future, shoud he have a real need for them? Will this kill off all the good antibodies in his system and leave him prone for a yeast infection? Not another baby with thrush!

But we didn't really have a choice. And I think we were ready to accept anything to avoid the dreaded spinal tap! So they start him on the IV drip of antibiotics, and within a few minutes, he starts to fidget then squirm then complain then cry. Obviously, the flow into his body is bothering him. We call the nurse and she comes to slow it down, agreeing that it is bloating his arm and coming in too fast. Once she slows it down, he calms down and quickly falls asleep. I am curled up next to him on the bed by now, and Ryan is sitting next to him, supporting his arm while he sleeps as antibiotics leach into his system.

I stare at the splint, the needle, the line of fluids. What are they doing to my sweet, precious, oh-so-young little boy? I pray that our trip here does more good than harm, though thoughts of potentially unnecessary medication and a million different hands touching and poking and prodding aren't exactly giving me warm fuzzies.

Eventually, the antibiotic drip is done and they come to unbandage his arm and remove the IV. He cries out as they untape his arm and take off the "bag" - which by now has plenty of urine, though they apparently DID get enough the first time and didn't need the bag after all. Poor kid.

(Removing everything from his arm...)

I scoop him up into my arms and carry him out of the ER. As we pass the desk, everyone waves good by and says what a great litte boy we have, and I nod and smile and thank them for their help. We pass the triage nurses and they also say goodbye and they're glad we're getting to go home. Boy are we, too!

Ryan and I were so proud of our brave boy all evening. So little to be going through so much fuss. The positives of the evening: "John and Kate Plus Eight" is such a grat way to pass the time, now we know there's nothing abnormal with his blood or urine, and we got to spend some good quality time doting on our son all by ourselves (minus the entire ER staff).

His fever broke and disappeared the next evening or the morning after. The antibiotics made him a pooping machine for a few days, which I was told was normal. And his sleep schedule is now all disturbed...he used to give me at least 7 - 8 hours at night, waking up in between once or twice for just a pacifier reinsertion then going right back to sleep. Now, he wakes to eat every 2 - 3 hours every night. I'm hoping he gets back to "normal" - and I get some more sleep! - very soon.


Anonymous said...

Oh no!!! All that for a fever...poor guy!!! And they still don't know what's wrong?

I thought feeding at night every 2-3 hours at that age is normal...but he probably needs extra fluid to clear his system right now, and then he will be back to his normal. ;)

Poor little nephew!


Anonymous said...

OH NO! POOR BABY. Isn't it amazing how all those things you aren't going to do (antibiotics before 1 year, immunizations.) all fly out the window when faced with the reality of sick babies? I've had a healthy dose of 'reality' I tell you.

Extra snuggles to the baby, mailing his quilt this week!!!hurray.

A2 said...

I am so sorry you guys had to go through all that :-( I'm glad he's healthy and everything's ok. can't wait to meet Lily and Jacob.

xoxo Aileen

Anonymous said...

Tip for the future: before he gets his next shots, ask the pediatrician how much Tylenol to give him beforehand for the pain... then you'll know how much to give for a fever ;)

I wasn't brilliant enough to think that up ahead of time with Kirsten, but I remember using that info at least once... which avoided a possible doctor visit!

Brent and Abigail said...

oh poor little guy. He looks so tiny on that hospital bed. So glad everything ended up ok.