Thursday, August 11, 2011

Experiences in the ER

We've been battling a respiratory virus in this house for a couple of weeks. This virus was particularly wicked for our two youngest. Lil' Wingnut ended up in the emergency room. He received two breathing treatments for wheezing and retracting and was sent home with antibiotics, which seemed to knock the infection right out of him leading us to believe his was a case of bacterial bronchitis.

As he recovered so quickly, we thought all was well until Lil' Lamb began dripping and coughing on Sunday. By Monday he was really hacking away but I wasn't worried as he was happy and playful and the cough was pretty wet and productive. Monday night things went south very fast. Lil' Lamb barely slept a wink, neither did I. I called his pediatrician in the morning because he sounded so rattly, but they seemed to think he would be fine as long as he stayed hydrated and in a humid room helped by a cool mist humidifier. By three in the afternoon he was retracting and wheezing quite badly so I called the pediatrician again and they recommended I take him to urgent care. Sure enough, his O2 level was well below normal and they gave him two breathing treatments, a dose of steroids, x-rays, two more breathing treatments and then drew blood. The doctor had also requested an IV, but after sticking Lil' Lamb twice in each arm and having absolutely no luck, the ER techs had mercy on our baby and left off, temporarily. At the end of the third breathing treatment the doctor reassured us we would likely go home with our precious guy with a prescription for home breathing treatments until his issues cleared up. By the end of the fourth treatment he backtracked and revealed he had found something abnormal in the blood work they had drawn. Lil' Lamb's blood sugar was twice the normal limit and he wanted to consult with Children's Hospital in DC. He then proceeded to tell us that this might indicate Type I diabetes or even a particular heart abnormality. My heart nearly stopped. Seriously? Diabetes? Heart problems? Being a mom so many worries and worse case scenarios ran through my mind. It was a terrifying moment. We immediately sent out texts, emails and a Facebook status update calling for our prayer warriors to cover us in prayer.

Children's Hospital did decide they wanted to see our baby and so an ambulance was sent for at around 7 pm. As we waited, and waited, and waited, we were ignored, ignored, ignored. I finally sent Wingnut home and told him to get some sleep because it was obvious I was not going to get any and I knew I'd need to have him cover for me the next day so I could get an hour of sleep here and there. At 10 pm I finally got the attention of one of the ER nurses. He confessed that this delay was often the case with Children's Hospital but reassured me he would get a new ETA from them and that indeed this was important enough for me to stick around and wait. The ambulance finally arrived at midnight and the paramedics once again tried to get an IV line in using veins in Lil' Lamb's feet. It took two attempts but they were finally successful. Lil' Lamb was strapped into a gurney and off we went to the hospital ER in DC. The paramedics were truly wonderful and really jumped through hoops trying to entertain the baby. It was heartwarming to see them coo and make funny faces trying to get that rare smile from a sick little one.

After arriving at the ER, the doctor indicated Lil' Lamb's blood work was now normal and that a side effect of taking steroids is elevated blood sugar and seeing Lil' Lamb had had two breathing treatments (which uses steroids) and an oral dose of steroids, it was no wonder his level had been so high. I could have just throttled the original ER doc! Seriously, why in the world would he have given us such a horrific prognosis? Lil' Lamb and I sat in Children's ER for another 5 hours and he was examined by no fewer than 5 doctors and 3 different nurses. By that time it I had had 3 hours of fitful sleep in 24 and yet I was still going. I know it was the prayers of dozens of friends and family that sustained me. Lil' Lamb was finally admitted and we were taken to one of the many pediatric wards in the hospital. The nurse got us settled into our room and went over the rules with me. I warily eyed the crib in the center of the room and knew there would be an issue. We haven't used a crib since our third babe was born 14 years ago. As expected, co-sleeping was against the rules. I indicated Lil' Lamb would likely not sleep while hospitalized, but that we'd give it a try as we had no other choice. He drifted off to sleep not too long after admittance at 5 am. I gently coaxed him into the crib. He didn't even stir. I managed to make up a bed on the couch and held my breath that I might get some sleep myself. Miracle of miracles, he slept in that crib for an hour and a half and may have slept more if he hadn't needed another round of breathing treatments. As the day progressed, he began to improve and became more restful. He slept most of the day and most of this sleep was in the crib. I managed to sleep here and there and I continued to survive on the backs of all the prayers being offered for us. He improved so impressively they decided he was well enough to go home later last evening. We were home by 7 pm. He was mauled by his loving siblings and played happily with us until he finally went to bed for the night just after 10. We slept mostly peacefully until 10 this morning. I couldn't believe it when I woke and saw the clock! I haven't slept in that late since I was in college!

Lil' Lamb continues to improve. We are treating his breathing at home with a nebulizer. I am personally so grateful for all the prayers that were said on our behalf. Without them, I would have been an absolute basket case, would have likely lost patience and my temper, and could never have survived on so little sleep. God is good and merciful!
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Natalie said...

Thank God everything turned out not as horrible as you thought it could be. I really hope he makes improvement as fast as possible so you all can get back to normal. Poor little guy.

Sarah Oldham said...

I know I said as much on FB, but I'll say it here, too: God is good and I'm so thankful he's alright. ;)