Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Places I Didn't Expect To Be In The Days Before Christmas

If you're a new parent, you naturally spend at least a small portion of your time thinking about all the big firsts.  First smile, first tooth falls out, first Christmas, and so on.

You don't really spend much time thinking about baby's first Emergency Room visit.
Hello, we just got rear ended in a car accident. Sophie's first trip to the ER.  Who says new parents don't document everything?

And you certainly don't spend much time thinking about baby's first admission to the children's hospital.
She looks so tiny and defenseless in that bed.
And you never in your wildest nightmares consider that baby could very well spend baby's first Christmas in baby's first hospital bed.

(At least, I didn't.  My nightmares were a bit more grandiose.  Baby's first tsunami, baby's first bank robbery.  You know, anxious minds are often quite creative with these things.)

So, here we are.  It's nearly December the 23rd.  Sophie hasn't sat on Santa's lap, but she's had fiftymillion IV pokes and two bags of IV fluid and oxygen breathing tubes up her nose.  I feel like I'm on an episode of Punk'd and I'm going to wake up and realize that she's FINE and we didn't really race to the ER with my ten week old baby four days before Christmas.  Did we?
Yeah, turns out we did.  Last Thursday, we took Sophie to the ER (for the second time already in her short life!) for a high fever.  I thought it was a fluke, but the next day, Sophie was diagnosed with RSV at the pediatrician's office.  RSV, which I'd never heard of before, is apparently a virus that makes it really difficult for little kids to breathe through all the snot, pardon my french.  It often turns into bronchiolitis.  Or maybe they are the same thing.  I am no doctor, and I've got my own version of the horrid virus, so I'm functioning at the bare minimum level of available brain cells.

At first the pediatrician just sent us home with a nebulizer, a prescription for albuterol, and instructions to give her Tylenol every 4-6 hours or as needed for fever.  

Well, she wasn't getting any better; in fact, she was getting progressively worse, so we had another pediatrician appointment Monday morning.  "Nebulizer more often, Tylenol more often, we're trying to keep her out of the hospital" was the verdict.

Tuesday I made a sad, fruitless attempt to go to work with what essentially amounted to the flu plus a double ear infection.  Daddy stayed home with Sophie, and I came back home around noon.  We had a follow up with the pediatrician at 3 PM.  This is what our poor baby looked like on the way there. (I took a picture because Nana gave her this hat for Christmas...)  In retrospect, she looks pretty sick here already.
Hi.  I feel like crap, Mom.
The pediatrician looked her over, talked to us about the fact that she wasn't eating all that great, weighed her, saw she'd lost over half a pound pretty recently, and told us to head on over to the ER to get evaluated.

(By the way, the term Emergency Room is an oxymoron.  It is not a room, and no one there moves like anything is an emergency.  They are more like, "Oh, hey, howya doin', here's a room for you to sit in and watch THE ENTIRE Charlie Brown Christmas Special before we tend to you and your sick baby...)

Like I was saying.  Four or five hours later, we found ourselves checked into the pediatric unit with my precious little baby (who used to be the picture of health!) with oxygen plastered to her little cheeks, bruises from multiple IV pokes, an IV drip with electrolytes, and a whole team of doctors and nurses basically telling us, "Yeah, its a virus, it just has to run its course, and we'll try to help her breathe and stay hydrated, but that's really the best we can do."

Which of course made me so sad and worried.  My baby has to just hack and cough and snort her way through this?  ARGH!

They put her in this little metal crib, which looks more like a prison cell to my sad and stressed mommy eyes.
And we've been here now for more than 24 hours.  Nearly two days in the hospital with this awful thing.  And come to find out, most of the other kids on this wing have the same dreadful RSV.  Its "going around."  (I'd like to find the person who started THAT trend and wallop them something good.)

It's been hard on Mommy and Daddy too, although I'm sure it's nothing compared to what Soph is dealing with.  The version I've got (and the version Steven is now coming down with) is mighty unpleasant.
So, we've set up shop here in this little hospital room.  Mommy is spending the night because she has the food.  Or perhaps, she IS the food.  You know what I mean.
And Daddy comes during the day and brings us things from the house, like clothes and shampoo for Mom and Dr. Seuss books for Sophie.
She had a really tough night after she got checked in.  Spent the whole night on oxygen and fluids.  She has since ditched the oxygen and just went off the fluids tonight, so we're hoping the worst is over.
She seemed to perk up today a bit, so that was encouraging, although she still has a horrible, heart-wrenching cough that makes you want to scoop her up and run out in the hall to the doctor and yell, "DO SOMETHING FOR HER!!"

(Which of course I can't really do, (A) because she is hooked up to everything under the sun so I can't get her more than 3 feet from the bed, and (B) because I'm not allowed to take her in the hall at all - we are in an "isolation room" and people won't even come in here without wearing a paper covering and plastic gloves that they throw away EVERY TIME they leave the room.  I sort of feel like I'm in the movie "Outbreak" and we're going to have to find that stupid monkey to solve this whole thing.  Again, anxious mind gone terribly off tangent....)

 So anyway.  Merry First Christmas, sweet baby.  I hope to God we are out of here before Christmas Eve.  Oh, and spoiler, I am buying you a truckload of orange juice and hand sanitizer for Christmas.  You're welcome in advance.  
Hello. My oxygen tubes help me breathe and they also helped Mom promise to buy me a pony for Christmas for suffering through this ordeal.  Double bonus!


Erica said...

I'm so sorry Heather. :( However, I am thrilled to hear that they're t least trying to contain the virus now. When we were there, with RSV, in the PICU - so among many other VERY sick children who most certainly did not need RSV, the nurses and doctors would walk right past the big sign on the door that said INFECTIOUS. They'd touch my sick baby without washing their hands. They'd use their own stethoscopes on her, when there was a special "infectious one" on the bed post, then presumably they'd walk to the next room over and do the same thing. Made me crazy. I'm glad to hear they seem to have changed their policies.

Many hopes that you get out soon. We couldn't ditch the oxygen for weeks on end, so that's why we lingered. I think it is a fantastic sign that she can ditch the oxygen - I bet you'll be home for Christmas. I hope that you and Steven can start feeling better though.

Tracy said...

Poor, sweet little Sophie! And poor sweet Heather and Steven! Sending you much love from Africa,
Tracy and Dan and Charley

Marci said...

Oh that's so awful, Heather. I'm praying for sweet Sophie that she'll be healed tonight!

Nana said...

Praises to the Lord for helping Sophie to get better. So glad you were released from hospital before Christmas eve.
Sleep as much as possible to kick that virus. We love you all.

Jenny said...

Oh, I'm so sorry Heather. My niece had RSV when she was teeny tiny. I know it's so scary.

Hope you and precious little Sophie start feeling soon. :(

Kristin and Adam Salvia said...

oh no, this makes me want to cry! i hope you all are doing much better now...=\