Mar 27, 2012

Amelia's adventure, Part 1

A little over a week ago, Amelia developed a cold. It worsened over that weekend, and on Monday she didn't do well at school. I didn't realize it until Grayson brought her home and I read her status sheet for the day; she'd been running a low-grade fever during the day, but what concerned me the most was that she'd only taken about eight ounces of formula all day, and she'd only had two wet diapers.

The daycare center was already closed when I figured all of this out, so I couldn't call and ask them a bunch of annoying questions. Looking at Amelia's flushed cheeks and hearing her cough, I decided to call the nurse on call at our pediatrician's office and ask her what she thought. Having been down the RSV road with Jake twice, I was 99 percent sure that was what we were dealing with. The nurse agreed with me, especially when I told her that Amelia was wheezing a little and that her respiration rate was at least 80.

She called ahead to the ER at Children's and told them we were coming. I sent Grayson with her, because I was developing a migraine, and I thought I'd be better off with the other kids at home. I texted him a list of questions to ask the ER doc and told him not to leave the ER without an RSV test, for sure. I REALLY wanted to go and be there for her, but I knew I'd only make my migraine worse if I tried to go, so I reluctantly stayed behind.

He texted me a few pictures while they were there ...

She was pitiful ...

but apparently she perked up after they gave her some Tylenol, so they decided to send her home. No RSV test, not even a finger prick for a white count.

Now granted, she looked pretty cute in her polka dots, and I believe them when they said she perked up. I mean, you generally DO if your fever goes down two points in 20 minutes. But well enough to go home? I THOUGHT NOT.

Since she'd had a fever the day before and it was even higher the next morning, she couldn't go back to daycare, so I stayed home with her on Tuesday. It was apparent to me by 9:30 a.m. that she should have been in the hospital. I called our pediatrician and asked for an appointment that day, and they could see us at 2:00. I specifically didn't want to be "worked in" ... I wanted an APPOINTMENT, because I didn't want to have to sit in the waiting room for hours while we waited and hoped.

So we showed up at 1:55, were in a room at 2:00, and by 2:10, she was receiving a breathing treatment and an ambulance had been called.

Her pulse-ox (oxygen sats) was only 88, and her heart rate was 227. During the breathing treatment, her sats went up to 97 and her heart rate came down a little, but within five minutes of the neb treatment, her sats were back down below 90. It seemed to take forever for the ambulance to arrive, and I was dreading it.

Seeing the paramedics come into the room and crowd around her, securing her to the gurney, was so reminiscent of my own ambulance ride back in October ... I swear I think I have PTSD or something.

But this was worse, because it was my baby. And no one ever wants to see their baby being loaded into an ambulance. Ever. But if you DO have occasion to see it, you should take pictures for your blog, obviously.

She was a total champ, tolerating every bump and noise with barely a whimper.

She wasn't a huge fan of the "attaching the leads" process, though. Little Miss made her displeasure known, briefly, but I was happy to hear her cry. It was certainly better than the little whimpers and rasps that escaped her lips sporadically.

Poor, poor baby. She was worn slap out. Just the act of breathing was working her so hard, she was as limp as a big bag of rice. My baby.

My baby.

At some point on this day, I Tweeted something to the effect of, "I'm getting ready to go all Mama Bear on those assholes into Mama Bear Mode." And it was so true. I told the paramedics: "You don't want to leave me alone in that ER, because I'm gonna give them a piece of my mind about sending her home last night."

Look. I have a lot of respect for medical professionals. And we are fortunate -- SO fortunate -- to live in one of the top cities in the country with regard to modern medicine. But even our pediatrician said, "There's no way they should have sent her home last night. This baby needs to be IN THE HOSPITAL." And she did. She really, really did.

As much as I didn't want her to experience the inside of an ambulance, the wail of the siren, the bumpy, bumpy ride, the running of the stoplights ... she needed it. She needed to get there quickly.

As far as I was concerned, we were already at least 14 hours behind in her treatment, and I was ready to get her the help she needed. The paramedics were the first step.

More to come.


Rachel said...

We've been down that road with Christopher, only in his case it was croup. We've had more ambulance rides than I can remember and one helicopter ride. It's not fun but so nice to see the baby getting the treatment they need.

stollison said...

So hard to see her like that. SO glad she's better!

jennhenders said...

What IS an RSV test? I took Nathan in for a doc visit a couple weeks ago because he was symptomatic and several children at our school had been diagnosed with RSV already that week. My pediatrician acted like I was an idiot when I recounted that to him. He said that everybody that has a cold has RSV and it's only a problem with very small babies and those with compromised immunity. Not that I am doubting you, Kat, or questioning. I was just confused because all I ever hear about RSV is that it's treated as a disease of sorts and he was telling me it's nothing more than a bad cold. Could you shed a little light for me?

Glad Amelia is better, btw. You all have had a rough few months!

Jami said...

Why is it that some doctors think they know more than us moms? So glad she is doing much better. Praying that is your last ambulance ride. She was still as cute as ever.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Jenn, your ped is right in that it is much more dangerous in infants or immuno-suppressed kids, but there IS a definitive test for it. It's a nasal swab, and I *think* the swab turns blue when put in the solution if it's positive for RSV. I don't know if EVERYONE who has a cold actually has RSV, but in adults and older children RSV presents as severe cold symptoms and rarely causes any harm other than discomfort.

There is no real "treatment" for it ... they call it "supportive treatment," which simply means closely monitoring the infant, watching oxygen levels, making sure they don't tire themselves out so much from the labor of breathing that they eventually just give out. Unfortunately, a friend of mine from high school lost one of her twin sons just days before his first birthday to RSV. AND SHE IS A NURSE. Her name is Kari Judson and she and her husband, surviving twin son and new baby boy live in Atlanta. Xander (short for Alexander) died after just one day of visible symptoms, when his body just got too tired to breathe at the rate it was going.

She created a Facebook page in his memory and every winter, reminds people of the signs and symptoms to look out for, and she posts updates of babies who are in her hospital with RSV so we can all follow their journeys and pray for them.

I assure you (and your pediatrician) that the danger is real, and present. And if you would allow me to editorialize just a little bit, if you have a pediatrician who EVER makes you feel like an idiot, you should change practices. As a parent, you are your child's best -- and sometimes only -- advocate, and to make you feel anything less than that is irresponsible, in my opinion.

Woo! Got me worked up! ;)

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