Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why infant illnesses are no joke.

Not for one second did I debate on posting about Penelope's recent illness because honestly? People need to know that it is 100% unacceptable to touch, hold, kiss, etc any child if you have been sick. If you have been sick you need to act as if you have the plague because what is just a "minor cold" or "probably my asthma" or "just a little sore throat" can be very serious in a child, much less an infant. It's also important to note that I am, in no way shape or form, a germaphobe. I am that mom who is not afraid to put my child in a shopping cart, I'm not constantly wiping them down, I advocate for hand washing because it's common sense, but I'm not spraying everything down with sanitizer and slathering my child in it, either. I know germs are OK. What isn't OK is knowing you are sick, getting sick, or have been sick in the last few days and brushing that off to hold my super adorable baby.

I get it, she's super cute and cuddly and you want to squish her. Trust me, I get it because I do it often. But I also want her to stay healthy. Because this is what could happen, and it's not even a worse case scenario, but it was scary enough. 

It all started three weeks ago. On Saturday we had a BIG day, lots of running around between Jackson's Boy Scout pancake breakfast (Matt and him were volunteering) and Olivia participating in an all day youth choir concert (more on these tomorrow probably). We came into contact with afew people who had colds, who were coughing but blamed their asthma, and one guy who touched Penelope and then proceeded to hack a lung into a kleenex. It was pretty disgusting. We spent the entire day running back and forth, so needless to say by night time we were all pretty exhausted. All appeared to be well. 

On Sunday, it started out alright. Penelope was a little crabby but I figured maybe being screwed up on naps the previous day had set her up for melt downs this day, but no big deal. We went out to lunch as a family (as usual) and we planned on coming home to just relax because I wasn't feeling great. I figured I was just really, really tired so I ended up taking a nap. 

When I woke up, Olivia let me know that she had diarrhea, Jackson said his stomach really hurt, and Penelope refused to be anywhere but in someone's lap and she'd just cry and cry if you put her down. She didn't want to eat and she started running a temperature. It was 102 when we put her down for bed so I thought I'd give her a dose of Tylenol just to take the edge off so she could fall asleep.

Fast forward to 4:30 a.m., Matt has already gone to work and Penelope woke up crying. When I went in there, she was burning up, probably the warmest I have ever had a child. I took her temperature and it was 103.8, so I immediately went and got some Tylenol and thought I'd rock her until she fell back asleep.

Except that never actually happened.
She was up for the day. I decided maybe if I brought her into my room she'd want to cuddle and go back to bed. In the light of my room I could tell she looked really awful. She had a bit of a runny nose, was coughing, but that fever.. that worried me. Soon we dozed off for about a half hour, but then Olivia and Jackson were up for school. I felt awful, my head was pounding, and I was just SO tired. I called Matt and asked if he could bring the kids to school because I didn't think I wanted to really cart Penelope around. Every time  you picked her up she'd whimper and cry so I figured she probably had body aches. The entire day was like this. She hardly ate but throughout the day she just got worse.
By Tuesday Matt and I were both tired. He ended up not going to work on Tuesday because he had slept with Penelope on the couch all night in 10 minute intervals so I could sleep. I could tell I was really getting sick, and I figured it was the flu despite having a flu shot because I just felt miserable. Penelope would eat, sparingly, but was still having enough wet diapers so I wasn't totally worried. She just refused to be put down anywhere, you had to hold her constantly. The mucus and coughing though.... those were bad. I mean bad. We couldn't suck stuff out of her nose fast enough.
The entire day on Tuesday was spent in the dark, with vapor plug in's everywhere in the house, a rotating schedule of Tylenol and ibuprofen because her fever wouldn't go lower than 101. And she cried. Oh... did she cry.
By Wednesday she was a limp noodle. It was to the point where I was really getting worried. Thankfully her doctor thought the symptoms and her general demeanor were bad enough to warrant her missing a meeting so she could see Penelope. We went in, did the swab for influenza and sure enough, it came back positive for Influenza A. We got a prescription for Tamiflu and told to push the liquids.

After spending an OBSCENE amount, even with our insurance ($134, to be exact) on a very small dose of Tamiflu, we started it. To which she vomited it up within 45 minutes. We were to give it to her twice a day and each time, she'd vomit. We were literally watching her vomit the very last of our money.

By this point, I was also incredibly sick. I called my doctor on Thursday and again, they couldn't do anything for me except give me Tamiflu which I refused to pay for and figured I'd tough it out. Which was really stupid because I'm just now feeling like I can move without pain and it's been three weeks. That's how bad this is.
On Thursday Matt went back to work but I was also so sick I could barely take care of her let alone myself, so he ended up coming home early. Penelope was literally no better. In fact my mom and I both thought she was getting worse. Her face was so red, her eyes were just dim, and she wouldn't do anything. You could barely move her without her whimpering or crying. She'd eat occasionally and wouldn't do Pedialyte and she'd only perk up about an hour after Tylenol and ibuprofen, but that was such a short time that we ended up feeding her then just to get something in her.
On Friday I woke up at 7 and kind of freaked out because this entire week she had been waking up a lot all night, but she hadn't at all. I panicked and thought the worst, ran into her room, and there she was, curled up in a ball sleeping peacefully. I left her, figuring she'd wake up now that her door was open.

Except that she didn't. Matt had been taking the kids to school all week, so I didn't have to take her out anywhere. But by 9, I just had a feeling, and I went in to check on her. She was awake, lying on her side facing the door and just... crying but with no sound.

My heart absolutely stopped.

I took down her rail and she always puts her little arms up for me but today she didn't. I knew immediately something was really very wrong. I should also note that every morning of this week I had to strip her and get her into a bath and change bedding because of all of the mucus. I mean, it was EVERYWHERE. Crusted to her face, hair, limbs, just wherever it could be it was. So as soon as I pick her up I realize she is a total limp noodle. She looks like she's wailing and has tears coming out of her eyes but there literally was no sound, like someone had hit a mute button on my baby.

I got her into the bathroom, stripped her down, and got into the shower with her to get everything off her. She's trying to cling to me but I could tell she just didn't have it in her. So once I get her all cleaned off, and mucus sucked out of her nose (and that's when she made a sound, so I knew she wasn't broken!), I got her dressed in some light pajamas and called my mom.

I knew 100% I had to take her into the emergency room because this had just gotten to a serious point. Her breathing was so shallow. She didn't appear to be struggling to breathe, she wasn't having the sucking in like they showed me on Wednesday, she just looked like she was taking such shallow breaths that she'd eventually just stop.

As soon as my mom came and saw her, I knew I had made the right decision to bring her in. It's always nice to know I am not nuts and I'm not over reacting. She had seen Penelope every day that week and she said we absolutely had to bring her in. And thank god.

We got there, and it's not our normal hospital, but the other one in town because my pediatrician told me that our hospital would transfer me anyways and I would maybe have an ambulance bill, so to just avoid that and go on my own. So we did. They have a really good pediatric unit, so I felt like it was a good decision.

We were in the emergency room for just shy of six hours. There was a few hours of debating whether to admit her or not but ultimately, the amount of oxygen she was taking in hovered around 94, and they don't admit unless you're in the 80's, so they felt confident she was getting enough air on her own. Ultimately though, we did a swab for influenza and RSV, and they did a nebulizer treatment while we waited for the results on that to see if that cleared out her airways anymore. Meanwhile we waited for her turn for a chest xray, to which I couldn't go with her because I'm pregnant, so thank god I had my mom with me because I couldn't send Penelope alone.

We waited for about an hour to get results of everything and sure enough, she still had her influenza A, she also had RSV, but on top of it all, she had bronchial pneumonia.

Which is just too much for a little baby to have. I was pretty scared because not even the day before did I hear of a really healthy 30 year old woman in our area who died of pneumonia and so fast. It hit her and that was it- she was gone. The silver lining was that we could get an antibiotic for the pneumonia because it wasn't a viral strain, and they hoped that would jump start the rest of her body to fight the flu and RSV better. Basically it's too much for a little body to handle all at once without some kind of help.
They gave her the first dose, a super sized dose, before we left, gave me a ton of literature about what she has and what I need to watch for and when I absolutely have to bring her back in immediately. Friday and Saturday were pretty awful, scary days because she was just still so sick and I was pretty scared. I was absolutely sure I'd go into her room and see she her blue or something.

Thankfully, that didn't happen. By Sunday she wanted to be on the floor and even played toys for a bit. She crawled a little bit but was really wobbly when trying to stand. Was a little more agreeable about eating something and her fever was hovering around 100 so I felt less scared, like things were improving.

All of last week was pretty chill. We took it easy, we ate and slept on demand, we didn't play hard, we didn't really go anywhere. My mom came over to help because I was still so sick and the kids had spring break, so it felt far more manageable.
This week? Well this week she's back to her old self. She's teething so that's why she gets cranky, but she's back on her regular schedule and so very happy. Her face isn't red, it isn't chapped, we have a random cough here or there but usually only after she's really been playing. I cannot even tell you how relieved I am to see her feeling better. That was easily the scariest two weeks of my life. It was even scarier than when Olivia actually was hospitalized for dehydration after the stomach flu. That was a three day thing and she was really fine after one so we were mostly just bored in there. But Penelope... man. 

And this is where I get VERY annoyed at people who blow it off and who have said, "Yeah, well babies get sick." I so badly want to tell these people to fuck off because unless it was you carrying a limp baby into an emergency room, you have absolutely no idea what it was like. Even her pediatrician said thank god I brought her in because she has seen babies just fade away when that sick and it's actually really common. You think it's a mild cold for you but it turns into something more with babies. You can't be flippant about your damn germs. 

So that's me, getting off of my soap box even though I really want to rip into some people. I won't because I've got a cute little doll making cute little noises in her sleep in her crib and I'm totally going to check on her because I can. 


Steff said...

If there is anything I learned working with peds, it's that kids get sick really fast but can also get better really fast! I'm glad all ended up well with her and that she's feeling better!

Mattie @ Northwest Native said...

I've obviously seen some of this on Facebook, but not really the whole story. Even though I knew from FB that she got better I just felt worried reading this. I was so sad to see/hear how sick she was on FB, but reading about the day you took her to the emergency room was horrible. I'm sorry she (and you) had to go through this, and I'm sorry for the ignorant things people are saying.

The Flynnigans said...

Holy shit, what an ordeal. I'm glad she's back to her usual sassy, smiley little self. All those pictures you were posting were so sad and pathetic :(

Anna (herding cats-burning soup) said...

How scary! I'm glad to hear everyone's on the mend. It's amazing how fast life can turn upside down on you.

thotlady said...

I am glad you all made it through. Very scary.