I really shouldn’t have gone around bragging on the internets that we had made it through Thanksgiving without a hospital visit…
Yesterday (the day after Thanksgiving) we ended up in the ER….
As Elanor is now a walker we have graduated to working on going up stairs at her physical therapist’s request. Our apartment building has them, but they’re dirty and we use the elevator all the time anyways. My in-laws, however, have two sets of very clean stairs, one of which is carpeted, and therefore my first choice for stair climbing.
Things got a little overwhelming yesterday, so I decided to take E to the basement to work on climbing up the carpeted stairs. Usually we do this with two people (one behind her, and one in front to encourage her), but it was just her and I. She’s gotten fairly skilled at the stairs, and we had done other sets alone, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. About halfway up (maybe 5/6 stairs from the ground) she stalled and hesitated. So I went up a few more stairs to encourage her…and it was fine, until she overbalanced and fell backwards. I screamed for Ravi as I dashed down the stairs, but there was literally nothing I could do but watch roll down ten stairs.
Elanor began screaming once she stopped rolling and had a moment to realize what had happened. I had her in my arms almost before those first wails had begun. My in-laws were the first people to come see what was going on and then the cousins (the adult ones) and someone got Ravi, who was two floors above me and hadn’t heard me scream for him. By the time Ravi came downstairs, Elanor was calming. Within five minutes of her fall, she was running around on the ground floor of the house.
I had ordered Ravi to find my phone because I had to call pedi hematology/neurology. My MIL told me I was overreacting and that Elanor was fine. Ravi seemed to think that too, but was humoring me.
The pedi hematologist on call said to come in right away so that Elanor could get factor and a CAT scan.
So off we went.
We spent four hours in the ER (from about 8pm until midnight), which all things considered, was a short visit for a major urban hospital (especially as there are far fewer hospitals with pedi emergency rooms than there are ones with adult emergency rooms). Getting the IV in for the blood draw and to give the factor was the worst and hardest part. I tried to step out, but hearing Elanor completely freaking out, I had to step back in, even though watching it makes me cry. It took two tries, and three nurses (two to hold Elanor down and one to put in the IV). Then I had to keep her from yanking at it/messing with it. The nurse came up with a clever fix…they taped something over it so that E couldn’t really get at it. At that point, it was 10pm, a good hour past her bedtime (she’s a night owl who doesn’t go to bed until 9), and she hadn’t napped well all day. I lay down on the stretcher with Elanor, and held her…and she fell asleep.
Fifteen minutes after she fell asleep, they came to get her for the CAT scan. We had talked about sedating her, but since she was asleep, we were going to try to do it without waking her. So I stayed on the stretcher and held her, sleeping, as they wheeled us to radiology. I slowly moved and carried her to the CAT scan machine. She stirred when I laid her down, but I put a bottle in her mouth and she went back to sleep. This would have been perfect, except she turned her head to the side, and they needed it looking straight up at the ceiling for the image to come out right. I tried to turn her head, but it woke her up. In the end, we had to tape her head in place, and I gave her bottle to keep her calm until they were ready to do the imaging. Then I had to pull the bottle back and pray that she’d stay still long enough to get the images that they needed. Luckily it was.
The scan came back clean, but the doctors still wanted to give Elanor factor. She has a mild bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand Disease, which she inherited from both Ravi and I. This is a fairly mild disease…mild enough that I lived with it for 30 years before finding out that I had it. But basically it means that we have fewer clotting factors than other people. Normally it’s not a big deal, but in the case of Elanor’s septicemia, the VWD is a big reason why she had the stroke…she just didn’t have enough clotting factors, and her brain developed a small bleed. ANYWAYS, if E ever has surgery or when she has major falls, like this one, her hematologist wants her to get factor, which will bring her clotting abilities up to “normal.”
The factor took 15 minutes to administer via IV, and since Elanor was already awake and pissed about the whole taping her head during the CAT scan thing, it took both Ravi and I to keep her from yanking out her IV or the thing that was taped to her foot to monitor her pulse and oxygen levels.
But, once it was over, the IV came out and we were able to leave and go home. Well, we went to IHOP (international house of pancakes) and then home…and I needed a good hour of mindless tv to be able to sleep, so it was 2 when Elanor went down and 3/3:30 when we did. Luckily she slept late today, although not as late as either of us would have liked.
All’s well that ends well….but seriously, I jinxed myself in my last entry…