Stop with the fucking SICK already!

So I realize this is like…what, the 4827th post in a row about how sick we all are, but…

Over the course of the week I’ve been feeling progressively more human.  My ears, especially, had begun to pop and I had begun this strange thing you normal people call “hearing” again.  However, as the universe has decided to make my life it’s prime time screwball comedy of a sitcom, yesterday I woke up and my ears were hurting again.  I chalked it up to a bad day and moved on.  Today I woke up and they were HURTING again, if you can follow the distinction.  I called urgent care because of course this is happening on a Sunday when my doctor’s office is closed, and they said to come in.

Ravi drives me to urgent care and heads home with the turtle.  I’m seen and surprise!!!! they’re still really infected-more infected than they should be after 5 days of antibiotics, even taking into account the day I got so nauseous that I puked, and then puked for 4 hours straight that night again, losing two doses.  So my antibiotic was changed, it was suggested I take ibuprofen for the eardrum swelling, and they administered some ear drops to numb the more painful ear after I turned down some narcotic-grade pain meds because I’m a fucking idiot.

The husband and baby come to fetch me, we drop off my prescription with CVS and I do some quick grocery shopping at the Hannaford across the street while Ravi stays in the car with the sleeping Elanor (oddly, as it’s pretty early for her nap–in literary terms, what we’d call foreshadowing).  I come out with far more than I’d intended to buy, of course, and then we go back to CVS and pick up my prescription before driving home.

As there’s much to carry, I decide to let Ravi be the big strong pack mule man and carry all the bags while I take E.  I unbuckle her from the carseat and pick her up.

“Babe, she’s really hot,” I say, kind of surprised.  She’s run a low grade fever since Friday, when we took her to the pediatrician after I saw her yanking on her ear and being cranky, but nothing above 99ish…vaguely warm to the touch.  She’s like the surface of the sun now.  “I’m going to take her temp when we get upstairs.”

I take it.  Looking at the number, I assume that the thermometer must be acting up.  I take it again.  I take it a third time.

“Fuck.”

In quick succession–104.2, 103.7, 104.1.  Normal is 98.6.  The baby books say that for a young child anything over 104 is either a call your dr or go straight to the ER temp, as 105-107 are dangerous fevers that can do damage.

I call the pediatrician and talk to the nurse on call, who after hearing that the temp is now reading 104.4 when I check it yet again, advises me to go straight to the ER, but to go ahead and give E some Tylenol before we leave.

We do so, and toss together what we now know to be our ER kit-a laptop for internet surfing as there’s free wifi (Ravi’s), a laptop with a dvd slot and an Elmo dvd or 3 (stop laughing at me Saffy-I know you are), a book or two for me, some cans of diet coke, and a snack for each of us.  The diaper bag gets an additional spare outfit, and three sippy cups.

Just as we’re gathering everything up, Elanor throws up some portion of the Tylenol and a decent chunk of the yogurt we’d fed her while waiting for the nurse to call us back.

An outfit change (and improvisation of a new winter coat as hers is now going to the dry cleaners on Monday) later we are out the door.

A moment to stop and note that when I looked up fever in a parenting book, they noted that a random high fever in a toddler without a lot of other symptoms could mean sepsis, I died a bit right there.  Nothing like seeing that word after having lived through an episode of sepsis with your newborn to traumatize a parent on the way to the ER.

With that in mind, you’ll understand why the drive over was tense.  Phrases like “spinal tap” and “viral panel” were thrown around.  Some expectation of admittance was expressed.  Tears were blinked back more than once.  In short we over-thought and over-reacted just like parents who have been traumatized by medical shit would in this circumstance.

In the packed ER waiting lounge I was not happy with the speed which we were processed in and taken back.

Let me take a minute and break this down for you….all of you who bitch about the time you spend waiting in the ER????  It’s a GOOD THING.  It’s an AWESOME thing.  It means you’re not important enough to jump the line.  We have been the people who EVERYONE is interested in and who jumped in front of everyone and it’s fucking scary because it means something really awful and scary is going down.  Are we clear?  Good.

So yeah…getting into a room within 10 minutes of arriving in an American hospital’s ER?  Not a good sign.  That we waited about 15 more minutes before seeing anyone?  Moderately good.  That the intern didn’t really see anything wrong with E other than a fever?  Bad.  That his supervising doc then found white spots on her tonsils?  Good–it meant possible explanation.  That we then became a fairly low priority?  Fucking great.

They made a point of checking her for a urinary tract infection.  This involved a catheter, which was an experience about which the less is said the better–except that it was probably less painful for me than everyone else as I can’t really hear from left ear at the moment.  A UTI was another possible explanation for the fever, other than the throat redness/white spots thing.  With her single kidney a UTI is also a more problematic infection for Elanor, so it’s important to catch early on.  Depressingly they’re also very common in young girls.  Luckily she didn’t have one, so we could rest easy.

We were released about 5 hours after we got there which is a pretty fast in and out of an ER.

Highlights from the experience include but are probably not limited to…

1-After we had to hold her down to look in her ears, every time Elanor saw the intern, she made a point of waving bye-bye at him in hopes that he’d just go away and leave her alone.

2-We called my in-laws (who were expecting us to show up at their house this afternoon) en route to the hospital and played down the whole “going to the ER” thing while telling them that we were going to the ER.  Deciding that rather than wait around for an update from us, after a few hours they just decided to come down and check things out and make sure that we didn’t need anything (food, clothes, whatever).  In some cases, this could be considered an annoyance, but my in-laws are truly awesome and it was really sweet of them.

3-At one point I went out to get a soda and such.  I stopped by the gift shop and bought E an apology for taking her to poked by doctors in the form of an Elmo balloon bigger than she is (stop laughing Saffy).  While walking back to the ER to give it to her, I passed several other toddlers, and the naked desire and envy on their faces was fairly entertaining.

4-Right before we left it was time to administer another dose of Tylenol to E.  I volunteered to give it to her, surprising the nurse.  “I give her two doses of two different meds every day,” I said, shrugging it off, “but can you hold her arms down for me?”  The nurse did, I administered the dose, and the nurse replies “Wow Mom, I’m impressed!”  Sadly, yes, the highlight of my day was when an ER nurse was impressed by the facility with which I can administer meds to my 15 month old.

And now I’m going to bed because after a combined 9 or so hours in medical spaces, I’m just through with today.

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2 Responses to Stop with the fucking SICK already!

  1. saffy says:

    You have had a shit of a week haven’t you? Can I say that? Thank God E’s okay and it’s “just” something viral that can be managed at home. I get the fear as you drove her in there – nice that your inlaws are good sorts too.

    Ok, so there are a few tears in my eyes. Elmo tears of course. Nice spot of toddler envy too – I can just picture it. I’m supposing at this point that the Elmo freeze has thawed?

    Now, the important question – did E say “die die” to the intern? Coz if she did that would be HILARIOUS!!!!

    May you all rest up and be recovered very soon >:D<

    • Taking a Chance on Baby says:

      It definitely HAS been quite the week. If it keeps up, I’ll just be waiting by the door for the Dept. of Public Health to show up with the quarantine sign for my apartment door.

      Yeah, I’m kind of just surrendering to Elmo at this point. While the “it makes my kid happy” argument isn’t always going to work in terms of giving her what she wants (drugs, alcohol, slutty clothes for 6 year olds) I don’t really mind Elmo. Obnoxious, sure. But also educational.

      And sadly no, we did not get a “die die” for the intern. If only she would have…now that would have made 4-5 hours in the ER worthwhile!

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