September 22, 2008

Nightmare in the Emergency Room

Last night was the scariest in our short time as parents. Penelope had been much fussier than normal, and as I always do when she’s that way, I took her temperature. It was 100.4, or right on the border of worrysome. We gave her some baby Tylenol and basically figured she'd be okay. Dave had come down with a cold while we were away on the hurricane evacuation (this stupid hurricane again, messed everything up) and I have been fighting the same cold for about a week but have managed to keep in under control. Thinking it can’t hurt, I decide to call the doctor's office anyway. The nurse called back and said to take her to the emergency room, just in case. We really thought that would be overkill, but of course cant say no. So we pack everything up, I change back out of my pajamas, and head to Texas Children's Hospital around 9pm. Once there they took a urine sample using a catheter and a blood sample. The nurse told us she needed to insert an IV in case they admit her so they wouldn’t need to do it again. An IV? Seriously... that cannot be necessary. That process ripped my heart in two. Her poor little hand was beet red, she was screaming bloody murder, and it just took forever. After that, we calmed her down and the doctor shows up. She examines Penelope and keeps saying everything looks good. Finally she says, "Well, I think we need to give her a spinal tap and a course of antibiotics and admit her for a mandatory 48 hours" Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh???? Hold the frigging phone here. She barely has a temperature; she is fussy but not hysterical. Is that really necessary? Im frantic at this point, and the doctor is ready to go with this spinal tap. She was worried about a certain meningitis that effects infants under 3 months, but I was not about to let this woman touch my daughter’s spine. We convince her to hold off a minute while we call her regular pediatrician and check his opinion. As we are waiting for him to call back she gets a second doctor to come in. He shows up with the results from her blood work and says everything looks absolutely fine, she doesnt need a spinal tap, and we can go home. Waaahhhh?…. Just ten minutes ago this woman was saying all these horrible things to us and now you are saying we can go home? Then he brings in his boss, the head Emergency Pediatrician and she explains it all again and basically assures us that everything is most likely just fine. We’ll need to follow up with the regular pediatrician in the morning, and they’ll run cultures for 48 hours to be sure. Given the blood work is fine, most likely she got a virus or whatever Dave had. Apparently she is in the transition period, where if she were under two months they would definitely do a spinal tap, and if she were over three months they would definitely not do one. She is 11 weeks and three days. In four days she’ll be three months old. The whole process broke my heart. Penelope wanted nothing more than to just go to sleep, she was so exhausted. Every time she would drift off someone would come in and poke and prod her. The look on her tiny sweet face was just ripping me apart. We finally got her home at 2am and gave her four ounces of milk. We wrapped her up, put her to bed, and she slept until 8:30am. She woke up, had another four ounces, and went back to bed for another two hours. She woke up at 10:30am all smiles and happy as usual. I took her temperature and it read 100.1, but at the doctor’s office a little later it was normal, and she was all smiles for the doctor. The doctor (who we also spoke to on the phone while at the hospital last night) said if she didn’t know the case she’d say she wasn’t even sick. Who knows. We had four doctors from one of the best children’s hospital in the country consult on this little crisis. Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn't have been better off with just a little small town doctor...

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