Beanie is sick. She started with a fever last night–we don’t know how high, because the batteries in our thermometer died. But her hands were hot, which is definitely the sign of a fever with her. She watched cartoons in the evening, and fell asleep on the Fouton, where she spent the night, waking up occasionally (so her mommy has been very tired and rather out of sorts today). Today she stayed home from school, and watched cartoons all day (thankfully, we have a projector and a Roku!). Rob kept her hydrated, and this evening she’s very hungry. She’s enjoyed fake crab and pizza so far. Her fever is gone, but she seems to have muscle aches, so we’ve given her some Motrin (we didn’t give it to her until the fever was gone–we only give her medicine for a fever if we’re about to take her into the ER and that might prevent it).
We’re very cautious when the Bean gets sick, because our little buddy has been hospitalized more than both of us! (And there have been other misadventures as well, such as the time I missed a staff meeting because Rob called and said that Beanie was unable to breathe…Luckily her Xopenex treatment fixed things well enough that we could do an evening doctor’s appointment). Little girls with GERD get dehydrated very easily and don’t fight off infections very well when they are on meds (Beanie no longer is–we now treat it with diet).
So, today I thought I would tell you about Beanie’s two hospital stays.
Hospital Stay #1: The Post-Vaccine Ordeal
When Beanie went in for her 12-month check-up, at 13 months (we were a little late!), all heck broke loose. First, she weighed in at 18 pounds, which was the first time she dropped off the chart. Our pediatrician lectured us about her food intake (she was still mainly nursing), told us to give her Pediasure, and ordered us to bring her in to be weighed again, in 3 months. This led to a horrible time of force-feeding, which led to her throwing up more frequently, and requiring an additional reflux medication and breathing treatments due to acid aspiration. But that was further down the road.
Furthermore, she was scheduled to get 10 vaccines at this appointment. Before I could protest, our doctor said that she would only be getting 5: chickenpox, MMR, Prevnar, polio, and hepatitus. Before giving the shots, the nurse warned me that two of these were live virus, and might cause reactions, even though Beanie has not had reactions to vaccines in the past.
The Bean had no immediate reaction to the shots, but less than a week later, blisters (that looked exactly like chickenpox) appeared on her legs. The CDC sheet said that 1 out of 10 kids got chickenpox from the shot, so I wasn’t worried. The pox are nothing to lose sleep over.
Then came the fever. It spiked to 105 during a visit with my parents. A fine rash (that looked a lot like the measels) covered her torso. She refused to nurse. We took her to the ER that night.
At the ER, they did all kinds of tests, for mono and other serious problems. They found nothing. When I told the doctor that she had recently had vaccines, he said she definitely had the chickenpox. They gave her an antibiotic and sent us home with directions to see her doctor the next day.
Which we did, even though the nurse questioned our decision to bring her in, after we had already been at the ER. The pediatrician looked Beanie over, then said, “She needs IV fluids.” It turns out that the ER staff had documented that the Bean was dehydrated, but did not admit her, which caused the problem to be worse that morning. We waited while the doctor booked us a room, then we were sent straight to the hospital (home was 40 minutes away, so we didn’t stop there).
My cell phone battery had died, so I could not get ahold of Rob. Beanie and I were immediately taken to a room, waiting to be interviewed by the staff. The nurse came in, and while I was explaining Beanie’s GERD to her, the Bean did a demonstration and threw up all over my clothes. She said that the supervisor would be putting in the Bean’s IV, and that they were more comfortable with parents being out of the room when they did it. We changed Beanie into a tiny hospital gown. Then, I was given some baby shampoo, a towel, and some scrubs to change into, and sent to a shower down the hallway.
Yeah, I had seen Beanie in the worst pain she had ever experienced, already, so being there for the IV would have been a cinch. But, I humored them and enjoyed my shower. I changed my clothes, and felt like I was wearing pajamas, which was weird but nice. I used the nurses’ phone to call Rob, who would join us in the evening, with some clothes for me.
The shower felt great. Then, I returned to the room and comforted the furious Bean. She was now hooked to an IV, with a machine that frequently hung up, displaying “Downward Occlusion.” We’d straighten out the line, hold her arm up, and have some success. Sometimes we had to call the nurse, who would show up with some coffee for me. Finally, Beanie nursed to sleep and I laid her down in the “baby cage,” hospital crib. And I enjoyed some time in the computer room. The lab staff wanted to draw more blood, but the nurses kept them away while she was sleeping.
I came back into the room, and ordered our meals, with the help of the overly-enthusiatic food service representative. Our hospital is small, but it does have excellent food, better than you would expect. I made sure to order a lot, in case Rob showed up, and I got us the cherry cheese cake for dessert.
Rob showed up and ate Beanie’s pizza, since she wasn’t hungry. She was co-sleeping fulltime then, so I knew where I would be sleeping. I climbed into the “baby cage,” while Rob got the other bed in the room. At 6:00 a.m., KER-CHUNK, the side of the crib came down, and the nurses expressed confusion at seeing me there, in scrubs. Beanie quickly awoke, so they could poke and prod her.
Luckily, by the next day she was rehydrated, and her blood sugar was normal, so she was good to go home. Her test for hand, foot, and mouth disease had come back negative, so her pediatrician decided that her bumps were bug bites. Yeah! Her current doctor just documents that she has had a vaccine reaction and supports our decision to vaccinate selectively. We don’t even have to fill out a waiver for school.
Tomorrow, you will learn about her second visit.