Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Going Home!

I woke up on a mission Tuesday morning, to get all of our stuff together and get the heck out of there! They had talked about letting us go in the afternoon, but I strongly requested to please get out as soon as possible. They first had to check her vitals and administer her second oral dose of antibiotics. Now, let me start by saying oral clindamycin is well known to be disgusting, and she had/has to take 13.33 mLs (or 2 3/4 teaspoons) of it 3 times a day. She was/is also on Augmentin, which also tastes pretty nasty, 2 times a day. And, at 8 o'clock in the morning, she got/gets both, along with a probiotic for her gut. Needless to say, after all she'd been through, she was going to have something to say about us shoving a bunch of disgusting medicine down her throat, and she did, loudly. I wasn't worried about it, because I know sometimes you just have to get it done, but the nurse was apparently concerned by her reaction because she sent in a "Child Life Specialist."

So, when Lindsey, our Child Life Specialist came in, she said, and I quote, "I was called because she had some trouble taking her medicine this morning and I am here to help her understand what is going on."

First, yeah she had some trouble. What's new? 
And, second, where were you five days ago?

But, I thought, okay, she's here to help and she's making sense, better late than never, and we have some time before they discharge us, so let's hear her out.

She ended up being FABULOUS! #lindseyforpresident.

While I was packing, she sat down with Lu and talked to her about what was happening and how she was feeling, while giving Lu presents! First, she brought her the sweetest ballerina barbie, then she brought a Simba with an IV in his arm and a medical kit. She got Lu to tell her things like, "they didn't understand me, so sometimes I would say 'ouch' even if it didn't hurt" and lots of other insightful things apparently that she couldn't really pass along to me, because Lu doesn't like people talking about her while she's in the room!

And, now every day we play doctor with Simba and talk about the medicine and how it's yucky but it makes him feel better and how we like the doctors and nurses because they take care of us and make us feel better! I mean, really, good stuff!

While we were there, I felt like she was so mature in moments, but in other moments like she had regressed, by shouting single word requests or screaming for no reason. I think Lindsey helped her get out of that mode and ready to go back home.

As I mentioned earlier, they discharged us right around lunchtime! I called Nick, and he came over straight from work, loaded up and we got the heck out. 

At some point over the weekend, I drew our family up on the board, and I had Lu tell me what everyone should be holding. We had fun drawing these and talking about them, so when we were leaving we took pictures and she explained them all to Baba.

 So, we have Nunna with her big hair, gum, and hand full of Hershey's Kisses; Jido with his iPad playing candy crush; Baba holding 2 pillows (?); Mama with her purse and phone; Zayd with his red Nintendo DS; Lu with her pout pout fish; Uncle Faris with his beard, muscles, and doctor badge; Nana with her purse, Tata "Little Mango" with his phone; and Emma and Addison with their Play-doh.

We're bustin' out!

We got home in time to pick up Z from carpool. We were so happy to see him!

It was a long 5 days, and Lu has gotten MUCH better about taking her yucky medicine. I am thankful and happy to report she is getting better every day, and her follow up doctor appointments have all been very positive. We are hopeful that this craziness is officially behind us!

Praise the Lord for returning to our normal routine!!

One More Night...

It took a while to settle down for bed on Sunday night. We were having so much fun, and sister did not want to get back into the bed, but eventually she did, and it was a much much calmer night. We still got up a couple of times for antibiotics to be given to her in her IV, and she was on pulse ox, which beeped periodically because it would slip around her finger or something, but it was much less and we both slept a good bit better. Even better, her temp stayed down the whole night, so I was feeling encouraged once again. 

Encouraged, until, the ENT residents came in a flurry around 6 a.m. and said the fever the day before was "concerning" and that she may be getting worse and "masking" it or "pushing through." Oh okay, so thanks for that. Then, it was ENT out.... And worry in.

When medical came in later that morning, they had grave looks on their faces, and they delivered the news: "You're not going home today..."

Apparently, they felt she was responding well and doing great, but ENT expressed some concerns. Dr. Fargason said while he didn't necessarily agree with their concerns, he didn't disagree either.

So, we were staying another night.... The plan was still to start oral antibiotics and watch, then go home Tuesday.

I decided to grab this news by the horns, clean up the room, get new linens, clean ourselves up, new pajamas, new attitudes, and basically start a new day for us!

Nick came by for lunch, and we pretty much played the rest of the day. She DID NOT want to take a bath, but we did it anyway, and I think she felt much better afterwards. Honestly, that day was a breeze because she was feeling well and noone was bothering us at all.

We checked in with "brothee."

We laid down and watched Tangled together, then Lu wanted to play ballet, so we took turns "playing the music" and dancing. We probably did this 10 times!

On Monday, Dr. Fargason said he felt good about her progress and that I should too, so I did. She had her first dose of oral antibiotics in the middle of the night Monday night, which meant no IV and no pulse ox! That was by far the best night yet, and first thing Tuesday morning, the ENT woke me up out of a dead sleep and said she was doing good, and should be going home!! Yay! We were so excited. The medical team agreed that she was good to go home on heavy and frequent antibiotics, so as soon as they left I started packing furiously. Thanks I think, to Dr. Madeline, we were discharged by 12:15! It was like a miracle and a dream come true to be getting out of there after so many days and such a roller coaster of emotions!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hospital Stay Continued

Saturday night was very similar to Friday night, but when the machines went off or nurses came in, Lu was a little calmer. Friday night, she woke up screaming whereas Saturday it was more of a whine, and she was able to get back to sleep pretty quickly each time. That's progress, people!

We got some very encouraging news Sunday morning from Dr. Madeline that her WBC had gone down from 18 on Friday to 11 Sunday! According to her, that was within normal range for children and a sign that the antibiotics were working! Praise the Lord! I was feeling really good about that, but surgery still loomed as the medical team was encouraged but not definitive that the antibiotics were doing the job.

We got to disconnect from the IV (no more beeping!) and just plug up when it was time for antibiotics. The plan was to transition to oral antibiotics and stay one more night to make sure the trend continued after the transition.

Sunday morning and things are looking up!

My parents were in route to Dothan when I called to tell them we were going to the ER. Dad had a meeting there, then they went to the beach for the night. I was constantly calling with updates, so I'm not sure how much fun they had, but it was good to finally see them when they came on Sunday. Especially since Lu was visibly starting to get better. 

Of course, Nick came and brought Z by mid-morning (incidentally with another large Starbucks coffee). I was so happy to see Z, considering the last time I saw him was Friday morning! I'm not sure how he felt about all of this, but he was so sweet when he saw Lu. He'd spent Saturday night with my sis and her family. They got pizza and hit up the mall for the Lego store and the arcade. I mean, really, he was having the best time!

Our friends, the Smiths, came by on Sunday too, and they brought delicious food and presents for Lu. Auntie Julie read and played with Lu enough to calm her down and get her right to sleep for her nap, and we ate the heck out of some non-hospital food!

After everyone left, she had her nap and woke up feeling a bit groggy, but seemingly okay, until the nurse took her temperature. Unfortunately, it was up again after being down the whole night. I felt really discouraged and was coming up with worst case scenarios in my mind, most of which involved surgery for my girl.

We paged Dr. Madeline, but she didn't seem too concerned about an isolated fever. We didn't treat it with tylenol (the doctor had given me strict orders not to, because he didn't want to mask her symptoms) and it eventually went down on it's own! Another praise the Lord!

Sunday evening, Nick had to leave to get Z home and ready for Monday morning when he'd be going to work and Z to school. Then, there were two.

After Lu's fever went down, she perked up a lot and wanted to play more school and "drive the car" (wagon) to the other side of the room, so I happily obliged!


By this point, she'd had enough of the bed, so we hung out and watched some shows on the couch.

My mom brought her this sing along Elsa, so she performed the song from our favorite ice queen for me several times that night. After 8 days on the couch, it was music to my ears!

Besides the hospital part, we had a fun time playing school, singing and dancing. Nothing (within that room) was off limits to her little imagination, and I was there to play along. Just me and my girl (and all the nurses and doctors).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Our Hospital Stay, Day 1

Okay, so shortly after we arrived at the hospital, got triaged and put into a room, we saw an ER resident, who said she would be getting a CT scan with contrast to confirm it was an abscess and determine the exact location. The nurse came in a little later and started her IV fluids. Obviously, she did not like this, especially because she'd just had several vials of blood drawn from her arm at the doctor's office, but she finally settled down and soothed herself by saying "okay okay okay okay" over and over again and fast. It was sweet and sad all at the same time, and something she did many times over the next 5 days as she realized she'd have to accept whatever the nurse or doctor was doing to her at that moment.

She sat in Baba's lap almost the whole time we were in the ER, from about 2 to 6-ish. 

When we were at the pediatrician's office, I told her I'd get her a snow cone for being a big girl, and I was planning on doing just that, as there is a Sno Biz pretty close to her doctor's office, but since we went to the ER, we never got to, so all day on Friday and every time someone came in and did anything to her, she'd say "I want a snow cooooone!" It was kinda sad, and can someone tell me, why on earth would Children's Hospital not have snow cone machine?!

Pretty soon after they started the IV, we went in for the CT. I decided to go with her and well, there's just really nothing positive to say about that. She was a big girl though and even "laughed" at certain points. I held her hand and tried to talk her through it, but it was just plain scary and hard!

The ENT confirmed it was an abscess, specifically a retro-pharyngeal abscess and said it was in a location with a lot of important structures. For that reason and because she'd had a grilled cheese sandwich that morning they decided to hold off on surgery to drain it. They started her on IV antibiotics (Unasyn, the IV equivalent of Augmentin). At this point though, I'm getting the message that surgery is still likely.

After a good bit of waiting in the ER and Lu complaining she was "hungryyyyy," we finally got to go to our room. She was perking up a bit from the fluids, but she still rode up there in a wagon, which again was sweet but sad.

After she finally ate, she fell asleep for a bit, but of course was woken up a little later by a pretty bad fever.

And that is pretty much how the rest of the night went for us, sleep a little then wake up because the IV machine or pulse ox machine (just from her moving around and missed readings) would beep and wake us up. Sleep a little then a nurse comes in the check vitals.

Every time she woke up, she wanted me to rub her feet to get back to sleep, so I went back and forth between my makeshift couch/bed and the recliner next to her bed. The first night was no bueno.

The next day I wasn't really sure how to feel. I mean the night was pretty terrible, I still had no idea whether surgery would be in our future or if the antibiotics could possibly work on this thing. Nick had to go home and spend the night with Z (which is exactly where he needed to be). I was just feeling sad, scared and lonely. That's when my sis called and said, I'm coming, and I'm bringing coffee and toys. Hallelujah!

Somewhere around mid-morning the medical team came by for rounds. Our resident Dr. Madeline had introduced herself the night before and said they'd be making rounds, so then I had the attending physician, her, and several other people who were like backup singers talking to me about what was going on. It was a little overwhelming and intimidating, but all that mattered was her and getting her better, so I hung in there and listened to every word they said.

Long story short, the attending, Dr. Fargason felt we'd already been on some form of Amoxicillin for several days and we didn't see any appreciable change, so maybe it was time to change antibiotics. A new plan! Yay!

My sister came in right as we were going over everything with the team with a Starbucks cup the size of my head and a big Olaf that spins around and talks for Lu.

She perked up a lot for D and Olaf. She was laughing and singing songs, and because there was a large dry erase board in our room, we started playing school. Sometimes she would be the teacher

And sometimes she was the student. We played a lot of school and ballet as the days passed and she was feeling more like herself, and seeing her up and around was like medicine for my mama heart!

Nick came around lunchtime, and I drove D home and went to take a shower and get more things we might need/want. It was so weird being in my quiet house seeing signs of the previous week, thermometers and motrin spread out over the kitchen, pillows and blankets on the couch where she'd been lying for days. It was nice to get cleaned up there, but I couldn't wait to get out of there and get back to my girl.

When I got back, Faris was there visiting and sharing his third year medical student insights on the results he'd been able to see. It was good to see him.

Now, you might be wondering where Z is in all of this. My sweet sweet friend (and really their whole family is friends with our whole family) who's son goes to Z's school and already picks Z up on Mondays, picked him up Friday afternoon and brought him to her house. They then added Z to their plans of eating at Mellow Mushroom and going to the UAB basketball game! Words cannot express how relieved we felt to have Z not only with the best of friends, but also having the best time, and it was seamless! We're so thankful for sweet family and friends, all the time, but especially during times like these.

(Technically the dad picked up Z, hence the photo of the no booster seat, but don't worry they only drove a couple of miles to their house like this.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Opposite of Fun

I've said this before, but I like to write about happy things, fun events, vacations, celebrations. But life is not always happy or fun. And the past few days as well as this post fall into that category.

So, I mentioned that Lu woke up sick on Halloween. As kids do, she was up and down with fever. She threw up once, and her fever never got much above 102, but she was very puny and complained about headache. My immediate thought was strep, because those are the exact symptoms Z had when he had strep (which made him about as sick as he'd been up to that point, and incidentally he was just about her age when he got it). The weekend went on and she stayed mostly on the couch, puny, complaining about her head hurting. She never once mentioned her throat hurting, and when I looked in there, I didn't see any redness, swelling or anything else to indicate her throat was involved, so I started thinking maybe the flu. I called the doctor on Monday and the nurse (not my usual nurse, for the record) felt she may have a fever virus and some allergy or sinus trouble (she did have the slightest of a runny nose, but really doesn't have a problem with seasonal allergies). My gut was not comfortable with this decision, but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and give her a little more time.

By Tuesday, she was no better, so I called back, talked to my regular nurse, and made an appointment for Nick to take her in. When he did, she tested positive for strep. Yay! A diagnosis, and one with a very clear and effective treatment. At this point, I am feeling better, although still feeling uncertain because she has not complained once about her throat.

She started a heavy dose of amoxicillin on Tuesday, had a dose Wednesday, and Thursday. My parents were going out of town Thursday, so she came to the office with me for the afternoon. Mom left her with all her favorite foods, but after she ate a bit, she started getting tired.

I made her a pallet, and around lunchtime, I offered to take her to get something else to eat, but she said she just wanted to sleep, which she did, for 3 hours. I realized at this point that she wasn't getting any better.

I called the pediatrician again, and my doctor was out of the office, so they said stay the course with the antibiotics, which I did not, instead I called her in Augmentin and gave her a dose that night and the next morning, thinking maybe there were some other bugs going on besides strep and that I had to do something. 

Friday, she perked up a bit, but was clearly still sick, and still complaining about her head, but also her neck and seemed to be limited in her neck movement. When I went in, my doctor drew blood, found that she had a high white blood cell count indicating infection, but could not determine where the infection was coming from. Her ears were clear, throat (again) looked fine, nose clear. He was stumped.

The final thing he had her do was give a urine sample to see if she had a UTI. We knew at this point it was unlikely because of her lack of urinary symptoms, but we had to do it to rule it out.

He'd examined her neck and felt it wasn't like she had meningitis, as she could look to the left and down fine, but finally after we did the urine sample again, he noticed she wasn't able to look up very far or to the right. He consulted quickly with an ENT, and told me it appeared she may have an abscess in her neck. Abscess in her neck? What? How? Where?

Then, he said she needs to go to the ER. Okay, now you're scaring me. He said she'd probably have to have a CT and that it would be a "hoopla." Well, sure, we love hooplas.

So, we left and went straight to Children's ER. Nick, of course met us there, and the hoopla began.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mom Fail: Halloween Edition

Well, it happened, Lu woke up Halloween morning with a fever. So, if you're keeping up, and I am, that would be 4 holidays in the past few years that include sick children (Z Memorial Day (doesn't really count, but I'm counting it), Lu Thanksgiving, Z Christmas Eve, now Lu Halloween). Not to mention the year that Z got sick while we were in Ohio. But, I digress

She was pretty puny most of the day Saturday, then perked up a bit and even put on her costume because she "had to get ready to go to Dean's house."

That energy didn't last long and we pretty quickly realized there would be no trick-or-treating for our girl. We'd had plans to hit up a neighborhood party, which I realized at about 10 o'clock Halloween night, they'd moved up in order to beat the rain, but decided I'd head to my friend's (whose son, Dean, is one of Z's friends) house. They were also starting festivities early to beat the rain, but somehow I still didn't get the figurative (or literal) memo, and ended up leaving at about 5 when trick-or-treating (and rain) had already (sortof) begun in our neighborhood, and by the time I got to my friend's house it was pouring rain! They'd already been limited trick-or-treating, and Z said he would rather play with them anyway, so we put it off. Then, it started absolutely miserably there's-no-way-I'd-willingly-walk-around-outside raining, and the night was over. In short, Z missed trick-or-treating this year, and I'll probably be sad about that for the next 364 days....

Okay, so enough depressing news. We did manage to go to Boo at the Zoo last week, which was a lot of fun, and there was a form of trick or treating there, so that's something.

Let's pretend those are pretty mums in those planters, mkay?!

Then, Thursday night was Z's school carnival, which was a rather large event, think limited parking, and little people, everywhere. It was a lot of (hectic) fun, and since it was on Z's turf, he kept darting in and out of classrooms playing the games. He didn't even bother waiting for me and Lu!

After all the games and my shift working the ever popular cake walk, we settled into the lunchroom for some dinner. These two were pretty hopped up on candy and sprite.

We made our way outside, where there were more games and bounce houses, and on our way out said hello to the Cinderella and the knights. It was a really fun evening!!