While our first two years (almost! eek) as parents has not been an easy journey, we have been so fortunate that Sammie B has not been sick much. (HUGE KNOCK ON WOOD). She had a bout with RSV when she was about 7 months old, but bounced back like a champ and wasn't even hospitalized (as is super common w/ premies and really, all infants, who get RSV). She had roseola last month, but other than being tired and a tad whinier than normal, she again, was a champ. But two weeks ago, our Bean got SICK, and well, it sucked. Honestly, the entire experience was one of mine and B's hardest parenting experiences to date, so I knew I needed to write about it to work through it, or start to . . .
So, on a Thursday night, I was up working (boo) and Sammie B started crying around 11pm. I listened to make sure B calmed her and she went back to sleep, but about 15 minutes later, more crying, so I went upstairs. Poor Bean did this ALL night. She'd cry cry cry, I'd calm her, but she'd go back to sleep for about 15 minutes and then cry cry cry again. I slept (sort of) holding her ALL night in these 15 minute increments. She felt BLAZING hot to us, but our thermometer (which has now been trashed) said she had no fever. Nonetheless, we gave her motrin, but it really seemed to have no effect. The next morning, she was just out of it. Lethargic, not responsive to much of anything, and turned down her milk (which has NEVER EVER happened). I got worried, really worried (read: panicked) and we called the doctor, who said she probably had an ear infection and to bring her in. We took her to the doctor, completely one hundred percent confident it was just.an.ear.infection, and not too worried. But the little Bean was oh so sad. This is us waiting on the doctor to call us back:
And then, the doctor examined her, and couldn't find anything wrong (though she did have a fever, even though we were post-motrin, which is why we knew our thermometer was broken). But Sammie B was still just miserable and crying, so the doctor sent us to the ER for a stomach ultrasound, thinking that maybe she had this super common, no-big-deal thing where the small intestine gets caught in the large intestine (fixed by a mere enema). Her symptoms fit (cyclical crying, lethargy, fever) so off to the ER we went. Still not panicking because the doctor didn't seem to be.
Fortunately, we live in a city with GREAT hospitals, and we went to one of them, but we had SUCH a horrible ER experience that I honestly think B and I are both scarred for life (Sammie B no doubt has already forgotten!). First, they were super nice for the stomach ultrasound and let me hold her for the whole thing . . . I just laid with her on the table, cuddling her while they did the ultrasound, and she actually fell asleep! But the ultrasound was normal, and she was still refusing liquids and totally lethargic, so the ER doctor wanted to put her on an IV. Next thing we know, someone from admissions is coming to have us sign the admission paperwork (yet no one had told us she was being admitted). Then, the nurse came to put the IV in . . . TWO nurses, and they wrapped her up in a burrito-like straightjacket and had us hold her down and BOTH tried to get an IV in and failed. And one of those bitches even dug around in her vein after she poked her, which always always pisses me off. I have tiny veins, so I've been stuck TONS, and its ALWAYS better to stick again than dig!! So, even though Bean was hysterical, and I was slowly losing it, I VERY VERY nicely said, "I know that you are both really good at your jobs, but since she's so little, can we please get a PICU or NICU nurse to put the IV in?"
In walks another nurse. I said, "are you from the NICU?" She said, "I used to work in the NICU." (Probably before they got rid of her for having no personality). And so we went through the above AGAIN. Wrap her up, hold her down, stick her. This nurse got the IV in and we breathed a sigh of relief. Then I decided to walk out and call my mom with an update. When I walk out, I hear the first nurse that had tried to stick Sam talking to another nurse saying she couldn't "stick her because it was like she had floppy baby syndrome" and then she went on to remark "at her age!" I SPUN around and said, "are you talking about my daughter?" She said "yes," and that's when I lost it. Mama bear.
So, I said, "She is floppy. It's called hypotonia - low-tone, and its unfortunate that as a nurse you think that's something to stand out here and giggle about. Send the doctor in our room immediately, and we want another nurse." Just NOT what I needed in that moment. NEVER. Flippant little bitch. (I MAY have used those words when talking to the nursing supervisor later, though I truly did try to remain diplomatic).
So, then I go back into our room and around that time, someone came to hook up the IV fluid itself, and Sam LOST HER SHIT. Started screaming like nothing she's ever done before. B asked the tech, "is it hurting her?" And he said, "no," and walks out. So both of us are trying to comfort her . . . she's literally writhing in our arms, screaming, and we don't know what to do. Then, B looks at her hand and says, "why is her hand purple?" I go running for the nurse that had hooked it up (not the flippant bitch) and said, "her hand is purple." She comes running and sure enough, its infiltrated, and poor Bean's hand/arm, everything is swollen from the fluids. The second that IV was out, she literally melted against me and fell asleep.
The doctor came to apologize, the nursing supervisor apologized, we got a new nurse, and B and I refused to let anyone else touch the Bean until we got up to the pediatric floor. Finally we got there, and someone got an IV in the poor kid (after another failed attempt). All in all our sweet girl was poked FIVE times for one IV. B and I were both total wrecks . . .
We spent the next 13 hours just laying with our poor babe, who was oh so exhausted.
All the doctors we spoke with guessed it was just a virus, and that she just needed fluids and she'd be fine, but they ran urine tests, blood tests, etc. My mom (Gigi!) was fortunately already coming for a visit the next day, so her timing was perfect. I needed MY MOM almost as much I think as Sammie B needed me!
Anyway, the next day the doctors concluded it was just a virus (all tests came back normal), and declared we could go home after just one more night as long as Sammie B was eating. . . she ate a little bit that day, but not much, and finally by evening, was starting to sit and play a little (with Gigi).
Still no babbling or giggles though, and I missed her voice. The next morning, she ate like a champ (finally) and we were discharged. As we were walking to the elevator, she laughed. Laughed. Like, "I scared you, didn't I?"
When we got home, she and I CRASHED for a 4-hour nap. I think she was just exhausted. . . hospitals are NOT restful places. Poor bean was poked off and on all night and day . . . temperature checks, blood pressure, etc. etc. (I worry so much that this experience is going to give her a fear of the white coats . . . and to this point, she's always been such a calm wonderful patient :o()
And after that nap, she HOUSED two pieces of pizza and a brownie. The BEAN was BACK.
B and I remain a bit changed in ways that are hard to articulate. That nurse's flippant little comment; the monitors that reminded us of our time in the NICU (in those very walls); having to HOLD her down for the IVs when she's now so cognitively aware, with her just LOOKING at us, clawing the table trying to GET to us, and screaming with eyes like "help me Mama! Why are you letting them do this?!" . . . Yes, we will forever remember this experience, but I'm soothed by the fact that she won't . . . and its behind us. And we made it. The three of us. And Sammie B bounced back, as she does with everything in her life, like a champ.