Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Dr. McDreamy for Us

I used to be an avid fan of Grey's Anatomy. They lost me during the whole Izzie Stevens/ghost of Denny Duquette thing happened, and when George O'Malley was was written out, it sealed the deal. However, most of what I know about hospitals comes from Grey's Anatomy and E.R. The only time I have ever been in the hospital was when Lydia was born, and that was for thirty-six hours in the labor and delivery unit.

Do you see where I'm going with this? On Tuesday, Lydia was sent home from daycare with a fever. Robin picked her up early at about 3:30, and her teacher reported that she was hot, had a temperature of 101 degrees, and was breathing shallowly during nap time. We began giving her fever reducing medicine, and I put in for a sub for Wednesday. At bedtime, I noticed that she was breathing more quickly than usual, and after a conversation with our pediatrician, had determined that her breathing was in relation to her fever. She slept well, and Wednesday morning seemed to be about the same, mostly feverish.

As the day progressed, I became somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that her breathing was still notably faster than usual, enough so that I wanted to see our doctor. I made an appointment for 1:15, and shortly thereafter, the circus came to town.

Over a period of about twenty minutes, Lydia had three "episodes" during which she began breathing more quickly, lost color in her face, and scariest of all, her lips and chin turned bluish. These episodes lasted less than a minute each (probably less than 30 seconds), and she would shiver afterwards. In a panic, I tried to call our pediatrician, but she was on the phone with another patient. I kept thinking about all of the things I've read that said to listen to my instincts, and my instincts were telling me that waiting for her appointment wasn't a good idea, and I realized that if waiting for our doctor to finish a phone call felt like too much of a wait, my instincts were saying this was urgent. I was scared that the episodes would become more severe or more frequent, and I had no idea what was bringing them on. Robin had just walked in the door for lunch, so I informed him that we were taking Lydia to Dell Children's.

On the way there, I called to see if they wanted us to go to Urgent Care or the ER. As soon as I described Lydia's symptoms, they told me to go to the ER, so we headed there. Lydia had one more breathing episode in the car, and I felt like we were making the right choice.

Back to Grey's Anatomy. I now understand why they make hospital shows about rare disease after rare disease. Why? Because emergency rooms and hospitals are not so much exciting and suspenseful as they are terrifying and stressful. We were at Dell's for about six hours, during which Lydia was suited up in a gown, monitored, poked, and prodded. She was a champ and charmed all of the doctors and nurses, but there's something about holding your screaming child while nurses insert a catheter for a urine sample or dig around for a vein to get blood that is traumatic. While we have reveled in Lydia's blossoming verbal skills, her ability to scream "All done!! All done!!!" and "No! No! No!" made the experience pretty traumatic, especially because as they ran test after test, took x-rays, and asked us questions, it became apparent that we were not going to leave with any definite answers as to what was going on and I felt like I had either been imagining the breathing episodes or had overreacted.

Ultimately, they attributed the breathing episodes to Lydia's rising fever. While they didn't find any bacteria in her blood or urine screens, her white blood cell count was high enough to warrant anti-biotics, so she was given shots in both of her thighs, and we were told to make a follow-up appointment with our doctor today.

With that said, Dell Children's did a great job of trying to make our time there more patient friendly.They had Child Life Specialists who provided Lydia with toys, and when we got hungry, they brought us a boxed lunch. The Specialist was on hand to answer questions, explain procedures, and offer comfort measures, such as positions to hold her during the blood draw, books and a hand-held movie player to distract her, etc. We never felt like we were being ignored, and while we were there for awhile, none of our waits were extraordinarily long; they just wanted to be thorough and it took time to get each test result back.

Today, I stayed home again and took Lydia in to see our pediatrician. They ran a strep culture and tested for the flu, both of which were negative. She validated our choice to take Lydia to the ER, saying she would have done the same thing. Since Lydia seemed to be responding so well to her anti-biotic shot, she gave her an extended prescription for more to fight a possible infection. Today she seemed better, but she is still not quite back to herself.

A huge thank you goes out to Jessica, who quickly volunteered to come over and sit with Lydia today. I hadn't showered since Tuesday (or washed my hair since Monday--eek!), and we were in desperate need of groceries. Mostly, I was so glad to have face time with someone who wasn't a doctor. She is an awesome friend. We have also had offers from other friends to provide anything we need, and for that we are very grateful. A co-worker stepped up today and helped my sub get in order, and lots of people have been checking in on Lydia. I get really emotional when I think of the support we get from so many.

So guess why, when trying decide what to do in an attempt to come down after the day's craziness, Robin said, "NOT watch Grey's Anatomy."


  1. I have been thinking about you and Lydia all day-what a scare--I would probably have rushed her in sooner-In spite of tenure I am not brave around sick children--so thankful you caught this in time and that she reacted favorably to the meds-wish I could help----Love you ---GGG

  2. Oh Laurie and Robin...I know all too well how scary an ER trip can be. I wish that I couldn't relate to all that you described, but I can. I'm glad everything turned out okay and that Miss Lydia is feeling better. I also know how frustrating it is to hear, "we don't know what is wrong...." The pics are cute! We have pics of Ella in the same purple gown! :) Isn't it amazing how strong these little ones are!!! For as sick as they are (which is why we end up in the ER), I'm pretty sure the whole experience is tougher on Mom and Dad in the long run! :) Again, I'm sorry that you had to go through all that, but so glad that everything is ok. Love to you all.

  3. Laurie,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post what you did today. It is so difficult to be so far away when Lydia is sick and you and Robin are stressed with concern and lack of sleep. I am so grateful for that all that you did...YOU ARE A GOOD MOM...(and of course, Robin is a super dad)...and our Lydia is back on the mend. We had such a good time with you all when we were was hard to leave. Our car was quiet as we replayed our days with you and missed Lydia.

    Love to you all,

    Grandma Jeanette

  4. Poor thing! I'm so glad that she's responding well to her meds and that the breathing episodes are over. I can't imagine how you managed to stay calm and confident enough to even get yourselves to the hospital!

  5. I tear up every time I think of "All done! All done! Our sweet, wonderful we take her healthy strong body for granted...Cover her with hugs & kisses from all of us who love her to pieces!!

    Gramma Mree

  6. Oh so sad to read about your little Lydia bug! I cannot even imagine the stress of your experience. I hope you have a really lovely, restful weekend at your house - with lots of deep breathing, showers and no fevers whatsoever!

    And on a totally unrelated tangent - we went to the new Children's Museum for the first time last week here in Madison. It's amazing, and I look forward to going there with you and Lydia sometime soon!

  7. It is so hard seeing your child sick. I am still teary eyed thinking of her saying all done... I remember when Sam was a toddler and had to have a catheter inserted while I helped to hold him down. He looked up at me and asked why my eyes were leaking!