So it's been awhile now since I've updated this blog, but wanted to share with you Nathanael's first illness where we WENT to the hospital, but he was not ADMITTED as an inpatient. :)
About halfway through our week in Myrtle Beach, Nathanael woke up one night with a fever, and breathing fast. Since there were 6 little kids all together (and at least one of the had a runny nose) I figured he had picked something up from one of his cousins. We gave him some infant Tylenol, and within an hour or so he had perked up so much that he was out playing in the tide pools! Later he started to run a fever again, so we just kept him hydrated, watched his symptoms, and started to alternate Tylenol with Advil to keep his fever down. On our pediatrician's advice we also gave him elderberry syrup and vitamin C to support his immune system. My aunt and her friend are both RNs (with 30+ years experience each), and listened to his breathing, and were not concerned enough to suggest going to the hospital, though we found out where the closest one was, just in case. I kept thinking that he'd just fight off whatever it was, and would go back to normal soon.
Two days later Jamison spiked a fever, was very tired, and didn't feel good, so I figured he had caught the same thing. However, within two days or so he was back to normal. Nathanael, on the other had, was still dealing with a fever if we kept him off medication for very long. We got home on Saturday, and Sunday night I called the hematology/oncology doctor on call at Children's Dallas, who advised us to see the pediatrician if the fevers had not stopped in another day or two. By Tuesday morning (7 days after the fevers started) he was still not fever-free, but was still eating, sleeping, and playing normally, as he had been all week. I called the pediatrician's office, and got him a "sick visit" for the next day. However, when I called his immunologist just to advise them of his status, the nurse listened to his breathing (counted breaths over the phone) and decided he should be seen immediately. Reluctantly, I loaded the boys into the car and headed for the nearest urgent care facility. The doctor there did a strep test (that came back negative), but decided to hold off on blood work, since none of his symptoms seemed serious.
The next day we saw the nurse-practitioner at the pediatrician's office who ran some basic blood tests, listened to him (yes, his lungs still sounded clear!) and sent us home with instructions to call if anything changed. That night, after putting the boys to bed I was doing some grocery shopping when I got a call from the pediatricians' office to inform me that I should take Nathanael to the emergency room immediately. It turns out that his white blood count (WBC on a lab report) was around 30,000 (normal is something like 5,000 to 15,000 or so), which indicated the presence of a bacterial infection. I was, of course, reluctant to wake a sleeping baby to take him to the hospital. After all, why not wait until he wakes on his own and take him in the next morning? However, the nurse-practitioner was quite persuasive. (She didn't actually say she would call CPS if we didn't go in, but that's the impression I got from her tone.) My thought was that if he had been fine all week, what difference would 8-10 more hours make, so I finished getting my groceries, went home, and started packing a bag of clothes for us. (Up to this point Nathanael had not gone to the ER without being admitted inpatient in well over a year, so I figured the two of us would be staying for at least 2 days.) Brad decided that if we could get a friend to stay at our house for a few hours he would go with us, which was a welcome relief, since I have done so much of our hospital time on my own.
Around 10pm the three of us got in the car and drove over to the Legacy branch of Children's Medical Center. We met the doctor, who told us that the tests they would do included basic labs (CBC, chem panel, LFTs, renal panel) as well as blood and urine cultures and a chest x-ray. We already had the negative strep test, but if we didn't find anything the next step was a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). We've done that one before, and I REALLY didn't want to have it done again. But if it came to that we would have to do it to rule out meningitis.
Praise God that with a repeat CBC (which confirmed that the high white count earlier had not been a fluke) and a chest x-ray our doctor was able to diagnose Nathanael with bacterial pneumonia. Of course, he still had to have a catheter inserted to collect urine (be thankful if you've never had that done!), so that wasn't pleasant, but it's MUCH less stressful than a lumbar puncture! So once they figured it out they prescribed a broad-spectrum long-acting antibiotic (rocefin), gave him some IV fluids, and told us we could go home! By this time it was around 3am, and neither of us had gotten much sleep (I think Nathanael slept for maybe an hour after 10pm), so we were exhausted. I was so sure that they were going to admit us, that I had sent Brad home to relieve our friend around midnight, so Nathanael and I were stranded with no car, and were about to be discharged! I sent text messages and called Brad to wake him, and this time, since our friend had gone home, he had to wake Jamison as well. By 4am or so we were all in the car driving home. What a night! We were able to stay home that day, but got a call that our immunologist that she wanted to see him first thing in the morning (so much for our trip to the zoo with friends!) for a check-up and another dose of rocefin prior to starting his 10-day course of oral antibiotics.
The next week we saw the pediatrician for another check-up. He gave us some Florastor to help prevent stomach/GI irritation (so thankful there were NO problems at all!) from the antibiotics, and offered more ideas for immune support. Nathanael had now not had a fever since that first dose of rocefin, and he just continued to improve all week. We are SO THANKFUL that he did so well! God really protected him, considering that he could have been MUCH more and sick and miserable. His recovery really seemed effortless...what a blessing!
So thank you for your prayers for our little guy's immune system! God has graciously blessed us in so many ways in the midst of this, including the fact that it has now been almost A YEAR since the last time Nathanael and I were admitted to the hospital! :) For a long time I wondered when I would ever be able to say that, and I am so grateful that I can now!