Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tears & Irony

Yesterday was one of the scariest days of my life. It started out as a pretty normal day, but around mid morning, Peanut went into complete hysterics. I thought she was just tired, so I put her and Jelly Bean down for a nap. Jelly Bean settled in for a snooze, but Peanut got even more upset. She turned bright red and cried so hard that she made the most horrible grinding noise in the back of her throat. Typically I will let them fuss if they are refusing a nap because they will usually settle down. However just after a few minutes, I picked her up and brought her back into the playroom. I took her temperature and it was completely normal, but went ahead and gave her some Tylenol in case she had any pain.

I tried rocking her to sleep, but she wouldn't settle down. I figured she just wanted to play, so I put her on the floor and turned on the TV. She would just walk around aimlessly bawling. Every once in a while, she would start cough and gagging. This went on for some time and finally I picked her up again. Even though I was holding her, she still couldn't calm down. She continued to cry really hard and at one point threw up white foam all over the both of us.

By this time, I was starting to go from concerned to worried. I stripped her out of her soiled clothes down to her diaper, wrapped her in a blanket and held her on my chest until she fell asleep. I figured at this point that she must have had a sick belly and would feel better after a snooze.

She seemed better after she slept for about twenty minutes, so I sat her down and got Jelly Bean up for lunch. As soon as I put her in her high chair, she completely lost it again. I quickly got her out and tried to give her something to eat while I held her. She pushed away the food which is completely unlike her.

Now I have gone from concerned to worried to scared. Her screams wrenched in the back of her throat and sounded like she had just had a shot at the doctor's office. I called the pediatrician and they immediately told me to bring her in, but I knew that I couldn't handle both kids with Peanut in such bad shape.

I called twindada. I broke down while telling him what was going on and begged him to come home. Of course, he hurried out of there, but he is working an hour and a half away right now, so now we just had to wait. Her appointment wasn't for a few hours. (I should mention we are in between pediatricians since we moved, so her old pediatrician is who we are using until we get one here. This pediatrician is an hour away.) By the time that twindada got home, Peanut was not better.

We decided to scrap the hour's drive to her pediatrician and just go to the emergency room at the nearby children's hospital. We arrived at the emergency room and after registering Peanut was taken back to have her vitals checked. Her temperature was 102 degrees and they gave her some medicine. Once we got back to a room, the doctor checked her ears, throat and chest. Everything checked out okay. He decided to order chest and abdominal X-rays and also put on a catheter bag to catch urine so they could check to make sure she didn't have a urinary tract infection.

The X-rays were not fun. Of course, it doesn't hurt, but it is simply torture for a 21 month old to have to lay still. If she wasn't mad before, then this certainly did it! I had to hold her arms and she kicked wildly to the point that the tech had to have someone else take the pictures and she had to hold her feet.

We returned back to the exam room and I started giving Peanut water and graham crackers. By this point, she started to return to the normal Peanut that we know. Now we were just waiting for her to pee and then we could leave. We were now in the emergency room black hole known as "waiting."

Meanwhile, twindada and Jelly Bean were there with us, of course. Twindada kept having to walk her around the hospital because she didn't like hanging out in the exam room with us. Hand in hand they would walk up and down the halls stopping to look at the fish aquariums, the Christmas tree (yes, they already had it up!) and all the toys and pictures that a children's hospital would have on hand. After we got home, twindada admitted to me that he enjoyed the one on one time with Jelly Bean and that she was really good and cute. This makes me feel good that even though he doesn't care for them all day long like I do (somebody has to be the bread winner around here), that he really cherishes the moments that he has with them and enjoys taking care of them. He's a good, involved twindada.

Finally, Peanut peed. They hurried off with the sample and came back to say that it was normal. I was happy that everything they checked came back fine, but of course now I was questioning why we were even there. As moms, I think it is so easy to feel foolish for some of the decisions that we make even if they weren't foolish. The doctor probably could sense my embarrassment and quickly told me that I did the right thing by bringing her in. He said after an hour of crying without the ability to sooth is usually a red flag that something may be wrong.

I know how Peanut was yesterday and it scared me. She is a pretty laid back kid and to have her inconsolable for almost 4 hours almost drove me to call an ambulance. Of course, many irrational thoughts can present when that level of stress takes over someone especially when they are caring for someone who can't tell them what is wrong. On the drive home, I thought about whether I would have done the same thing and the answer is, "yes." I did feel a little funny after all the tests came back normal and she seemed content after a couple of hours there at the hospital, but knowing how bad she was and not knowing if there was something wrong or not put me into action mode. I would have done the same thing because my possible embarrassment is nothing compared to a possible problem go unaddressed. My child's health is more important to me than people's perception of my decision making ability.

Have you ever stalled making a decision about your children because you were afraid what others would think? There are probably mixed responses to this question. It probably really depends on all of our personalities. I generally like the approval of others even though I think that I really despise this about myself. I shouldn't worry about others, but it just comes naturally for me to want this. However yesterday it was about Peanut and her only.

We were given our diagnosis - fever caused by viral infection. The reason for crying was unknown, but probably just a response to the fever. The doctor gave us some basic instructions and told us to call our pediatrician if she has any other symptoms. I am happy to report that this morning, she seems to be doing okay.

So, we are drinking lots of liquids and giving her...(cough)... Motrin.


Hajar said...

It's better to be safe than sorry any day of the week!

Helene said...

I would've done the same exact thing, no hesitation about it. When your baby is crying and inconsolable and she can't tell you what's wrong, you just feel so helpless. I so know the feeling!

I'm glad she's doing better today and hopefully she'll continue that way!

Kim said...

It's so scary when your child acts really differently from their norm. And I totally understand your dilemma: do you do nothing then later find out your delay caused serious harm, or rush her to the ER where you're looked at sideways for being ridiculously overprotective and hysterical (and then handed a $1700 bill)? I think you did the right thing.

Toni said...

Oh goodness, I am glad it was not anything serious. I think you did the right thing. When they can't tell you what hurts and they are acting that out of character getting checked out is the best!

I hope she continues to do better!

twinmama said...

Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. Peanut is still doing just fine now.

mrsbear said...

I'm glad she's okay. I second guess myself all the time, especially in regards to illness. I always flip flop back and forth, do I call the pedi, do I wait? You definitely did the right thing. What my husband always tells me is to think about whether a trip to the doctor will make me feel less anxious, if so then make the trip.

Michele said...

What a frightening experience. I can totally empathize with you on this one. I have spent untold hours in the emergency room, only to come home with a diagnosis of "it's nothing." It gets so I usually hate to go to the doctor. All I'm going to end up with is "it's nothing," and a hefty co-payment. But at least we have insurance...

But a few months ago, my 15yo son told me he had a black spot in his vision sometimes. He said it in passing and I promptly forgot about it. I *meant* to call the eye doc about it, but...

At the next optometrist appt., she found a blocked artery in his eye that can lead to blindness. Way to go, mom. Nice call on that one.

So the long and short of it is that even though it means upsetting all your plans and "wasting" time at the hospital, I, too, would rather be safe than sorry.