Sunday, July 22, 2007

What a day...

You'd never believe how exciting the last 24 hours has been for our family. Last night around dinnertime, Chloe (our perpetually calm baby) was fussy and inconsolable. When I picked her up I noticed that she felt warm. I took her temperature - 102.3. Yikes! I called our pediatrician who told me to take her to the pediatric outpatient clinic ASAP. That was around 5:30. Since Rob was working, I had to find a babysitter for the two big kids. I tried both of my neighbors and neither was home. I then tried a couple of the young women from church, but they were both out. Ever try to find a babysitter on short notice on a Saturday night? Good luck. I finally found a young women's dad who said he'd come stay with the kids until Rob got home.

So Chloe and I raced to the clinic and got there around 6:50. They checked her temperature (still 102.3) and her weight (11 lbs., 6 oz.) and put her name on the top of the list to be seen by the doctor because she's so young (9 weeks). When she came in, the doctor was confused at Chloe's illness - a high fever and fussiness, but no other visible symptoms. They collected some blood and urine. I've decided as bad as it is to have those done myself, it's about a bazillion times worse to have it done on my little, sweet baby. I'll leave out the details about the failed first catheterization and the blown out vein.

They came back with her white blood cell count - a little high - and some urine test results. They suspected it may be a UTI, so they gave her a shot of some antibiotics. and instructed me to take her to see our pediatrician in the morning. That was around 8:20. When the nurse left, she closed the door tightly behind her and I figured someone would come back with my paperwork. At 9:00 (when the clinic closes) the nurse came back to clean the room, saw us and exclaimed, "You're still here?!" I explained I was waiting for our paperwork. She told me they don't give paperwork. Instead they fax it directly to the pediatrician's office. Nice. I sat there for over 40 extra minutes in the drab exam room - for absolutely nothing - when I could have been rocking my baby in the comfort of my own home. You can imagine, combined with the stress of not knowing what was wrong with my sick baby, I was pretty upset when I got home. That is really an understatement.

Since I wanted to keep Chloe close by, I tucked her in bed with me and suggested maybe Rob go sleep somewhere else. I didn't think all three of us should be squeezed into bed when Chloe was running a fever and Rob throws off more body heat than you can imagine when he sleeps. I think he ended up bunking with Caleb. Anyway, around 2:00, I woke up and felt Chloe - she was burning up! I took her temperature - still high - and decided we needed to give her some Tylenol. Only we didn't have any infant Tylenol since Chloe hasn't had shots yet. So Rob gets out his nursing books and figures out how much children's Tylenol he can give her. Chloe slept fitfully the rest of the night, and so did I.

We got up around 7ish and she was still hot - her temperature was closer to 103 - so I gave her more Tylenol and called the pediatrician to make an appointment. The doctor had told us to make an appointment for around 11, but when I told that to the receptionist, she told me they only make early appointments on Sundays, so I went ahead and took a 9:15. I sent Rob, Caleb and Camille off to church and took Chloe to the doctor.

When I got there, the doctor seemed concerned that I was there at 9:15 and not 11:15 as she had instructed. I explained to the doctor that the office staff wouldn't give me a late appointment and she must have said something to them because when I left they were extremely appologetic.

Anyway, they did another CBC to count her white blood cells and they had gone down some since last night - a very good sign. They didn't have the blood cultures back from the lab since they take 24 hours to do, so they gave her another shot of antibiotics. But since you're supposed to space the shots as far apart as possible (ideally 24 hours), they couldn't give her the shot at 9:15 when we came. Instead, we had to come back at 11:45. So with two hours to kill before we had to be back, it wasn't worth going home. We figured we'd head to church even though I wasn't dressed for it. I figured I wouldn't make it at all so I put on jeans this morning. I kept Chloe away from everyone so no one would catch anything (if what she has is contagious). We went back for the shot (which happens to be one of the kinds that sting horribly as the medicine goes into your muscle...kind of like the MMR vaccine they made me get at the hospital this go round. I had forgotten how much shots can hurt.) and then headed home.

I got there before Rob and the kids and since Chloe was sleeping, I took the time to pick some tomatoes and basil from the garden, cut the bones out of the pork chops we planned for dinner and wash a few dishes. In the process, our friend Kim called asking if she could bring dinner over so we wouldn't have to worry about that as well as a sick baby. She ended up bringing over some really awesome lasagna.

Anyway, after rest time, I took the kids outside and helped them make homemade ice cream. (It's super easy. Take 1/2 c. half and half, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla and stick them in a small ziplock bag. Stick that in a big ziplock bag with some ice and salt - I used kosher salt. Zip the bag and shake until the ingredients turn into ice cream - about 5 - 10 minutes, depending on who is shaking!) It was a nice little treat. Then we all played outside.

Here's where it really starts to get fun. As if I didn't have enough to worry about, as we're going inside, Camille started screaming, "It hurts! I need some medicine!" So I asked, "What hurts?" and she showed me her mouth with some green stuff in it. "What did you eat?" I asked. "I don't know," she replied. So I asked again, "What did you eat?" This time she pointed to a plant that was growing outside the carport. I picked it out and ran inside. All the while she's screaming that her mouth hurts and that she needs some medicine.

I yelled to Rob to come help, asking him if he knew if elephant ears were poisonous (the plant, not the part of the animal). So he did the logical thing - took a bite of it himself. He chews it up and said, "I don't know what she's talking about...I feel okay." About thirty seconds later, he amended his statement: "Yeah, maybe her mouth does hurt."

He gets on the computer and starts looking up what to do for treatment and since he couldn't find the information immediately, I called poison control. They looked it up and said that she'd probably be fine. Just wash her mouth out and then give her lots of fluids to drink and to call them if her lips began to swell or if she had any other symptoms, which thankfully she didn't. Like I didn't have enough to worry about, right? (Camille and Rob are both fine.)

Here's what an elephant ear looks like:

(Oh, I forgot to tell you that while I'm outside playing with the kids, Rob brought out Chloe and asked me why she was all wet. I went inside to change her and realized that it was spit up - all down the front of her onesie and even around her back. I changed her and got her all washed up and then saw there were puddles of spit in the swing where she was sleeping. So I got to do a load of laundry. Lucky me. Then as we sat outside watching Caleb build a boat out of miscellaneous containers he found in the recycle bin, Chloe proceeded to spit up more - really vomiting up every ounce of milk I just fed her...and the Tylenol too. So now not only did I not get a shower today, but I'm extra stinky to boot.)

Fortunately the kids' bedtime came around (after lots of fighting about toys, who was going to sit on which side of the bathtub, who got to use the blue towel and who had to use the white one, why we had to pick up toys before bed and which story to read before bed). I'm tired.

We're taking Chloe back to the doctor tomorrow for another shot of antibiotics and hopefully by then they'll have the results of her blood cultures. Fortunately Rob is off tomorrow (he took the day off to help me so I don't have to deal with a sick baby and the other kids on my own) so I shouldn't have to tote Caleb and Camille with me when I go.

The good news is that Chloe's temperature seems to be back down (and it's been quite a while since her last dose of Tylenol) and she's a little less fussy (at least while I'm holding her). Hopefully she'll be fine soon. I'll give a report as soon as we know something.

Here's sweet Chloe on a better day.

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