Paging Dr. House

Kittens –

I have been MIA for about a week for good reason…and you’re about to hear why.

Last Wednesday my daughter spiked a fever of about 104. I took her to the pediatrician on Friday and the doc’s best guess was she had a virus. So off we go. She appeared better on Friday afternoon and Saturday, though she still had a fever, it was much lower.

Then Sunday morning struck and all hell broke loose, it felt. Her fever was back up over 104, even after Motrin and Tylenol. The best word for her temperament was impossible, for which I am grateful for because it is when they are so sick that they are listless that I really worry. But we know the impossible sick temperament is no Sunday walk in the park. Additionally, in this condition, she only wanted me. Of course I don’t blame her, I’d want me too, but these scenarios mean that brushing your teeth is next to impossible.

By noon on Monday we were back in the pediatricians office only to be told to take her immediately to the Emergency Room, her white blood cell count was “alarmingly high but not quite leukemia high.”

It is at that point that I go into breakdown mode. But see, I was also really grateful for many conversations I’d had with a dear friend concerning bad news at the doctor’s office. I’ve been fortunate in my life so far, the first time I received alarming news in a doctor’s office was towards the end of my pregnancy and I went into shut down mode. The doctor talking mine as well have been Charlie Brown’s mother because all I could hear is “Wah Wah Wah.”

My friend apparently goes into stoic mode when this happens to her. She puts all her energy into showing the doctor no emotion and remaining so calm that she ends up with the same result as me. Doc sounding like Charlie Brown’s mother.

So on Monday when I started going into shut down mode, I recalled these conversations we’d had and it amazed me how helpful it was. It was like I could think clearly enough to just tell the doctor that I needed to write down everything she was saying should happen at the hospital because I would never remember. Once again, the necessity of having great mom friends really came through for me.

At the hospital my sweet girl had to endure having a catheter put in, lots of needles for blood-work and an IV. There really aren’t words to describe what it’s like to see this happen to your child. Before we were sent home, all the doctor knew was what she didn’t have and pumped her with antibiotics through the IV for 30 minutes and said I had to take her back to the pediatrician on Tuesday.

The thing is, along the way, I kept thinking I was reaching my breaking point and then something else would happen and it’s like I could reach into this vast well of patience and energy to keep charging forward. I mean, by Monday morning after five days of illness and little sleep and seeing her so sick, my stress level and exhaustion level were through the roof. I thought I was at the end of my rope. But think again, I found quite a lot more rope en route to the hospital and forgot that I was anywhere near the end of it.

After a difficult night and early start to Tuesday, I would say I was officially at breaking point and really didn’t think I could endure another visit to the pediatrician. My sweet little girl had been through so much poking, prodding and doctors that it just seemed like enough.

But off we went, me and darling daughter, to the pediatricians office on Tuesday. En route, I was anxious about telling her where we were going because I thought she would get really upset. Instead, she perked up and said “Doctor? Pumpkins? Monster pumpkins?” and got really excited.

You got it, they have pumpkins with monster faces at the doctor’s office. It seems that’s all that matters to my sweet little one. And that reaction gave me the extra rope I needed to handle this last hurdle. Ironic that my child helped me out in the midst of all of this.

After sitting through a doctor using words like “alarming” again, I finally learned what has been making her so sick. It only took three doctors and the ER to piece it all together. She has a bacterial infection in her bloodstream. It is uncommon and we will never know the origins of it, though you better believe it’s driving me nuts not knowing how she got it.

If she had gotten it 30 years ago, it would turn into meningitis or pneumonia but today there are antibiotics strong enough to fight it off. And further proof that we all need to be thankful for vaccinations this Thanksgiving, she has been vaccinated for pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections and without those vaccines, what would happen to her is unspeakable.

As for me, my same stoic friend and I were having a conversation yesterday afternoon about what sickness does to the moms. I think you only really know once your child has been sick, I know that dad’s are stressed as well, but we handle the brunt of it. First of all, they seem to only want mommy, which is a wonderful feeling but it is beyond demanding and taxing. More importantly, seeing them so sick and being powerless to make them better is the true cause of stress, I think anyway. It is hideous. And then of course, for us, not just the ER visit but the unknown of what she had and the confusion amongst the doctors was like last straw for me.

All that matters though is that my sweet little girl is on the mend and everything feels right in the world for me again.

One Response to Paging Dr. House
  1. Emma
    October 17, 2007 | 3:29 pm

    OMG. I’m so glad that the beautiful EC is on the mend and that everything is alright. I know first hand what it feels like to have your darling one poked and prodded right before your very eyes. It’s horrifying, cruel and you are powerless. Keep your head up and thank God for vaccines! Tell that story to the “I’m not going to vaccinate my kid” crowd.

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