Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Grounded

We were supposed to be back in Seattle by now. We arrived in Ottawa on the 30th after having a grand time in St. John's, hanging out with Sugar Daddy's family & celebrating Christmas. Doodle Bug had a runny nose before we left, but we weren't sure if was because of the tooth she was cutting or if she caught something from her cousins. On the plane ride she started coughing & seemed irritable & tired. It got worse from there.

She woke up with a fever the next morning & got progressively hotter & sicker throughout the day. Her nose was running profusely, she was coughing & sneezing & really really grumpy. We did the Tylenol infant cold treatment but by late afternoon she was burning up. I've never felt her that hot before & her breathing was starting to become really shallow, rapid & wheezy. When she started getting listless & unresponsive on top of all this we figured it was time to get some treatment. Being New Years Eve & a Sunday all the walk in clinics had closed at 3:00 so we had no choice but to go to emergency at CHEO.

Seems there was quite a number of other babies & tots there with the runny nose, cough & fever thing so we thought we were in for a long wait. The triage nurse had other plans however because once she assesed the terrified babe with breathing difficulties she sent us to the mask room where two other infants were being treated with what looked like steam. We were taken to a treatment room where we got a mask of our own that was filled with ventolin in a saline solution (this is how I understand it at least). The medicated vapor burbles out of the mask for 10 minutes at a time & she was to get three treatments in a row. I tried to hold her but the little fighter put up too much of a struggle for me to contain so her daddy got to do the dubious honours. Oh what a mess. She got some Tylenol & Advil to take down her high fever & then had to take a liquid steroid (prednisone I think). We had to wait 4 hours after the steroid was administered before we were allowed to go home so we spent hours rocking her, reading, eating crappy food & listening to wailing babies & kids. Strange how it all becomes background noise after a while.

Because she had been exposed to her cousin with pnemonia we were told she'd have to have a chest & heart x-ray to rule out the possibility of her symptoms being the result of having that herself. Count yourself lucky if you've never had to witness your small child get a chest x-ray. Holy fuck - it was the most heartbreaking sight. I had to place her on this little bicycle type seat with her legs dangling beneath her. Then I had to hold her arms up straight above her head while the technician placed two pieces of plexiglass around her torso, pinning her arms in place. The pieces were velcroed together so she was stuck in this clear tube with only her feet & face free. The feet kicked in protest as she screamed (good for the xray but not my heart) & cried trapped in the evil contraption. At first she faced the wall away from me but then she was turned to the side so she could see me out of the corner of her eye. The look of terror & the sadness of betrayal pretty much broke me to pieces. I'll never be able to wipe that picture from my mind. But hey, no pnemonia so we were finally able to head back to my aunt's place where we were (& still are) staying.

We fought the fever & the poor breathing all night & no one got a good night's sleep though we were all exhausted. The next morning she seemed a bit better but wouldn't eat, had no voice, was still running a fever though not nearly as bad & was beside herself with uncomfortableness. The previous day all she would eat was two mandarin oranges & one eighth of a jar of baby food. The day before that she had also not eaten much but was nursing quite a bit. With all the breastmilk & no solids we were back in seedy liquid diapers that we hadn't experienced in months. All the acidity from that plus the irritation of the urine bag the night before (plastic baggy stuck to her skin to get a urine sample) gave way to terrible diaper rash. So the poor kid was having teething pain, burning privates, sore throat from being sick & screaming, fever off & on, chest congestion & breathing difficulties. I've never felt so useless in trying to make my baby comfortable.

Then her breathing got worse again. Her rate was probably triple what it normally is, very shallow & raspy. We decided to head over to CHEO again because the ventolin puffer (with spacer) wasn't controlling it anymore despite having administered it every two hours & then every twenty minutes. We could see the panic developing in her eyes & she was exhausted from just breathing. Once again the triage nurse sends us for treatment right away & we start round two of the masks. Thankfully tonight there will be no chest xray, pee bag or steroid gel being shoved into her mouth. Just some Advil for her hoarse throat that was barely able to squeak out her protests against her torture. She fell asleep during the mask treatments but would wake up with terror in her eyes everytime one of the fantastic nurses came in to check on her. It was so pitiful & I was at the end of my wits trying to keep back my tears.

Oh ya. Then she got the mucus augered out of her nose. That was fun. I got to hold her legs while hubby held her head & arms as the nurse suctioned out the snot. At least they diagnosed something from it. Turns out the poor sweetie has RSV. Most kids will get this virus before the age of three & it normally presents itself as a cold. Some kids are apparently at risk for a more severe reaction to the bug than others, like preemies & those with respiratory problems like asthma. From what I gather those that get a severe bout are then more likely to be diagnosed with asthma later, but whether it's because they had that in the first place that made them more prone to a severe attack or if the RSV triggered the asthma no one seems to know.

So we pretty much have our diagnoses of asthma with the obvious difficulties she was having, her response to the drugs & her over-inflated lungs in the chest x-ray. The RSV has been a miserable bugger but as of today, after sleeping about 20 hours in the last 24, she seems to be coughing a bit less. When we spoke to the doctor about having to travel the next day she expressly forbade us from getting on a plane for at least the next 5 days, if not a week so we are grounded until Sunday at the very least. I guess that means we technically now have the time to see the people we have not had a chance to see yet, but I don't want to take the Doodles around anyone who has wee ones as we're not sure how long she will be contagious. We are armed to the teeth with medicine & Sugar Daddy got a script for a nebulizer (same type of machine that the hospital uses to make the vaporous ventolin) so we've been using that to keep her lungs as clear as we can. I can't say enough about the awesomeness of CHEO & their wonderful emergency staff. Hopefully none of you will ever have reason to use their services, but if you do, you will be in the best of hands.

Anyway, just thought I'd keep you all up to date even though I'm making you suffer with piss poor writing skillz. I'm exhausted & sick & so full of leftover xmas food that I'm almost comatose. Ugh.

7 comments:

Mumsy said...

Parenthood is a kicker sometimes and even toddlerhood is sounding particularly miserable.

This is serious stuff and we are so lucky that there are such excellent medical people available especially for children.

You're doin' a grand job there lassie.

Luv ya

Bri said...

my heart goes out to you, it was aching while reading this. Hang in there, and lots of hugs to the little one.

Maggie said...

Aww, I hope Freyja is feeling better. I feel for you guys. Sending get well hugs your way.

scarbie doll said...

Wow, that sounds like quite the ordeal! Glad to hear everything will be OK. It's a bit freakish how many kids are getting diagnosed with Asthma so young.

Anyway -- I can't believe I missed you in St. John's! What are the chances? Well, I'm sure fate will bring us together someday in the future. All the best to you and your family for 2007. That Doodle Bug is just getting cuter and cuter!

Anonymous said...

Hope Freyja is doing better and that you guys are getting a little bit of sleep. Knew something must have been up when we didn't hear from you for New Years! Appreciate that you don't want to spread the virus, but give us a call if you get a chance!

Barbie

MyDarkSecret said...

A similar thing happened to Erica when she was 1yr old (after a trip to NL as well). She was in the hospital for a few days. Needless to say, Mom and Dad were freaking out. That's a scary thing to happen especially with your first one. Glad to hear she's coming around.

-Sandy

bunmaster said...

Thanks for all the concern & nice comments my friends & family. Thankfully we are now sort of on the mend so I can hopefully post about something fun instead of my usual complaining.