Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Fumbling, and sometimes learning
Here we are, just a week out from our last round in the hospital with Miss Riley. It seems unfortunate that David and I should learn to navigate the health care system through trial and error with our children. Yet that seems to be the path we're traveling!
So, back during the last round of high fevers for both girls (Easter) we discussed a new method for Hannah and Riley regarding fevers, a less hands on approach. I would stop taking their temperatures. As their mom, I know when they're running warm. And I know if their behavior warrants treatment. But this awful cycle of high fevers which cause us to get sent to the hospital only for the hospital to tell us it's nothing serious, is not good! And pricey.
Instead, I would focus on the all the other symptoms. How they act when the fever is down with medicine. Things like that would help me decide what to do with my kids when they run fevers. So on Sunday, November 3rd, when I noticed Riley running a fever, I did just that. I didn't take it that day. I assessed her other symptons: runny nose and some congestion. And she was crabby.
So we went on about our week. I kept home, away from other kids. Her fever bounced in between 102 and 104. Other than her fever, she seemed to have cold symptoms. There were moments when she played with Hannah. She was crabby, and not tolerant of anything. And she wasn't sleeping well. Wednesday night, easily the worst, Riley was awake at 1130, 2, 4 and 6. It was awful. David and I felt like zombies. Friday, early morning, Riley's fever was still near 103, so I decided that she needed to go to sick call at her pediatrician. We were going on day 6 of fevers and I just couldn't dismiss it any longer. So I get the girls up and throw them in the car and head to the dr.
They did not send me home immediately, which is what I thought would happen. I thought I would be told she had a virus and it was just running it's course. Instead, they ruled out strep, a urinary tract infection and ran some labs. Nothing. Then the pediatrician looked at me and said she was admitting us to the hospital. She explained that 6 days of fever was concerning, typically viruses don't run longer than 5 days. She felt the hospital could rule out other possibilities, like Kawasaki disease and a blood infection.
Once we get to settled in the hospital, and talk to the P.A., we learn that biggest concern is a blood infection. They were able to rule out Kawasaki shortly after arriving to the hospital. A blood infection is never good, but is even more dangerous for someone with heart defects, like Riley. We end our day with two choices: we can take Riley home but only if she is given a super antibiotic. The concern is that her fever might come back while we're at home, which would be very bad. So in order to take our girl home, the hospital wants to take precautionary measures. Our other option was to stay for observation, and have nothing done. This would allow the hospital to monitor her fever, and give her the antibiotic if it became necessary, while we waited for the blood infection results, which would take about 24 hours. David and I choose to stay in the hospital for observation. We didn't want to stay overnight in the hospital, but we also didn't want Riley getting a super antibiotic without knowing if it was even necessary.
During all this, Hannah was having a slumber party with Vivian. Where she lost another tooth, but wouldn't talk to David and I about it because she was too busy having fun, as evidenced in the photo of her above.
Riley made it through the night without a fever. She didn't even get an IV. Saturday afternoon, we got the ok to leave, as her blood results showed no signs of infection. Most likely she had an infection! At the end of the day, I'm proud of the way we handled it. While I hate that we stayed at the hospital, I'm very happy Riley didn't get an antibiotic unnecessarily. Unfortunately, these learning experiences only happen from repeat visits.