Saturday, November 3, 2012

unwell little.

Lately I live on instagram, so that is where this story unfolded, for the most part. I posted one photo to fb of us in the ER waiting room, hoping that 30 people collectively thinking about it would somehow make a room available for her. It seemed if Geoff walked away for a second they would call us in, so sometimes I would ask him to take a quick walk to make things happen faster. So, friends and family not on instagram were kind of out of the loop, and I am filling in all the blanks here. And to unload my memory before it all starts to become a blur, as my body starts to let go of all the stress and I start to get details confused.

10.24 Wednesday
Evening.  She's not herself.  She didn't eat much, and I had made her favorite tomato soup.  She asked to lie down after just a few bites, and she went to bed earlier than usual.

10.25 Thursday
3am We hear her cough a few times.  One cough sounds a little wet, but she is quiet and doesn't stir.
7am I go to her room.  She tells me about the coughing, when she sits up I can see that she threw up a bit in her bed.
Keep her home from school.  Feel guilty that I gave her tomato soup when she has a stomach ache; would you like more acid with that?

She doesn't move much, stays in one position in bed watching TV, she asks what everybody is doing in school.  I think (for a second) maybe she could have gone. I convince her to get in the bath, that she may feel better afterward.  She lays in the bath and closes her eyes.  She is silent, not humming like she usually does. I ask if I can take her picture because she looks beautiful.  She says yes, and she is so still.  I start to freak out at her stillness and the quiet.

I get her dressed and brush her teeth, she goes out to the couch, she says she wants some mac-n-cheese.  I am happy that she wants to eat.  But as I'm walking to the kitchen she is running towards the bathroom with her little hand across her mouth. She threw up a little more.  Nearly six years old and this was her first time throwing up.  I felt assured later that evening when a nurse friend told me there was a 24-hr bug going around; she should be fine in the morning. We collectively sighed with relief.

10.26 Friday
She is up and has tons of energy and is clearly herself again, singing loudly. We send her off to school.
Her appetite is diminished, but otherwise seems fine.  She seems extra tired that evening.

10.27 Saturday
Chloe sleeps till almost 11am. Actually, I didn't know it was that late.  Geoff and I had coffee and commented to each other that she must be exhausted and need the rest. Then we got caught up in one of the best episodes of 90210 ever, the one where Dylan and Brandon go on a motorcycle trip and have to build a sweat lodge and Kelly gets sucked in to Professor Finley's cult.
So she got up but went straight to lie down on the couch. She'd say she was hungry for something, take one bite and lie back down again. She was really thirsty and drank a ton of water. She watched some cartoons, was super sleepy.  She asked for a doughnut. At this point we are really wanting her to eat, so Geoff picks up doughnuts.  She has about five bites, lies back down.  More water.  Grasping at straws I tell her she needs some sunshine.  She perks up a bit at the idea of all of us having a snack on the beach blanket outside.  She has a bite of a sandwich and lies down and falls asleep.  That's when Geoff gets on the phone with the nurse line and I throw on clothes to get to the emergency room.  I quickly google 'thirsty & lethargic in children' and diabetes comes up and my heart starts to race.  Geoff's Dad had diabetes, it can be hereditary, we need to check this girl's sugar.
On our way I'm thinking she needs fluids.  She needs something, she can't stay awake.
1:00 we arrive at the ER and it is crowded.  In triage her sugar is 102, the nurse says it's normal, we tell him she had a waffle with syrup and a doughnut, that sounds about right. He asks for a urine sample as well. We breathe a sigh of relief that her sugar is normal. Her vitals are normal, we return to the waiting room for over two hours and she sleeps the entire time. In my lap, leaning on Daddy, not waking for any of the noises of the waiting room, and there were a lot of crazy noises.
When we get into a room finally, she reveals to me that at lunch Friday she laid down on the benches and used her lunch bag as a pillow. Why didn't you tell me this before, daughter?!  Did you play PE?  No, I sat on the benches.  I told her that morning to let her teachers know if she wasn't up to doing PE.
My guess is that while she wasn't trying to be sneaky, she was saving face so that she could attend the big Pumpkin Palooza carnival at school that she had been looking forward to for a year.
They do blood work which comes back fine, looks like the culprit is a urinary tract infection. I am confused by the diagnosis because she doesn't have any of the usual signs of a UTI.  No fever, no pain with urination.  As of this time her symptoms are vomiting, extremely lethargic, no appetite, tummy hurts and she is thirsty.  I question the doctor, explaining that I've never known a UTI to present this way.
At this time Chloe asks the doctor, "what about my fluids?" I told her in preparation that they may need to give her IV fluids to make her feel better. The doctor says there is nothing in her labs that indicate dehydration.  **this is where, if i had it to do over i would ask her to please check again.** She assures me that her lethargy is a result of the infection. We opt for the shot of Rocephin which should work quickly to make her feel better, followed by an antibiotic at home (Bactrim.)

10.28 Sunday
We are trying to push fluids like crazy, but mostly she just wants water, none of the good stuff like Gatorade.  My mom visits, they read and play on the iPad, and then she sleeps. She stays in bed all day. Some of Geoff's family visit late in the afternoon. She perked up a bit in the morning, but we don't see any marked improvement from the antibiotics.  She has eaten very little food in the last four days, today she had a quarter of a bagel, and that was it.
We missed Pumpkin Palooza where I was to work in our class booth, Geoff was to drive the train, Chloe was going to be a pirate and we were going to have all kinds of fun.  She was heartbroken. (So was I.) Sunday night we missed pumpkin carving with Geoff's family.  I don't think I've missed pumpkin carving since I met him.

10.29 Monday
Woke up to, "Momma, I'm gonna throw up!" Her coughing and gagging was non-productive, things were not improving. I called right away for a follow-up appointment with our pediatrician.  Unfortunately he wasn't going to be in, so we had to go to the on-call docs. I had a gut feeling she would be admitted to the hospital, so I started packing a bag.

She was back to the way she was Saturday, but worse with the not waking up.  She just sleeps. She will quietly answer questions, she is lucid, but she goes right back to sleep. At the Doctor's office I nearly lost it filling out an inordinate amount of paperwork, only to answer all the same questions on a tablet, and answer a survey about the tablet experience to boot. (The tablet sucked.) All the while Chloe slept next to me.

The doctor walked in and she looked like she was twelve years old.  I told myself, I do not want to be that person, judging her by her age--but seriously she looked like Dr. Ketner on Grey's Anatomy. I quickly adjusted my posture and shook her hand, thinking she is fresh out of school, she has all the latest information.
She listened carefully and was as concerned as I was.  Chloe sleeps through everything, by the way, I'm not sure if I can convey that enough.  I carry her to the bathroom so that she can pee in a cup, she answers questions quietly as the doctor examines her, but otherwise she is asleep.
They get the lab results that were done at the hospital Saturday, and the doctor tells me, had she been in the ER and seen these labs she would have ordered IV fluids right away. I am happy to get that confirmation, and angry that they weren't given.  She thinks the urinalysis at the hospital was most likely contaminated as they show staph and strep, two things not usually present in urine.  She thinks this is more likely a stomach bug that has lead to her being really dehydrated.  She says I could go home and push Gatorade, or take her to the ER for fluids.
I said, "look at her.  I can't get fluids in her while she sleeps."
She'd call ahead to Fountain Valley, four miles away, where our pediatrician is on staff.  Also where Chloe was born and spent time in the NICU, we are fans of this hospital.

I thought (wrongly) that since she was calling ahead to let them know we were coming they'd be waiting for us with open arms.  We still had to wait an hour.  Geoff met us at the hospital.  Chloe continued to sleep.  At one point she woke up to say her tummy hurt. "Do you need to throw up?"  "I think so." We took four steps to the trash can and she emptied what little was left in her tummy.

Shortly after, we were called in, and saw the doctor right away. He assured us we were going to figure this out, and I instantly had confidence in him. They gave her a warm blanket and a pillow, already I felt better here.  She gave another urine sample, they drew blood and started IV fluids, and gave her anti-nausea medicine.  Sure there was a lady screaming in the room next door, but Chloe was more comfortable, and getting what she needed.
I didn't get really scared until she had an ultra sound of the abdomen .  The tech wouldn't say anything, and she took a lot of images. That was the first time that I thought this could be something bigger. After that she had an Xray of the abdomen and a throat swab. Her labs showed she was very dehydrated and her blood sugar was very low. 
There was no change after several bags of fluid, and she was admitted.
The sleeping went on all day and all night.  I kept waiting for her to perk up. Poor Geoff drove home from the hospital to get his and my overnight things, and arrived back to find out they only allow one parent to stay.  He brought my pillow and various sundries, gave Chloe a kiss, and asked the nurses to take good care of us.
Somewhere around 9pm she got up to pee and we shared a giggle about CC's. (She has a friend named SiSi, there was confusion and we giggled.) We watched a little of The Voice, and she had opinions!  She was up for about ten minutes, then she fell back asleep. It was enough to lighten the weight on my heart a little so that I could try to get some rest. I wrote Geoff right away, as something always happens when he leaves! I read of updates on the East Coast on my phone, and did my best to sleep.

4 am
I can't remember if her nurse came in to check her vitals, or if there was a noise that woke us?  But she was sitting up and saying something to me from across the room. It was 4am and we were both awake. I asked if I could come sit on her bed.  She was AWAKE and she was chatty. Talking about the red light on her finger, and we made like ET and Elliot and said, "ouch" while touching fingertips.  She told me it would be fun to sleep in train wheels. You know, if we were dogs, like the Tramp. And took a shower like him.  I asked if I could take her picture because I was so happy that she was awake. She smiled and said yes.
She was hungry and wanted a bagel. I went to our wonderful nurse Ofel and shared the good news.  She cheered, and quickly brought Chloe some toast. And some gatorade. I waited til 5am to wake Geoff up at home with the good news.  (I figured one of us should get some sleep.)

She was awake and I finally felt my exhaustion.  I had to lie down and take a nap while she played games and watched old mickey cartoons on the ipad.
After daybreak they did an ultra sound of her kidneys, and she taught me how to play wii bowling. Geoff brought much-needed coffee, Chloe ate some Frosted Flakes, then Geoff went and got more coffee. 

By noon there was talk of possible discharge. So they slowed, then tapered off her fluids as she started to drink more on her own, and her appetite slowly increased.  They checked her sugars again, and were happy they were high.
She was discharged around 3pm with the diagnosis abdominal pain/UTI and Mesenteric Adenitis.  Her doctor stopped by and gave kind of a conflicting diagnosis, thinking it was more of a stomach bug.  The main thing that we were treating though, was her dehydration and low sugar, and she seemed to be out of the woods. She shouldn't return to school for a week, and eat small meals with lots of hydration.

11.2 Friday
We had a follow up with her doctor, and I am still a bit perplexed.  He still thinks stomach bug, but said to finish her antibiotics to be safe. We are still concerned about some odd markers in her urine, so we will do fasting labs next week, once the antibiotics are out of her system.  We want to rule out diabetes. I love that he can read my face, he patted my knee and said "Don't worry. We'll figure this out together." Love her doctor.
That was a long story, and I'm sure I left stuff out and changed tenses all over the place, I apologize about that, it's annoying, I know. I'm happy to answer any questions.  If you read all that, thank you. Thanks for all the well-wishes, too.  She is doing well, her appetite is unstoppable. Geoff and I think she grew an inch while she was asleep, she is taller and slimmer--she lost four pounds along the way.

So glad she's back. When I told her I missed her she said, "I was here Momma, I just wasn't myself."


  1. That sounds so scary. You are such a great mom and I hope you get more answers soon. You must've been exhausted mentally and physically.

  2. Wow! She is so deep. Keep us posted and I was glad to hear her sound so upbeat when I called. I had not idea how lengthy this whole ordeal was!


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