December 20, 2010

The Worst Time in My Life to Date - Part Deux

The first part of this story is here.

I was still not absorbing the seriousness of the situation.

Until the ambulance ride. Where they used the lights and the sirens. And swerved in and out of early rush hour traffic.

We arrived at the children's hospital a short time later. She was admitted to the ICU.

The ICU was pleasant. Which is such a strange thing to say. This hospital is designed for children who are deathly ill and it is a warm place, not a frightening hospital.

By now, it was approximately 7 A.M. Just before the ambulance ride, I spoke with my husband who was scared and wanted to fix the situation, but was states away, unable to do anything. I told him, after being told it was not a life and death situation, that he should stay put. He was at a new job and if things took a turn for the worse, I would let him know.

It is quite difficult to coherently discuss what all happened this day. She was admitted, tests were run, she was cared for and monitored. I received a breast pump and helplessly, pumped milk for my sweet baby girl. She had a breathing tube, a feeding tube, an IV and a femoral line put in her.

The nurse caring for my babe only had 2 children to care for, so she was constantly in the room. Checking, changing, monitoring. She changed all diapers, adjusted all machines. Once my girl was allowed to have some milk, the nurse administered the milk via the feeding tube. I was utterly useless, in the way, while someone else, while perfectly skilled and very kind, but not her mother, took care of my little girl's every need.

My girl was responding to everything well, they continued to lower the amount of oxygen she was given, weaning her off of it. She remained sedated so that she would not fight any of the treatments they were trying to administer.

Tests were run. Lots of tests. The initial test at the first hospital for RSV came back negative. The children's hospital didn't know what had affected my girl.

I hadn't slept but 2 hours, if that. The Ronald McDonald charities were connected with this hospital and, in fact, had sleeping rooms right on the hospital floor. These rooms are available to the families of the children in the ICU unit. I obtained the key for the room I was provided in order to take a nap. Little did I know that my father-in-law had also claimed the room we had been assigned. We ended up napping together on a queen sized mattress as we were absolutely exhausted. Awkward? Absolutely.

As this first day progressed, the doctors and nurses all stated how well she was doing. Looking back, I was still in shock. My girl had gone from normal to the ICU in less than 24 hours. How could this happen? What did I miss?

At the end of the day, I was told that if things continued well overnight that she might be released the next day. Again, how did my girl go from healthy to ICU to home in 48 hours????

I retired to the Ronald McDonald room for the night. My father-in-law went home – thank goodness!

The next morning, I was advised that my girl had done wonderfully overnight. A short time after getting to her room, the nurse and the respiratory therapist removed the breathing tube.

A short time later, with her feeding tube, IV and femoral line still in place, I was allowed to breastfeed her.

Again, just a short time later, I was advised that all of her lines would be removed and that we would be moved to the regular floor.

After a few hours, it happened. We were moved to the regular floor.

When they were preparing to move my daughter from the ICU to the regular floor, the ICU nurse called the regular floor nurse to advise of the status of the transferring patient. I overheard the ICU nurse advise the other nurse that the first hospital had probably jumped the gun on intubating my babe.

On the regular floor, it was cold and sterile. So different from the ICU unit. Such a weird contrast. I would have thought the exact opposite would be true.

I rarely saw the nurse on the regular floor. A nursing assistant came in every couple hours to check temperature and blood pressure, but otherwise, I was left alone to change and feed my child. The nurse came in only a few times during our stay! Such a stark contrast from the constant care of the ICU. I was frightened to even touch my child at first.

After an overnight stay on the regular floor, we were released to home.

No explanation. No diagnosis. Nothing.

My child's first illness resulted in an ICU stay. And I have no explanation whatsoever as to what caused it.

I am angry. And frightened. Yet I have no one to be angry at. What if the first hospital had not placed the breathing tube in and something tragic happened. How am I to know what to watch for when my child gets ill again? If she has the sniffles, how do I respond? What is a normal illness? In the midst of this crazy move, this was horrible timing (if there is ever a “good” time for your child to be admitted to the ICU!), however, I am so busy trying to move our lives to another state that perhaps it was good timing. I don't have time to dwell on the what happeneds, what ifs or what could have beens.

In the end, my sweet baby girl is fine. She doesn't care about the scariest time in her short life. She isn't affected. I wish I wasn't.


Kaytabug said...

Wow! What a crazy story. I know that feeling of wising you could forget. MM doesn't remember his stay at the hospital when he was 4 months old, but I do. Same with his ICU stay the day after he was born. Some things permanently etched into our brains.
I can understand all the doubts and concerns about her getting sick again. Always trust your gut. Momma knows!!!

Kellie said...


You left a comment on my blog, for the first time (YAY! Love this!). I come here for the first time and am smacked in the face with Part Uno AND Part Deux of this story.

I am so, so, SO sorry you had to go through this. I can't even imagine what it was like, nor do I ever want to.

How is she? I know it's been a while since you last posted. Hope she's doing good and there's been no more incidents.

Anonymous said...

I somehow found my way over to your blog via a comment on Kellie's blog. But, this particular entry touched my so close to home that I had to comment. I had a similar experience with my then 23 month old. We had just left home to make a 3 hour road trip to Nashville. At the gas station in our city, my girl started having a seizure. I grabbed her, ran inside, my husband called 911 and off to the hospital we went in the back of an ambulance. Scariest moment of my life. Her temp had suddenly spiked to 104. They did a spinal tap and chest x-ray, both negative. Discharged we were. Fast forward 2 days, we were back in the ER and were admitted, thankfully to just a regular floor. 3 days, 1 MRI, 1 CT scan and constant fluids and antibiotics later, a diagnosis of pan-sinutitis. Major sinus infection of all her sinus in her head. It's been 2 years, but Dec. 14 will always be in the back of my mind.

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