Oops, forgot to post. this is from 11/22/03
Life with an immunosuppressed toddler is always interesting... Anni's nose started running Wednesday night, and Thursday morning she was running a low-grade fever. So we took her to her pediatrician, who said that it looked like a cold and that was that. But when she woke up from her nap, her temperature had risen to 103.3. So I called her doctors in Chicago, and they told us to take her to the ER to be evaluated, have blood cultures drawn, and get a shot of a powerful antibiotic, just in case she was brewing something serious. So we got to the ER at 5, and they saw us right away. Of course, it turns out that the antibiotic Chicago wanted her to get was one that she was allergic to, so they had to start an I.V. to give her an alternative drug (actually 2). Well, getting an I.V. in a 3-yr-old, especially when you're not at a children's hospital where they have a lot of experience with I.V.'s in little veins, can be a long and hair-raising experience. They finally got the I.V. in and her first antibiotic running at 7. They then took her down for a routine chest x-ray to make sure all was well with her lungs. Joerg and I were pretty sure that we would get the antibiotics on board and then take her home to monitor her progress. However, the ER doc wasn't so sure he felt comfortable discharging her. On top of her fever, her distended abdomen, her abnormal labs (they're never normal, though...), her chest x-ray seemed to indicate that her heart was enlarged. So now Joerg and I are worried that we've underestimated this thing. The ER doc calls our pediatrician on call, and she informs him that she's not comfortable supervising Anni's care at our local hospital. So the ER doc calls the pediatric GI in Peoria, at the Children's Hospital of Illinois (about 45 minutes away from us). Same story--really doesn't want to be handed her care, as he hasn't seen Annika in several years. He suggests sending her to Chicago. So the ER doc calls Chicago and they get a room ready for us. Then the doc calls to arrange an ambulance to transport her to Chicago. None are available for a long haul until early Friday morning. We tell the ER doc that we feel comfortable driving her ourselves, as we're experienced in I.V. care (they usually don't allow patients to leave with an I.V. in). He agrees that we're competent enough to release her to us to drive ourselves. We're actually very relieved at this decision, as ambulance rides are extremely uncomfortable. Also, this means that I won't have to drive by myself to Chicago to go pick them up. I am so sleep-deprived that Joerg was quite worried about me making a long drive by myself (he was going to ride in the ambulance with Annika as I wouldn't have been able to take Frankie in the ambulance and she needs to eat pretty frequently). About the time that the doc makes this decision, though, we notice that Anni is getting a bright red rash that begins on her scalp and moves down her face. It looks like she is having another drug reaction (she's allergic to quite a few drugs, which always makes treating her more difficult). So then it's decided that maybe we'd better take the ambulance after all. Another hour passes, and Annika's rash fades. The ER doc tells us that it doesn't look like she's going to have any serious reaction to the drug, and it's agreed to monitor her for another couple of hours, and then let us drive her if she's looking OK. So I go home to pack our bags, give the cats extra food and water, and toss the dishes into the dishwasher. By the time I return, Annika's rash is completely gone and we hit the road for Chicago at 12:30 a.m. By the time we get to Chicago, get admitted, get a room, and give the docs her treatment history, etc., it is 5 a.m. We all settle down (Frankie, too!) for 2 hours of sleep, and then another day in the hospital begins.
Annika is seen by several doctors, and has an abdominal ultrasound. It is pretty clear by early afternoon that our trip was completely unnecessary. Her heart is not enlarged, she has no fluid in her abdomen, and her behavior makes it clear that she is not septic. It is clear that she most likely has a nasty virus brewing, though, so they are as eager to get us discharged as we are to go home (they have a lot of very fragile patients on that floor, as Annika once was, so an otherwise healthy kid with a contagious viral infection is not really someone they want to keep around!) So we are back on the road by 6p.m.
Meanwhile, we're pushing the fluids on Annika, and trying to keep her coughs and sneezes away from Frankie. Joerg and I were wondering to ourselves on the trip home at how much time is consumed when you have a medically complex child. Just a normal childhood illness, and we end up with ER visits, I.V.'s, and road trips! Of course, Annika takes it all in stride, and charmed all the new nurses on 6 that she hadn't met before. She enjoyed all the "visitors" (doctors and nurses) who came in, and told her what a great patient she was. On the way home, Annika was chattering happily away about all the things that had happened and she said enthusiastically, "Going to the hosipal (hospital) is *fun*!"
Now we're home, and dealing with the usual sick kid grumpiness. She replies, "no!" automatically to all requests, even if the answer really is yes. I put her to bed early tonight, and she was complaining loudly as we tried to get her PJ's on. I told her that she could have some extra stories in bed tonight. That caught her interest, so I explained that she could choose 4 stories (she normally gets 3). She frowned and yelled, "No! I want *2* stories!" Then the frown got even deeper as she realized that that was the wrong thing to say, and you could see the gears clicking as she tried to think of a way to correct herself without appearing to give in. Finally she just looked at me triumphantly and said, "No, I want *lots* of stories!"
Frankie also took the hospital trip in stride, and was a very good baby for us the entire time. She continues to grow at an amazing pace. The pediatricians in Chicago were all shocked that she was only 6 weeks old, and so I know that it is not just maternal pride leading me to believe that we are raising a strapping big girl. She has nearly outgrown her 0-3 month clothes already, so I'm glad that I didn't give in to my late pregnancy impulses to buy more of those cute itty bitty stretchy suits.