Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Adventures in Parenthood - Emergency Room Nightmare Edition

[Monday Day]

Monday started off as a pretty typical day in the Horman household - Wake up early, Sarah and I get ready, get both kids up, get them ready, get them breakfast, get out the door and to the car without Teagan having to make a million stops along the way.  I planned to work from home anyways because it was supposed to be a pretty crappy commute in the morning and I didn't want Sarah loading the kids up alone if it was going to be icy outside.  I typically get up and out the door earlier than her and the kids, however, the snow removal company for our apartment complex is terrible about being proactive with inclement weather.  But, that will be another blog post for another day.

Hadley started with a cough on Friday morning.  Sarah and I let it be assuming it's just cold season and some of her friends at school also have coughs.  Not to mention, my freakin' cough is still hanging around.  Hadley's cough got much worse on Sunday, to the point on Monday morning it sounded very tight and a bit wheezy.  Sarah called Hadley's doctor's office on Monday morning to explain her symptoms and find out if they wanted to see her or not.  So Sarah got an appointment for 2:00pm on Monday.  We went to her appointment and her doctor diagnosed her with bronchiolitis which can turn into RSV at one point or another.  He said she would just need lots of fluids and a lot of patience as the next two weeks would be challenging to keep her comfortable while we wait for this to pass.

Shortly after her appointment I brought Hadley home with me to work from home for the rest of the day.  I figured it was probably best to have her sit up right so I brought her swing out to my office (aka the kitchen), plopped her in it, turned it on, grabbed her blanket and lovey, and off to sleep she went.  The last time she ate was around 1:00pm and Sarah warned me that she would need a feeding around 4:00pm.  Fair enough.  So I kept an eye on the clock, 4:00pm rolled around, 5:00pm rolled around, 6:00pm rolled around, and she was still sleeping.  At 6:15pm I turned the swing off and woke her up.  I figured she had to be starving at this point.  Got her changed, made her bottle, sat on the couch, attempted to give her a bottle and no go.  Now, keep in mind, this is the same kid that has a 5 oz. bottle religiously every 3 hours.  If we wait 3 hours and 5 minutes, she will start to get very angry and upset.  I thought maybe it was just because she wanted mom and unfortunately she was with dad.  I gave her a 10 minute break and tried again.  Still no go.  I knew Sarah would be home shortly so I waited to see if maybe it was just me. 

[Monday Night]

Sarah came home, put all her things down, grabbed up the Magoo and tried to give her a bottle.  Still no go.  Sarah did the same thing I did, gave her a few minutes and tried again.  Still nothing.  At this point we were both scratching our heads.  We knew she had a cold, but for a kid that barely misses a meal this wasn't like her.  Hadley did feel a bit warm, but she also has a cold and they checked her at the doctors office earlier in the day and he had a 99.7 fever.  We decided to take her temperature again, and this time it was 102.1.  Much warmer than we expected.  She also developed a bit of a grunt at this point while breathing, but me being a guy, I figured she is just clearing her throat.  At this point we called the doctors office to find out if there was anything we could give her to both bring her temperature down and help take the edge off of her cold.  After relaying her symptoms to the nurse the nurse suggested that we bring Hadley to be seen at either the Marlborough Hospital ER or the Worcester UMass ER on Lake Ave.  Because Sarah would be going alone while I stayed home to put Teagan to bed, we figured the Marlborough Hospital ER would be best, at least for now.  Sarah's parents were kind enough to meet her at the ER so she wouldn't be alone.

We were wrong, dead wrong.  Let me just say if there was an award for absolute worst Emergency Room in New England, Marlborough Hospital would win hands down.  Sarah was keeping me posted via text messages because I was in Teagan's bedroom trying to get her to go to sleep.  Sarah informed me they first did blood work, then an x-ray, and then they had to draw urine via a catheter.  The doctor at the Marlborough Hospital ER told us her white blood cell count came back very high (30) and should be around 4.  At this point we weren't sure what this meant, but then the doctor went on to inform us that he believes she may have meningitis and she will need to be transported via ambulance to UMass Worcester.  Now if you didn't know meningitis in infants can lead to brain damage and at times be fatal.  To confirm whether or not she had meningitis, they would need to do a spinal tap.  Now, at this point in the story keep in mind that I'm still at home with Teagan and Sarah is at the hospital, alone, with Hadley.  Unfortunately, Sarah's parents had to leave and couldn't stick around.  I started running around at this point trying to figure out how to get up to the hospital to be next to my wife while making sure Teagan would be taken care of.  I know I say it time and time again, but I'd seriously put my wife up against anyone else's wife any day of the week.  Sarah really is the rock of our family.  She sat there and stayed strong while Hadley had to have a spinal tap, and let's be honest, no parent wants to see their child go through something as painful as that.  I was fortunate enough to get a hold of my parents and they rushed right over.  My mom stayed at my apartment while my dad rushed me over to the Marlborough ER.

Once I got to the ER I immediately rushed over to Sarah and my baby girl who was all bandaged up and looking helpless.

Sarah was still staying strong and just trying to take everything in and plan our next move once they confirm the diagnosis.  15 minutes after I arrived to the ER the ambulance showed up and escorted Sarah and Hadley out to the door to head for UMass Worcester.  I grabbed Sarah's car keys, jumped in her car, set my phone's GPS for UMass Worcester on Lake Ave, and off I went.  That was the longest car ride of my life.  No radio on, just the silence, while I'm playing back in my head everything that I've just heard.  The whole way there all I kept thinking was, "Where'd I go wrong, what could of I done differently, did I give her my cold and that's what started this, etc".

[Tuesday Early Morning]

After I got to UMass Worcester and parked the car, I rushed into the ER and they brought me right over to Sarah and Hadley.  I was already feeling a bit better when I saw they had a pediatric ER and all the nurses rushing back and forth.  I got into the room where Hadley was and they were quickly hooking her up to monitors to check her levels and make sure she was in a stable state.  All of Hadley's stats came back looking perfect.  Perfect heartbeat, plenty of oxygen, and her respiratory stats were a little down, but this was because of her cold.

The first male nurse we met with was very kind and actually gave us a sign of relief.  He came in and immediately asked what brought Hadley in this evening, how'd it start, when did you first notice it, etc.  Then he started asking us what the Marlborough ER did, and why they did it.  He was a bit puzzled why they did blood work and a spinal tap for a respiratory condition.  He told us that he believes that it's just a respiratory virus and that it will go away on it's own.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that all of the paper work that Marlborough sent up to UMass Worcester didn't match up with anything we had told the male nurse.  That's a much longer part of the story but I will spare you all the details and just say, don't trust the paper work that Marlborough sends you with anywhere.  A little while later we got to meet with the on-call pediatric doctor.  She was super kind and pleasant and also reassured us that Hadley was going to be fine.  She actually told us that a high white blood cell count, such as 30, in an infant is completely normal and that if it was indeed 4 while she has a cold, she would be concerned.  About 20 minutes later, the same on-call pediatric doctor came back and told us that Hadley's spinal tap results came back perfectly normal and that it's not meningitis.  She was feeling very confident that it is bronchiolitis and the start of RSV so she was going to have another doctor come in to perform some quick tests to confirm it's RSV.  A few minutes later, a very kind older gentleman came in and performed the tests.  Which to say the least, the tests for RSV are a bit strange I guess would be the best word to describe it.  I actually wish I had my camera ready to take a picture of Sarah's face while the gentleman was doing what he needed to do for these tests.  Sure enough, about 10 minutes later the on-call pediatric doctor came back and confirmed it was RSV.  Talk about a sigh of relief.  The doctor did inform us that they were going to keep us over-night for observation just in case.  A couple of minutes later, a few more fantastic staff members help us and escorted us to a pediatric room.

At this point, it's about 4:00am, and the room they put us in (which we had a roommate, lucky us) there was only enough room for one of us to sleep there.  I did offer to Sarah to stay, but in her exact words, "There is no way I'm leaving."  So I kissed her and Magoo good night and said I'd be back first thing in the morning after dropping off Teagan at daycare.  So again, I grabbed the car keys, headed out to the car, jumped on the highway, and headed home.  However, this ride home was much different than my ride there.  I didn't feel like I was going to have a minor heart attack since I was now relieved that it was just a virus and we will get through it.

[Tuesday Morning / Afternoon]

By the time I got home, thanked my parents over and over again for rushing over, and got to bed, it was about 5:00am.  I don't even remember falling asleep, however, I was kindly woken up at 7:30am by a hit to the face with a stuffed puppy.  Sure enough, it was Teagan letting me know she is wide awake and ready to start her day.  Of course the day started like any other day - Get up, get dressed, get Teagan dressed (in the best fashion possible, because usually that's mom's job), get Teagan's hair under control, get Teagan fed, get out the door and into the car with little hassle as possible.

After I got Teagan off to daycare I quickly rushed back to UMass Worcester to be by Sarah and Hadley's side.  It was quite the long day of trying to get Hadley to eat, doctors and nurses constantly checking on her, and Sarah and I keeping our sanity.  However, I have to say, while the room conditions were not ideal, UMass Worcester (specifically Lake Ave) has the most wonderful staff of nurses, doctors, and "life care" which made it worth while to be there.  Not only are they funny and keep you entertained, you can really tell that they love their jobs and love to take care of kids.  There is really nothing more reassuring than that.  All day long it was up in the air if they were going to send us home or keep us for another 24 hours.  Because I wasn't sure when I'd be leaving I asked my parents if they would be so kind to pick up Teagan from daycare.  However, when I talked to my mom shortly after she picked up Teagan from daycare and I wasn't sure who was more excited about that arrangement, my mom or Teagan.  Around dinner time the doctor came back and reassessed Hadley and felt she was definitely on the upswing from when they first saw her and felt she would be OK to go home.  So we packed up, headed out to the car, and homeward bound we were.

[Tuesday Night]

We got home, got settled, and my parents dropped Teagan off.  We quickly got Teagan into bed so we could get ourselves to bed and get caught back up on our sleep.  There is just nothing quite like your own bed.


Sarah stayed home with Hadley today, while I brought Teagan to daycare and headed into work.  Hadley is definitely on the upswing.  She is not eating as much as she should, but she is at least keeping her fluids down and seems to be in a better mood with the help of Tylenol (it's seriously like the miracle drug).  It's events like these in your life that make you stop where you are and appreciate life, because you just never know.  At the drop of a hat things can change.  Appreciate what you have today because there is no guarantee for tomorrow.  This experience was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for both Sarah and I.  It was sad, scary, happy and funny.  However, I believe that life sometimes throws you curve balls just to keep you on your toes.  Needless to say, I don't hope to see another one for quite some time.

With all of that said, I want to give a shout out to those that tended to us in the time of need:
  • Ron and Kim - Thank you so much for being by Sarah's side when I was not able to be there.
  • Mom and Dad - Thank you again for coming over late at night to stay with Teagan and make sure she is all set.  Also thank you for picking her up from daycare.
  • To all the doctors, nurses, and staff in the pediatric ER at UMass Worcester - You guys are a fantastic team.  Thank you so much for all of your help and putting our minds at ease shortly after we arrived there from "that other ER".
  • To all the doctors, nurses, and staff on the 5th floor pediatric wing - You couldn't have asked for a better group of staff than all of you.  You all really love your jobs and definitely love caring for the kids.  Having all of you while we were there helped my wife and I keep our sanity.
  • To Patriot Ambulance - Thank you very much for your care, and transporting my wife and daughter to UMass Worcester.
  • To my IT family at ER - You guys are awesome.  We really are like family.  Thank you very much for reaching out and checking to see if we needed anything.
  • To all of Sarah's staff at NGCC - Thank you all for your kind thoughts and checking in on us.
  • To anyone I may have missed - Thank you for being there for us.  Sarah and I really have the best group of friends and family that anyone could of asked for.