Monday, February 27, 2012

Sick, sick baby

We left Miriam with Grandma while we went to church—Grandma had stake conference and volunteered to stay home with Miriam since she didn't have any obligations to fulfill in her ward today—and when we got home Miriam was napping. She had woken up with a high fever again this morning so we gave her some Motrin and showered her off to cool her down. Grandma said she was still doing alright when she put her to bed, but when she woke up (shortly after we got home from church, before we'd gotten lunch ready or anything) she was not alright.

"Momma! Momma!" she croaked from her bed.

She wouldn't even lift up her head. I picked her up and she went completely limp in my arms, her head and limbs flopped all over the place while I walked her to the rocking chair.

"How do you feel, baby?" I asked.

"Good," she said.

"Liar!" I said. "You can't possibly feel good—you're burning up!"

I took her temperature, under her arm again. Up and up and up it went. 104.1 is where it finally stopped.

"That's it," I said. "We are taking her to the doctor. She's had this fever for days and now it's up far too high."

The only way we've been able to keep it at bay was by bathing and giving her Motrin—but she can only have a dose every six hours and her fever was coming back long before another dose was due.

We abandoned our lunch plans, ran Rachel over to the neighbour's house (where Grandma was visiting teaching) and headed to the InstaCare. I thought we'd be in and out with a prescription in no time.

I was wrong. Instead, when we told the receptionist what was wrong she called a nurse to come see us right away—she actually checked Miriam in the waiting room—and she told us to get to the emergency room right away (she was worried Miriam was dehydrated and there's nothing they could do for us at the clinic for that) so we headed over to Orem Community Hospital.

When we got there we were the only ones there so we got to be seen right away.

Miriam did her best to be brave but started crying when they hooked her up to all sorts of machines to take her vitals. She seemed okay, really, until the sphygmomanometer (blood pressure thingy) started to fill up with air.

"Is it too tight!" she screamed and began clawing at both it and the heart monitor on her finger.

"Oh, it's just giving your arm a little hug," the nurse assured her—our nurse was so nice.

They let her blood pressure reading finish before hooking her up to monitor her pulse and she did much better with just one machine on her at a time. They tried to make her wear a hospital bracelet but she kept pulling it off so they finally printed out a sticker with her information on it and stuck it to her dress.

Then the doctor came in to check her out. She had no rash and no other obvious symptoms except for an exceptionally painful-looking throat. He asked us if she complained about anything and I said that was hard to say because she was complaining about everything hurting—her ears and head and neck and back and stomach and fingers and mouth... He asked if it was hurting her to urinate. She told him it was—she doesn't even know what urinate means. I told him that she hadn't been complaining about that.

Our nurse came back in to do a throat swab for a strep quick test. Poor Miriam gagged and cried. She was showered with princess stickers, which made her slightly happier.

They gave her some anti-nausea medicine because she kept complaining about her stomach. Even though she hasn't thrown up since Friday night she's been complaining about her stomach fairly regularly. Every time I ask her if she needs to throw up, though, she says, "No! Not will I throw up ever, ever again!"

Fifteen minutes after the anti-nausea medicine they gave her some tylenol and then she drank a cup of apple juice.

The strep test came back negative, which was not a fun thing for Miriam.

She had to go potty, so they took that opportunity to get a urine sample from her (which also came back clean).

The phlebotomist came in and put an IV line in her arm and took a vial and a half of blood before the nurse connected her to the IV. There wasn't really any way to apologize for this—Miriam was angry. She cried every time she looked at her arm and was mad at everyone in uniform. Stickers wouldn't cut it so the nurse promised to find Miriam a popsicle.

Soon the x-ray technician came to pick us up. I got to sit in the wheelchair and Miriam sat on my lap and the technician wheeled the two of us and the IV bag to the x-ray rooms while Andrew walked beside us. Miriam thought this was pretty cool until we got to the x-ray room and I had to leave her because pregnant women aren't supposed to be in the x-ray room.

I had been holding her through everything else so it was a little traumatic for her to be separated from me but she did a great job and did everything she was asked to do, all while holding Andrew's hand. She had to stand up with her arms above her head so they could get a picture of her chest. Then they put her on the table and took a few x-rays of her stomach and bowels.

I came back into the room while the technician looked at the pictures to make sure they turned out and tried to help Miriam be happy. She had been so brave but the minute I walked into the room she started bawling again. She got two more stickers from the x-ray technician.

All they found out from the x-rays was that she was slightly constipated (probably due to dehydration) and that she had a lot of air in her tummy (probably from crying about the IV). We got wheeled back to our room to sit and wait for the blood results while Miriam ate a popsicle and the IV dripped into her arm. By this time her medicine had kicked in and she was nearly rehydrated so she was feeling much better but still pretty sad.

We had to hide her IV hand under the blanket because every time she looked at it she'd start to cry again.

But she sure did enjoy that popsicle, even if she had to eat it left-handed.

Since she was only eating the popsicle one half at a time she had decided that she was going to save the second half for Rachel and asked me to put it aside so we could take it home to share it. But then she finished her half and we were still just sitting in the hospital and she was hungry and thirsty. I told her that she could definitely have the other half of the popsicle—it was her special hospital treat and Rachel wouldn't know what she was missing. Besides, it was melting.

My favourite part of the day might have been listening to Miriam try to say "hospital popsicle."

"Hopsital potsticle!"

After she'd finished the popsicle and "The Lion King" and part of "Aladin," the doctor came back in to give us the rundown. Her blood had elevated white blood cells and her cells were behaving in a way that made him think she had a bacterial infection so he instructed the nurse to give her another bag of saline with a dose of antibiotics. He sent her blood off to be cultured. He said she has pharyngitis but not strep but that the antibiotics should take care of whatever bacteria it is that's causing her to get sick.

We finished up "Aladin" while we waited for the second IV bag to drip its way into her little body.

Then the doctor told us the miracle of all miracles—you can alternate giving your child Motrin and Tylenol so you can dose them with a fever reducer every three hours instead of every six hours. This was wonderful news for us because it has been seeming to take Miriam's fever three hours to begin dancing around the 104.0 mark after a dose of Motrin and a bath. He said that as long as we alternate between the two we're okay—we just can't give her two doses of either Tylenol three hours apart or two does of Motrin three hours apart. But a dose of Motrin three hours after a dose of Tylenol was fine.

They unhooked her from the IV and then wrapped her arm with pink tape so that she wouldn't play with the PICC—we convinced her that it was a pretty pink princess glove. She has to go back in tomorrow for a check up (hopefully just at the doctor's office and not at the ER—it was actually kind of funny; they asked us who her pediatrician was so we told them and they said, "Oh! You just missed him! He was on duty before the doctor you saw!") and they'll have to draw some more blood so rather than poke her again they though it would be best to keep the line in. She was distraught about this at first but seems to have adjusted to the idea.

"Not I am sad anymore," Miriam told the nurse while her hand was getting wrapped. "I am happy!"

"That means that we did our job," the nurse smiled.

It was nice to have a smiling, fever-free child back (even if the fever did return soon after arriving back home). As we were walking out to the van I said to Andrew, "After the week we've had with Rachel can you believe we just spent all afternoon in the emergency room with Miriam?"

We came home and Andrew made waffles for dinner while I talked to my mom and visiting teachers on the phone. Miriam excitedly showed Rachel everything she got at the hospital—all the stickers and her bracelet and her pretty pink princess glove that is covering her "owie." When we asked her to fold her arms for prayer, she didn't. So Grandma said, "Come on, Miriam, fold your arms."

Miriam shot Grandma a grumpy, defensive look and snapped, "Is there an owie on my arm!"

Then she folded her arms in midair, without her owie arm touching a thing.

During dinner Miriam told Rachel that she got to have a drink through her arm (the IV), that she got to ride in a wheel chair, that they took pictures of her insides, that she got to pee into a "hat," and that she got a popsicle. Rachel was keenly interested—she's been feeling bad for Miriam all day. She drew her a picture during sacrament meeting and wrote her a note that says, "Miriam, I am sorry that you are sick," because she was missing her so dreadfully.

Rachel wanted to come with us when we took off for the InstaCare so that she could help Miriam feel brave but I'm glad that we were able to leave Rachel behind—she would have been so bored and so concerned. I can't imagine Rachel watching someone get an IV put in anymore than I can imagine having to hold her down while she gets an IV herself. That child and modern medicine...she just doesn't like it.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Miriam, home at last, with her pink princess glove and a big smile on her face. She was a little loopy from all the medicine they gave her.

In fact, I think she's been a little loopy all weekend and that's why she's been so talkative. She's been saying some pretty funny things this weekend and when she's lucid (usually soon after medicine) she just chats away until her fever comes back and then she won't say a word until we're able to chase the fever away again.

Her fever came back in the middle of dinner and she pushed her plate away, announcing that she was cold. She was shivering and her fever had, indeed, returned—just in time for a dose of Motrin! Fortunately we got a few pieces of waffle, some apple sauce, and a cup of apple juice into her tummy before she stopped eating.

Hopefully she'll sleep well tonight. I am quite exhausted—I didn't take a nap yesterday or today and have been up with Miriam for hours in the night on both Friday and Saturday. So I'm really not sure if this even made any sense...but Miriam is sleeping soundly now with just a hint of a fever so hopefully she's on the mend and all will soon be well.

Tomorrow our plans consist of lazing around the house...besides going to the doctor, of course.


  1. Awww, poor little girl. I hope she recovers quickly and that no one else gets sick. You guys need a break from medical issues.

  2. Poor Miriam! Hopefully the antibiotic treatment will do its job quickly and she'll feel better soon.

  3. Poor girl! I hate when things happen like that. TOo much of that sounded like our trip with Martin when he had RSV earlier in the month. It's never a good sign when they don't check you into instacare. :)

    Glad she's feeling a bit better, and hopefully she keeps getting better and better!

  4. uh, that above comment was me, with Matt still signed into his email. . .

  5. Oh no! Hopefully it gets cleared up soon. Sick kids are so sad :(

  6. Poor thing! We always switch off with the ibuprofen/tylenol, but I find that with my kids tylenol just doesn't bring high fevers down... But still, it's nice to feel like you can do SOMETHING! :) I hope she's feeling better!