Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mystery Ailment: Part 2

Due to overwhelming amounts of detailed information in these updates, 
I've split them into separate posts. Find Part 1 here + 3 here.

Wednesday Des was acting like he felt better, but usually only when he had a good dose of tylenol or ibuprofen in his system. He'd start to crash again an hour or two before we could give him another dose. The on call doctor gave us permission to switch by and forth between ibu and tylenol to help with that. We decided that if he felt sick in the morning we'd call again to have him seen by his main pediatrician as he was seen by another doctor in their practice and a nurse the last couple of times. 

Come Thursday morning he started vomiting at 5am. After cleaning him up and getting him back to sleep for a couple hours Desmond woke with a fever and it was getting higher. His temp hit 105 at 8am and I immediately gave him tylenol to try to lower it. He was still complaining of belly pain, as he has been since Monday night. I called his pediatricians office as soon as they opened to make an appointment. They got us in on a cancellation with our beloved Dr. B so I rushed us out of the house to drop Kai off at Grandma + Grandpa's and headed to Eugene the snow.

That morning it had started snowing just before sunrise. It wasn't too bad so Ben went ahead and drove to work. He goes really early so this was before Des' fever got real high. By the time I left there was quite a bit of snow on the ground and I don't really drive in snow. I took my time driving slowly and cautiously. I only had slight trouble at a couple stops when I tried to go again and slid a bit, but was able to correct it quickly with no problems. 

We got to Dr. B's office at 9:40am and due to his fever and slight cough Des got to wear a lovely little mask. He was amazing about it, he just wanted to play trains. He didn't have a lot of energy and he'd been breathing heavily, but he was talkative- narrating what he was doing while playing.

It was such a relief to see his primary care physician. I trust all the other doctors and nurses at their office, but there is a deeper trust with your main doctor that gets built over having them care for your children over time. 

She poked at his belly and listened to his lungs as she did a thorough examination to figure out what was going on. She mentioned that if this had been accompanied by diarrhea she would have thought it was the stomach flu for sure, but quite the opposite, Desmond hadn't been going poo very often at all. 

She assured me (but I already know) that she would make decisions for Desmond like she would if he were her own son and said we needed to get a urine sample and go in for blood work. My heart sank. I've overcome a fear of needles over all the blood draws and such that they do during pregnancy, but I didn't want my little guy to have to go through any of that. Sadly, to get the best result they wanted to do a catheter for the urine sample. 

The catheter failed miserably and was extremely painful. He must have just emptied his bladder, so they put a bag in his diaper to catch the urine next time he peed between then and our going over to the lab for the blood draw. I called Ben and he met me at the labs. I knew I wasn't brave enough to hold Desmond through it. I'm so thankful he was there, I got light headed and had to sit down. Des whimpered and cried a little, but was really brave. 

It was nearly noon and due to the snow I wanted to drive as little as possible. It hadn't stopped all morning so the roads were covered and it was still coming down. The lab was close by to Grandma's so I drove to pick up Kai and met Ben at home. We fed the boys lunch and Ben worked from home while Des napped and Kai + I played a bit. We expected to hear back on Desmond's labs by 4 at the latest as they put a rush on the results and would page Dr. B directly. 

Just before 5pm I decided to call in, but the pediatrician's office had closed early due to the snow storm so I got the answering service. They took a message and paged Dr. B because thankfully she was the doctor on call at the time. They tell you to call back if you don't hear in 20 minutes, which I hadn't so I did. They said they'd been paging her and would try again. I was worried that perhaps she had trouble in the snow. Turns out she was still in the office catching up on things, she called me back just before 5:30 as Ben waking dinner. 

During all of this I wasn't too worried about hearing back because Desmond woke up from his nap a couple hours earlier in a great mood and no fever. The tylenol had even worn off by then and he was acting himself. 

The first thing Dr. B said was that she knew I wouldn't be expecting this, but Desmond's results were not good. She said was really sorry but if he were her son, she'd take him directly to the hospital. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My voice started to crack and Ben looked at me from the kitchen with wide eyes trying to figure out what was going on. He was just about to toss some spaghetti into boiling water when I waved him off while listening to Dr. B explain the results. 

Desmond's white blood cell count was much too high and his other results were not great either. I explained that his fever had gone and he was acting fine, but she insisted that even so she felt in her gut that he needed to be in the hospital. I told her I trusted her opinion completely and we'd pack up to go. She asked if we'd be able to meet her at the hospital in all this snow, that had now turned to thick sheets of ice, or if she should call an ambulance. Ben was sure we could brave the weather. 

Ben dropped the noodles on the counter and turned off the stove and we started to make preparations. I called Amy, who lives a block away, and I burst into tears. All I could manage was a shaky "We have to take Desmond to the hospital" and she immediately told me "Bring Kai right over!" So I ran outside to start the van to thaw and  we packed both boys a bag quickly, I grabbed a couple snacks for us since we were missing dinner. I backed Ben's car out of the driveway blindly, it was covered in such a thick layer of ice and snow I didn't have time to thaw it out. I attacked the ice on the van until Ben came out to take over. It was so thick after just 5 hours that it broke the scraper in half. 

Ben grabbed Kai out of the car and carried him up to Amy's house. Malakai was thrilled for his very first sleepover at a friend's house (Amy's son Nate is just a little younger than Kai + she has a baby, Luke who Kai also adores). Thankfully he wasn't scared and didn't know to worry about Desmond, as worried as Ben + I were. I texted Amy directions for bed time and such on our way to the hospital. 

Desmond was still in a great mood and asked us where we were going. When we said the hospital, he said "OK!" as we had just been there for x-rays 2 days earlier and he seemed to enjoy the adventure. We slid at an intersection once as we tried to start from a stop light, but we made it safely in the terrible weather. I did NOT enjoy that drive!

We grabbed his bag and headed to the front desk in the lobby at Sacred Heart Medical Center Riverbend where both boys were born and where Malakai had his hernia surgery a couple years earlier. We were led upstairs to the pediatric floor and immediately admitted. Dr. B met us in Desmond's room and explained his results more thoroughly. His white blood cell count should normally be less than 15,000 was elevated to 39,000. He also tested as anemic and low blood sugar. His crp levels (which I don't really understand) were elevated, which apparently isn't good either. All of these things indicate a dangerous infection somewhere in his body. Her plan to rule out Bacterial Sepsis was to get a follow up chest x-ray to make sure the pneumonia hadn't become visible after the last one. Then have an ultrasound on his abdomen to see if there were any abnormalities and to check on his appendix. Third, was to recheck his urine and lastly was to administer IV antibiotics for 48 hours. That's when we realized we were in for a long stay.


  1. Oh this is so sad... I'm glad you are documenting it so thoroughly because it's so easy to forget the details down the road! Quite a story to tell Desmond one day!


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