Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pneumonia - a play by play

Before I forget the details of Sam's sudden illness I want to record them here. I'm already mad at myself enough for not keeping up the kids' health notebooks that I started when they were babies (small notebooks to record illnesses, medications, well child measurements - nothing fancy but it's hard to remember who had x-rays when, who was the one with croup etc... so I had planned to keep a written record for when the doctor asked health history questions)

For some reason Sam has managed to be sick every time it's his turn to bring home the snack bucket from school. He should have brought it home yesterday. Instead he spent the day coughing and coughing and coughing. He started with a temp on Tuesday the 2nd after nap and was very lethargic and miserable. He threw up twice from coughing so hard. I called the nurse when his temp got to 102 under his arm, thinking that it meant 103. I couldn't remember if she said to call if it got to 103 or if that was when we should bring him in. Anyone else second guess themselves constantly when your kids are sick?

So I called. Just in case. Oh it's not add a degree under the arm, it's subtract a degree. Really? That's not what I remember, but you're the professional so I guess I'm wrong. Thank goodness it's not as bad as I thought.

I slept at the foot of his twin bed that night. If you can call it sleep that is. He coughed all night long. No school for him. I took Julia to school on 45 minutes of sleep. Sam's teacher called to check up on him. I let Sam sleep in the chair for nap time. He slept 15 minutes.
We watch movie upon movie upon movie until bedtime. All day he's eaten 5 pretzels, a few bites of cornbread, & a little applesauce.

Seven pm and he's in bed. I have a video monitor set up 3 feet from his face. I have hardly left his side except to take Julia to school. I go up and check on him at 9pm. He's breathing hard, I can see his neck pulsating fast. I think of my friend Jennifer and get a small glimpse into her past. I take his pulse. 162. Is that too high for a five year old? Is that a sign of something that needs attention right away? (Mine can be as low as 50 and rarely gets above 60) I couldn't find the answer online so I called our insurance company's nurse line. By the time I got through the list of symptoms her recommendation was to call 911. (Oh and she said that it's add a degree under the arm.)

We decide that it's faster to just drive him ourselves. I cross paths with an ambulance three miles from our house. Extra glad we decided to drive ourselves. We arrive at the ER and a triage nurse gives me the 3rd degree on why we are there. In not a nice way. Whatever.

We get past the paperwork stage and into the room where that same nurse takes Sam's vitals. Temp of 104. Pulse Ox - a titch over what it needs to be in order to be admitted.
He's coughing and is moaning. He doesn't like for me to jostle him in anyway. I have to be careful as I stand with him. There's no way he can walk. The nurse shows he's human after all and hands my baby a kleenex and offers to carry Sam's blanket and my purse.

He leads us to are put in room number 9. Within a few minutes a nurse comes in and gives him Tylenol and Motrin. Didn't know you could have both at the same time...Then things move really really r e a l l y s l o w. Poor Sam is shivering despite being covered with his ThomasTheTrain blanket. I can see that he's having a hard time breathing and that his heart is racing.

They know what they are doing - they wouldn't leave us alone for 20 minutes if it were that bad. Right? They must be super busy despite only 4 cars in the parking lot. I ask a nurse who comes in eventually if it's good for him to be waiting this long in his condition. She agrees that someone should come in asap. We see a doc who orders a chest x-ray. I carry my baby down the hall to radiology. I hold his hand while the tech takes two pics of his lungs. He asks for a drink of water. Thank goodness he's able to keep fluids down and wants them. I give him the a sip from the hospital mug I used when I was pregnant with Julia.

We go back to our room. I offer to snuggle with Sam, but he aches and prefers the stillness of the bed. He snuggles with his plastic shark, Lucy. I tuck his sister's puppy up close for warmth. He's still shaking. But he's able to fall asleep - getting a break from the hours and hours he'd been coughing. I hold his hand. We wait. And then we wait some more.

Two nurses come in and explain the nose swabs they are going to do. Sam trembles from fear. He whimpers "Mommy" as I hold him down for the task of squirting water up his nose and retrieving the sample. It wasn't enough. It takes three of us to hold him down. They hose slips off and they have to do it again. He was so brave. Braver than I would have been if someone wanted to stick a swab that far back.

They bring him a superman balloon. "Is that an S Mama?" Yes. Do you you know who Superman is? "No" Oh my sweet sweet sheltered boy. I hate that we're there. I want him to be better. I want him to be able to stop coughing and for his heart to slow down. They offer him a Popsicle. They can't believe he's never had one. He defers to me when they ask him what flavor. I say I think he'll like the orange one. They bring him a red one. He loves it.

The fever reducers start to work and he perks up a bit. He wants to go home. I tell him we have to wait some more to find out what's wrong with him. RSV? Influenza? My memory gets fuzzy here (I've only slept 3-4 hours in the past 48 hours) but I think the doc came in to say that that we had to wait on the test before we could know how to treat him. Whatever the actual order of events - it was a long wait. Every time someone would leave the room it would be 20 minutes before we saw someone again. That's a long time for a little guy who's exhausted and sick.

PapaBear had said I could call anytime. I still didn't know anything and it was already after 11pm at this point. Almost two hours into our ER visit and all he's had is some meds I could have given him at home. Wave of second guessing rolls in. Tears roll down Sam's face as we wait for the doctor to come back. He and I talk options. Tamiflu is metioned as an option if it turns out to be influenza. I've never been more grateful for internet on my phone so I can look up Tamiflu side effects. He sees something in his lungs on the X-ray. Need to wait for the test results. The doc leaves. Sam cries some more. We look at maps on my phone. He likes to see New York City.

At 11:45 the doc returns to say that the tests were negative. I ask for his pulse ox to be retested to be sure that it has improved enough for us to go home. 95. We're good to go. We wait another 10 minutes for someone to come with discharge papers. Sam cries some more. "Why is there something in my lungs that is making me sick Mama?" I don't know baby but we're hear to find out how to make you better.

The nurse comes in with our blue folder of paperwork. I sign a couple of things. She tells us we can fill our prescriptions using the InstiMeds machine in the lobby. I have to ask her if there was an official diagnosis.


OK. Good to know!

We're out of there! But not very fast of course. Walking too fast make Sammy's tummy hurt. I fill our prescription in the futuristic and frankly, a little creepy, machine in the lobby. Sam coughs. The receptionist asks us to put a mask on him. We leave. I eat M&M's on the way home and drink ice cold coffee left over from the morning. It's 12:45 in the morning when we get home.

I felt terrible that PapaBear was in the dark the whole time we were gone. I kept thinking about calling him, but never really knew anything until we were walking out the door. I get Sam tucked into his bed and have a light bulb moment about my sleeping arrangements. Sam's room is TINY but we have a crib mattress that will fit on the floor. I slept like a baby on it. Ha! I wish. I do think I slept through a lot of his coughing, but I know that it was a comfort to Sam to know that he could ask me for anything in the middle of the night. He would call out "Mama?" and then say "Just checking to see if you were in here" I tell him that I will stay in his room with him until he feels better. He tells me he loves me more than Daddy.

Last week he told me he loved Daddy more. Now we're even. But not really. I don't keep score. I can't these days or I'll go mad. PapaBear spends WAY more time with the kids than I do. I focus on quality since I'm not getting the quantity. This week I'm getting quantity and quality with my son. I wish it were under different circumstances. It does my heart good to know that he knows I will be there for him when he needs me. Sometimes I worry that he's not sure about that since I leave for work so much.

We 'sleep' until 9 this morning. I prepare his meds and we decide to set up camp in my bedroom. Less germs spread around the house that way. I called for a follow up appointment and get in at a clinic I've never been to before. I felt it was important for us to see a pediatrician today and not a family practitioner. I liked Dr. S right away. I told her that she was the very first doctor Sam saw in the hospital when he was born, but it was by mistake. Her practice was 40 miles from our house. We were suppose to be seen by the doctor 1 mile from our house. She didn't skip a beat. She said, "So Sam, how've you been since I saw you last?" I told you I liked her!

We talked medical history (once again wished I had been better about filling out the medical notebooks!) and we decided to do another chest X-ray to make sure that he wasn't getting worse. His pulse ox was in the mid 90's but his color was terrible. He could barely stand to be weighed. Thankfully the x-ray showed that he wasn't getting any worse so we could go home and not to the hospital. After last night, Sam isn't all that excited about a trip to the hospital. We picked up a second prescription for another antibiotic - we're going to hit this from all directions she said. I vowed to get a full dose of acidophilus in him tomorrow. No more mixing it in his Cream Of Wheat. This time it's going into one spoonful of applesauce and going down all at once. He'll thank me later. Or maybe not.

So that brings us to tonight. His cough isn't as frequent, but he can't keep his temp below 103 without Motrin. We are suppose to call the clinic in the morning to check in.

I want to say thank you again to everyone who's prayed for our special little guy. Any sickness whether it's a cold or something much more serious is hard for a mom to watch her child suffer through. It's nice to know that others were thinking of us - somewhere out there - as the title of Sam's favorite song says.


  1. Poor little guy! You all have had a rough couple days! I agree with you - add a degree for armpit subtract a degree for rectal. I think we're right, but maybe not! Hope you don't get sick!

  2. Aw poor guy! And his poor Mama! Hang in there both of you!!

  3. Poor little man, I bet he was so glad to have his mommy so close. I hope you both can get some much needed rest tonight! Thinking about you!

  4. Poor little guy. Dear Lord, please heal this little one. Take his fever away and make him better. Amen. Keep us posted.

  5. Oh, we have had nights like that! Waiting in the ER so NOT fun at all!! Hope you get some sleep and that he feels better soon!

  6. Poor Sam! :( Hope he is quickly on the road to recovery. Hope everyone gets some well-needed rest too.

  7. Oh poor Sam! Hope you BOTH get some rest today! We've had a rough week here including a trip to the ER for my son. I have vowed to avoid the ER at all costs - they are SO rude and SO slow! Hang in there Carrie!

  8. Sammy takes after his dad who used to go into the extremely high temps and would be hospitalized for it. I know how exhausted you are feeling. As I have always said, "I earned every one of these gray hair with the worrying I did."
    Give Sam a hug and a kiss for me--tell him grandma has him in her prayers, and that she loves him very much.

  9. Poor baby..and poor Mama. There is nothing worse than a sick child and nothing we can do about it!

    I hope he is on the mend and is back to running around and playing real soon!

  10. I will be praying for Sam to heal well and soon and for your strength and the rest of your family to stay healthy. Uggg no fun having sick lil' ones.

  11. Oh, poor Sam! Thinking about you and praying for you both. Hope he's on the mend soon!

  12. Poor Sam! Boo had pneumonia last year, and it really knocked her out flat. Hope he feels better very very soon!


  14. hope he gets better quickly. We did something similar 2 years ago and it was yucky. Good luck and you rock Mama!

  15. So sorry to hear that your little one is sick. Our 17 month old ended up with a seizure due to fever and rushed to the hospital to find that he had pneumonia. Hope he gets better fast and that you can get some rest!

  16. Oh poor Sam and poor Carrie. I hate sickness, but couple sickness with bureaucracy and you have loathing.

    Hang in there.

    Look on the bright side the park is closed so you don't have to deal with visitors and while you always have books to do you're probably not trying to hit a deadline like Christmas. :)

    Keeping you in my thoughts.

  17. Oh I pray you are getting some sleep. I have been to the ER once with my baby and I tell you what - sometimes I think you're better off sleeping at home and making an appointment the next day. IT'S HORRIBLE!

    Take care!

  18. Oh I am so sorry. While my kids have never had pneumonia, we've so been there with the second guessing and the waiting and the whole ER scenario. I hope he feels better fast. And don't you LOVE it when they tell you the wrong thing about temperature?
    Our pediatrician (whom we no longer see) told us to quit taking Jack's temp rectally because it would read too high. When he was at Children's Hospital they told us it was the MOST accurate way to take it. Probably when we have all government healthcare everything will be much better. (joking)

  19. I hope he's on the mend. And I hope you get some much needed rest too!

  20. Poor Sam. I hope he is feeling somewhat better now. It's so hard when little ones are so sick.

  21. Poor Sam and poor mama!!

    I hope things have improved....



  22. just wanted you to know that i am thinking of you and sam. he is such a brave little boy! the ER can be really scary to children. hopefully, the two of you will get some much needed rest.

  23. wondering how you guys are doing! hope everyone is feeling better!


School Spirit Beanie Crochet Pattern

Beat those winter blues and cold winds with this a FLEECE lined brimmed hat! It seems like everyone is wearing a beanie these days - me in...