ER Visit #4

The Bean is familiar with the hospital. She first visited the emergency room two months before she was born, after I was in a head-on car accident. Then, the vaccine reaction and subsequent dehydration at 13 months, followed by the stomach flu and severe dehydration at 20 months. Such is the life of a GERD baby. Getting the reflux under control with her diet led to overall better health, though. We haven’t had so much as a sick baby doctor visit since then.

Until last night. Beanie had what’re thought was a bug bite on her cheek. It healed on its own, but then she got another one two weeks later. Bug bites swell badly on her, so we didn’t worry. This bite occurred last week when we took a camping trip in Tennessee, right after she was attacked by fire ants (she danced on an anthill, before we could stop her). On Thursday, she ran into the bed on our camper, hitting her eye. For that reason, we weren’t surprised when, on Friday, a red mark appeared, going from the “bite” to her eye. She was groggy Monday night, the day after we arrived at home, but we attributed that to e change in routine and long drive home. Then, at 8:30, I noticed that her hands were hot. Her hands, more than her forehead, tell us when she has a fever. I absently gave her Advil, because the bump on her face was bothering her. Then Rob suggested that I consult Dr.Google about facial boils. Maybe there is a home remedy.

Every query I found said the same haunting words. Blood poisoning. I realized that she had hit the camper bed on the other side. The red line was not from that. And she had a fever. On our ear thermometer, it was 99 after the Motrin. I had a bad gut feeling that I thought WebMD would assuage. It did not. This was an emergency.

Of course I considered that I might be overreacting. However, in spite of the stereotypes of mothers as clueless and overprotective, I have never been wrong when it comes to the Bean. The two ER visits after her birth led to admissions. My visit to the Redi-Care clinic, when the doctor suggested that she was just teething, turned out to be a case of RSV, where her 02 level was actually one point away from an admission. I know my daughter.

There is an ER ten minutes from our house. The ambulance took me there after the car accident, and we weren’t impressed. So we always drove 40 minutes to the hospital where Beanie was born, which is much nicer. This time, she clearly needed antibiotics. Anyone could handle that. We decided to go to the closer hospital, in the hopes of being home sooner.

Two hours after checking in, we made it to triage. Shift change happened after the first couple of questions. The leaving nurse advised the new nurse to ask about drug allergies, then left. We were taken to the corner of a larger room, behind a curtain, where I re-explained our situation. She asked if Beanie had everhad MERSA, and I said no. The nurse was about to leave, when I remembered that she was supposed to ask about drug allergies. I told her that Beanie was allergic to Penicillin. She typed something and left.

We sat for an hour, playing with our iPads, before the doctor arrived. He glanced at her face, said she had cellulitis, which is very serious and can spread, and that she needs oral and injected antibiotics. He asked if she has ever had an antibiotic that I had never heard of. I said no, but she is allergic to Penicillin but no Augmentin. He said that is impossible because they are the same thing (they are not). I said fine, she shouldn’t have either. The visit lasted less than two minutes.

After another hour, a young nurse came in and asked if they had taken an vital signs. She was dismayed to find that they had not. She used an oral thermometer (which Beanie chewed on) and a pulse oximeter. I told her the Bean’s weight and reminded her of the drug allergy, which was not yet in the computer.

A hour later, the nurse said that she didn’t know where the meds or the doctor were, but that she would bring the meds as soon as she got them.

Fast forward two hours. Beanie is still enjoying her iPad, and I’ve downloaded lots of apps and books on their high-speed Internet. In comes the nurse, with two reinforcements and two syringes. A nurse holds a leg, and I hold a leg and two hands. Shots never bothered the Bean until her last immunization, which is a sign that her sensory integration therapy is working, She doesn’t cry until they are nearly done with the injections. They are impressed, but feel sorry for her. Then I get the script for a antibiotic and Motrin, along with horrifying information on cellulitis (it can quickly lead to sepsis or meningitis). Basically,WebMD, Dr. Google, and mother’s intuition saved Beanie’s life. After 15 minutes (due to her Penicillin allergy, which they finally documented) we were allowed to leave.

We were told to follow up with our family doctor in 3-5 days, but I talked to them today. The nurse was appalled at her treatment in the ER and said she should come in ASAP. The doctor was on vacation last week, she is very booked this week. Beanie is scheduled for Thursday, but she will get first priority if someone cancels (which she says is likely). Beanie needs to stay home from school until then, since she may have MERSA (they may never know though, since she can’t have Penicillin.

I told my principal and teaching partners what was going on, and that I would put in for a sub if her fever returned. All day, I checked my voicemail and refreshed my Gmail, waiting to hear that her fever was back. I felt so helpless, feeling that my precious daughter, my everything, could be in danger at any time.

Happily, she was dancing around fever-free, when I got home. Her sore has improved a great deal, and I’m not worried anymore. Once again, we’ll all float on okay….

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