Hospitalized

Wednesday morning, Mr. Happy didn’t eat his usual way at 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.  He only nibbled.  At 6:15 a.m. he woke up screaming and wouldn’t stop.  At 7:00 a.m., I took him to the living room and found he would only calm down in a few select upright positions.  He refused to nurse.  I changed his diaper and it was poopy, but it was the first poopy diaper he had in the previous 12 hours.

This is very unusual – he always nurses, and he poops a lot. All morning long he was listless and lethargic.  He looked glassy-eyed and didn’t cry.  He just laid there and moaned.  He was making spit bubbles at his mouth, and they had streaks of brown in them. I called his pediatrician’s office, and while I waited for a call back I looked up his symptoms online.  The only thing I could find that fit most of the symptoms was Intussusception, an intestinal blockage.

The nurse called me back and arranged for him to come to the office at 1:15 p.m.  I packed for the hospital, just in case, and we went to the doctor’s office. The nurse practitioner examined Mr. Happy and thought I might be right about Intussusception, but said he didn’t present with classic symptoms and wanted Dr. A to look at him.  Dr. A came over from the other office and examined him.  She disagreed with the diagnosis of Intussusception and said it sounded – to her – like Reflux and Gastritis. To be safe, she ordered an ultrasound of his tummy, which would confirm or deny Intussusception.

We left to have it done at the hospital that fouled up Mr. Charms’ delivery (hiss, boo). By the time they had registered him and completed the ultrasound, it was 4:30 p.m.  We stopped by the pediatrician’s office to show the latest unusual symptom: his last poopy diaper was pitch black.  Usually, that’s a sign of blood in the intestines.  They didn’t seem too concerned.

They had said that 2-3 hours after the test the nurse practitioner would call with the results, so we decided to hang around town rather than going straight home.  We went to have dinner at Chipotle, then picked up a few things at Target, and realized 3 hours had passed with no contact. I called the after hours number and left a message, and thirty minutes later got a call back.  She said that the hospital had performed the ultrasound, but then sent the pictures over to another hospital to be read.  However, she had tried and could not get anyone to answer the phone there.

She apologized, and said she would try calling Dr. A to see if she knew any other ways to contact the radiologist that was reading the ultrasound. Another half hour later, she called back.  Dr. A didn’t have any other contact options, but she said that they usually call her with results if they indicate a surgical procedure may be necessary, even after hours.  Since they hadn’t contacted her, she recommended that we just go on home.  “No news is good news”, she said.

The Geek and I were so annoyed by this further evidence of incompetence by the hospital that screwed up Mr. Charm’s delivery that we just started driving home on auto-pilot. About halfway home, I started to have a sinking feeling in my tummy.  Sure, we’d had an ultrasound.  Sure, Dr. A gave her diagnosis.  Despite that, my Mommy gut was feeling off-kilter.

Mr. Happy was STILL not feeling well.  He spent most of the day sleeping, not crying, looking in pain, and had hardly nursed at all.  Something wasn’t right, and reflux and gastritis just didn’t sound ‘right’ to me.  I couldn’t bear the idea of waiting until the morning to find out more information.  If it was something serious, it could be dangerous to wait.

I tried to get the Geek on the phone, but since he was just hitting the cell phone dead spot he said we would talk about it when we got home.  We did, and initially we decided I would take Mr. Happy to the ER and the Geek would stay home with Mr. Charm.

I stopped long enough to pump (Mr. Happy wasn’t nursing and I didn’t want my supply to slow down), and while doing so, the Geek held him.  Halfway through pumping, he came out and said he wanted to go to the ER with me.  I asked him why and he said that it was partly because he knew I wanted him to, and partly because he was really starting to worry about Mr. Happy’s breathing.

So the Geek took Mr. Charm down to his mom’s house, and we drove off to the hospital.

We arrived at the ER entrance and the admitting nurse took us back.  Within three minutes of walking through the door I was sitting on a gurney, holding Mr. Happy, being wheeled into the ER.

The nurse called out over the ER PA “Level 1 patient, room 13″, and when I asked what the levels were, he replied that Level 1 is the most serious. That’s when we got scared, because as he was answering us we could see nurses and doctors clearing the hallways for us.  We were wheeled into room 13 and there were at least 8 people in there dancing that controlled frenzy of work that highly trained people perform when dealing with an urgent situation.

Mr. Happy was stripped to his diaper, put on oxygen, had blood drawn, examined, poked, prodded, and who knows what else, while the Geek and I just stood back and tried to stay out of the way.

Mr. Happy doesn’t care for pacifiers, but he has a strong suck reflex. The only thing we could do was give him our fingers to suck on, but because of germs and his health we had to wear gloves to do so. This was while he was being examined in the emergency room.

Within about ten minutes, Mr. Happy was finally screaming, and that seemed to reassure the ER personnel.  The room cleared out to only 3 people working on him.

He was covered in wires and tubes almost immediately. Overwhelming, actually.

Finally, he screamed and yelled, which was a great comfort after the moaning and whimpering he had done all day. Everyone relaxed, and we put one of his handmade baby blankets on him for warmth and for comfort.

By the time an hour had passed, his chest had been X-rayed and he had been taken for a CT Scan.  They took almost 200 pictures of his little body to see almost everything internal.

Getting his CT Scan. The lady on the right was very sweet in showing me pictures and explaining what she was seeing. The nurse in the vest had to stay and basically get a CT Scan herself so she could hold Mr. Happy still for the procedure.

The diagnosis was surprising: pneumonia.  He was admitted into the hospital.

Finally sleeping in his own room in the hospital. Within minutes, nurses had woken him up for vitals and respiratory therapists had come in to start treating him.

The Geek decided that since we were being admitted, he would go home to get some decent sleep so he could pick up Mr. Charm in the morning and come back to the hospital.  He left, and Mr. Happy and I headed to our hospital room around 4:00 a.m.

(continued…)

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