Intermediate Care Ward – Day 1

We were taken straight to the Intermediate Care Ward, which is the middle ground area between the regular ITU (Infant/Toddler Unit) and the PICU (Pediatric ICU).  The nurses, doctors and therapists were immediately tending to Mr. Happy, but one nurse took the time to provide us with pillows and blankets, towels and washcloths, and show us how to use the couch and chair that folded out for sleeping.  She made sure we were comfortable and it went a long way towards calming us down.  At Children’s, they not only take care of the children, but the family as well.  We now know that if we’re ever faced with having a child in the hospital again, we want to go to Children’s.  The top-notch care would be reason enough; the respect and involvement of the family just ices the cake.

Everyone was so terribly gracious to us, explaining everything and anything we asked in ways we could understand (without making us feel ignorant).  At the point of our arrival, they were monitoring Mr. Happy for his breathing/pneumonia, drawing more blood for more samples, and asking us to go over his history so they could have a complete picture.  They wanted the medical files ‘fleshed out’, as they put it.  I felt so much better within just a few hours of getting there.

Turns out, Mr. Happy was testing anemic on top of everything else, and his diapers were testing bloody, still.

I was given permission to nurse at about 4:00 a.m.  This turned out to be the last time I nursed him until…who knows.  The Geek turned in, and after I nursed I went to bed, too.  We woke up in the morning to talk to the day shift nurses and doctors, and find out what was to happen next.  Basically, we began the process of watching and waiting, similar to what we did at our hometown hospital.  Only this time, every time something was ruled out, they started another round of tests.

First day in the room, having one of many tests run.

They had him stabilized and on Hi-flow O2, on an IV of saline and glucose, and were most interested in his breathing and pneumonia at that point.  We spent the day with him in the hospital watching them come in and beat his chest, adjust fluid levels, straighten out wires, and generally tend to him.  The bloodwork had gone in for testing, and now they had to wait.

We were told that the concern of aspiration was so strong that they did not want me to nurse him anymore.  So I started pumping and dumping, every 2-4 hours throughout the day.  I was suddenly grateful that I had purchased the top-of-the-line breastpump!

 

This happened almost every time I pumped while in the hospital. HUGE amounts of milk, and no way to give it to my baby.

During the day, we took a moment to call the nice lady from church who had agreed to watch Mr. Charm from Sunday on.  Mom and my Aunt were taking care of Mr. Charm at home, but they had to leave on Sunday.  The Geek’s mom and step-dad were still going on vacation, so we needed someone to take care of Mr. Charm.  On Thursday, when we knew we were going to Little Rock, we called L to ask if she would take care of Jed.  She didn’t even let me ask before she said “We’ll take him”.  I started crying when I knew that I had such a good friend on our side.  So now that we were settled in the hospital and Mr. Happy was stabilized, we took the time to call and begin coordinating care for Mr. Charm.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple with Mr. Charm as it would be with a normal toddler.  He has food allergies, which, as I’ve written, had suddenly become severe enough to warrant an Epi-pen.  Since he’s on such a restrictive diet, we were doing everything we could think of to make it easier on her.  I had told Mom to pack the cooler with freezer meals I had already prepared, to pack shopping bags full of snacks for Mr. Charm (actually, more than he could ever eat, because L also watches her grandchildren during the weekdays and I wanted to have plenty of snacks for her to provide for all three boys so she wouldn’t have to worry about Mr. Charm getting ahold of a dangerous snack from one of the other boys), and my recipe book, which only has safe recipes in it and would mean she could cook something other than the freezer meals without worrying if it would be okay.

We discussed how to use the Epi-pen, and other questions were answered.  All in all, I felt like we had covered as many bases as we could on that front.  We also talked to Mom to give her a packing list, and she and my Aunt were sorting through the disaster that was our house to find everything they needed for Mr. Charm.  We had torn through the house like a tornado packing for the hospital, and Mr. Charm had wreaked havoc on top of that as the Geek prepared to bring him to the hospital on Thursday, on top of the disorder from construction, so this was no small feat for them!

Finally confident that both children were in good hands, we were able to relax a bit.  We took the opportunity to drive to Wal-mart and pick up a few essentials that we had forgotten, and grab some dinner.  (My elimination diet went by the wayside on Wednesday, when I realized we would be in the hospital.  I’m skilled enough at avoiding dairy now to continue being dairy-free, but still new enough with eliminating all the top 8 allergens to know that I wouldn’t be able to manage to nourish myself on fast food and hospital food if I continued to eliminate those things.)

Then it was back to the hospital, take a shower, pump, and go to bed.

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