I have had one of those days every parent hates. I woke up to Teresa spiking a fever of 102.5 and complaining of a severe headache. As the morning wore on she got slightly worse. We kept the fever barely at bay with Tylenol but when she told me her neck hurt I was really worried. Joe wondered out loud if this could have anything to do with the small metal charm she swallowed the day before. I had forgotten all about that. A quick trip to Dr. Google's office and I was taken straight to panic stricken hell. Lead poisoning, cadmium poisoning, tears in her esophagus or intestines, intestinal blockages. I was convinced she had them all. Joe reminded me to take a deep breath and GET REAL! A quick call to my Doctor father and I felt a little better that she wasn't in imminent danger.
I still didn't feel right though. You know that second sense that Mothers have? The one that tells you it's not quiet because the kids are playing so nicely...it's because they are coloring all over the living room walls. That second sense of mine was all up in my face and I was having a very hard time ignoring it. Teresa is used to being sick. She has asthma and doesn't remember a time when she hasn't had to have breathing treatments to help her breath. If she gets the slightest cold, it can progress to pneumonia overnight and that has landed her in the hospital many times. She doesn't complain (well, most of the time) and she is usually very good about knowing when she needs her treatments. After dealing with this for six years now, I've got a good idea when she needs more than just her usual drugs and when we only need to up the number of treatments she's getting. But today I felt like I wasn't able to read the situation. I watched her breathing as she slept and felt like it was off. Something wasn't right. I pressed my ear against her back and listened. Under the nearly ever present wheeze, she seemed to be moving air well. But still I couldn't shake that feeling that something just wasn't right. Her fever came raging back to 103 just before lunch and she was clutching her head with the pain. I called the pediatrician and within minutes I got a call back. When I described what was going on, I was told "take her to the emergency room...now" I needed no second urging.
We got to the ER and they actually put us in a room right away. With her neck pain and fever and head pain, the doctors were thinking meningitis. They didn't want her in a common waiting room and they even turned a switch on so that the air from our room did not circulate back into the rest of the hospital. After her first examination the doctor decided she did not have meningitis. Hearing that I was able to breath again.
Unfortunately it was a busy afternoon in the ER and now that Teresa did not seem to be a priority we did A LOT of waiting. She slept much of the time. Lucky her. I didn't even have the luxury of an old magazine. I read and reread all the boxes and manuals for the equipment. I think I know how to operate those electric paddle thingys now. When she was awake we played I spy and word games and math games. At one point she got very weepy and choked out "Mumma, I really really miss my Sam." Poor sweet girl needed some love and attention from her big brother. Chest xrays and abdominal xrays, blood draws and lots and lots of questions. Teresa met each of these unpleasant events with her nervous little smile and her unquenchable curiosity. She asked the techs about how the machines worked and what they were doing. Even though she can barely get the words out because she's coughing so much or having difficulty catching her breath, she can't stop herself from trying. I had flashbacks of when she was a toddler and she'd get sick like this. Spending hours in the same ER and she'd be swinging her little legs and singing as best she could in between breathing treatments. Her pediatrician calls her "the happy wheezer." Finally after four plus hours in the hospital, we were given the go ahead to go home complete with a zpack for our troubles.
We've been home several hours now. She's complaining of shoulder pain when she breathes or laughs, when she's awake, which actually hasn't been much. A new pain, but I think it's connected to the pneumonia. I've got her nebulizer set up next to the bed and a basin for throw up, motrin for pain and fever and cold clothes in the fridge. I didn't want to spend my day in the hospital. I don't take any pleasure in the fact that my second sense was right. I hate seeing my bubbly little girl struggling to breath and in pain. But I'm glad I listened to that little voice and that I wasted a day reading the ingredients in those little disinfecting wipe packets. And I'll do it all again tomorrow...but I really really hope I don't have to.