Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our five kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Plague has struck our house

Well, Angela is the only one with it, but still! She got sick about a week and a half ago...maybe even two weeks. She didn't have any cold symptoms (as in no runny or stuffed up nose. No water eyes. None of that type of stuff.) all she had was this horrible cough. I brought her into the pediatrician on Monday and we decided to just keep doing nebs as we've been doing. (nebs, for those who are new, refers to nebulizer treatments, which is a mini air compressor that connects to a small chamber w/mask set up, allowing the person to breathe medicated air. This is used for people with asthma, Reactive airway disease (RAD) and other respiratory problems.) And, it was also decided we'd keep her on preventative neb treatments at least once per day for the rest of the winter...which would be about April 1st or so. Doggone it! This adds about 15 minutes to our morning routine. Bummer dude!

So Monday she stayed home, Tues-Friday she went to school, with her HORRIBLE cough unchanging all week. I'd resigned myself to the fact she would have this cough all winter. However, by the time she came home Friday she was REALLY run down, and by late afternoon had DARK circles around her eyes, and at 5:30...you know, after the doctor's office closed for the weekend...she started complaining of hip pain again, and VIOLA, was running a fever. I called the ped. and we put her on meds for a UTI again, as it was the same symptoms she had 6 weeks or so ago when she got REALLY sick with a UTI.

Saturday we had the bowling tournament, and while she was tired, and clearly didn't look very well, she wasn't acting sick. Just the cough. You know, the one I was convinced she'd have all winter. We went from bowling to a baby shower, and from the baby shower to a movie with her buddy Adam. About 1/2 way through the movie she started coughing A LOT and I was sure I'd have to remove her. Usually when she starts coughing like that she also starts wretching. If you're not used to listenting to that awful noise, it sounds like she's going to vomit, which wouldn't have been a very comforting sound for the people sitting in front of her at the theater.

Sunday was bad. She didn't get off the couch all day. She just wanted a pillow and blanket, and dozed off an on. I spent all day debating about bringing her in, but other than the cough and being tired, I didn't have anything else to base my decision on. My gut instinct said she had pneumonia, but the other 1/2 of me said we could hold out till this morning when I could call our regular dr, so that's what I decided to do.

That was, until 1:00 this morning when Angela woke up coughing so bad and couldn't catch her breath. I went into her room and watched her lips and lower part of her cheeks to purple-ish blue while she was coughing. And then the wretching would start because she was bringing up so much "stuff" from her lungs. And then there was the 101* fever to consider. I knew she had pneumonia. However, I hate going to the ER in the middle of the night (through THE WORST neighborhood in all of Minnesota.) only to be told to give her more nebs and call our regular dr. in the morning. No...I needed more symptoms in order to make my decision.

I had no idea where my stethoscope was, so I did my "Lord help my find ......." prayer, and they were in the very next place I looked. (In the dog cabinet from the last time we had puppies and I was trying to hear heartbeats in utero, but I digress. ) I went online and found .wav files of breath sounds, and compared them to what I was hearing in Angela. I was pretty sure I was hearing a crackle in her upper right lung, but I'm not a doctor, so I decided enough was enough, and I was bringing her into the ER.

We got there about 1:30. During triage her oxygen sats were bouncing between 90-92. Within 15 minutes of walking in the door we were seen by the resident. A tiny little chinese girl who looked to be about 12. Angela loved the girl's name. Anyway, she listened to her chest, and did the usual exam stuff, then announced, "Well, her lungs sound great, and her oxygen sats were fine. I'm just going to order an oral steroid to help the nebs a bit and then you can go home."

I was thinking maybe I'd sat with the wrong kid in the triage area. But whatever, at least we were going to get home quickly, something unheard of when visiting the ER at Children's hospital.

About 10 minutes later, as we were waiting for these magic steroids to be delivered, the ATTENDING physician came in. That means she's a real doctor and over sees all the kid doctors who are still in their residency. She asked me, "So, what's different tonight that made you drive all the way over here in the middle of the night?"

I told her, "Well, we were both awake, so I figured we might as well come over. Oh, and the fact she couldn't catch her breath after coughing, and the fact that I just didn't like how she sounded."

She puts her stethoscope on Angela's chest, and the first thing she says is, "Well, these are clear pneumonia sounds on this side. She's crackling. The rest of her sounds ok, but I want a chest xray, and her oxygen sats were on the low side so I really want to see how bad the pneumonia is."

Hmmm...interesting...the little 12 year old doctor said she sounded fine. I guess I should get my medical degree now, because I can compare real breath sounds to those I found on the internet. Tong Wi, on the other hand, needs to take the same course I did.

Poor Angela. I should have brought her into the regular doctor for a chest xray earlier in the week. But I bet if I had it wouldn't have shown anything yet. I think that's the worst part about being a mom. (then add to it being a mom to a kid who's medically fragile. ) is making those judgement calls, deciding the difference between being sick and being really sick. And the difference between "she's really sick I'll have to get her into the doctor tomorrow." and "she's really sick we need to g0 to the ER now." My sense of urgency has been warped by my years of being a mom to kids who got sick all the time, which makes me tend to put off a trip to the ER a little too long.

Oh well. She's on strong antibiotics now. Two of them actually! The one started Friday for her UTI, and a new one for the pneumonia, plus that magic steriod pill. All of that on top of the 5 other meds she takes every day. I knew I should have bought stock in CVS. And now, it's time for me to get some sleep. We got home from the ER at 5:00 a.m, and had a meeting here at 9, and another at 2:30. I've been up for almost 24 hours, and my head is going to land on the keyboard soon!

3 comments:

Bobbi said...

Gosh, that's awful. I'm so glad another Dr. came in. Poor girl. I hope she gets better soon.

datri said...

I hate pneumonia. Hope Angela feels better soon. I tend to be on the "wait a while" side because I hate going to the doc to be told it's a virus so just wait it out. Meanwhile, my DH freaks out every time Kayla coughs because he thinks she has pneumonia and is going to end up in the hospital. ::eyeroll::

Monica said...

AWW I'm so sorry to hear about Angela getting pneumonia!!!! We hope she is feeling better!! Adam missed her at swimming tonight. We'll add her to our bedtime prayers!!!