Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Looking Back: RSV

Well folks, I've mentioned the Biscuit's trip to the hospital a number of times in the blog, so I think it makes sense that I actually give the details on it. This'll be a long one, so tuck in. Here's how it all went down...

When the Biscuit was about 6 months old, we took a trip across the country to visit some relatives. Biscuit had his first plane ride as part of the trip and caught one heck of a cold after we got back from the trip. Actually, my husband and I also caught a bit of a cold after we returned home, too.

For all of us, the cold manifested mostly as a horrible cough (that couldn't be soothed with any OTC medicine or herbal remedy). I constantly had a coughdrop in my mouth (even as I slept...kids, don't try that at home). The Biscuit's runny nose and cough persisted for over a week, but he barely had a fever. We treated him with doses of ibuprofen off and on and ran a humidifier in his room nightly. We also added one of those plug in the wall soothing vapors to see if it would help his cough. He never seemed to be struggling with the cold any more than a typical cold. I was mostly keeping an eye out for signs of an ear infection from the drainage. He was sleeping through the night and his appetite was normal. All seemed okay.

I got a call from the Biscuit's daycare about a week and a half into the cold symptoms. They said he was running a temperature of 101 (their indication that he had to go home) and they mentioned that it looked like he might have pink-eye. I left work immediately and called his doctor to make an appointment for a couple of hours later.

I got the Biscuit home to get changed and kill the extra hour we had before it was time to go to the doctor. He spent that hour in my arms... he was beginning to show signs of lethargy. Less than 5 minutes later, I noticed that mucous (that daycare had assumed was pink-eye) was around both of his eyes (a sign I now know as a double sinus infection). I went ahead and left to go to the doctor's office early.

When we sat at the doctor's office, I could tell his fever had increased a bit. He lay in my arms in the waiting room. I could hear his breathing becoming labored. I told the receptionist that we needed to see the doctor, and we got back to the exam room. The doctor came in quickly, listened to his heartbeat and breathing and several nurses tried to get his temperature (which they weren't able to do very easily). The doctor walked out of the room for a moment and came back in to break the news.

In a fog, the doctor told me that Biscuit was having trouble breathing and that we needed to get him some oxygen and some medicine quickly. And, she said, we need to get him to the hospital. She said she suspected that he has respiratory synticial virus (RSV). My doctor's office was across the street from the hospital so it seemed less of a big deal to me, surely it was just a precaution... they must not have the equipment he needs. The doctor then explained that we needed to transport the Biscuit to the specialty hospital downtown (about 20 minutes away) in an ambulance. "Okay" I somehow mumbled.

The EMTs showed up quickly, put my almost lifeless baby on a stretcher and off we went. I found out then that there is a special back door at the pediatrician's office where babies in this condition are taken, so as not to alarm the other patients and parents. I got on my cell, called the Biscuit's dad and my own parents.

I wasn't able to ride in the back with the Biscuit, but was assured that I would know if his condition worsened along the way. Of course, we had to travel during rush hour so the ride took longer. The Biscuit's daddy met us at the ER door. I had composed myself during the long ride and was ready to be strong momma again.

When the Biscuit got to the hospital, they took his REAAAAL temperature (and you all know where they get the real one from). His temp was 105. It took MUCH longer than it should have to get him some ibuprofen to get his fever down... I paged the nurse 2X and my husband finally had a face-to-face at the nurses station that helped us get the Tylenol to my son. He was then poked, prodded, x-rayed, Iv-ed, O2 tubed, pulse Ox monitored, etc.

In the end, he was diagnosed with RSV, a double ear infection, double-pneumonia, and who knows what else. Some rounds of antibiotics, lots of oxygen, and lung medication (albuterol and pulmicort) and plentiful doses of breastmilk finally led my Biscuit out of the hospital 5 days later.

Looking back, if it had to do it all over again, I wouldn't put my my 6-month old infant on a plane during the height of cold and flu season, I would give my son a dose of ibuprofen or Tylenol BEFORE we left for the doctor (or at least carry some with me), and I would be more aware of the fact that MY "unable to be calmed cough" was probably an indicator of an upper respiratory infection, which could mean something far worse for my babe.

We had to continue lung medication treatments on the Biscuit for over a year to keep the Biscuit healthy. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this year we won't have to pull out the nebulizer and Pulmicort.

Another little boy in the Biscuit's class at school (we later found out) had RSV immediately before the Biscuit so who's to say for sure where it came from. I suspect the plane, but I'm a germ freak and airplane air is just nasty.

All in all, I know we were lucky. The Biscuit was in terrible shape when we got to the hospital, much worse than I've ever allowed myself to believe I'm sure. I am grateful that he was such a healthy boy going in to fight the RSV, and I think the extra chunkiness helped too. Goodness knows we had a slew of prayers helping us get through it all. Thanks to those of you who were there for us when we went through it and for those who went through it with me again just now.

Love them all you can every day, and keep your little one's safe during cold and flu season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A little extra chuckiness has helped my children as well. What a terrifying ordeal. I know that our own visits to the ER have been awful. I share your prayer for no nebulizer, but it is still sitting out in our family room. Waiting to be called into action again.