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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The First ER Trip

Today's post will be Part Two of LittleDude's illness saga -- his first trip to the emergency room.  Part One, if you haven't read it yet, is here.

When we left off yesterday, LittleDude had been sick all weekend and was being treated for a bad case of diarrhea.  Monday morning came, the first day of school.  MiniMe left the house for her first day, but we let LittleDude sleep in.  His poor little body had been through so much over the weekend; I was grateful he was actually getting some rest.

When he finally did get up for the day, we realized that despite multiple doses (as recommended) of Imodium, the diarrhea continued.  As did the fevers.  I called the doctor again, and got him an early afternoon appointment.

First, let me say I misspoke somewhat when I said that LittleDude's abdominal pain had stopped.  It never did stop, but it did become manageable and localized, and it no longer made him scream.  When we got in to see our family physician, we went over what happened that weekend, including what prompted my phone call.  We covered the symptoms he was currently experiencing.  Our doctor poked and prodded LittleDude, as doctors do, while my child lay there on the examination table, barely responding.

The abdominal pain concerned the doctor, so he ordered a urine test, bloodwork, and an x-ray.  LittleDude, being a big boy, asked that I wait in the examining room.  So I did.  A few minutes later, I overheard the doctor ask one of the nurses if she'd taken the x-ray yet.  She responded that she couldn't get my son out of the chair.  That got my attention.  It got the doctor's attention, too -- his tone of voice changed.  Unfortunately, he was moving away from me and presumably toward where my child was, so I couldn't hear what he said.  Another few moments passed before LittleDude returned to the examination room, flanked by our doctor and a nurse.

If you're looking for a surefire way to panic a parent, I've got one for you here.  Be a doctor, stand in the middle of an examining room in your office, and tell said parent her child needs to go to the emergency room immediately.  A number of different things, different scenarios, raced through my mind, each more horrible and devastating than the one before.  The reality, while serious, was nothing to the extent I was worried about.

It turned out that LittleDude was dehydrating.  Not a huge surprise after what he'd gone through over the weekend, but still not good.  In fact, quite serious.  It showed in his heart rate, his fingertips, his listlessness.  His symptoms indicated there was something else going on, as well, but for the moment, the dehydration was the most important thing.

After picking MiniMe up from school, we made the 20 minute drive to the ER.  Our doctor said he'd call ahead and let them know we were coming, as he wanted LittleDude's abdominal pain evaluated as well.    During the course of our stay in the ER, I watched my son carefully.   They immediately put in an IV, and as the fluids entered his system, I watched him recover.  His color returned.  His personality returned.  He returned.  A few hours and an IV bag later, we finally headed home.

We were sent home that night with Zofran for the nausea, an antibiotic, and instructions to introduce food slowly.  No answer about the abdominal pain, but I was still hopeful.  LittleDude wouldn't be able to go to school on Tuesday (the rule is a child must be fever-free at least 24 hours before attending classes), but we could shoot for Wednesday.  When I got home that night, I e-mailed his teacher again with an update and fell into an exhausted sleep.  Still not terribly restful, but not as troubled as the night before.


The story continues:  Back to the ER


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