The last month or so has been a crazy whirlwind…from a concussion for me to a sinus infection for my husband and then a lower respiratory thing I had for awhile. And then last week my two little ones came down with a cold. Colds are never fun, but these seemed to be pretty mild and probably due to being back in the new school year. However, I had no idea what was in store for us later in the week.
On Wednesday, my daughter was 4 days into her cold and feeling good, so it seemed safe to send her to school. She had probably the best swim lesson of the summer later that afternoon. So it was surprising when later on, she was up all night long with a sudden fever. The poor thing felt so awful she just couldn’t sleep. When she finally slept from 4am to 7:30am, it was such a relief. But when she came downstairs after waking, I immediately saw that something was wrong. Her facial features were swollen and distorted. I tried to not freak out as I talked normally to her and asked how she was feeling. The second the pediatrician’s office opened at 8 o’clock, I called to get an appointment.
The doctor who saw her that morning did not seem overly concerned. She said to have her take some Benadryl and that the swelling seemed related to her cold or an allergy. I kept pressing. “But she has a fever – a fever doesn’t go along with allergies.” I asked if it maybe was some sort of infection. The doctor insisted since drainage was clear, she did NOT need an antibiotic. My mind and heart just felt uneasy, and my instinct told me something bad was going on. As we left, we ran into her primary care doc (who was booked full that day) and she had concern all over her face when she saw my daughter. She insisted an antibiotic should have been prescribed, but she said to try the Benadryl first and come back the next day if the swelling was not better.
Long story short, things did not improve. Swelling was worse the next morning and blood was coming from her nose. Our second all-nighter was followed by another trip to the doctor’s office. A nurse practitioner reluctantly prescribed an antibiotic but she seemed very perplexed with my daughter’s symptoms. She said to take her to the emergency room if the swelling got any worse. I kept asking what that means, and I was getting angry she couldn’t fix whatever was wrong NOW. I did not like the ambiguity I felt from her, and I called my husband in tears after the appointment. He didn’t like it either. After we consulted with two doctor friends of ours, the nurse practitioner called me at home and said to take my daughter to the ER at a children’s hospital.
My sitter rushed over to watch my son and we left for the hospital. I felt a sense of relief to be at least on our way to figuring out what was wrong. My daughter, God bless her, said on the way there, “Mom, we are having a girl date to the hospital!” God, I love her. Here I was freaking out in my head while she was just excited to be alone with me. When we got to the hospital, the ER doctor took one look at her blood-crusted nose and swollen features and told me the seriousness of the situation. He said bacteria must have entered a tear in her nasal membranes, which can be very dangerous, as it can travel to the brain quickly. She would need to start intravenous antibiotics right away. He said he was admitting her. I will never forget the look of concern on that doctor’s face…I don’t think I’ve ever felt such fear as I did in those moments.
But somehow I had to be strong and hold it together for my precious girl. My husband was in LA and stuck in traffic trying to get to us. As they pricked my daughter three times to get the IV in, I held her hand and put my cheek to hers and told her it would be okay. She was so brave. Much, much braver than me and how I felt on the inside. A close girlfriend brought us dinner and my husband finally arrived two hours later. We got the first blood results, and praise God, her complete blood count was normal. No bacteria in her bloodstream at least.
The night was rough and filled with interruptions for checking vitals, changing IV bags, and my daughter waking up scared at times. I slept with her for much of the night, my back crammed against the hard bedrail to make sure she felt comfortable and not crowded. I wish I could say my head was in a better place that night, but fear was getting the best of me. Dry heaving over the toilet in her room as she slept, I was a wreck on the inside…thoughts of “what if” kept creeping in. I had no other choice but to give it to God and pray continuously He would heal my little girl.
The next morning, some swelling in her eyes had gone down, which was awesome news. However, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I had noticed something on my son’s forehead the day before that was giving me worry. I had a feeling it was the same thing my daughter had. I showed a picture of it to the doctor making rounds at the hospital and she said he should go to Urgent Care because my instinct was probably right that he had the same bacterial infection. My husband took him in, and that doctor sent him to the same ER we were at the night before. When they arrived, my husband and I switched places so I could be with my son for his turn in the hospital. It seemed likely one had passed the bacteria to the other, but my son’s was definitely less worrisome, as it was topical.
After my little guy was treated with shots of antibiotics and released, I headed back to my daughter’s isolation room. I was feeling a little better that my daughter’s culture was not showing anything yet. She tested negative for MRSA which was good news. Thankfully, she responded to the antibiotics over the course of two days, and we were able to go home on Sunday. The highlight of the weekend is when she was released from isolation Sunday and allowed to visit our hospital floor’s playroom. We stayed the entire hour it was open and played just about every game and toy they had. She was the happiest kid in the world! The hospital was awesome, though, and had brought her play doh, barbies, a tea set, coloring and paints so she was able to play quite a bit in her room while still in isolation.
Both kids have been exhausted and emotionally drained from the weekend’s events. After two doctor appointments this week, I am hoping they’re finally on the mend! My amazing sister came to help us, which was a complete lifesaver. She sanitized my entire house, and helped me cook, clean and do laundry all week, while also taking care of the kiddos.
For the first time, I’m finally able to sit and reflect on the weekend. I can see so many lessons from this scary experience. First and foremost, always trust your instinct when it comes to your children. This was advice given to me when my daughter was a baby, and I could not agree more. Keep questioning if things don’t feel right.
Secondly, the fears I have about small, insignificant things do not matter. After what happened, I can more clearly see what fears are real and valid and which things are best to let go. Even though I already knew this in my head and have worked through so much of it, sometimes it takes experiencing a rather significant (and in this case, traumatic) event to teach us what is important in life. I’ve been feeling God say to me, “See? You fret about these tiny things and try to control so much. This was a HUGE thing and I had it! I healed her for YOU!” His love and faithfulness is so real. If He had in his hands this big thing, why would I waste time on the insignificant worries.
I am the happiest mother in the world this week. The small things, they are not getting to me. I love God more today than I did last week. I am more present in my days, and I can honestly say, life is beautiful. There is joy in the every day, and this smile – need I say more?