The first illness…

I haven’t posted in a while, been too busy living life. Finished a deck this summer with my dad, trying to squeeze in some small vacation time here and there, visits with both sides of the family…and well, trying to help Riley fight off her first illness.

It all started on June 23rd, a lazy Sunday where I was just trying to feed Riley…

Riley kicking back
Riley kicking back.

The day before, my dad and I had just finished the steps on the back deck of our house, and Riley took her first dip in her pool. (Note, her bathing suit is on backwards…oops!

Riley taking a dip in her pool.
Riley taking a dip in her pool.

As I said, it was a lazy Sunday. It was time to feed Riley, so I had her on my lap to do so. The first thing I noticed was that the back of her head felt really warm against my arm, to the point that my arm was starting to feel hot. Riley threw her arms behind her head, which to me looked like she was just kicking back and relaxing while I fed her, but then realized that maybe she was trying to cool herself off. I took her onesie off to help her cool down. She ate a little more, but didn’t seem interested in finishing the bottle. I decided to try and take her temperature and the thermometer read 101. I woke up Meghan who had been trying to nap after a rough night of sleep. We contemplated what to do, but after taking her temperature again, this time with a reading in the 103’s, we decided it was time for the ER. We quickly packed some bags and headed out.

We arrived at the hospital where Riley was born and went straight to the ER. The nurse checking us in asked if we had given her anything, to which we replied no. The nurse indicated that she should only have Tylenol (this is important to the story) and not Motrin because of her age (at this point, just 2.5 months old). They got us a bed in a long row of beds divided by curtains. As it turns out, they placed us right next to an old man who was literally dying of pneumonia and couldn’t speak for himself because he was coughing up blood (OK, I don’t know if he was literally dying…but he sounded like it). That made both of us nervous. After about 35 mins of waiting with nobody coming, and Riley’s head burning up, I stepped out of the curtains to flag down a nurse and asked if we could get Tylenol. She said she’d be right back. About 15 minutes later she returned. As she began giving Riley the medicine, in the process of her swallowing, mentioned that it was Motrin (remember, I said Tylenol was important to the story). Meghan quickly spoke up and said the nurse out front said she couldn’t have that because of her age. The nurse administering acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but went back out front to check, only to return to say that’s not what she said, and that they’ve been giving it to babies for years. Meghan told her that’s exactly what she said, and then the woman continued to give her the rest of the Motrin. We continued waiting. After the man next to us coughed up the last of his lungs, Meghan asked if we could be moved to another location since we were with a 2.5 month old who doesn’t have much of an immune system, and who has only had one round of vaccinations. They accommodated that request after some more time had passed, and we were moved to a room by ourselves.

Meghan and Riley in the ER.
Meghan and Riley in the ER.

After more time had passed (who knows how much at this point, it’s the hospital, time has no meaning there), we finally saw a doctor. After a bevy of tests, including x-rays, the best they were able to determine was that it was viral. The doctor said NOT to give her Motrin, that’s only for babies 6 months or older, but to only use Tylenol. Yes, and this is amazing, while we were there, they kept giving her dueling doses of Tylenol and Motrin to combat the fever together. Between doses, I kept trying to keep her cool by soaking paper towel in cool water and applying it to her skin. She was running so warm that it didn’t take long before the paper towel was completely dry and molded into the shape of the body part it was wrapped around.

Sometime after 2:30am (we were there for roughly 8 hours), after her fever was down, they sent us home, telling us to follow up with the pediatrician in the morning, but gave us instructions to continue to give her Motrin and Tylenol together.

The next morning we made a same-day appointment with the pediatrician’s office. Her normal doctor wasn’t available, but luckily we were able to get in with someone else. After an evaluation we were told to keep giving her ONLY the Tylenol (again, Motrin is bad!) and to go and have some blood work done (the hospital never did this). If there was any issue with those results, they would let us know before end of day.

We received a call later in the day, letting us know that we should get her to the hospital (Sparrow this time), and that the pediatrician’s office had already set everything up, that we could bypass check-in and go straight to the pediatric ward. We again packed our bags and headed to the hospital.

We spent the next 2.5 days in the hospital. Lots of tests, needles, pokes and prods. Lots of talking with doctors and nurses (nurses deserve an award, they are far easier to talk to, and far more personable than the arrogant doctors). It took 1.5 days to finally figure out what she had. In the meantime, all they could do was give her Tylenol (which only seemed to work for about an hour), and then have to wait another 6 hours before giving her the next dose. In the meantime, she continued burning up.

Riley covered in towels
Riley covered in towels.

Sparrow at least gave us towels we could wet and stick on her, but offered little else. At one point I ran out to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a sports cooling towel that stays cool for much longer and is meant to lower your body temperature. It definitely helped.

Riley sleeping on mommy
Riley sleeping on mommy.

Riley refused to sleep in the crib, and any attempts just led to lots of crying, as she just wanted to be held. We had to resort to letting her sleep on our chests, both day and night while one of us slept in the chair, and the other on a convertible sofa.

On Tuesday afternoon, they finally started getting some test results back. She tested positive for a virus called “parechovirus”, a virus that runs in the hand foot mouth family. As it turns out, Sparrow said this is only something that they recently started testing for themselves. Knowing now that it was a virus, and that viruses can’t be treated, only their symptoms, there was little more to do than let it run its course. However, we were told that the virus also has the possibility of causing viral meningitis. The concern was, that she may also have a bacterial infection…which could cause bacterial meningitis, something much more severe than the viral version. The problem, blood results hadn’t come back yet on anything bacterial. While we waited for that, the doctors contemplated whether or not to do a spinal tap on her, which is the only thing that would confirm bacterial meningitis. Thankfully, the head doctor decided to hold off on that since all signs were pointing to only a viral infection…but it was a rough couple of hours while we waited for the final decision on that, and ultimately the blood test results which showed no bacterial infection. It was hard enough hearing Riley scream and cry from all the needles she was already getting, I don’t think I could have handled the spinal tap.

We stayed that night while we waited for additional blood test results for Wednesday morning. Once those results came back negative for bacterial infection, we got the OK to go home. The hospital would continue monitoring her blood for any signs of bacterial growth for the next few days. Finally we were able to gather our things and head home.

Heading home with Riley
Heading home with Riley

Here she is with a bandage on her arm from blood draws, and a bandage on her hand from the IV. She was a trooper though and powered through it all. Needless to say, I think she was just as happy to go home as we were.

Riley continued to battle the fever for the remainder of the week, and didn’t finally lose it until sometime the following Sunday (a full week with a fever, bleh). Once the fever was gone, she got the OK to go back to daycare…only to start getting super congested.

We weren’t sure if she caught a cold or if the virus she had moved into a respiratory phase, but it caused a ton of congestion…which resulted in lots of choking and made for some not so fun nights. There was lots of snot, which we had to unfortunately suck out with the ‘Nose Frida’ (look it up), which made me gag for a bit. Thankfully this didn’t require a hospital stay, and as of today (7/23), she has fully recovered from that as well. I’m ready for her to be old enough where you can give her more to drink than just a bottle to help loosen up the congestion, or old enough that she can actually blow her nose.

In the end, we all made it through, and hopefully Riley’s immune system is just a tad bit stronger now than it was before.

One Reply to “The first illness…”

  1. I was very glad to find out that she finally recovered. I thought about all of you guys every day. By the way, welcome to parenthood. Snot is one thing. You still have projectile vomiting (after huge meals) and the back door trots to look forward to. Sorry. Love you all ❤️

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