Saturday, March 20, 2004

This is Spinal Tap

Things got worse and worse -- on Monday morning Allison was burning up with fever and had pus coming out her ear. By Tuesday night Carrie was much the same -- we had a couple of really rough nights with very fussy babies. On Wednesday we went to see the nurse practitioner. Both babies were still feverish, still had fluid coming out their ears, and after consulting with the doctor, Carol sent us straight to Children's Hospital.

Having never taken such small children to the hospital before (my only previous visit to the ER with any kid was when Jack had a gash on the back of his head that required stapling), I had no idea what to expect. Apparently, when newborns have fevers they pull out all the stops. As soon as they had us in an ER room they made it pretty clear we wouldn't be going anywhere for at least a day, maybe two. Full work-ups were ordered: blood, urine catheters and the dreaded spinal tap. If you think it's hard watching your newborn baby girl get a lumbar puncture, try watching it twice. And try watching a 2nd year resident do a crappy job of it. I was not a happy Mama.

So, they removed all sorts of fluid (and we could see right away that the spinal fluid was clear -- a very good sign) and then got us a room upstairs. I was never particularly scared for the babies, more upset that they had to go through all of that poking and prodding. It was pretty clear to me all along that they simply had ear infections, as unusual as that is at that age. And of course I hate taking my kids to the hospital for any reason -- the thought of all that sickness, all those germs, all that potential bacteria makes my skin crawl. But there was nothing we could do but comply -- I wasn't about to bring my babies home with 100+ temperatures and wait and see, not when there was an outside chance of spinal meningitis.

Actually, it turned out to be a relatively pleasant stay. The babies were cozy together in their crib. The nurses got me my own bed (I really want an adjustable hospital bed in my house, I just love those things). I had TV with basic cable and the most fantastic breast pump on the face of the earth. I think I managed to get about 12 ounces out of me in one sitting, I was so incredibly engorged when we arrived. Brian brought me my computer and transcriber, so I set up a little office for myself and worked off and on during the following day. The doctors were great, the nurses were great, and the whole stay had a happy ending -- no meningitis, completely normal blood cell counts, perfectly fine urinalysis, everybody okay.

We're home now and the babies are finally fever-free. Jack is on antibiotics and is feeling fine. I am on antibiotics (sinus infection) and am feeling better. Brian is doing fine. Eli has a runny nose but hasn't been complaining of ear pain or anything, so he might make it through with just a cold. Today is the first day of spring...maybe, just maybe, we'll be done with sickness for a while. I hope so.

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