Friday, November 6, 2009

a pre-Halloween trip to the ER

Sadie got mysteriously sick last Friday. It started with her losing her lunch (in the car, which was pretty horrendous) and I figured she'd just eaten something that didn't agree with her. So I didn't think too much of it when I gave her some water while we were waiting for Andrew's car to get detailed and she threw that up with the rest of lunch. I thought, "okay, that's the rest of it; I'll let her rest and give her some Pedialyte when we get home."
Well, less than an hour after that, when the car was done, she threw up again. At this point, there was nothing left in her stomach, but I covered the backseat with plastic anyway and had to pull over twice on the way home to wipe her mouth & brow and promise her we'd be home soon and that she'd be okay.
I decided to keep a log of how often she was throwing up and quickly realized we had a problem on our hands. She started throwing up every 15 minutes like clockwork and was clearly exhausted, frustrated, and generally miserable. I know that dehydration is a huge worry for little ones, so I called the advice nurse to ask when I could start giving her sips of Pedialyte. After hearing all of my responses to the litany of questions they ask, she wanted to get the doctor's opinion and the consensus was that we were to bring her to the ER. I certainly wasn't going to argue with her, but it did seem a little extreme, since her one and only symptom was vomiting. She had no fever, no diarrhea, no rash, she was not limp, listless, non-responsive or blue in the face. (Mind you, I was glad to answer "no" to all of these things, but I was thinking "jeez, lady - I'd be at the ER already if she was floppy and discolored!!!")
Anyway, it was clear that she was indeed dehydrated and would likely need an IV for fluids. We left for the hospital the minute Andrew got home from work and were processed very quickly. Meanwhile, poor Sadie was still on her 15 minute regimen. Awful.
The nurse failed an IV on one hand, so he had to do the other side, which sucked but Sadie was very brave. We distracted her as best we could and then she said "ow! ow! ow! ow! ow! ow! OW!" and cried a little while he jabbed the needle into her vein and squeezed her arm to take blood samples and taped the splint on, etc. She never pulled away or screamed or thrashed or anything. Talk about trust. Amazing.
When the doctor finally made his appearance, his best guess at a diagnosis was that it was intussusception, and immediately ordered a fluoroscopy enema procedure to get x-rays of her intestines. So, she had to endure that. Thank God Andrew was with us, because I couldn't stay with her for that-since pregnancy and radiation don't mix. Once again, she handled it amazingly well. The radiologist was floored. She told us that whenever she gets these cases and hears that the patient is 2 or 3 years old, she just cringes because she knows what's coming. She says she has a quick meeting with the parents to let them know what they're in for (screaming, the child having to be held down, etc.) We had nothing like that. Sadie squirmed (of course) at first and then when they filled her with the fluid, she said "take it out, take it out, take it out!" but she didn't need to be held down or anything. She did throw up again during the procedure, so the doc ordered some anti-nausea medication for her IV.
Once that kicked in, we finally were able to give her a few sips of Pedialyte every 5 minutes. Poor thing was completely parched. She'd been asking us for water for almost 5 hours at this point! Thankfully, she kept that down, but the doctor was only cautiously optimistic. The anti-nausea medication he gave her was very strong, so he wasn't surprised that she wasn't throwing up the Pedialyte. He released us on the condition that if she threw up once the medication wore off, that we'd bring her straight back in. He was baffled that the test results/x-rays of her belly came back negative. He said her symptom(s) were completely consistent with an intussusception diagnosis. He told us he was surprised but relieved, as it's a pretty serious condition which very frequently requires surgery. He apologized for not having an answer for us, but honestly, we didn't care - as long as she was feeling better! In fact, once the Pedialyte hit her system, she perked up considerably. She even started goofing around, making a "scared Halloween face". I happened to have my camera in my bag, so we got these shots:

Crazy kid. She's such a nut.
She slept the whole night through and had low energy & appetite for 48 more hours, but by Monday night she was 100% back to normal.
1st ER trip down! YES!


Bettina Fernandez said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear! I heard from Kim that Sadie had been throwing up, but had no idea it was that serious! So glad she's feeling better and that whatever was in her body is out. It always creeps me out to think what little bugs we have in our bodies that make us so sick! Yuck!

Melissa said...

what an amazing, beautiful little girl you have. i love those photos of her!! glad she is okay.