For those of you unfamiliar with this virus, you can read more about it on the CDC website here.
Here is an exerpt from the CDC:
Visits to a healthcare provider for an RSV infection are very common. During such visits, the healthcare provider will assess the severity of disease to determine if the patient should be hospitalized. In the most severe cases of disease, infants may require supplemental oxygen, suctioning of mucus from the airways, or intubation (have breathing tubes inserted) with mechanical ventilation.
I think you can guess where this is going…Madeleine came down with RSV last week. I was away on business Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, Alex kept her home from school because she was pretty sick. Wednesday night, after I got home, she was up off and on all night and started to spike a fever. When I woke up in the morning, she was still passed out asleep in our bed – we let her sleep with us because she was having such a hard time sleeping. This was at 8:30 am! An hour after she normally would be up and bouncing around, she was still completely passed out. And hot. So I took her temp and she’d spiked a fever of 102.4 overnight. Just looking at her while she was laying there sleeping, she was breathing very rapidly and each breath was really shallow.
I immediately called her pediatrician to try to get her in. When they didn’t have openings until the afteroon, I got ready and loaded her into the car to take her to urgent care. She was extremely lethargic and sleepy. In fact, she kept passing out in her wheelchair when we wheeled her down to x-ray to get a picture of her lungs. For those of you who know her, this is really not like her at all. By 11am we had a diagnosis of pneumonia and were headed to Children’s Hospital by noonish. Alex met us at urgent care after I called to tell him it was pneumonia and she might need to be hospitalized.
Because of her previous surgeries in/around the lung cavity, urgent care couldn’t discern exactly what was going on with her breathing and pneumonia. Seattle Children’s has all of her previous x-rays and MRI’s and would be able to compare the old x-rays to her current for a better diagnosis. Because of how lethargic she was, they rushed us through the intake process and back to an ER room.
On a side note: Can I just say that I would like to stop being rushed through the ER at Children’s? That was actually a little bit traumatic, and I didn’t expect it to be. The last time we were rushed in like that, M was diagnosed with cancer. Each room I passed that we’d been in before, I had a flashback to a moment when we were there during her cancer diagnosis and it was extremely overwhelming. I was in tears by the time we got to our room and once we got there tears were streaming down my face, Alex took M and I just broke down. Having a sick child is scary!
We spent about 8 hours in the ER. They spent a good long while monitoring her oxygen levels. They also compared the x-rays and determined she did indeed have pneumonia, but we caught it pretty early so it wasn’t too bad yet. And they took a nasal swab and throat swab to see if there was anything else going on. That is how they found the RSV infection. For a couple of hours, they kept saying they were going to send us home with antibiotics, but I wasn’t super comfortable with that. Per urgent care and the ER, they wanted her O2 levels no lower than 92 while awake and 88 while sleeping. She kept dipping down to 86, even while awake. So when they kept discussing discharging her, I pushed back a little bit and asked about her O2 levels. The last thing I wanted was to go home where I had no idea what her O2 levels were and have her get worse. Once they realized that her O2 levels were actually dropping and not getting better, they decided to admit her. That was at about 7pm (5 hours after we first saw the ER doc). It then took another 3 hours to get to a room for the night because they had to consult Hem Onc and her Pediatrician.
Madeleine was put on oxygen and had an IV put in for fluids because she wasn’t really eating and was also not drinking well at all. We went on a super fun “ride” through the hospital on our hospital bed, which Madeleine actually seemed pretty thrilled with and then settled into our room for the night. We all ate a bit, got cozy, checked in with our nursing team and tried to get M to bed. At this point it was nearly 11pm and way past her bedtime.
Alex was kind enough to offer to let me go home and sleep for the night. I’d had less than 8 hours of sleep in over 48 hours and was sick myself (with the same thing!). So he cuddled up with M and I went home to get some rest so I could get better, too.
While I was gone, she had seen some improvement and was taken off of the oxygen, which was great! Evidently she was still up off and on all night, but that’s to be expected in the hospital with nursing staff coming in to check and take vitals every so often.
I arrived back to the hospital the next morning to a super bouncy girl. Check this out!
While things were back and forth over the course of the 2nd day, ultimately, she had done a bit better. She was going to the bathroom again, because of the IV fluids and had spiked a fever in the morning. So we had to wait for 24 hours of fever free and to be able to drink enough fluids to not need the IV. That ended up taking the next 24 hours, but her mood was vastly improved from the previous day! 🙂 She was a complete goof during this 2nd day in the hospital. Fascinated with her fancy motorized bed, wanting to play and talk and read and was back to eating somewhat decently.
Later that mornnig, we were released to go home! Madeleine was doing so much better, we had antibiotics just in case she had pneumonia (the doctors never were 100% certain) and were scheduled a checkup at her PCP clinic for Monday.
So: If you made it through this entire post, thank you! She is doing much better now. Still on antibiotics, but fever free, back to normal activity and back to school again. She is no longer contagious, so we were able to alter our Christmas plans a bit so she could still celebrate the holiday and see family. I am so glad I took her in when I did, given how severely her O2 had been affected. Now, if we can just avoid the hospital, aside from regular check-ups, for the next few years, I will be happy. 😉