It didn’t make sense.
The acetaminophen, the extra sleep, the bottles…Rowan’s fever should have subsided by now. After all, earlier in the week Jovie’s fever only lasted a day, and we were able to get it under control with the meds we gave her. But now it was getting late. As the hours went by, Rowan’s temperature continued to creep up…
Poor Rowan just couldn’t catch a break. With the other two fed, content, and on the verge of sleep, we left them with Grandma Cindy and took off for the E.R. downtown at Mercy Hospital. Although we felt that this was certain to happen sooner or later, a parent’s first trip (or any trip) to the emergency room with their child is never an enjoyable experience.
We were admitted around 9:00 Saturday night, and soon the nurses were gathering her vitals and all the other necessary information. She was seen by the doctor an hour later, and after giving her the head-to-toe once-over, he ordered her a full dose of Tylenol (we had only been giving her half doses). He also then called for the full fever-workup: chest X-Rays, blood screens, and a urine sample.
Missy couldn’t bear to watch. So as Rowan was pricked, prodded, probed, and examined, she waited, paced, and wept out in the hallway. Rowan, (as you can imagine) was not a happy camper, and had gone hoarse from crying by the time they were all said and done. The doctor had also called for an IV to be started, just in case more blood work was needed. However, the nurses failed to find a competent vein on the first try and rather than sticking her again, decided to scrap it. Thank God.
However, an hour later her temperature still remained at 102.1 F. So around midnight, the doctor called for Motrin. Missy and I weren’t entirely comfortable with this decision, but seeing as how Rowan was still burning up and only taking half her normal bottle, we felt that we had no other choice.
Yet our fears were put to rest in less than 45 minutes. In that time she had become entirely different child than the one we had seen all day: responsive, alert to the world, and noticeably cooler to the touch. The follow-up temp check confirmed that the fever did indeed break by a full degree, and when the doctor arrived again he liked what he saw. He also explained to us that the blood work had come back normal, but he did notice a “shift” indicating that there was indeed an infection somewhere. He still was not completely confident on where it was, so he ordered a shot of antibiotics (again, no fun), as well as a return visit to our pediatrician the following day.
And so, after being discharged at 2:00AM, we made our way back home and made a beeline for the bed, as we knew we’d be up again in mere hours caring for our other two babies. Rowan stayed in our room, and I slept next to her bouncy seat on a futon mattress. Since the feeding schedule had been wrecked, we agreed that we’d take turns: Missy would handle Jovie and Sienna, and I would handle Rowan. The rest of the night was a blur…I faintly remember feeding at 4:30 or 5:00…but I can’t be sure.
* * * * * * *
The follow-up appointment on Sunday revealed what the previous nights visit to the E.R. did not: the source of Rowan’s woes was actually an ear infection. Apparently, these things might not show up right away, even when other symptoms are present. That’s news to us, but we do feel better now that we have a definitive answer and cure…plenty of amoxicillin, baby!
So after ten days of colds, runny noses, coughs, fevers, and emergency room visits, our doctor has suggested that with the huge influx of outside help we’ve had (and continue to have), we begin to enforce the two-day rule: if you or someone you have been in close contact with is sick, please postpone your visit for at least 48 hours. Missy and I are well aware that we can’t keep our kids in a bubble their entire lives, but as cold and flu season approaches, taking the proper preventative steps now to decrease their risk of exposure will hopefully pay dividends later. Having a sick child is hard enough on any parent, but dealing with the ups and downs of three sick infants has tested the boundaries of our sanity.
Thank you for understanding!