Sunday was a scary day that ended in the Pediatric ER department at one of our local hospitals.
Last Tuesday, I woke up to a sick, crying baby who had an… explosive diaper in his crib. Won’t go into details, but I’m sure you can imagine.
Since last Tuesday, Caleb has continued to be sick. Lots of dirty diapers and occasional vomiting, too. On Sunday, he was at his worst. Lethargic, restless sleeping, crying, screaming, and unable to keep food down. I spoke to his doctor on the phone who said to continue pushing fluids. While we’d been administering Pedialyte through a syringe (since he wouldn’t drink it on his own), he still wasn’t getting enough. He’d push us away, sputter, and spit half of it out. By 4:30, we knew he was dehydrated and wouldn’t stop crying, so we threw some diapers in my purse and headed to the hospital.
When we arrived to the pediatric ER department, we were pretty impressed. The waiting room was nice and not scary at all: lots of lights, fish, and colors for the kids to look at. We waited less than two minutes before they called Caleb back. They checked his weight (down almost two pounds), took his temperature (normal), and attached a bag in his diaper so they could see if he urinated. He started crying the second he was placed on the scale and didn’t stop for the next three hours.
We were placed in a private room and were immediately greeted by a hospital social worker who was incredibly kind. She brought Caleb a handmade stuffed dog (more on that later) and blew bubbles to try and calm him down (to no avail, sadly). Shortly after, he was seen by a doctor and several nurses who were tasked with drawing blood and hooking him up to an IV. Our boy was wrapped up in this long sheet with one arm out at a time. He looked like a crying baby burrito. They said he had great veins but because of how mad he was, they did have a bit of trouble getting the needles in. Blood was drawn from one arm, and the IV needle was inserted in the other arm which was then taped up and wrapped in gauze which made it look like he had a broken arm. It was all really sad, which is why you won’t see any pictures here of the ordeal for now.
While he was receiving the fluids through the IV, Jerry and I alternated holding him in our arms while he screamed and cried. Paw Patrol on our phones calmed him down a bit, but any time a staff member walked in the room, the tears started again. We kept in constant text message contact with concerned family and friends which was reassuring. I love how absolutely loved my boy is.
His bloodwork came back showing a stomach virus, dehydration, and low blood sugar. In total, he received three bags of fluids, one of which contained sugar of some sort. My parents came by with food around 9:00 because Jerry and I were starving by that point and Caleb finally perked up a bit and stopped screaming. I think it was a combination of snuggling with his grandma and the completion of his third and final bag of fluids that had him feeling a bit more energized. He began snuggling his dog, rubbing his face on it, and laughing. It was a huge relief to see Caleb acting like Caleb finally.
We were then called back for Caleb’s last procedure which was an ultrasound to determine if he had a collapsed bowel. He behaved really well and everything checked out normal (phew!). We returned to his room where we heard the results from the doctor and discussed the plan of action. He had initially planned on admitting Caleb and keeping him overnight, but because Caleb had taken a few sips of water, had a few bites of a popsicle, and had produced a normal diaper, he left the option to us. We asked for his best recommendation and he said he would send us home if we thought we would be able to keep Caleb hydrated with Pedialyte over the next few days and we agreed.
We finally got home around 10:30 on Sunday night after a long and scary ordeal. We followed up with his pediatrician on Monday and have been working on keeping him hydrated ever since. We’ve been giving him 15 ML of Pedialyte through a syringe every 30 minutes unless he’s sleeping. We’ve been slowly easing him back into simple foods but he’s still not back to normal. He’s still lethargic, whining quite a bit, and having continued diarrhea. The doctor said he could be sick for 7-10 days and we’re now on day eight. He’s certainly getting better little by little though and crawled around and stood a bit yesterday, and for that, we’re grateful. I am also very grateful for sick time since I’ve been able to stay home all week so far taking care of him, and Jerry stayed home too on Monday. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work.
It was a pretty traumatic experience, but we were met by kindness at every turn. Caleb must have had dealings with at least ten different people at the hospital, all of whom were very kind, compassionate, and concerned. I was also strangely touched by the receipt of his handmade, quilted dog. It’s a mish-mash of random fabrics including Easter and Halloween styles, random colors, a felt tongue, and stitched on eyes that are closed in rest. I’ve continually been thinking about the kindness of this gesture: that someone is sitting at home somewhere, taking their time to create these sweet, handmade animals to donate to scared children who are spending their day in the ER. In light of all the tragedy that’s been occurring in our world, I am reminded that there are more good and kind people than there are bad people. I’m thinking of sending a photo and a card for the hospital to pass along to the creator of the animals… their simple act of kindness meant a lot more than they probably realize.
I will always keep this funny, imperfect dog as a reminder that Caleb is strong and people are good.