FUN TIMES last night!
Poor Beanie is on round two of this nasty flu bug going around — probably a different strain — and I thought he wouldn’t have as hard a time with it as he did before. He coughed a lot last time, but had no fever. This time around, he’s not coughing (yet), but after relatively few symptoms, he spiked a 104.6°F fever last night that, admittedly, freaked me the heck out.
I’d tried to give him medicine twice yesterday to bring down the fever he had (which was reaching 101-2°), but each time, he gagged up everything he’d eaten or drank in the last couple of hours. Fortunately (or unfortunately), he only “eats” formula mixed with a little baby cereal in a bottle, so the volume was great, but the consistency was not really that gross. I doubt the reason he threw it up then was because of his fever, but because it was thick and hit his gag reflex wrong, like solid food does.
However, after I put him to bed, around 9pm, or so, I went to bed and stayed up till about 11pm, maybe 11:30, before going to sleep, myself. I woke up at midnight to him crying, and when I went into his room to check on him, he was off his bed — and radiating heat. Yikes! That time, he did throw up, and I’m sure it was from the fever.
I got him onto the changing table, got his clothes off, and checked his temperature. The thermometer I have, which is designed to go “where the sun don’t shine”, so to speak, usually seemed to read a few degrees too low when I’d used it before (like, in the 95s and 96s, when the temperal thermometer — which also reads low — read in the 97s or 98s). So when it read 104.6° in ten seconds, I had to seriously rein in my panic mode.
When he was an infant, just a few months old, we had a bad flu that is similar to the one we got this year. He was coughing and vomiting (because of the coughing) and carrying a temp of 100-ish. I was able to cool him down by nursing him and putting a cool cloth on his head. I couldn’t give him medicine at that age, and unless he was showing signs of lethargy, I wasn’t going to drive him 30 minutes to the ER just to have them tell me to nurse him and bathe him in cool water.
Now that he’s a toddler, and his temp was in the “danger zone”, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to shock him with a cold bath, and I didn’t have the time (I felt) to look up tips on the internet. Also, I had just (like, Monday) transfered our TriCare insurance to US (Uniformed Services) Family Health Plan, a TriCare option using the civilian Franciscan network local to us. I had never been to St. Anthony’s, a brand-new hospital just five minutes from home, and had no idea what to expect. But I knew this wasn’t something we could deal with at home.
SO, I threw on a sweatshirt and boots, gathered my stuff, got Beanie all secured in the Subaru — and realized the dome light was not coming on when I opened the car door. Neither were the door-open indicator lights on the dash. I got in the car and turned the key — nothing. Not even a click. I tried to put the car into neutral so Sweetie could help me jump it with his car, and I couldn’t get it out of park. The brake was super-stiff, and the gear would not release.
Fortunately, my husband was right there, so he put Beanie’s car seat in his car for me and got his keys (I tried to find them, but got the wrong ring. Did I mention I’d had about an hour of sleep, and am getting over this flu, myself? I was alert, but only running with emergency faculties). I had to rein in panic mode a little further, because I was going to be driving Sweetie’s 40-year-old Mercury Capri, by myself, in the middle of the night, to a destination I was vaguely sure of (I knew where the hospital was, but not how their Emergency parking area worked). No fear, right?
I successfully backed the car out of the garage and didn’t kill it or spin out throttling into first gear. Yay! Success! There’s no radio in that car, and I wasn’t going to fiddle with one, anyway, so I started singing the first song that came to my head: “Be with me Lord, I cannot live without Thee, I dare not try to take one step alone . . . ” There were a lot of “la-la-la”s and humming, because I don’t remember all the verses. I made up some, though: “Be with me Lord, I don’t know where I’m going . . . ”
I got to St. Anthony’s and found the Emergency room, and parked in the first spot I found. Beanie immediately threw up all the juice he drank on the way there before I could get him unbuckled. Argh. Didn’t think to bring a change of clothes in case that happened. I also bonked his poor head on the door frame getting him out of the car (the car is two-door, so I had to pull him out of the back seat through a door much lower than my car). Sweetie’s sweatshirt was in there, so I wrapped him in that and carried him, my 200 lb purse (containing Beanie’s juice cup and my water bottle, among other things — but no diapers, I realized later), and his coat approximately two inches, before the juice cup fell out of my purse and I had to stoop down to pick that up and carry it in by hand, too. Not sure how I sprouted those extra hands, but hey. I’m a mom. It must be a mutant power.
I will say right now that, despite the circumstances, I have never had a more pleasant, friendly, dare I say it, enjoyable trip to the ER in my life. I’ve never personally been seen to in a civilian ER, though I’ve been to civilian ERs with other people. Most of my experience has been with the Naval Hospital here, which I’ve been going to for a large portion of my life (also doubles as the military Urgent Care for the region, so it’s usually busy). I’m used to all-business, no smiles, and a vaguely exasperated staff, even during the day. This was 1am, and the ER staff was all smiles and intently helpful. The place was deserted, too. I didn’t even have time to sit down to regather all the stuff I had in my hands before there was someone coming through the door, offering to help me carry stuff, joking with me — I really could have cried, it was SO different than what I was used to.
We were in and out in two hours. Beanie got nausea medicine and a Tylenol suppository (can’t gag that up!) and chest X-rays to rule out pneumonia (that was fun! No, really! Another smiling, sweet tech just rolled the bed out of our room and down the hall into an X-ray room, with us and all our stuff! And Beanie cooperated just well enough that X-rays took no time at all). The doctor didn’t even get that judgey look on his face when I told him we opted out of vaccinations. The nurse hung out with Beanie while I went to clean Beanie’s car seat — she even gave me a towel to use.
The last time Beanie and I went to the ER, it was at Naval, and I’d sprained my ankle in a wet parking lot and thought I’d bounced Beanie’s head off the pavement when I fell, because I was carrying him. He wasn’t quite two years old at the time. It was the middle of the day, the ER was deserted, and though our trip was quick, I felt on edge the whole time, because no one was smiling. I felt like we were intruding on them. They determined Beanie was fine, but they were going to X-ray my ankle. I got to ride in a wheelchair to X-ray, but the guy didn’t even put the foot rests down. I suppose I could have asked, but wouldn’t that be, like, automatic if you’re wheeling someone somewhere? I waited in the X-ray lobby for over five minutes, alone, with nothing to do but read the walls and learn how to roll my chair around. I suppose I could have gotten up and put the foot rests down, but I didn’t think about it. X-ray took no time at all, and they rolled me back to the ER, where I picked up Beanie before they got us in a room. Where they offered me no ice for my ankle, or for Beanie’s head, and an unsmiling, mildly patronizing doctor came in after a long, quiet wait to tell me my X-ray looked all right and offer sidelong criticism for carrying my child through the wet parking lot when he is perfectly capable of walking by himself. They gave me the standard paperwork on caring for a sprain, then left me alone to walk out of the room, through the ER floor (they all kind of watched me go; it was actually creepy) to the lobby, and into the parking lot. No wheelchair, no painkillers, no ice, not even an Ace bandage. I had a half-hour drive home before I could ice and wrap it, myself. At least that doctor called later to tell me he thought he saw what could be an old fracture on the X-ray and to follow up with my primary care physician (who I can’t even remember the name of, because I have never seen him or her, just other doctors on the “team”) that Monday. I had a good experience with a medical practitioner of some level on the Family Practice floor, who may or may not have been on my “team”, and he hooked me up with a brace. I never saw him again after that. I don’t even remember his name.
We were almost never alone at St. Anthony’s, and we got extremely detailed paperwork when they released us, including some with conclusions from the X-rays with technical terms basically stating he had a virus rather than something they could treat with antibiotics. Wow! I was impressed! Also, though USFHP, we are assigned to ONE doctor, who is immediately notified when we have to visit the ER, and is required to follow up with us ASAP (I don’t remember who contacts whom, but if I don’t get a call early Monday, I’ll call her). I haven’t met our doctor yet, but at least I know who we’re seeing, and that we should be pretty much guaranteed to see her tomorrow.
Back to last night: Beanie drank all his juice and some Pedialite while we were there and kept it down, which was a good sign. We gave him a dose of children’s ibuprofen when we got home, per instructions, and his fever broke by 3:30am, well after he’d fallen asleep on the couch watching Blue’s Clues. I couldn’t sleep till after 4am. I woke up a couple times to Beanie shifting or making sounds in his sleep, but his fever stayed down all night and he didn’t fall off the couch. 🙂 Later, I woke to Pie moving around, and was surprised to see it was 8am. After a brief session of trying to relocate to the bedroom and failing (Pie wanted to stay in our bedroom and Beanie wanted to stay on the couch), Beanie and I went back to sleep on the couch and Pie and Sweetie watched Netflix in our room. Well, Beanie might not have gone back to sleep, but I slept another 45 minutes, or so, till 9am.
Beanie’s fever is staying down, mostly, but he’s really stuffed up. Sweetie skipped church in case we needed his car, and when we determined Beanie wouldn’t need to go back to the hospital, he went to the store and got a starter to jump my Subaru’s battery to try to get it running again. Fortunately, it appears it was just a dead battery, and it’s working now.
In addition to taking the baby to the doctor and the car to the shop, I might have to take the dog to the vet, too, because she’s off her feed and her stomach is making weird noises. Could be the coconut oil in her food, though, so I’m going to try a few tweaks to her diet first.
Crazy weekend! Fun times. Now I need a nap . . .