Thursday, June 3, 2010

H is for Hospital

{Warning: This is a VERY long post.}

I've been contemplating this post for a few days, not really wanting to relive the stressful events of last week and Gillian Grace's sudden hospitalization. But since I began this blog to chronicle all the big and not so big moments in our life, I decided that this was among the biggest events to happen to our family to date and definitely deserved its place in our bloggy history.

Around 4 a.m. on Monday the 24th of May, we were awakened from a sound sleep by the sound of a very upset Gillian Grace. Startled at first by the fact that she was crying {a rare sound in our household}, I immediately turned on the television to watch GG on the video monitor. Sure she would settle down after a few minutes of fussing and fall back asleep, my instincts immediately told me that something was wrong when after five minutes, she was still squalling.

After changing her diaper and failed attempts to calm her, I was growing ever more certain that Gillian was ill. When she wouldn't take her juice and began having the dry heaves, there was no doubt. Her temperature was around 101 and she was lethargic and clingy. Cuddling a healthy Gillian Grace is like trying to get a cat in a bathtub full of water, it ain't easy! The fact that she wanted to be held constantly was just one more indication that we had one sick little girl.

Hearing horror stories about the ER, we decided to give her a bath in tepid water to try reduce the fever. Then it was off to our pediatrician's without an appointment, but confident we'd be seen quickly. Our regular pediatrician was not working Monday, so we saw Dr. Harper who is a bit of a medical legend here in town. It was also his last day of work before beginning retirement. By the time we saw the doc, GG's temperature had risen a degree and was now hovering around 102.

Thinking at first that she may have a urinary tract infection, Dr. Harper ordered a catheter to be inserted to get a urine sample. While we waited for the results of the urinalysis, a tech came in and took several blood samples. Adding to the stress and pain GG was already feeling, the lab tech we had did not work in pediatrics and apparently hadn't taken blood from an infant since medical school. I think this phrase,"if you're not sure how to do this, please get someone that does..." was spoken more than once.

When the urinalysis came back negative for infection but positive for elevated protein levels, Dr. Harper dropped the first of several bombshells mentioning a need to have Gillian Grace sent to radiology for a barium enema to test for an intussuscption, a telescoping or prolapse of one portion of the bowel into an immediately adjacent segment. After crying herself to sleep, we carried a slumbering GG toward radiology, making a quick detour in hospital administration first to complete paperwork. With Bret holding Gillian Grace, I was the one left to complete all the necessary forms. I tried my best to read all the fine print while listening to the women with the buzz-cut ramble on about protocols and procedures. But all I heard was an indecipherable mumble similar to Charlie Brown's teacher and frequent finger tapping, her way of indicating a need for my signature.

Cloaked in lead vests, Bret and I observed the barium enema while trying our best to soothe, comfort, and keep GG still while the radiologist walked us through the procedure. The test took about an hour. Not wanting to look at the screen showing the path of the enema as it made its way {slowly} through her small and large intestine, I found myself forgetting to breathe while silently praying to the Big Guy upstairs. Once the enema's journey was complete we received another bit of good news, the radiologist did not detect an intussusception and we were sent back to see Dr. Harper.

At this point, the doctors had ruled out ear infections, a urinary tract infection, and now an intussesception. Although this meant we still did not have a definitive answer for Gillian Grace's illness, I felt sure that Dr. Harper would be sending us home along with a prescription or two and some advice for keeping her hydrated. I couldn't have been more wrong. Upon returning to the office, Dr. Harper had already been informed of the results of the barium enema. With brows furrowed and hand on his chin he uttered the words that shook me to my core, "I think she needs to be admitted to the hospital for further observation and treatment."

What??? Why???

So shocked that you could have knocked me over with a feather, I fortunately married a level headed man that was able to keep his wits about him even in the most stressful of situations. I remember holding back tears, my heart breaking in a million pieces for my sweet Gillybean.

From that point on, the day was a complete blur. From waiting in the ER to be admitted, to our wheelchair adventure to the room that would be our home for the next four days, nothing seemed to register. Once we were in the PICU, Dr. Harper dropped by with one more whopper of a request/order. After checking GG's neck {my smarty pants husband knew what was coming when he saw this}, he asked for permission to perform a spinal tap to check for meningitis. Let me just say, it was a good thing I was already sitting when I heard this doozy. Reluctantly, I handed GG over to Dr. Harper and made my way to the hallway to wait. Bret stayed inside, trying his best to comfort our frightened and confused daughter from across the room.


Once again He showed His mercy and grace, the spinal fluid was clear and there were no signs of meningitis upon further testing. Hallelujah! At that point Monday, it was about 2 o'clock. The cavalry {my parents} had just arrived to see GG and offer their support. Gillian Grace was finally resting, though she still wanted to be held and refused to lay on her own.

For the next three days, Gillian Grace underwent more testing, several fever spikes, and an iv catastrophe in which the iv was pulled out accidentally, before being discharged on Thursday. We exited the hospital with no more knowledge about the cause of GG's sickness than on the day we were admitted. All we knew, all the doctors knew, was that she had been one sick little girl.


As any parent can attest, there is not a more helpless feeling in the world than seeing your child in pain, and we would have gladly switched places with her in a second if given the chance. But, GG's bout with illness reminded me that I cannot control everything in life. Life is not a Burger King, and I cannot always have it my way. I can do my part---have her immunized, maintain a clean and healthy environment, and surround her with unparalleled love---but the bottom line is, I cannot protect her from everything. Last week we were reminded that sometimes life just is what it is...uncertain and tough. And it's only after we turned our uncertainty and worry over to God that we found peace knowing that although we didn't necessarily understand everything, He had a plan for us and for Gillian Grace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."---John 14:27

For such a small little lady, Gillian Grace is a fighter! Stubborn through and through {a trait she obviously inherited from her Gammie}, she was bound and determined not to let the illness get the best of her. I have never been more proud or loved her more! Little Miss Sunshine is back and better than ever!


Hospital Rundown
GG's symptoms:
  • Fever/Clammy
  • Inconsolable
  • Dry heaves/vomitting
  • Unwillingness to eat or drink
  • Lethargic
  • Clingy
  • Undetermined

Procedures: May 24th
  • Catheter inserted to check for urinary tract infection (no infection detected but protein levels triple the norm)
  • Blood work (white cell count elevated)
  • Barium enema to check for intussuscption
  • Spinal tap to check for meningitis
  • IV inserted
  • Leads to monitor respiratory and cardiac health placed on back
Temperature range:
  • Peak- 104 (afternoon on Tuesday, May 25th)
  • Low-98.6 (Wednesday morning)
  • Temperature continued to fluctuate (between 98-100) from Wednesday afternoon until discharge Thursday
  • Gillian Grace had been fever free for 24 hours prior to discharge
  • Leads/monitors removed on the 26th by Dr. Shearer
  • Noticed iv leak early a.m. on the 27th/attempts at new iv failed
  • GG drank her first bottle since hospitalization on the evening of the 26th
  • She drank Pedialyte, juice, and water on the 27th and ate several Cheerios
  • Favorite nurses: Miss Val and Miss Dana/Least favorite: Nurse Wrachett, I mean Miss Sharie
Lessons learned:
  • Be proactive. Ask questions. Make requests. Follow-up.
  • Always keep a detailed list of important items like fever readings, times meds were administered, doctor visits, nurse walk-ins, etc. (I used Notes app on my iphone, it was invaluable.)

Cheers to good health, y'all!



Sweet Southern Prep said...

Wow, what a whirlwind y'all sure did experience. Thanks so much for sharing. I still can't believe they couldn't figure it out. As long as she's better, that's all that matters. Praise the Lord! Hope you and GG have a great Thursday! :)

Melissa said...

Poor little girl and poor Mom and Dad. I am thankful God carried you through and pray that all this ever is is a bad memory and that it never recurs.

KatieJones said...

Oh girl I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. Isnt it irritating to not have a final diagnosis? That would bug me. Before I had Ellie I was an xray tech and I did Barium Enemas on babies all the time. It is usually harder on mama than it is on baby. Hang in there and I'm glad everything is okay!

Southern Living: Preppy Style said...

Oh my word. I can't even imagine what you must have been going through, though I know it's terrible! Glad your hubby was able to keep a strong head, I know I sure wouldn't be able to. All that matters though, is little GG is wonderful and happy and healthy! Praise the Lord!

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

Oh my goodness Shannon! What a terrible experience! I felt like I was watching an episode of Mystery Diagnosis! I am sooo sooo happy that little GG is doing better now! Whew!!

Bree said...

My child was born and hauled to the NICU. It was hard to see the tubes but I was peaceful knowing that our God is about healing and love (being the adversary is to steal, kill and destroy). I know it was hard and you gave me some tears! But, it's nice to know your prayers may have been was made all those test come back positive! Whew- glad she is okay!!! Good job mom! (I also love to see such a diligent Doc!)

The Ross Family said...

Wow, what a crazy experience! I'm so glad that everything is ok. I'm sure it was still a scary ordeal to go through. I'm glad your pediatrician didn't take any chances. GG is so sweet, and I'm sure it'll be a great story to tell her down the road! You guys are great parents, and it shows with everything you do for GG.

I Do Declare said...

I held in my breath when I read spinal tap. I know how horrible those can be for grown-ups, but for sweet little girls??? I am so glad you're on the other side of this, with a happy, healthy, perfectly smocked GG!

Candace said...

Bless y'all's hearts! I hateyou had to leave not knowing what was wrong, but I'm so glad she left BETTER! Continuous prayers for GG and her parents!

Kelly said...

Oh girl - sounds like it was terrible. I'm so glad that she is better now!

SassySillySpunky said...

I am so sorry your family and GG had to go through that!! Thak you for sharing the story. Glad your happy GG is back and better than ever!

Jenna said...

Wow that sounds so scary! Glad everything is ok now! Hopefully you guys won't have to go through that again!!

Bethany said...

Poor baby!! I'm sooo glad that she is ok! I hope you are too! I might be a wreck if that happened to my little girl.
As long as she is healthy and happy, all is good =)

Tracey said...

I'm reading this with tears in my eyes. So awful that you and Bret had to go through this and much more that sweet Gilly had to, as well! Glad she's back to her old self and hope that whatever it was doesn't return. Sending lots of love. xoxox

Rachel said...

So glad that everything is ok and that your sweet girls is doing well now. My little Samuel had an instance like this about 1.5 months ago (I blogged about it if you'd like to read it--his symptoms were very similar). He was so close to being admitted, but never was.

I am sorry that you had to go through this. It does put life back in perspective.

Blessings and (((hugs)))


Ben and Emily said...

So glad she's feeling better. Hopefully they'll come up with an answer to ease your mind!

Laura@Cowboy Boots said...

ugh what a scary scary scary experience.....i'm soooo glad she is back to her little happy self now!

i know what you mean about being proactive! my oldest was born w/medical issues (still on going today)...i realized it was my duty as a mommy to always ask question...i don't care if i'm a pain in the you know what...this is my baby!!!

liz said...

brought tears to my eyes! had 2 big scares with kate. it is so crazy they couldn't figure out what was wrong! so glad she is fully better though. and your nerves can begin to calm down.

Heather said...

Wow!!! What a whirlwind of an experience. Glad to hear she is ok though. You are a strong woman. I couldn't agree more about your message... there are some things that are thrown to us, but He wouldn't give us more than we could handle.

Natalie said...

The not knowing must've been the hardest part...and not being able to make her better.

I'm so glad that she's home and well, and that you can all breathe a sigh of relief :)

Joni said...

Wow! I got a little teary eyed there as I read. It just brought back a flood of memories as I recalled the first time they admitted our little Princess into the hospital. We all feel so hopeless when there is nothing we can do and we have to leave it in the hands of someone else. So glad to see GG back to her old self, and I am glad to know that my little Monster is not the only one who is difficult to cuddle with.

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

What a crazy experience! I am so glad GG is home and healthy! That had to be so scary for you!

Precious and Pink said...

Thank goodness GG is home--what a scary thing to go through. I am so glad she is feeling better and home!

Krysta said...

That is so scary. I just am catching up, we were moving this past week. Oh gosh, I couldn't believe my eyes as I kept reading. I am so glad that everything is OK and that your little Miss GillyBean is back to her normal self.

Candice said...

Oh my goodness. Poor little pumpkin. How scary! Hope she's feeling better!!!

Krystal said...

Wow. I'm so sorry you and your familyhad to go through that. Poor GG, she IS such a trooper and one amazing little girl. I hope she is doing well, continues to get better every day and this horrible thing does not rear it's ugly head again. Are they still looking into possibilities?

Christine said...

Oh my gosh, I was almost in tears reading this!! I haven't been by in a bit and this is what I return too! So sorry lady! BUT so, so, SO relieved she's ok!!! I can't imagine. :(

Hugs to you all! And hello! I see you've been busy the last week! Geez!

Andi said...

just catching up on my blog reading. so sorry you and gg had to go through something so scary! thanks for taking time to post (and relive) your ordeal. glad for the advice! take care!