As many winters go with small children, we have had a few illnesses. Mostly it has been the stuffy or runny nose or strep throat for this season. Nothing major.
This past week and a half Bailey started to become really fussy. She whined and cried about everything. She started running a fever Monday and Tuesday. The fever would come and go so I didn’t rush her to the pediatrician. By Wednesday morning she had a runny/congested nose and a cough. I knew at this point it had to be either the flu or strep throat again. (She had strep throat at the end of January).
During this time, Brooke had also developed a slight cough and runny nose. Hers was mild, she was not fussy, and there was no fever. With Brooke having these symptoms too, we knew we needed to take them to the pediatrician. We set up an appointment that afternoon, leaving Mason with Joel to avoid the other sick children and keep him from getting sick. They tested positive for strep throat.
She gave the girls a prescription for the strep. Before we left she told me that babies do not get strep throat so I shouldn’t be concerned about Mason catching it. What we did not know was that the girls had a respiratory virus that was along with the strep throat.
Mason woke me up at his 4 am feeding but this time instead of just crying, he was coughing. It shocked me to hear him cough at all. I went ahead and fed him and put him back down to sleep. The next cough came at 5 am. Then again at 6 am. He was coughing once every hour. I was concerned that he had a cough but it was only once an hour so I did not call the pediatrician first thing in the morning.
Around 12:30 he started coughing more. These coughs were stronger and deeper. I waited until the pediatrician opened from lunch to call. By this time he sounded congested. They found a spot for us with the nurse practioner that afternoon. The nurse practioner said that it was probably a cold but gave us signs to look for. These signs were nasal flaring, retracting in his throat and chest. We watched Mason all night Friday and all day Saturday for those signs. He still had a congested cough.
Mason woke up at 7 am like usual. Joel got up to change him and get him dressed. He immediately called me into Mason’s room. Mason was retracting in his chest and throat. He also had nasal flaring. Our sweet boy was working really hard to breath. I called the pediatrician to talk to the on-call doctor, just as we were instructed to do.
She told us to take Mason to the ermergency room right away. I hung up with her and rushed around the house to get Mason and I ready and out the door. I did not wait long at the emergency room. They had us checked in and back to a room within 10 minutes. After checking his vitals, temperature, and asking us questions, they swabbed for RSV. They then drew blood and a chest x-ray. Mason’s x-ray was clear but the RSV test came back positive. They gave him a breathing treatment and were planning to send us home with a prescription for Albuterol when Mason’s oxygen levels dropped.
As he was sleeping, his oxygen level dropped into the 80’s. The doctor was in the room telling us what to do at home when the machines started beeping at us. He stopped mid-sentence and said, “you are not going home, we are admitting you.”
The expectation was to be observed over night and receive breathing treatments to help clear up the RSV. Sunday night he did really good. His oxygen levels stayed around 95. He slept really well, even though Joel and I did not. Around 5 am his levels dropped, but we found out it was a sensor issue. (He was moving too much).
Mason was doing really well that morning and we thougth he would be going home until around noon. His levels went from 95 to 85. From this point they would drop down for about a minute or two and then bounce back up to 95. It was stay around 95 for a few minutes, then drop back down. This continued for well over an hour. The doctor came in the room around 2 pm and told me that Mason would not be going home. She said he needed to be observed for another night. She was concerned, as I, that he would crash at home and not have the support he needed.
That night was hard. Mason would be fine during awake times but as he slept, he would drop into the 85 range. He was still retracting pretty hard. I watched his machine all night, sleeping an hour at a time. Around 2 am Mason had a horrible coughing fit. It was minutes after eating so he vomited everything he had just eaten. I immediately paged for a nurse to come help me. Once we got him cleaned up, she listened to his chest. He was wheezing really bad. She was concerned so she called the respiratory therapist and doctor in. They also listened to him and were concerned that he had aspirated. The doctor changed directives to have him on breathing treatments every hour for three hours. If he still sounded wheezy, they were going to do a chest x-ray and start antibiotics. The concern was that he had stomach bile in his lungs. At this point I was scared to death. In the split second it took me to get to him, he could have aspirated!
The next three hours I stayed awake listening to him get his treatments and listen to his breathing. After the 4 am breathing threatment the doctor came in to listen to his lungs again. She told me that Mason’s lungs sounded better, he was no longer wheezing. So they were not going to do the chest x-ray or start antibiotics. He did not need them. This was a huge relief.
The next few hours were quiet. His levels stayed 92 and up. When the day doctor came in, she told me that Mason needed to stay another night because of the issue in the middle of the night. I understood and did not really want him to go either. Once again, Tuesday night we had another coughing fit issue. He vomited again. This happened again mid-morning Wednesday. The doctor on Wednesday told me that Mason was okay to go home but he could tell I was worried. I explained to him that I was worried about the vomiting but also that Mason had slowed down on how long he was nursing. He went from 20+ minutes to 5 minutes total. I felt like he was not getting enough and may become dehydrated. The doctor told me that they would observe Mason another night.
Mason did good that night. He started eating a little more. By Thursday morning he was eating better, not the way he was before but it was better. I was ready to go home. The doctor told me he was discharging Mason around 11 am. He also discharged many other patients that day so it took until 2 pm to get released.
We got home around 2:30. I was so relieved to get home. Joel was home with the girls around 3 pm. They were so excited to see us. As much as I was relieved to be at the house, Mason was just as relieved. His whole demeanor changed after we got home. He was awake for hours that afternoon and was full of smiles. He had missed being at home around his family and needed to be home.
We had scheduled a follow up appointment for Friday morning with our pediatrician. By this appointment Mason sounded a lot better. His congestion was almost gone, he no longer had a fever, and he was coughing far less. The doctor told me that Mason’s RSV resembled a small cold. She also told me that RSV had a 10 day contagious period. Mason was on day 8 so he only had two more days of contagiousness. Yay!
RSV is known for lingering a cough for weeks after having it. So we were told to expect the cough to stick around.
This past week has been exhausting and I must say that I am over all these winter sicknesses.
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