CLICK HERE FOR FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATES, LINK BUTTONS AND MORE! »

15 March 2010

Claire's Visit to the Hospital

Well, this all started a few weeks ago when everyone caught a nasty cold. At the downward side of it, everyone recovered, but Claire kept coughing and coughing. One day, Brian heard her really wheezing and suggested that I call the pediatrician, Dr. Esser. His associate, Dr. Kane saw Claire that day and gave her an albuterol treatment, sent her for an xray and sent her home on an inhaler to use every 4 hours until the cough cleared up, which it did within about 3 days.

About 2-3 weeks later, she started coughing again. So we pulled out the inhaler again. Tuesday night, she was up at 4 and 6 am coughing.

Wednesday
When it was time to go to school, she was coughing quite a bit, but otherwise feeling okay so I sent the inhaler with her to school. That afternoon, the school nurse called to say that Claire seemed to be really working hard at breathing, was wheezing significantly and suggested that I call the doctor. I called and, Dr. Esser was on vacation, so we saw Dr. Kane again. She gave Claire 2 treatments, oral prednisone (steroid) and instructions to call later in the evening if Claire worsened or didn't get better. About bedtime, Claire was right back in the same place as she was earlier in the day: coughing and wheezing. I knew we would both be up all night with her coughing. We called Dr. Kane who suggested albuterol every 2 hours with the revelation that we were trying to buy time until the oral steroid could kick in within 24 hours. Brian gave her a blessing and she slept beautifully until I woke her up at 6:30 to get her ready so that she could come to school with me.

Thursday
She decided she wanted to stay home, so she stayed with the sitter while I went to school until I got back home at 10 am. Dr. Kane called about 11 to check on her and said to continue the albuterol and call the if she hadn't improved by about 1 pm. I called the office about 1.30. After a few minutes on hold, a third partner from the group, Dr. Wegner (Esser was on vacation all week and it was Kane's day off, which made it feel so nice to know that she checked in on us from home) said that they would not be able to do anything more in the office than they had already done. She instructed us to go to the Children's ER. I called Brian, picked up Rylie, left a note for Tyler and we went to the hospital.

We walked in and were seen right away. Here we were in a little triage room where we registered and Claire was seen by a nurse. Within 10 minutes of walking in, we were taken to a room.

I paged Brian to let him know we were there, checked in and had a room. They took Claire for an xray, then started albuterol and atrovent treatments.

Brian arrived and started causing trouble; whenever a nurse or someone started in, they saw him in this pesky white coat and thought they were interrupting the doctor. We had to let people know he was there in his role as Dad, not doctor! Rylie was so happy he was there! After 2 treatments, Claire's wheezing was not significantly better, so they decided to admit her. Brian took Rylie, picked up Tyler and they went out for dinner. Claire got another hour long albuterol treatment.

When this treatment was over, her room was ready, and so was her princess coach. Despite the look on her face, she thought this was pretty cool. She really wanted to stay the night, because she thought it would be fun!

Right after we got up to our room (about 7 or 8 pm), Brian, Tyler and Rylie came back from dinner. We got oriented to our room, nurse and ordered Claire some dinner. About the time it arrived, the visitors left. Rylie was a mess. She was so upset about leaving me and Claire. Tyler really stepped up in his role as Big Brother. He told her he would sleep with her in her room, that they could make Claire a card, etc. It was so sweet.

Friday
It was a terrible night. Claire insisted that I sleep with her and she coughed and tossed all night. They were going to do breathing treatments every 2 hours which they did at 9pm, 11pm and 1am. When she woke about 3, I assured her they would be in soon for another one. She coughed and dosed, but whenever she would go to sleep, the alarm would go off that her oxygen saturation would drop into the mid-80s (should be in the high 90s-100) which would wake us up again. Around 5, the nurse finally came and I asked why no one came at 3. Respiratory therapy had decided to go to every 4 hours instead of every 2. Wish they would have told me sooner. (This is my only irk about the entire stay.) The nurse gave her a treatment and started on oxygen.
Here is Claire with the penguin oxygen mask. She didn't really need in while awake anymore, but we didn't know that yet. She colored while we waited for her breakfast.

Soon after eating breakfast, Birdie the therapy dog came by to visit. Claire loved it! What a great service these sweet volunteers provide.

The 4 of us (not Brian) had dentist appointments Friday morning. Andrea the sitter took Tyler and Rylie so we didn't have to completely waste the dentists time. I had her bring Rylie so I could watch her during the day till Brian got off. In retrospect, this wasn't the best idea as Claire and I were so tired from our sleepless night and Rylie didn't provide an atmosphere conducive to rest. The hospital has a great Child Life service where they have a playroom full of games, toys and crafts. Claire couldn't leave the room to play there because of the risk that she might have pneumonia (she didn't). I went back and forth checking out games and toys. At one point a lady came by and brough beads, elastic string, crafts and fuzzy posters to occupy the girls. It was great! Claire's one desire in life was to get to go to the playroom herself.

Friday night, Claire agreed to sleep by herself. Bedtime at home is about 7.30, so at that time, we turned out all the lights and she went right to sleep. Her oxygen saturation kept dropping to the mid to high 80s so I stood vigil by the monitor to shut it up so it wouldn't wake her. At 9, the nurse came in for vitals and breathing treatment. Claire didn't even wake up for the vitals and roused partially for the breathing treatments. She was so mad and crying through the whole thing (which actually probably helped get the medicine deeper into her lungs and she didn't remember this at all the next morning). When it was over, she fell right back to sleep and again slept peacefully without coughing.

Saturday
She woke up just before 3 am so rested and feeling well. By now, the treatments were every 6 hours, so it was perfect timing for the next treatment. Every 6 hours was the goal...she needed to be able to tolerate going without meds for 6 hours before they would let her go home. Afterwards, we dozed a bit until about 6.30, at which time she was ready to get up and color. She had also figured out that she could have popsicles on demand.
So, after a couple, she then ordered breakfast at 7. A resident came by about that time and let us know that she would be going home today. Dr. Wegner, the pediatrician from our doctor's group that sent us here on Thurday rounded on us with the same news. Claire got special permission to go to the playroom, FINALLY, if she would wash her hands and wear a mask!

The paperwork was taking a while, so she ordered lunch, played, we received discharge instructions and some teaching from the nurse and respiratory therapy about asthma and peak flow monitoring. It appears that she may have had a viral induced asthma attack. We will have her evaluated when she gets completely well to see if she needs to be formally diagnosed with asthma or if we just need to figure out if she has specific triggers such as change of season, upper respiratory infection, or unpleasant chores ;-) that cause her to flare up.
Rylie was so happy to have Claire home. Claire still misses the hospital. It was such a fun experience for her. I am so grateful that we weren't there for any of the other dreadful, painful ailments that afflict other children. To her, it is a happy place of popsicles, Disney channel, bead necklaces and foam crafts!
We will follow up with Dr. Esser on Thursday, since he is now back from vacation and missed all the fun!

3 comments:

Sarah McMullin said...

Gosh, you guys are a bunch of troopers! Hope you're 100% better, Claire.

Amy said...

Oh my goodness! I'm glad Claire is feeling better, and I hope you can avoid future hospital stays! (Sorry, Claire!)

Amy and the boys said...

I'm so sorry. What a rough winter. She's a trooper. The hospital is NEVER fun!