Firstly, thank you so much for the thoughts & prayers. The Lord has really seen us through these tough past few days. Once again I am reminded of His wonderful grace and how blessed we are. Even though it was tough, it could have been so much worse and I am reminded of the many others who are less fortunate than us and how minor our “tough” week was comparatively.
I know you all want to hear an update on our little guy. Luke is doing great. He hasn’t a fever since Friday and he seems to be completely back to normal. Even though the rest of us have dealt with the respiratory effects of this flu, Luke has had none of it! I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am that he escaped that nasty part!
The rest of us have had a tough couple of days, but we are on the mend now. When Luke & I got home from the hospital, Emily was doing better, but Joshua was pretty sick. I was also pretty sick. Nathan got sick on Friday. On top of fever/chills/bodyaches, we all had a nasty painful cough. By Sunday, all of us were doing better – a testament to the Lord first and foremost, but also to the herbal & homeopathic remedies we’ve been taking – I was told this flu is at least 5-7 days of fever/chills!
We’re all pretty tired and still have a nasty cough. Nate started getting a cough on Saturday and he isn’t feeling very well today. He went down to the doctor this morning where they diagnosed him with pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lung) on top of the flu and has orders to stay home all week and rest. I’m not sure if he actually will, but for now, he is upstairs in bed.
I shared some of this already, but since it was all over the place, I’ll write it out again. (This is more for me than anything – I always feel better when I “write” things down.)
I took Luke to the emergency room on Wednesday evening with a 101 fever. They did a full work up – urine sample, blood sample, and RSV swab. Everything came back clean. The only concerning result was that Luke’s white blood cell count was low. I was told that while this usually means a virus, it can – in rare cases – mean sepsis, so they were going to admit him.
Upstairs on the pediatric floor (the same place Joshua was at when hospitalized last September), the hospital pediatrician explained that because Luke was only 45 days old, the low white blood cell count put him into a “high risk” category and she felt a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) was warranted. She also wanted him on IV antibiotics. I was told we would be in the hospital for at least 48 hours. I found out later that this was to allow for repeat blood draws and cultures to be sure there was no infection brewing. All of this needed to be done because if it were a bacterial infection, it could be very bad for a baby this young and it was better to treat it early than let it progress with potentially catastrophic results. I reluctantly consented to the spinal tap. I hated the thought of my baby going through that, especially when I was quite sure it was just a virus like the other kids at home had, but the doctor was very sure it needed to be done. I did bring up the fact that I thought it might be the flu several times, but the doctor pretty much dismissed it.
After the spinal tap, they put an IV in and started Luke on antibiotics. They also gave him Tylenol to bring his fever down and for comfort. By this time, Luke was so exhausted, he was crying and whimpering with his eyes closed.
It was a long exhausting night. I couldn’t put Luke down (he just needed Mama) and even if I could, I wouldn’t have wanted to. But that meant I couldn’t get much sleep and I was getting pretty sick myself with the chills & body aches. I knew I had to stay strong for my baby so I prayed and prayed and pulled myself together.
At 7 am, Luke’s IV came out after his next dose of antibiotics and at 8, they came in to place another IV. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to ask why they had to put it in so early when he didn’t need another dose of antibiotics until noon. (He wasn’t getting fluids as he was eating & peeing plenty; the iv was just for the meds.) Thank the Lord, they agreed to wait!
The day pediatrician was the same doctor we had had when Joshua was in the hospital, so it was nice to see a familiar face. (We also had the same night nurse as with Joshua.) She went over everything that morning and, as she was teaching the resident some information about “fevers of unknown origin” in young infants, she mentioned that if Luke had a flu test come back positive, she would send us home because that would mean it was viral, not bacterial, and there was no reason to keep him admitted. I immediately perked up, especially when she said “Yes, let’s just run a test for the flu. You never know.”
Well God bless her for running that test because as you know, it did came back positive. And God bless the nurse for convincing the doctor to wait on redoing Luke’s IV until we had the flu test results back. Because after all, with a positive flu result, he wouldn’t need more antibiotics/another IV.
The results took 3 hours to get back. When it did, it took them another 3 hours to get us discharged, but then we were heading home. Oh sweet relief! I never would have thought I’d be happy to hear we had the flu, especially my 6 week old baby, but a positive flu result was good because it meant it was nothing more serious.
I’ve had many people ask me why the flu test wasn’t done before the spinal tap. I was never given a clear answer to that – actually I didn’t ask once we found out it was the flu, because it wouldn’t have changed anything and I just wanted to get us out of there. I will be asking our family doctor this question when we see her in 2 weeks.
My personal opinion? They didn’t think Luke had the flu. Influenza almost always presents with respiratory symptoms (a nasty cough, etc.) Luke had none of that. He never developed even the slightest cough or sniffle. And when we first checked him into the hospital, none of his siblings at home had respiratory symptoms either. Emily had a slight cough, which I did mention, but I think they expected much more if it was the flu. Furthermore, Luke was the very first pediatric patient in the hospital that was admitted for the flu this entire season.
I truly wish they would have tested him for the flu before the spinal tap. I have a hard time not feeling guilty every time I think about it. But I did mention several times to the doctors & nurses that I thought my kids at home had the flu, so in my mind, I figured if there was a test for the flu, they would have done it. (They had mentioned a ‘viral panel’ but also said the hospital didn’t have it yet, so I think I thought a flu test went along with that.) I was pretty sick myself and not thinking as clearly as normal, otherwise I probably would have pressed for more information before consenting to the spinal tap. But even if I had pressed, I have my doubts whether they would have done the flu test – they were that sure it wasn’t the flu. And when you’re hardly able to think at all due to a horrible headache and body chills and the doctor is throwing around words like “sepsis” and “high risk” what else are you supposed to do as a mom, but sign the consent forms and agree to let them test your baby?
This is another reminder to me that while we shouldn’t just dismiss what doctors say, always trust your mom instincts and stand up for your child.
At the end of the day, things went a bit overkill, but my baby is here, he is safe, and he is okay. And thank the Lord, Luke will never remember that day. I will never forget it, but that’s part of being a mom.