Monday, March 26

There is Only One Thing Worse in Life.....

than a sick child. When our youngest child was nearly three, the Asian flu reached epidemic proportions in the US. We all had it, one after the other, and this child's body morphed it into an ear infection, followed rapidly by pneumonia, empyema and then a collapsed lung. The doctors missed the beginnings of pneumonia; I think it was because she was on antibiotics for the ear infection and that was just enough to mask the developing lung problems, plus she cried like a banshee while the doc was trying to listen to her chest.

All of us had the flu, and someone in the family had been ill for at least two weeks. I sorely needed a break. Mr. kenju was travelling, so I hired a baby sitter to come in for 3 hours, so I could go food shopping and just get some time away from the house. When I returned a little over two hours later, the baby was spiking a temp of 105*. (Where were cell phones when I could have really used one?!) I called the doctors' office and had to leave a message. When the doc called back, I never realized until after the end of the call that it was not OUR Doc. Brown, the pediatrician, but another Dr. Brown (whose specialty I have forgotten). He didn't remember us as his patients, but I guess he didn't want to admit that, so he told me to bathe her in tepid water and if the fever didn't respond, to call back.

While I was trying to bathe her in the tub, she was swatting at imaginary flies and other beasties, scaring me half out of my wits. The fever abated a little, but not enough. However, in my decision not to be a pest and worry-wart with the doc, I didn't call back until about 5 am, when I was able to speak to our doctor, who told me to take her immediately to the hospital, and he would meet me there. After an xray, it was shown that she had pneumonia in one lung, and she was bedded down and IV's of broad-spectrum antibiotics were administered.

To make a long story short, she was in that hospital for 28 days. The last photo was taken the day she was coming home. She is shown with her last hospital roommate, a very sweet little girl named Enda, who had sickle-cell anemia. I often wondered what happened to Enda, and whether she was able to beat the grim statistics and live. We hope so, Enda, wherever you are.

P.S. the only thing worse than this is burying a child. I hope we never have to find out how much worse.

23 comments:

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Judy, what a nightmare....every mother's nightmare. The thought of that sweet baby girl going through all of that....it's just too much for a mother to take. But it's amazing how strong you can be when you have to, isn't it? When it comes to your kids...the strength is there.

I had a similar experience with one of my daughters when she was about your daughter's age, maybe even a little younger. She didn't end up in the hospital, but I came close to taking her there. You are so right....there is NO worse feeling in the world. I pray my kids don't have to experience this worry and fear with my grandkids.

Anna said...

What a story. I can't even imagine. I am always amazed at the strength of children. Look at the bottom pictures and the smile son their faces....

Priceless...

Joy in adversity.

Nice post.

trinamick said...

Scary stuff. My sister almost died when she was five of scarlet fever. My mom said that was the scariest thing she had ever been through.

michelle said...

i have been fortunate that i have not had to go through the nightmare that you just posted. It is amazing how every ounce of you is exhausted emotionally and physically and you still find it in yourself to get up and keep going.

your last picture really interested me, too. I would love to know what happened to Edna and hope she beat the stats ..

PI said...

Judy that must have been an awful time. I used to go to pieces when my children got sick - trained nurse and all! Fortunately we were lucky but it took me years to realize that normal children can present frightening symptons and be perfectly normal in 24 hoours.

Minerva said...

How awful Judy, and there is nothing, nothing on this earth that is scarier than a child being sick..

What a lovely photo at the bottom..

Minerva

Angie said...

I do not wish sick children on even my worst enemy. I did a 3+week stay when I was a first time mom and my 8 month old was badly burned while staying for a few hours with my then in-laws. I would so much rather be sick and suffer it all than to watch my child be ill. Amazing just how much we moms can take and remain sane.

rennratt said...

When Nooze was sick last month, she missed six days of school. Her temp averaged 103, and I thought I would have a heart attack.

That was the sickest she's ever been, and I count us blessed.

Two of my friends had to bury their daughters; both girls died of cancer by age five.

I can not comprehend the level of heartache they must deal with to this day.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

My oldest (a son) was born 3 months premature and spent 48 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, so I know those awful feelings. It's so stressful, but somehow us moms seem to make it through. It's like what other option is there? You just keep going. I'm glad your sweet girl did so well.

rosemary said...

How hard this must have been for you and Mr. Kenju. My youngest son is asthmatic and we spent may a night in the ER....my oldest son was hit twice by cars while riding his bike. A week in the hospital for each of those. I cannot stand to see a child sick...mine or anyone elses....exactly why I didn't become a pediatric nurse.

srp said...

I have been very fortunate, actually Nyssa and I both have been very fortunate. I always jumped on those fevers. Yes, I had the advantage of ordering the lab test myself and getting the antibiotic written for the Strep even at night or weekends. There were times when she thought this wasn't a great idea... she wanted to stay home from school. Nyssa has had an extraordinarily great immune system and has only had the flu once.

What sweet smiles in that last picture... I am always amazed at the resilience of children.

Claude said...

I can't think of anything worse than a sick child, or rather I don't want even to think about it.
I can well imagine how you felt, having gone through the same sort of thing on my own. If Mr Kenju had not been away, it would have helped.
Thank God everything turned out all right

ET said...

I agree, that is the worse, having to bury a child. I can't stand the thought. Although I know it is done and life has to go on afterwards.

Bob-kat said...

What an awful thing for you all to have gone through and how scary for you. The last pic is lovely. I hope Edna made it too.

Tabor said...

I am sure the hardest part is leaving them in the hands of others when you know they want you there all the time. I have had a few close calls with both of my little ones and looking back on that time is still scary to me.

Crimson said...

As you know, i've been there, done that. And I can vouch that it is really truly worse than hell. So glad things turned out happy for both of us!!

Sonia said...

Oh Judy, I can imagine your nightmare! I am so glad that all things turned out happy. I hope Edna is well too!

Jennifer said...

Holy moly.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I soooooooo identify Judy!
My lung problems that I live with now ALL started with an undiagnosed Pneumonia---(No Antibiotics back then...oy) And became pleurasy and then Empyema...AND, an operation!

I dearly hope she does not have what I have as a reult: BRONCHIECTASIS...it comes from an undiagnosed--untreated Pneumonia, especially as a child....

I came very close to dying. And I often think what a terrible terrible hooror show this had to be for my mother, who was the "primary" caretaker..

joared said...

Truly a mother's nightmare is so true. I experienced nothing of what you describe, but with my little firstborn she did get a too high temperature, hallucinations, and as a new mother I feared seizures for her and brain damage. Had already had her to the Dr. and had meds. Thank heavens my neighbor a well-practiced mother came to my rescue as we bathed her in the water as you describe. It's so much easier just to be sick myself.

Cris said...

Memories... My second child had kidney surgery when he was 1 1/2 years old, and looking at your pictures brought me back some memories... I also have pictures of him in a hospital bed...

Raggedy said...

I am so glad you got her in, treated, and recovered.
You must have been scared to death. It doesn't get much scarier than that.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugsssss

Weary Hag said...

Ohhh dear. I did that to my parents when I was five. Mine didn't stem from a virus or flu though - nooooo - Hag went and swallowed cashews while running and playing with an older sibling. Both my lungs collapsed when I inhaled them and they took hold inside my lungs. Ew.

Glad your outcome was good and I guess we can only hope for poor little Enda.