Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Late night ER visit

Last night at about 11, Luke woke up shrieking at the top of his lungs like he has never screamed before. He didn't even want to be awake, his eyes were mostly closed, but he was screaming and writhing like he was in pain.

I tried to calm him down for a few minutes unsuccessfully, then panicked and woke up Joe. My immediate thought was he had managed to swallow something bad, somewhere/somehow and now it was stuck.

Called our pediatrician's exchange which goes to a nurse at Children's Hospital, tried to answer her questions while examining our screaming baby. (By this point he had been screaming at the top of his lungs for about 20 minutes. One of the questions was "is his abdomen swollen?" And Joe freaking said yes, I really couldn't tell, but I went with what he said.) At that point she said, "Ok, you need to go into the hospital tonight."

Since I volunteer at the closest hospital to us, I know that they don't have a children's unit, everything is mostly adult sized and they are not really used to working with very many kids- especially babies. Since I was worried he would god forbid need surgery or at least an xray, we decided to drive the half hour to the nearest hospital (where both babies were born) which does have a pediatric ER and a children's hospital.

OF COURSE, 5 minutes into our car ride there, Luke stopped crying and started dozing to sleep. We started doubting bringing him in (though of course my mommy instincts were screaming to bring him in), but then he's act like he was still in pain and start crying and screaming again every few minutes, then calm down, then scream.

By the time we got to the ER and signed in (the nurse called ahead so they were expecting us), Luke was done crying. He looked around and chatted. He tried to squirm off my lap so he could crawl around. They luckily took us back into a room and got his vitals pretty quickly. He was really really amused by this cord thing they put around his toe  (maybe a heart or blood pressure thing? not really sure), there was a spinny thing on the wall so after trying to keep him corralled on a not-baby-proofed-bed where he could have easily slipped through the rails, I let him stand on the chair and spin the toy while I sat behind him. He laughed and chatted and basically just had a good time playing.

The doctor came in and checked him over (barely). Made him scream and cry when she made me hold him down to look in his ears. (I'm not sure why she made it necessary to hold him down to look in his ears. Our pedi has never had any trouble looking in his ears with him sitting up.) His ears are fine, of course. She barely glanced at his stomach/abdomen. And then sent us home. She was nice enough. Thinks it was heartburn. We were pretty sure we were wasting our $250 copay by the time we got there and he started acting normal again, but I didn't feel like he even got a very thorough lookover. It's not like we do this all the time for fun- I've never even called the exchange line. I tried asking her that if he had eaten something, what symptoms should I look for? And she never really answered that at all.

Luke chatted to himself and then fell asleep on the way home. (By now it was 2 am.) I hadn't even been to bed yet (have a quiz today so I was up studying when he woke up.) Luke of course woke up when we took him from the car and wanted to play. Joe was nice (and knew he was calling in today) and took Luke and let me go to bed. Luke wasn't thrilled with that but settled down for Joe quickly.  Then we all slept till 8 am today minus a couple of feedings. He is acting fine today though I am pretty sure he was constipated or ate something he was having trouble digesting, judging from his diapers today.

So that will be a fun $250 copay.  I am glad it isn't/wasn't serious so we'll chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Not all that different from about a year ago, when I was 31 weeks pregnant and Luke *failed* his nonstress test. Not only was he not active enough, the test strip was downright ugly with a lot of sharp decelerations. It was bad enough that the nurse faxed it to my doctor immediately and sent us for a biophysical profile, which he also did not pass since he didn't feel like practicing breathing and he wasn't especially active either. So they sent us to the hospital, and as soon as I was on their monitors, he was perfect, they watched him for over an hour and he had no decelerations and was very active. Then they did another biophysical profile and he practiced breathing not once but twice in just a few minutes. So they deemed him fine and sent us home. (And obviously it was fine.) Apparently, our baby boy likes to keep things a little exciting with false alarms. I'd rather they be false alarms than real issues, although it would be a lot better if these adventures didn't cost several hundred dollars in medical bills, not to mention taking a few years off my life from the stress!


Kimberly said...

I completely agree with your last sentence (ALL of it, including the cost of an ER visit, been there!) and also sometimes remind myself that if the worst thing that happens is that the doctors think I'm overreacting and go home and tell their families about this crazy mom they dealt with today, hey, I can live with that as long as I make certain my kid is okay.

Tiffany said...

o momma that sounds so scary. but im so glad it wasn't anything serious. it sucks to have to pay that $250. but it's definitely a small price to pay for peace of mind. hope you all can get some much needed rest.

Addi's mom said...

Glad to hear everything seems just fine with Luke now. How scary though! I'm am all about the "better safe than sorry" mantra, but it does suck extra when it costs you money and sleep! Yay for the false for any alarm at all!

Kim said...

I hate that you had to go through all of that!:( I'm glad everything is okay! It sounds like the thing around his toe was to check his oxygen. Glad he perked up at all of the fun toys at the hospital:)

Brooke said...

So glad it was nothing serious, but I can imagine the stress and anxiety you guys felt when he wouldn't stop crying. Hugs to you and your cute little guy.

MrsH said...

the cord thingy was a oxygen saturation monitor, that is what they look like for babies. Your doctor was worried about intussusception, a telescoping of the bowel onto itself, it happens sometimes in babies, bellies swell because of blockage, and if they pass stool it is like a reddish jelly substance. Glad to hear this was not the case. What a scare. I hate it when Emma is sick, but to hear her scream at the top of her lungs would drive me mad with worry.

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