You thought about what your first kiss would be like before it happened. You imagined what your wedding day would be like before you even met the man of your dreams. But did you ever think about your first trip to the Emergency Room with your baby?
This dream is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it is downright frightening and I would certainly not rate it among my top ten all-time faves. The theme for the past week in the Morgan household has been hot child in the city. My daughter has had a fever for what is now going on nine days. It's up, it's down...but it's mostly up. As I wrote in my last blog, I have been on the phone with the pediatrician every day. Next week I think I am going to have a direct line installed into his home, like the Batphone. Whenever it rings, say 12:00 midnight on a Friday night, he knows it will be Isabella's mommy with a high priority call. The business behind my call this past Friday night was the urgent matter of a 104.4 fever. Perhaps I would not have normally been so quick to wake the good doctor up, however given my daughter has been as hot as a jalapeno for the past week, I thought it well warranted. Through random moments of lucidity still laced with slumber, he advised me to take Isabella to the Emergency Room.
I always thought that if I ever had to make a mad dash for the ER, especially in the wee morning hours, I would likely be running around frantic. To my surprise, my husband and I were both very calm, and remembered to bring with us a spare pair of pajamas, sippy cup, blanket, and Isabella's special dolly. Actually, I remembered and my husband just did what he was told. But it was a team effort nonetheless.
We arrived at the ER at about 1 a.m. ... and did not leave until 7 a.m. It was a long, long night with no sleep. My daughter was as good as could be expected for a sleep-deprived, burning hot baby. My poor baby was so tired, and just wanted to sleep, but couldn't amidst the poking and prodding. From the rectal temperature probe, to the vein infiltration for the blood sample, and the insertion of the IV, it was not a fun time for my little girl. The hardest part for my husband and I was watching her go through all of this and not being able to do a damn thing about it. We would willingly have absorbed all the discomfort and pain in a second if it had been possible. At about 3:00 am, she was so exhausted from the needles, the crying and the fever, that she slumped over in a sound sleep on my chest. My husband and I did not sleep at all that night, but we wouldn't have been able to drift off anyway until we knew Isabella was okay. She had been dehydrated, but was okay.
Not wanting a repeat performance of this weekend's events, we have been trying to push fluids on my daughter, even if that means force feedings of Pedialyte via syringe. Hearing her cry when we do this is upsetting, but not as upsetting as seeing her in the hospital getting pricked with needles.
Just having been through this one unhappy experience, my heart goes out to the parents who have children with serious illnesses and disabilities. Normally parenting is tiring, but parenting a sick child is taxing. Especially if this is a norm. Through this experience I have learned that I am capable-capable of being cool, calm, collected and worried all at the same time. But I have also learned to count my blessings for the everyday good health that my family normally has.