New Years Eve started out like any other fun family night.... we had a great dinner cooked by Brian.. the girls were playing in the basement... Brian and I were enjoying time together -- but Meagan just wasn't having a very good night. She was continuing to have her coughing spells - for over 30 minutes at a time. Not much would come up - sometimes, thick clear mucous.. sometimes nothing. Well this pattern continued all New Years Eve ..... well into the night. We debated about taking her in, and had decided to be "on hold" for a bit...
But then, about 1:00am, she had another horrible coughing spell. Coughed straight for over 30 minutes again ... constantly struggling and turning purple again. This time, she also ended up coughing up blood. I wouldn't have been concerned considering her coughing history the last few days - but it wasn't the normal pink, stringed blood I"m used to seeing in mucous when the throat is irritated. It was bright red and perfect circles. I knew it was "probably" irritation, but, I'd never seen blood like this in my older girls when they had an irritated throat from a cold. After consulting about what to do, considering the length and persistence of her coughing spells, the blood, and seizures acting up again, whether Meagan should go in to the ER wasn't the question anymore.. it was more of a nervous energy now putting Meagan and me on the road at 1:30am on New Years. But she had to go in - we weren't sure what was going on.
I got to Children's around 2am. They checked her right in and got us back in a room. She was still fussing and having a coughing spell. The doctor came in and listened to her -- he said she still sounded congested and crackly in her chest -- he noticed they had already done an RSV test, but not a Pertussis test. He said because of the congestion and cough lasting 9 days already with no relief in sight, he'd do a Pertussis test. He said unfortunately, we can't get results for a week..but at least when they came back we'd know whether we were dealing with a persistant cold or Pertussis - which may require her to come back to the hospital for monitoring.
They kept her for a bit for observation - because of her coughing fit she of course started to have seizures. Luckily, they weren't lengthy, as some had been at home, but it still concerned the doctor. He talked with me about calling our Neurologist about getting some rescue meds to have on hand. He said some kids, when sick, can really have their seizures act up -- Meagan hadn't really been sick yet, so this is the first time we've seen how she reacts.... and her seizures do act up big time. So we'll be calling the Neurologist about that this week.
After watching her a bit more, and her oxygen levels staying steady, the doctor decided she could go home - as long as we kept up with the breathing treatments, suctioning and saline, and followed up with her doctor on Monday. He said if she was just as bad by the week's end, though, we may have to come back and have her admitted.
We went today for Meagan's follow up. The Pediatrician wanted to do another breathing treatment in the office so he could listen to her before and after to have a comparison, just like they'd done last week. He listened to her before - she sounded really congested still and her cough was very tight and persistent. She was NOT happy at the office - I was glad at least so the doctor could see exactly what we'd been dealing with all weekend. He gave her a treatment, and listened to her again. She still did not sound good, so he wanted her to get a chest x-ray done to make sure we hadn't missed something. Even though she'd just been at Children's, he wasn't happy with how she was sounding. He didn't like how she was looking either - reddish rings around her eyes and pale cheeks.... so I agreed to the x-ray.
I wasn't going to make it to Scottish Rite in time.. so we went to the local Children's satellite location. It tends to be crowded, and it certainly was. When I signed in it said there was a 4 1/2 hour wait. Ugh. But, it was important for her to get her x-rays done. I'd feel a lot better continuing to treat her at home if I knew for sure nothing else was going on inside. So we signed in and waited.
Only about 20 minutes passed, though, before I started to get impatient. Not because I had anywhere i mportant to be.. but because as I looked around, I noticed several toddler age kids walking around...coughing...some looking pretty rough -- and all I could think about was Meagan picking up yet another bug or her getting something worse than she had. I was debating with leaving and just returning in the morning - but I wouldn't feel as good being at home if I didn't know what her x-ray said .... so I decided before I left to see if they'd take her faster.
I walked up to the Nurse and asked if the wait was also for those of us who were only there for imaging... she said yes, probably, because they only had so many nurses to get people registered .etc... I then told them Meagan was a shunted baby - and while I didn't want to cut in front of anyone in line, if it was possible to at least be the very next in line for the x-ray and avoid sitting in the waiting room for long I'd appreciate it...because I didn't want Meagan picking up any other germs. The nurse immediately apologized for not noticing that on her chart and said they'd take her right away. They got us registered, and actually put us back in a room next to the radiology area to wait so we weren't around any of the other sick kids. The x-ray tech came and got Meagan within 5 minutes... and we were out of there within the next 10!! It worked out really well and I was glad they were so nice to Meagan.
We got a call tonight from the Pediatrician at home about the x-ray results. I was so appreciative he called us at home so we didn't have to wait until tomorrow for results. He said the good news was her x-ray showed no signs of bacterial pneumonia...which was a relief. He said the "bad" news was that it did show she still had a significant case of bronchilitis.... so he said it was something we'd have to stay on top of very carefully. He said he didn't see the need to send us back to Children's a THIRD time in 4 days since her oxygen levels always checked out ok and she wasn't in respiratory distress. However, because of her coughing fits lasting so long(now anywhere from 40 minutes to 2+ hours), and because of the x-ray showing significant bronchilitis, he wanted to manage her closely to make sure it didnt morph into something else. We are to continue her breathing treatments every 4 hours ... we are to continue using saline and suctioning her... continue using the vicks rub and steam at night ... and we are to go back to the pediatrician's office in 2 days so they can re-listen to her and decide if we need to stay the course, or re-evaluate since we are already into day 9. He said to always go in sooner if anything changes in her breathing, or if her eating starts to impact her making wet diapers. (She has also significantly dropped her feedings in the last day, but she's still having good diapers, so for now we are watching that closely).
I'm glad Meagan has such good doctors watching out for her with this illness - and I'm glad that (for now) we are avoiding another hospital stay. I'm hoping she can somehow get over the hump of this thing so we are not faced with going back to Children's on Thursday or Friday. I really want my baby to start feeling better, eating well again, and to continue the progress she had so excitedly started to make in the last few weeks. My oldest daughter had a pretty bad case of Bronchilitis as well when she was 5 weeks old, again at 2 months, and one more time when she was an infant...but she always bounced back so much faster. Meagan sleeps most of the time right now, except when she does wake to eat .... and she is really not feeling well. I'm hoping this is because it's taking her longer to fight this thing off and I'm also hoping at some point this week, she will hit an upward swing.
In light of not slipping off my New Years resolution on the 2nd day, I will say, that I am thankful this is not a shunt related issue. I'm glad her shunt seems to be working well and her head has stabilized (at least as far as I know). Also, even though her seizures are popping up again, they don't seem to be to the point where she needs emergency care (thank goodness)...so we will watch those closely too. Keep praying for little Megs so she can get over this thing!! For now I'll be snuggling her as much as possible to keep her comfortable. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as we progress through the week and see how she's managing it all.