Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A trip to the hospital, take 2...

Sorry, this is a novel... I didn't intend it to be.

2 1/2 weeks after our fabulous stay at North Central Baptist Hospital, we took a trip to their Pediatric ER. It seems that there were quite a few sick kids in San Antonio yesterday. There was a waiting list at the ask a nurse line, the after hours clinic was busy, and the waiting room at the ER was full. Of course, Alex had to get sick again.

He started with a runny nose Sunday with a little bit of a cough. Monday he added a fever and started breathing fast. Monday night when we counted respirations he was taking more than 90 breaths in one minute. For those of you that don't know, that is REALLY FAST!!! We have been told before that if they are breathing at 60 breaths/minute the doctor needs to see him. Because of the fever he was pretty mellow, but other than that looked and sounded fine. No wheezing; no retraction (when their chest sucks in, right below their rib cage, with each breath; and his coloring was all normal.

My dilema: First: I know the fast breathing is bad, but without the other signs I wasn't sure if he really needed to be seen. Second: We have a stash of medicines for breathing treatments at home, thanks to our last episode and hospital stay. They will just do one of those at the hospital, should I do one at home and see what happens? Third: Our insurance is changing Jan. 1st and will be 100% coverage for in hospital... why did all this happen (both times) weeks and days before the better coverage starts.

I called the doctors office which now has later hours, but they must have been closed yesterday. I called the nurses line, and was put on the waiting list. I called the after hours clinic, but the doctors and nurses are too busy to talk to me on the phone... they are jam packed! We called our friend Mark (who is a family practice doctor at Luke AFB in Phoenix) at home, on his cell phone, and on his wife's cell phone... with no answer on any of them. I'm thinking about who else I might call... my brother-in-law Ken, not quite a doctor (3rd yr med student); my brother Kerry, not yet a PA (1st yr student); Kerry's wife Michelle, not yet a pharmacist (1 semester in)... Oh, well they will all be helpful when I have questions in a little while.

The nurse calls back and tells me that we have to take Alex to the ER. They will want to check his oxygen level to make sure he is getting enough, and will want to do a chest x-ray and see if anything is going on there. Great, here goes again! I call my VT and good friend and see if Aaron and Aimee can come over (it's about 6:30 pm) and talk to her husband. He says bring them over and they can spend the night. It's so nice to have great friends! Dinner was just about ready, so we set the crockpot to "keep warm" and stopped at Mickey D's for a couple of Happy Meals on the way.

Once at the hospital we had a wait to see the triage nurse, but thanks to the rate of Alex's breathing we got to go straight back to a room. His oxygen level, which the nurse said was a worry, was 99%. No problem there. Lungs mostly clear, a tiny bit of crackling on one side, not much to indicate anything. Chest x-rays, exactly the same as 2 1/2 weeks ago with a little bit of pneumonia on the right side (the 2nd dr. said that it take 4-6 weeks to clear up, so that is normal...). Nothing to really indicate why he is breathing so fast. They did a breathing treatment, not much immediate change in his breathing rate. They ordered blood tests... the nurse came in to do an IV, in case of later IV meds, fluids, etc. She was able to get the blood she needed, but the IV wasn't able to stay in thanks to Alex's fighting. There is a reason his nickname is "Squirmy."

The blood tests came back indicating that he was dehydrated. After many, many attempts to get him to drink anything, and even eat a popsicle failed, the nurse came in to try another IV. It took 4 adults holding him down and 3 more trys to finally get an IV in. The nurse felt SO bad, and so did all the other nurses and techs that had try to help hold him. He did score a stuffed dog though!

After hours of sitting in the room and getting his fluids, Alex's 2nd dr came in (shift change.) Alex was still breathing too fast, but everything else looked ok, so he gave us the choice. Did we want to have him admitted, or did we feel comfortable enough to take him home and continue with the breathing treatments there. Having just done this (and doing it before with Alex and Aimee) we wanted to go home. So, at 2 am we were finally discharged. After getting home we had a treatment to do before going to bed. Finally at 3 am we got to go to bed.

Alex was doing well all day. He was CRANKY this morning due to lack of sleep, but after a couple of much needed naps was full of energy and happy. His breathing is still a little fast, but we will be following up with his dr. later this week. Now, we are back to breathing treatments every 4 hours, which means interupted sleep and planning our days around treatments. Hopefully we won't have to keep doing this.

Luckily for us, Alex does the treatments very well. We will hook it all up, turn on the TV, hand it to him and he will sit there until we turn it off. I'm so glad we don't have to fight him!

I'm hoping for some of this drama to go away. Boring would be good right now.

Hope everyone else is healthy and stays that way!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas 2005: The Spoils

I'll let Min fill in the festivities... but here are some pics:

Looks like Santa came some time last night!

Please forgive the hair.

Looks like Alex got a few things...

... as did Aimee...

... and Aaron.

Sometimes its the small things that we love the best.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fun in the leaves...

Mike finally got around to raking leaves today. I let him do all the work. I just went out when it was time to take pictures. He got Aaron and Aimee to help him by promising to take them to see Chronicles of Narnia after it was finished. We ended up with 7 bags of leaves from just the front yard. If we went back and raked again I'm sure we could come up with a couple more. Gotta love those BIG trees!

Aaron and Aimee were loving the leaves. Alex didn't like being thrown into them. He did like to throw them though!

Aaron didn't mind being thrown into the leaves.

Isn't he cute! He is getting to be such a big boy... where did my baby go?

Alex wanted to help.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Round ?...

I forget what number we are on.

So, yep we got sick AGAIN. This is really getting old and winter has just started... sigh!

So, it started last Tuesday when Alex's nose started to run. Here we go with another cold. Not a big deal, we just go through a lot of tissue. Thursday, he wakes up from his nap and i notice that his breathing is a little labored (rapid breathing, retraction, and wheezing.) Having gone through this before (once with Aaron, Once with Aimee, and already once with Alex) I know it's time to call the doctor. So, off we go... completely expecting to have a breathing treatment in the office and be sent home with prescriptions to continue the treatments at home (as we have done before.)

That's what the doctor was going to do... but then she listened again after the treatment. He sounded much clearer, but his breathing was still fast. The doctor decided that she would feel better if we headed over to the hospital. So, we did and were checked in. They did a chest x-ray which showed that he had a little bit of Pneumonia, which put him on yet another prescription. He was put on a little bit of oxygen overnight and given breathing treatments. They also gave him an IV with the antibiotic and a steroid.

Even though he was sick... he didn't act sick. Which was a trial for me. Try keeping a 19 month old calm and sitting still for 2 days so that he doesn't pull out his IV and constantly make the pulse/ox alarm go off every couple of minutes. By Friday night they had put in a second IV (after the first became clogged) and the he got the second one clogged. Thankfully the Dr. took pitty and decided that he didn't need it anymore, he could take some different meds by mouth instead. And yes, the alarm on the pulse/ox machine was going off all night due to him moving around. Also by this time he was doing the Respiratory Therapist's job for him. Alex would hold the mask and at the same time hold the stethescope to his chest and point so that the RT knew he was supposed to listen. It was quite funny, and had both me and the RT laughing during the treatment. The comment was made that "I think he's well enough to go home."

So, Saturday morning we came home... with 4 different prescriptions (which filled a plastic grocery sack.) Alex is fine. This hasn't slowed him down at all, other than when he has to sit and do his breathing treatments, which thankfully he does really well.

Unfortunately, about the time that Alex and I were sitting around the hospital, Mike and Aimee decided to come down with colds of their own. Each with a lot of coughing. So, Sunday, Mike, Aimee and Alex stayed home from church... again. Like I said, this is getting really old!!!

My dad suggested that we spray the whole house down with Lysol... and we may have to do that. Hopefully all will be well soon and stay that way.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Baby, it's cold outside!

Remember how I said it was unseasonably warm... not any more! It was COLD today! A strong cold front came through today and by the time the kids came home from school it was in the 40's with wind chill in the 20's. That's really cold for SA. Right now it is 28, but with the wind chill feels like 16. It rained just enough earlier to get things wet and now there is ice on everything. Over passes are being closed and road are being salted and gravelled. Some schools are delaying start times, but so far Aaron and Aimee will go to school on time.

Mike is trying to get grading and other work done in the office, but it is cold in that room. It is right over the garage, so the room temperature likes to fluctuate more with the weather.

Tomorrow is supposed to stay cold and windy (35 at noon.) I think I need to find some more warm clothes for the kids. They don't have very many any more... I think we will be working with layers... lots of layers.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Is it really December?

Here in South Central Texas that is the question that seems to be going around. It has been really warm... hot for this time of year. We have had highs in the 80's-90's with near record and record heat. We have had a couple of cool downs, that last a couple of days before the temperature starts rising again. This week we are supposed to have a couple of cold fronts come through and really cool things down for a while. Now, if only we could get some desperately needed rain.