Utah: The Hospital Stay Part 1

Let's talk about the highlight (not!) of our trip: Philly's hospital stay. Warning: long post ahead.

Both boys had been sick with colds for a couple weeks before we headed to Utah. Phillip had gotten croup twice in that time, both times followed by a runny nose/lingering cough. No croup for Jack (surprisingly because he gets it several times a winter!) but he also developed a cough/runny nose. By the time we left for Utah they were still coughing but seemed to be recovering. On Saturday Phillip seemed pretty tired/sick/cranky and then Sunday he woke up with a fever so he stayed home from church with Tom who also wasn't feeling well. Jack went to church with me and Zoe but I ended up taking him home after the first hour because he didn't look well and was still coughing a lot.

Tom headed back home on Sunday afternoon and Sunday night was oh so long but mostly with Jack. Both boys were coughing through the night and I was originally planning to take them both to the doctor on Monday morning. But then Phillip ended up getting some sleep and seemed better in the morning while Jack was up coughing/throwing up from coughing so hard all night long. He does have "reactive upper airway disease" or something like that which is basically asthma but they don't want to label him as "asthmatic" because that looks bad to have on your medical records. So I totally thought the coughing was getting worse from the Utah cold and also the really bad air quality at the time. I had luckily brought his nebulizer/albuterol and so we did a few treatments during the night but it really didn't seem to be helping. We spent a long part of the night in the steamy bathroom which is the only thing that seemed to give him some relief.

Monday morning I scheduled an appointment for him to see the pediatrician he saw as a newborn before we moved from Utah. When we got to the appointment I explained his reactive airway disease and how it had gotten much worse since arriving in Utah and that the albuterol wasn't working. The doctor listened to his lungs and said he could hear lots of wheezing. He told me if he could hear this much wheezing in the light of day he knew it had to be much worse at night. He prescribed us a 5-day oral steroid, told us Jack would be angry as a bear for those 5 days which was the one really negative side effect (just what you want to hear when you're on vacation, haha!) and sent us home with strict orders to call in the middle of the night if he got any worse or was breathing faster than 60 breaths/minute. I felt a little overwhelmed but was glad to have the steriod. 

Kelli & I headed home and went upstairs to find Phillip laying on her bed looking awful. Miserable. So bad. So sad. I picked him up and the poor little thing was burning up. Kelli went and borrowed a thermometer from a neighbor and it was reading in at 104.4. At this point I was totally regretting not just taking him in to the doctor too. I knew he needed to be seen so we took him to the walk-in clinic of the same pediatric office where Jack was seen. He was totally not being himself and was just tired, sad and so sluggish. When I asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor he said yes, haha that's when you know a kid is sick! 

Luckily we barely waited at all and the first thing they did was take his pulse-ox levels. The first nurse was taking a really long time getting a reading and I could see the machine was reading his oxygen level as low and his heart rate high. It kept reading in at 79 and I didn't know at the time how low that was, I just saw the red indicator light blinking "LOW" so I knew it wasn't good. She switched the monitor from his finger to his toe and just kept getting the same reading. I know sometimes these things are finnicky since Jack has had it done a few times before so I wasn't too concerned when she kept trying, seeming like the number she was getting couldn't be right. After awhile she left and then a few seconds later another nurse came in bringing the pulse-ox machine back in with her. She said she wanted to try to get a reading and that's when I knew the first one must have been pretty low if they were wanting to do it again to confirm. This time it was reading in between 80-82 and she said "well, I guess it's right."

The NP came in pretty soon after that and told me his oxygen levels should be 90+ and anything below 90 is considered too low. He wanted to do a breathing treatment and see how Phillip was doing afterward. He told me at that point that if he wasn't doing better after the treatment then we would need to be sent to the hospital. Look at how sad & sick my poor little guy looks!

PS cutest thing ever, he didn't want to take those little mittens off all day haha. Also, right after the first pulse-ox test on his finger when the nurse took it off to put it on his toe Phillip asked me "all done?" and then later I thought back and felt so sad for him because at that point he wasn't even close to done! Poor little thing. I wish it had been as easy as one little pulse-ox test.

The NP came back in with the doctor and they reviewed Phillip's situation together while watching his numbers after the breathing treatment. They told me they thought he had croup (which surprised me because he hadn't been having a croupy cough for at least a week) and possibly pneumonia. At first the doctor felt like we could possibly treat this at home but then after another minute of watching the machine (which then dipped back into the low 80s) changed his mind and told me "actually, you know what, I just don't feel comfortable sending you home. I think he needs to be admitted to the hospital. In fact, I'm not sending you over there without that oxygen so we'll have our nurse follow you over to bring the tank back." Guys the hospital is literally across the street. So then I started to feel worried that they didn't even want us driving across the street without oxygen!

Got the little bugger all checked in and they immediately started him on oxygen there. He was not super happy about having that put in but he fell asleep pretty soon after. The pulse-ox levels at the hospital were reading 82ish as well so really his oxygen was pretty low. I feel so bad I didn't even know he was having such a hard time breathing!

Poor little guy was woken up to endure a chest xray a little while later which was so sad to watch! He was so scared but he honestly did so good and held so still for it! After they read the xrays we were told he had a severe case of bacterial pneumonia and would need to stay for a few nights. Hearing that it was a "severe" case made me so worried and at this point I was just wishing Tom could have been there with us! Seriously, so so grateful though for my little sister who hung out with us at doctors and the hospital all the day on her day off (Presidents' Day, you guys! Vacation + Holiday, we really nailed it).

Philly was taken for an IV so he could receive fluids and IV antibiotics. I went with him and had to help hold him down and this was probably one of the saddest parts of our whole visit! He cried and cried and I sang him primary songs and he was trying to sing along to "I love to see the temple" in between his sobbing and it was so sad! I almost lost it right there and I just wanted to bawl but I knew that would only make it worse for him so I took a deep breath and held it in. There is nothing so sad as seeing your little baby scared & in pain!

Once back in our hospital room I called Tom with the news of bacterial pneumonia (and cried). He said he could come out if he really needed to but we decided I'd first see if I could get one of our moms to fly out to help with Jack & Zoe while I stayed in the hospital with Phillip. At this time my brothers, sister-in-law and brother-in-law were taking over in the Jack & Zoe department and I am SO grateful for how everyone just stepped up and let me focus on Phillip and I didn't have to worry at all about the other two and knew they were in good hands! My mom wasn't able to come out due to work obligations but Tom's mom offered before I even had a chance to ask. Seriously she's a godsend. Best mother-in-law if I hand-picked her.

My brothers gave Phillip a Priesthood blessing and then gave me a blessing of comfort (what would I do without Priesthood blessings? I felt a thousand times better after hearing perfect words from a loving & understanding Heavenly Father!) and then Philly & I spent a long night together hanging out in the hospital. He mostly slept, I mostly didn't ha.

Night 1 was so long with the nurses in/out every few minutes needing to adjust his oxygen due to it dipping too low, or needing to administer meds, or fix his heart rate monitor or take his vitals. Phillip just wanted me to "hold you" all night long which was hard without tangling all his cords or disrupting his monitors so man, was it a long night especially since I had barely slept the night before!

The doctor who gave me Phillip's diagnosis had been on his way out the door due to shift changes so he literally had just popped his head in the door of Phillip's room, spit out the diagnosis and took off. I didn't know a lot of what to expect or really how much I should be worried. Later in the night though the night doctor, Dr. Beverly (who will probably forever be my favorite doctor ever) came in and talked to me about Phillip's situation. He told me that his right lung had collapsed (turns out that's not as bad as it sounds!) but would reinflate as they gave him antibiotics and all the fluid in his lungs started clearing out. He made me feel a thousand times better when he told me there was nothing I could have done to prevent him from ending up in the hospital and even his own daughter had been in the ICU just a few weeks ago. He was like "if I, as a pediatric hospital doctor, can't keep my own daughter out of the ICU how are you expected to keep your son out of the hospital? These things just happen. They usually get bad really fast before you even have a chance to realize how bad it is. Now your son is gonna be just fine..." (let's pause for a second here while I tell you he had the best southern drawl ever so just imagine him talking like that ha) He told me "he'll probably get worse before he gets better but we'll take good care of him and he's gonna go home and be just fine." I seriously felt SO much better after he talked with me because I had been feeling like "how did I not know he was THIS sick?!" and also I was so afraid of how bad it really was!

I hope to never see one on him again but let's talk for a minute about how cute that tiny hospital gown is on him!?

This is getting so long that I'm going to stop here and split day 2 into another post!


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