100.5- this is our magic number
When Dottie gets a temperature of 100.5 (a fever) we head to the ER, these are the direct and specific instructions from our GI team at Doernbecher. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, do not give Tylenol. Why? you may ask. Although there are a lot of reasons a child might have a fever such as an earache or teething, a fever for Dottie means risk of a central line infection. We don't Google search or call the pediatrician to make an appointment, we just get on the road. I believe your prayers have helped Dottie stay very healthy and she has just, at over 10 months old, had her first fever. What a miracle.
Saturday morning seemed like a normal morning, Dottie was up early, we unhooked her HPN (this is TPN provided at Home), gave her a bath, and kept playing. She felt warm and I had been checking her temperature throughout our early morning together. We have two different digital thermometers, one scans from a short distance and one reads the forehead. Once one read in the high 99's but they were not consistent. As the morning went on Dottie got more and more clingy, she wanted to play but wanted to be right with me, or Grandma or Dad. As she snuggled with Grandma (a bit usual for the morning) I grabbed the cheap under the arm old-school thermometer and her temp rose quickly to 100! To be the most accurate we also checked her other end (not so fun) and her temp was 100.7.
We moved into action immediately. Seth had a wedding show booked for that day so Grandma and I got dressed, we packed up Dottie's things (all her TPN for later, which turns out the hospital can't use) and Grandma took us to the Salem Hospital ER. After checking in the first thing is drawing blood for labs. The cultures take about 48 to grow, if they are going to grow, and it's important to get those labs before any medication is given. Our sweet girl had labs drawn from her central line which is easy, and also with a prick which is much less easy. They also took a urine sample, first trying a strange technique of holding her up under the arms while another nurse taps on her bladder- no luck. So they had to go about it a different way. There were two nurses, both wanting her to pee so they could collect a sample, but Grandma will attest, we've never seen two people jump so high and so fast in all our days. Once that pee starting shooting the sample container was knocked onto the ground, pee was all over (on at least one nurse) and another sample container was being scrambled for. Once all was said and done, not much pee ended up in the little bottle, but thankfully it was enough.
Then they gave her some broad spectrum antibiotics. Once she was hooked up to the antibiotics which would take an hour to infuse, Grandma said goodbye. We knew by this time that after this first dose we would be heading up to Doernbecher CH for the remainder of the 48 hours so Dottie could be monitored and would be able to get immediate care if she did have a line infection.
As the hour passed Dottie and I were sitting and reading but she was getting more and more agitated, I thought this was just because she was way past due for a nap. Then I noticed she seemed red, really red, splotchy red. As I looked her over I was definitely sure she was getting more red and called the nurse. Red Mans Syndrome- this is a real thing. With this particular antibiotic, if it's given too quickly, can cause the person to turn all red. They said it doesn't hurt, but we've no way of telling if it bothered her or not. We were close to being done with the hour long infusion so they stopped it and got us ready to leave for Doernbecher.
Thankfully hospitals are amazing at being in contact. Before leaving Salem there was already a room ready for Dottie, we knew right where to go to check in and didn't have to wait at all. They got Dottie all hooked up and ready for more antibiotics, got her evening TPN ordered, and found formula, G-tube supplies, a bottle and baby food for her. We were all set for hanging out the next two days. Dad joined us after the wedding that night.
As time passed none of the cultures grew anything and at last our 48 hours were up with no infections. We saw a couple of familiar faces while there and that is always comforting and fun. I managed to get sick and took that home to pass around for the next week; me, Dottie, Seth, me again, loads of fun. This is just one more reason why we are grateful for your continued prayers. Every time Dottie has a fever of 100.5, we get to Doernbecher for 48 hours. It doesn't matter what might be on the calendar, everything for us stops. Eventually you may see Dottie in the kids area at church, but don't be surprised if we wait until cold and flu season is over. It's also why we still care so much if others are sick before we visit or have people over. Thank you for your continued understanding about this.
I am actually thankful Dottie has had her first fever. Now we know exactly what to expect and I am much less anxious about future fevers (at least less worried about the packing and going part of it). We have a bag packed and know what needs to be added to it and what we can leave at home, take lots of clothes, that's the one thing they don't have.
We love you and are grateful to you all. Love, Seth, Megan & Dottie