Goodness, where do I begin with this post...
It seems the kids have been sick, one or the other and sometimes both at the same time, since we got to Houston. With the combination of daycare, climate, and pollen the ick is an inevitable evil. Two weeks ago Isabella came down with an almost 105 fever. It was roughly 3:30am Saturday March 12 when Chris loaded her up for the ER. After a couple of hours she was released following a blood count, x-ray and nasal swab. At the ER trip, no test showed anything major so they sent her home with strict Motrin/Fluid/Rest orders. So that's precisely what we did...as always when she is the slightest bit ill. The rest of that day she seemed to be progressing to recovery. Sunday the 13th however she decided to start hacking coughing and running a fever we just couldn't break. Monday the 14th I called the pediatrician 3 times to discuss her status and finally got her in for a 2pm appointment. The pedi visit showed she had a pretty bad ear infection and bronchial restriction. They sent us home on amoxicilin and a nasal steroid to use with albuterol through the nebulizer as a breathing treatment. At 5pm that same day, her nasal swab results from the ER were sent to her pedi's office...but the wrong doctor. The bad thing was that the wrong doctor read them and forwarded them to his nurse instead of her actual pedi. The test showed she had Metapneumo Virus, which is a respiratory virus that is a cousin of RSV. No one ever called to let us know this was her diagnosis. We kept her home from school for several days and by the 18th she seemed to be doing significantly better. Her nurse that works with her pedi called that day to check on her, so Chris told her nurse that Bella appeared to be recovering well. There was still no mention of this virus being in her lungs. Sunday the 20th (the day our little man turned 7 months!) she took a turn for the worse. Her breathing became labored and rapid again. It almost seemed as though she was asthmatic. She also had several fever spikes of right at 101. This all occurred Sunday evening so we wanted to see how she did during the day Monday. School called Monday to say she was coughing horribly so Chris picked her up and I made her a doctors appointment for Tuesday morning. The pediatrician immediately said something about her being able to recover from the respiratory virus. My stunned reaction was, "what are you talking about?" She immediately started to cover her tracks about the huge error on their offices part. I asked a series of questions about doing a chest x-ray, whether allergies could be an issue, is she asthmatic, etc. Her response was that all of this is related to the virus in her lungs; let's give her an oral steroid to take on top of the breathing treatments and see how she is doing by Friday. This doctor knows Bella was a preemie, has battled with allergies on some level with a recurring cough, as well as been on breathing treatments many many times. I don't understand why you wouldn't cover all of your basis's at this visit. It was my fault to walk away from that office not demanding a further evaluation of her lungs. By the 24th her breathing and coughing was no better. I scheduled another appointment for 8am the 25th. By 9:30am Friday we were checked into the hospital. The doctors visit showed her airways were no better, her breathing was just as labored and crackly with a string of wheezing. The x-ray (that should have been done Tuesday) showed build up in several parts of her lungs that appeared to be collapsed pockets in her lungs. We got her to the new Texas Children's West Campus where they knew she was coming and wasted no time tending to her. [Awesome and very knowledgeable medical staff...I felt so comfortable having her there.] After a series of rapid breathing treatments they did another x-ray. The pediatrician on staff diagnosed her with pneumonia combined with an asthmatic reaction. After all they could do in 24 hours with loads of antibiotics, oral steroids, fluids and continuous breathing treatments (yes, this means she had a constant albuterol pump/mask hooked up to her face), they transported her to the TCH at the Medical Center (downtown Houston) for extensive medical attention. The West Campus facility has a current policy that if a child needs any kind of intensive care treatment, they must be transported to the Medical Center. Bella is currently in the low level pediatric icu (a step-down unit/transition). Her vitals were really all over the place Friday and Saturday. Through last night they were able to move her from constant breathing treatments to every 2 hours to every 3 hours and even on to every 4 hours when I spoke with Chris at 6am this morning. As I sit by her side in the hospital, she is sleeping with a resting heart rate of 138, respiratory rate of 33, and oxygen saturation of 93 on 1L of 100% O2 through a nasal cannula. She is making a slow recovery, but it is to be expected with her history. God has done amazing things with her in so many ways. Get this...on Friday afternoon, when Chris brought me food, he was entertaining her while I ate and out of no where she began singing Amazing Grace. We sing it to her every night at bedtime, and she will sing Jesus Loves Me, but she has never sang Amazing Grace for our ears. Tears started rolling down my face into my salad. God is good!!!
Each pediatrician we talked to said that this virus did a number on her lungs because of her prematurity. I even asked one doctor about the fact that she was not granted a synigis immunization this year. They felt that played a factor in her contracting the initial respiratory virus and not being able to fight off it's affects. The synigis shot is just like the stupid makena/17p issue going on right now...a super expensive drug that insurance companies will cover under a certain set of rules and extensive guidelines...when it should be available to every child that will truly benefit from its purpose. (Speaking of which, I got a phone call from the Texas Communications Director of March of Dimes on Friday while I was sitting at Isabella's bedside. She wanted to discuss the makena/17p issue and the connection between March of Dimes and the pharmaceutical company. Needless to say she called at a bad time and I went off on her. I wasn't rude, well too rude, but I let her have quite a bit of pent up frustration and the damage to children that will be done as a result of increased prematurity. My daughter being a prime example of children that suffer from long-term affects of prematurity.)
Fortunately but unfortunately, Chris' parents were in town this weekend. We had (as well as they) been looking forward to this trip for a while. We had a few plans to take the kiddos out and do some fun stuff on Friday and Saturday. Instead of making it to the Children's Museum and the Zoo, their time was spent with Bella in the hospital. But it was such a blessing that they were here to take care of Zach. I know that was great bonding time for them with him one-on-two and they enjoyed every minute of it. So thanks Nana and Papi for taking care of our little man! My mom hopped into town yesterday afternoon with Auntie Kim (my mom's best friend). They helped me take care of Zach last night so I could get some much needed sleep. It's awesome being so close to family and having a family that is so caring and loving!!!
Well, please pray for our baby girl and that she comes back strong. We will keep you updated on her progress and release from the hospital. Last we heard the game plan was for release tomorrow sometime. God willing that pans out!
Chris will be posting pictures from home, so check back...
Here are the pics
Bella in the hospital
Little man growing like a weed