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The PICU was scary especially with a 3-month-old. He was breastfed, big for his age and didn’t go to daycare. Yet he couldn’t breathe.
They tested him for RSV.
She started to get nervous when a parade of doctors went through their room checking him out. When the nurses were hovering. It was serious. He couldn’t breathe. The breathing treatments were scary to watch because afterward the nurses would stick tubes down his nose to suction it out and down his throat. They then had to smack him on the back with decent force for 10 minutes. She chose these times to leave and freshen up and use the bathroom. She couldn’t watch. She felt weak and powerless.
He was home with Baby Girl and Little Man. Her Mom had just left the country for vacation. She was scared.
The nurses came in and said they were going to do a test for cystic fibrosis. That put her over the edge. She called her pediatrician friend and then remembered that she was out-of-town for Christmas. She knew her friend’s in-laws last name but it was very common, like Smith. There was no way She could call and ask for a Smith in upstate New York. She had to think because the only thing that would make her feel remotely better right that second was to talk to her best friend who also happened to be a pediatrician. Eventually She remember her friend’s parents’ first and last names and called information to get their number. She called them sobbing, explaining, and asking them to get Her in contact with her friend.
Minutes later, her friend called.
They talked for a while. Her friend was concerned, but explained things and made it seem like it wasn’t super bad. It was bad…but not super bad. She could handle that.
She spent the days in the PICU nursing Sweet Pea and watching him like a hawk. There was a 2-month-old with pneumonia sharing their room. She never had anyone with her. It was hard not to judge the parents. Where were they? How could they leave their baby alone for so long when she was so sick? Sweet Pea slept a lot and struggled to breathe. But he was improving. The cystic fibrosis test came back negative. She didn’t realize that she had been holding her breath waiting for those results.
They did another more in-depth test for RSV and that came back positive. How on Earth did a breastfed, non-daycare, large for his age baby end up with RSV? I guess it didn’t matter. He had it. It would be tough for him to get better. It was going to take a while.
After four days, he was moved down a floor to the “regular” sick floor. No more intensive care. The same little girl from the PICU was moved to their new room. Later that day, the mother finally showed. They talked and She found out that the reason the Mom hadn’t been there is because she and her other two kids had the flu. Like the “coming out of both ends we can’t go anywhere” flu. And her husband worked two jobs to make ends meet. Boy did She feel like a schmuck for judging.
A day later, and only with strict instructions to visit their regular pediatrician the following day, they were allowed to go home. Sweet Pea was on regular breathing treatments and steroids but he was better. He gave them quite a scare, but he was better.
They went home and She had a really difficult time sleeping even for the few short hours he slept. She was terrified that he wouldn’t be able to breathe. The breathing treatments had to be given even in his sleep. She had to set her alarm to wake up to give them. How tortuous is that to have a 3-month-old who is sleeping longer than 2 hours and the mother has to set an alarm to wake up? She could handle it as long as it meant he was ok.
They said it would be a long time before he was “over” the RSV but he was slowing getting better. That was all that mattered.
Happy New Year.