Friday, April 12, 2013

We Are Blowing this Popsicle Stand!

The first three posts about being in the hospital were mostly written about the first 24 hours of being here. I had that much emotion to process from Bridget’s dramatic arrival into the hospital.

Fortunately, no other day was as dramatic as Friday. Unfortunately, Bridget didn’t really progress from Saturday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon. In fact, on Monday, Bridget took a significant and scary turn back. From NICU and Christopher’s RSV, I’m used to two steps forward and one step back. But after PICU, Bridget didn’t take any steps forward at all. She couldn’t keep her oxygen saturation levels up without a good deal of extra oxygen.  

By Tuesday, Dave and I were getting more concerned. This isn’t our first trip to the pediatrics party and Bridget’s recovery did not seem to be playing out like we expected. However, it was when some of our caregivers started to act more concerned about her lack of progress that we decided to act.

Thank God for Dave.

Dave knows the healthcare system better than I do and probably better than most people do. His family is chock full of medical doctors and other forms healthcare professionals. He works in the healthcare industry and he teaches in UNC Charlotte’s MHA program. He knows the paths to getting things done and the words one should use to get on those paths. I’ll be honest with you: I’m used to getting a bit of respect as a PhD. Nonetheless, it’s hard to look smarty pants to a doctor when you’ve just woken up and you’re in your owl pajamas. I’m just saying.

So I found an ally among our caregivers who started the ball rolling in the background. That brought the right people to our room to check in on us.  And that let Dave say the right words to the right people in the right tone of voice. Also, he was not wearing owl pajamas.

We finally got an explanation of why things may not be progressing: a) perhaps Bridget’s lungs were taking much longer to heal than expected or b) perhaps something worse was starting to develop and surgery may be involved. Option A was more likely, but her lack of progress suggested that Option B was also on the table. Dave asked for a consult with a pulmonologist o.  

The advice we received from our advocates was that we might have pulled the trigger about a day early on the pulmonologist, but it was certainly reasonable at this point to start figuring out why she wasn’t getting better.

Turns out, we pulled the trigger about a day early on calling in the pulmonologist.

Around lunch at Wednesday, Bridget started to turn that infamous corner that everyone had been talking about. But Bridget, being Bridget, didn’t just turn the corner. She peddled furiously around it on her tricked out bicycle at high speed and stuck out her tongue. I may have been running alongside her flipping a couple of birds and otherwise taunting it.  In actuality, she went from 3 liters of oxygen at 10 a.m. to a ½ liter at 4 p.m. That’s an enormous improvement in just 6 hours.

Of course, the pulmonologist arrived at 6 pm on Wednesday. We spent a boatload of money to find out that 1) Bridget had just needed a little more time to let her lungs heal (FIGURED THAT OUT!!) and that 2) normal lung cells have cilia that move massive amounts of dust and other crap up out of your lungs every moment of every day and that you are constantly swallowing said crap (ewww). Further, new lung cells, which develop after pneumonia, do not have cilia so all that crap stays down in your lungs. Hence, you need to cough. Or something like that. Better to have had him there and not needed him than him not be there and we did.

ANYHOO, there was one more curve ball this hospital trip wanted to throw us. And it was so bad, I couldn’t even post about it on Facebook. Wednesday night, when things were looking so much better and it was clear we were going home soon, our doctor ordered Bridget’s IV drip removed. Then she told me they were going to do some additional testing on Bridget in the morning.

Apparently, they found sugar in Bridget’s blood and urine when she checked into the hospital. Although they could explain the sugar in her blood from the steroids, the sugar in her urine was more puzzling. They tested her for diabetes Thursday morning.

Holy. F*cking. Shit. Were we going to come into the hospital with pneumonia and leave with Type I diabetes?!? Have you ever had one of those moments where you know you are supposed to be emotional and yet you are perfectly calm?  That is how I was. I didn’t even turn to Dr. Google. Fortunately, Dave did and sent me a couple of good links for me to read Thursday morning before we got the results.

I’m not going to draw this out: Bridget does not have Type I diabetes. The stress from the steroids and the pneumonia and PICU caused sugar to “spill” out of her kidneys and into her urine. The sugar in her urine is not normal, but nothing was “normal” during that time they were testing her. She does not have diabetes and this is not an early indicator of her getting Type I diabetes. Every time I say that to myself, I let out an enormous sigh of relief. Thank GODDESS no one mentioned this to us until the pneumonia resolved. If I had to be dealing with that issue along with Bridget’s lack of progress, my head would have POPPED off my body and spun around the Pediatrics ward like an over-aged Medusa. 

So the good news: Bridget has been off any oxygen support for 24 hours.  Everything is fine.  Everything is going to be fine. And we are going to go HOME TODAY!!


Evelin said...

Oh, the possibility that she might have type 1 diabetes just pushed me over the tears edge. Thanks for not drawing out the conclusion because I would have spilled over into weeping.
So glad to hear that you are going home.

Carroll said...

What a saga, Anita. So very glad that indeed all is well and that you're heading home to your very own beds at long last. No mention at all of what this extended stay may have meant in terms of your own professional life, but at the very least (ahem) yay for tenure!!!

Rebecca said...

You need someone to watch the kids so you can get in a really big, ugly cry and then take some Benadryl or whatever it is that guarantees you pass out for a few hours of really deep sleep. Don't forget to take care of you so you can continue to take care of your kiddos.