In the Hospital

We have had a fun-filled weekend in the hospital. Apparently, my evil spirit purging did not work.

Last week, Penny’s foot swelled again. This was the foot she injured stepping on a rake. It had been better, then one morning it was swollen again and she was refusing to walk on it.  Because we’re busy all the time, I watched it a couple days before taking her to the pediatrician on Friday at 9:30 in the morning.

The doctor decided to send us to the ER so we could have all the tests done in one spot. Ella had decided to eat too much candy on Thursday (Valentine’s Day) which meant she spent Thursday night and early Friday morning puking. Which means she stayed home from preschool. So Penny, Ella, and I went to the ER and waited. For 4 hours. We finally got looked at and we waited some more.

They took X-rays of her foot. They drew blood. It was not pretty. Penny screamed and thrashed about. I had to lay on her. Poor Ella was so scared she crouched in a corner and covered her ears. Oh, did I mention they were so busy we were seen in a hallway, not in a room. They blew the veins in both her arms to get the blood.

The we waited, in the hallway, for 2 more hours for results. The ER doctor wasn’t sure so he called an orthopedic surgeon to look at it. So we waited another hour. She was concerned, but they hadn’t drawn enough blood for a couple of tests and she wanted those. So Penny thrashed and screamed some more. And we waited.

The tests were abnormal, but she wasn’t sure it warranted an MRI. So she consulted more doctors.

Meanwhile, they placed an IV catheter to more thrashing and screaming and me and 2 other people holding her down. Penny got some IV fluids. We were told we would go home with antibiotics and recheck if it didn’t resolve. Then more doctors were consulted and it was decided she should have an MRI. But it was too late to do now (at 8 pm at night, if you lost count of how long we’d been waiting. 9 hours in the ER with a 3 and 4 year old.) Plus I had been giving her snacks which I thankfully went home to grab before heading to the ER since that’s all we had to eat that day.

Then we waited for a bed to clear in the pediatric unit.  Finally, at 9:30 we were settled in our room to sleep.

Saturday morning we were told we’d have the MRI at 7:30. So no food after midnight. Sean brought McDonald’s for dinner around 7:30 and that was the last she ate. She had to be sedated for the MRI. It finally happened at 9.

At 10:30 a very excited orthopedic resident told us she had an infection of a bone in her foot and an abscess around it. She needed surgery to clean it out and get cultures. No food until her surgery. We were told it would be in about 1-2 hours. 6 hours later, she had her surgery, under general anesthesia.

Now we are still in the hospital. She is on two powerful IV antibiotics. We’ll be her until at least Tuesday waiting for the culture results.  Penny will likely go home with a PICC line so we can continue to give her IV antibiotics at home for 4-6 weeks. She will also need a little walker (which is the cutest thing ever) until she bears weight on it. She may also get a boot to keep her foot in the right position if she doesn’t start placing it flat before we leave.

It has been exhausting to say the least. Things I have learned:

1. Always carry a lot of snacks, crayons, paper, and an iPad or portable DVD player if you need to bring your child to the ER and you have time to get it. The wait could be all day.

2. Ask for a pediatric nurse to draw blood. Grown up nurses  are not used to the smaller veins.

3. A hospital is not a good place to sleep. Someone is in our room at least every 4 hours to check Penny’s vital signs. Fortunately, she’s a deep sleeper. I, am not.

4. Weekends are not good times to be sick. We don’t have access to the play room because it’s not open on weekends or holidays, like today happens to be. The PIC line team is not available on weekends, so instead of placing it during her surgery, she’ll have to be sedated again.

5. If you can, choose a pediatric hospital. I will next time for sure. Even if my pediatrician doesn’t have access to it. She’s not involved in the day to day care anyway. Grown-up hospitals don’t always operate in kid friendly ways. Penny is definitely traumatized and afraid of nurses and doctors now. She screams when she sees them, starts crying, and tries to hide under the covers. She doesn’t even like having her temperature taken under her armpit. She was scared to begin with, and as nice as they were, I don’t feel the ER staff was prepared for a 3 year old.

6. Order extra food from the hospital service if you can. You might not get a chance to get a meal yourself.





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