Well! Things for Audrey took a dramatic turn yesterday. We visited her pediatrician on Monday afternoon as a follow-up to last week’s ER visit, and my concern (and the dr’s) was that after 5 days of amoxicillin, there was no change at all in the swelling along her jaw. She was acting mostly normal- maybe a little more tired than she usually is?- but eating, drinking, playing, and sleeping just like always. The pediatrician recommended we make an appointment asap with an ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialist at Children’s Hospital, just in case.
So yesterday afternoon, Dan met us at the hospital (he works 10 minutes away so it was an easy trip for him, and I was thankful for his help with both girls) I really thought it was going to be a quick visit- maybe some bloodwork, another ultrasound, and a prescription for a new, stronger, different antibiotic.
Instead, I had to hold Audrey down while the doctor stuck a GIGANTIC needle into her neck to see if any pus came out. It was… awful. I have never cried during a medical ANYTHING with my girls (I don’t cry much. Just ask Sam! I am dead inside. Robot! ha) and I’m able to keep my cool during shots and when Maggie needed x-rays a few times and even when Audrey has been FREAKING OUT at regular doctor visits lately. I just don’t let it bother me (much) But this… the needle. In her neck. I couldn’t watch. I locked her legs between mine and held her hands down and the nurse held her head to the side and the doctor went in with it… I squeezed my eyes shut and tears streamed down my face. My BABY.
Thankfully, there was no pus- almost totally ruling out an abscess or an infected cyst, which would require admittance to the hospital and surgery. Next on the list was a CT scan with contrast dye- requiring an IV in her hand and being strapped to a board. EXACTLY what every 19 month old would LOVE to do! oy. I wasn’t in there for this part- I took Maggie down the hall to play and Dan went in with her. He said there was screaming (duh) and she fell asleep in between the two scans while the nurse was rocking her. But overall, she did great. No need for sedation during the scan which I was really worried about.
After the CT scan was over, we were taken to admissions- which COMPLETELY FREAKED ME OUT, because so far, nobody had actually told us what the diagnosis or plan was. And we’re being admitted? What? We have never ever (thankfully) done this before. Was it still just an infected lymph gland? Or was it something else? Something… bad? Like, really really bad? I was exhausted and emotional and my brain was starting to wander to those dark places again… I prayed.
It took about an hour to get our badges and info and to be transported up to her room. That’s when we finally (!!!) heard the plan: an infection, like we thought- a nasty one- and it would require a few days of IV antibiotics to make sure it didn’t turn into something more serious.
(Just a note: the delay in the communication was actually because of a good thing- a MIRACLE! perhaps- which the doctor explained today. Turns out he wasn’t expecting radiology to be able to squeeze us in immediately like they were able to (woohoo!) and was waiting for a call BACK from them, telling him when we were scheduled, etc etc. So. Yay for expedited service? heh)
We got Audrey settled into the room and placed an order for her dinner tray once we were given the all-clear that she could eat (it was nearly 8pm and she was huuuuuungry, but since we spent a few hours not sure about what Things Might Need To Be Done, they didn’t want her to eat or drink) No joke, she was dancing while she ate her chicken nuggets.
I think she was just SO RELIEVED to get a break from the poking and prodding and annoying doctors for a while. Poor kid.
We called the grandparents and gave them an update and figured out plans for the next day or so, then Maggie and I left and headed home. We stopped to pick up dinner then I ran into the house to grab her some pajamas and clothes for school today, then we went to my parents’ house. And we ate tacos.
As much as I wanted to hurry and get clothes and stuff from home and get back to the hospital before midnight, I just needed to take a break and sit for like TEN MINUTES. Plus I wanted to give Maggie a bit of attention. She was seriously AMAZING the whole evening while we dragged her through the hospital while her sister wailed and screamed, and she was rewarded with a creamsicle and a sleepover at Grandma’s house. I think Maggie won the day!
After tying up some loose ends at the house (almost forgot I had a wet load of clothes in the washer and MAN would THAT be fun to come home to in a day or so! GAG. But I left the counter and sink full of dirty dishes because WHATEVER, DUDE.) and frantically packing up some overnight stuff for Dan, Audrey, and me, I made it back to the hospital around 11pm. Audrey was already asleep, and she’d had her first dose of antibiotics around 8pm.
I passed out around 11:30. I was DONE.
Around 2am she had another dose of medicine, so that interrupted the night a little bit, but eventually we all zonked out again. This morning, the doctor came by to check her and we all noticed a significant change in the size of the swelling, after just two doses. Very encouraging. She’s had a very good day so far today- she slept in a little bit:
And then we got her cleaned up after her morning IV and explored the halls and found the playroom.
I’ve had a few people ask me about the cause of all this, and the doctors haven’t even ventured a guess. There’s no real way to know what caused the infection- just that it exists. They did say that there is no reason to worry that it will happen again- it seems isolated and the CT scan was clear everywhere else. So for that, I am extremely thankful.
(Also thankful to everyone sending sweet messages on Twitter and Facebook and texts with happy thoughts and prayers for Audrey. We feel very loved.)
If things go well and she continues to improve, we should get to go home tomorrow sometime. My fingers and toes and all my things are crossed.
I’m also eating cake from the cafeteria.