Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Week of Excitement

The scary part was last weekend, when she had a 102.6+ fever (that's where the thermometer was when she refused to let us finish taking it). We were in Rehoboth, DE, and we took her to the emergency room.

It's a rite of passage, we said to each other. We'll take her in, they'll tell us we're over-reacting, and we'll go home and give her more Tylenol.

Only that's not what they said. What they said was: we'd like to get blood samples and a urine sample and probably we'll put her on an IV, too. Her fever didn't abate while we spent six hours comforting her as she screamed and then holding her as she slept, while they invaded her body.

We left with Amoxicillin even though they couldn't confirm a bacterial infection. That was Sunday. Monday morning, we drove home.

That afternoon, we got a call from the blood-lab, with preliminary results. That doctor faxed us the report which we couldn't read at all, and we took it with us Tuesday morning to the pediatrician, who was intrigued by it. He diagnosed Jacqui with hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which is a virus (and therefore not treatable with antibiotics) -- but the bloodwork suggested streptococcal pneumonae, which is Latin for "can turn into meningitis and kill you". Jacqui HAS had the pneumonia vaccine, and so she's truly not at high risk for this; added to that, the report was self-conflicting, which the pediatrician interpreted as meaning the sample was contaminated.

He prescribed a high dosage of Augmentin, just in case there was something hiding, and asked us to please follow up with the Delaware hospital for a final report. That report was faxed over yesterday morning, and it read as he expected: the sample was contaminated, no results are possible. Since Jacqui is all better -- no fever, no lethargy, no sleeping ;) -- he told us to discontinue the Augmentin and stop worrying.

Hindsight: Nothing they did in the emergency room was necessary. A finger-stick would've told them there was no bacterial infection; the IV was pointless; the urine specimin wasn't useful. All they had to do was look in her mouth and that's the one thing they did NOT do.

And yet ... if some other Sunday she started a high fever with no other symptoms, how could we react any differently? From now on she can only get sick on weekdays.