Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daycare, children and germs -- oh my!

Well, the day finally came when I had to take my little one to daycare – and the day, of course came all too soon. I just never imagined she’d get sick being in daycare just two days!

It was a hot, sunny Thursday when my husband dropped off our daughter at daycare – I couldn’t bear leaving her on my first day back to work, but I looked forward to picking her up later that day. So, I went to work with mixed emotions; it was almost like the first day of school. I wondered if I would enjoy being back; I wondered if my baby would miss me; I wondered if I would break down and cry from missing her; and I wondered if she would get sick. Unfortunately, the latter happened to my baby.
On the second day of daycare, I picked up my little girl and they said she’d been sleeping an awful lot that day – and I thought, “Oh, no! My baby is coming down with something.” Sure enough, it happened. My baby caught a cold that weekend, which turned into an ear infection the following week, and ended with a fever that led us to a scary ER visit at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.

The ER visit is etched in my memory bank with a bright red ballpoint pen. One Sunday night, my husband was holding the baby and she felt hot to him. I immediately checked her temperature and found out it was 101.2, which is high for a 3-month old. We got dressed and drove to the hospital; we noticed she was whimpering a little bit, but she wasn’t crying. After registration got the necessary paperwork from us, they checked her temperature and it had risen to 102.3 – extremely high for a baby our age. They immediately gave her Infants’ Tylenol and admitted her into one of the emergency rooms. Instead of a nurse coming in to talk to us, one of the ER physicians – Dr. Shane Cole – walked  in asking medical questions; he finally said, “If her temperature doesn’t go down we may have to transfer her to a children’s hospital.” At that point, I lost it and started crying. My husband told me that she’d be okay and that we needed to be optimistic for the baby’s sake. “She’s feeding off of our emotions, so we need to remain calm.” That was easier said than done, but I sucked it up and did my best to dry the tears. They took a urinalysis (via a catheter), drew blood from my baby’s arm and ended with a chest X-ray.  She cried and screamed; and I joined in on the crying when I saw the catheter – I had to turn my head when they inserted it into my baby, but my husband kept a close eye on the insertion for me.

After all the tests results came back, the physician came back to the room with good news. He said our daughter was suffering from a viral infection, but that her body was fighting it off, thus the high body temperature. Her high antibody count gave him comfort that she was going to get better instead of worse, so they checked her temperature again, and it had dropped to 100.6, still high but tolerable. Thanks to the quick action and concern for our baby’s health – from Dr. Cole, the nurses and the patient care technician, we were able to take her home. While we monitored her at home, our daughter’s temperature fluctuated from high to normal. Needless to say, we slept very little, for a good week.

During the ordeal, everyone kept saying it’s good that she’s being exposed to germs, because it will build up her immune system. At the time, however, I could only think of the pain my baby felt. I couldn’t do anything about it except give her medication when she needed it and make sure she felt the love and concern from me – doing what I could to make her comfortable.

It seems that our little angel is doing better now. She laughs more and smiles brighter than she did compared to a week or two ago. My chubby-cheeked baby once again wakes up with a smile for mommy and daddy, and that alone makes my day.

Chandra is a Sr. Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and new Mom to a 3-month-old.

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