Monday, October 8, 2012

Our Little Trooper

I'm not even sure where to start this post.  It's been a long few weeks, but I wanted to get all of this down before I forget it.  After all, this blog will be turned into a book for Harper when she's older.  I guess I'll just start from the beginning...
Most of you will remember how much I was looking forward to doing Harper's three-month photo shoot.  The shoot took place on Friday, September 21st.  Harper wouldn't smile at all.  I should have known that when her daddy couldn't get her to smile something was wrong.  About half-way through the shoot she had diarrhea.  She had been drooling like a monster from teething so I just figured this was a symptom of teething. 
By Saturday I knew something was really wrong.  She continued to have diarrhea.  I called her doctor, but they are only open for a few hours on Saturday and were about the close.  They told me to take her to Scottish Rite.  We loaded up the truck and off we went...
Once at Scottish Rite they took a sample of a bowel movement and told us it would take a few days to get the results.  Harper continued to have diarrhea.  On Tuesday, September 25th we went back to our doctor to get the results from Scottish Rite.  They were negative for bacteria so everyone just figured it was something viral and would make it's way out of her.
Harper's doctor told me to start her back on the Levison drops she had been on for colic as they aide in the stopping of diarrhea.  I did what he said and sure enough within a few days the diarrhea was gone.  All in all, Harper had seven days of diarrhea.
Between Friday, September 28th and Monday, October 1st the only thing I noticed about Harper was that she was very tired.  I just figured since she had been having 10-13 diarrhea diapers per day she was definitely bound to be tired.  I realize now it was a major red light that something was wrong with her. 
I put Harper in her crib on Monday night (10/1) at 7pm because she had fallen asleep in my arms. I went and laid down for a little while and then showered.  At around 10pm I had just gotten out of the shower when I heard a horrible scream coming from Harper.  I ran down the hall fearing she had hit the side of the crib or something along those lines.  Nothing prepared me for what I did find. 
I picked her up to comfort her and noticed she was heavily panting.  The panting reminded me of how my dog, Piper, would pant when she was overheated.  As I put my hand around Harper's neck to pull her closer to me I couldn't believe how HOT she felt.  It was then I realized something was VERY wrong!
I put her on the changing table, took off her clothes, scrambled around for the thermometer and stuck it in her rectum to get her temperature.  I have NEVER seen it get so high so fast!!! When it read 104.2, I pulled it out and scrambled for Tylenol.  I gave Harper a dose, called Keith and then my mom so she could come and drive us to the hospital since Keith wasn't able to leave work.  I hung up the phone and put Harper in an ice bath. 
When I was one year old I had a very high fever and ended up suffering a seizure.  I was so afraid of something like that happening to Harper.  I even feared brain damage since I really wasn't sure if her temp was higher than it read because I pulled it out before it beeped. 
Within 30 minutes of Harper waking up we were at our local hospital.  They took her high fever very seriously.  They did ended up doing a urine test by catheter.  It came back positive for bacteria which resulted in the diagnosis of a UTI.  We were sent home with a strict medicine regimen and a basic antibiotic since it would be a few more days before they would know exactly what type of bacteria it turned out to be. 
We followed up with our doctor on Thursday, October 4th, like the hospital wanted us too.  They said the test results should be more definitive by then. 
I wish we could have skipped this appointment all-together because our doctor is a complete QUACK!! He had to audacity to tell us Harper had no UTI or infection at all.  I think to cover his butt he suggested we go to Scottish Rite since I told him her diarrhea had come back with a vengeance and she just didn't seem well. 
I will never be more grateful for that suggestion! Once at the hospital they looked at the results from our local hospital's blood work that our doctor printed for us to bring and Scottish Rite assured us all signs pointed to a UTI.  They couldn't believe he told us she didn't have one. 
Harper was severely dehydrated and they admitted her because of it.  Keith left the hospital to head back home to get things for us since we weren't sure how long we would be staying there.
NOTHING could prepare me for what happened next!!!
We were going to be on the 4th floor of the hospital and the doctor for that floor came in to see me and go over everything one more time so she could get a better idea of what fluids and antibiotics to give Harper once we were in our room. 
She looked me in the eye and told me that she accessed the actual portal from the hospital that tested for the UTI and found out the actual bacteria in Harper's urine was E-Coli.  I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers.  I could just feel them filling with tears. 
I had never wanted Keith by my side more than I did in that very moment.  She explained to me that they suspected that she had a viral infection that started September 21st and eventually worked its way out of her system.  She had so much diarrhea that the bacteria in it made its way to her urethra and ultimately her kidneys. 
Long story short...she was one VERY sick baby!
I just sat there trying to comprehend everything she had told me.  She said Harper was never going to get better had she not received medical treatment.  It's a good thing her Pediatrician wasn't there...I would have decked him with my super I'm-going-to-protect-my-child strength!!!
Harper was put on the strongest antibiotic she could be given.  When we left the hospital four days later there were no traces of bacteria in her bowel movement.  They said her UTI had cleared up as well. 
She still has diarrhea.  They let her go because she was no longer dehydrated and her infection was gone.  She is on antibiotics for another 10 days as well as a few other medications.  Harper is also on soy formula from this point on.
The hope is that the diarrhea will subside in time.  I was told to bring her back if it gets worse or if she gets another fever. 
Nothing really prepares you for seeing your child so sick.  I think the hardest thing was knowing that at least one child passed away while we were there.  In addition to that you get to hear the life flight helicopter come and go at all hours of the day.  Your mind can't help but wonder what that poor child is enduring and if it got to medical help in time. 
I am eternally grateful for everyone who helped Harper at Scottish Rite.  They treated her like she was their only patient.  A social worker for the hospital brought us food.  Volunteers offered to watch Harper while we got a little break. There were constantly people going out of their way to make our stay just a little easier.  I can't thank them enough!
Harper still has several weeks before she will be fully recovered from all this.  Her immune system is weak so we have to be very mindful of taking her out in public.  She also can't be out in the night air and needs to get as much rest as possible. 
If I could have spared her all of this I would have.  The one thing I'll say is that through it all she smiled at the nurses, doctors and other staff members.  People would just stop by because they had heard about this baby who smiles despite being deathly ill.  It really just puts everything into perspective for me. If Harper can fight through all of this, surely the rest of us can, too!
*This photo is one of my favorite from the hospital.  We were getting a bad case of cabin fever so we put her in the wagon they provide each patient with and went up and down the halls.  Silly girl was all smiles! She was adorable.