I am exhausted. 2019 has not been good to our family, health-wise. Kiran has battled illnesses, and I have inevitably caught them as he is finally getting healthy. It makes it all last longer – when he’s sick for an entire week and then I catch it and am sick for several days after he’s well again.
But, through all of these illnesses and doctor visits, he has always checked out fine. Nothing scary, no hospital trips, nothing that required medication beyond fever reducer, rest, fluids.
Until this week.
It took me a bit by surprise. I am always the worst-case-scenario mom in my brain, but a part of me always figures he will check out fine. Because again, he has so many times, even though I have always thought “Oh my gosh, what if he ends up in the hospital.”
Kiran and I – and actually Kiran’s dad, too – have been battling some viral stuff (possibly), seasonal allergies, and a darn cough since Easter (the week before, even, for Kiran). So for a month or more, we have had this hanging-on cough. Kiran’s has been intermittent and never concerning, until Saturday afternoon. I noticed it was becoming more frequent and sounded deeper in his chest.
It was keeping him up Saturday night, too. After going into his room four times in two hours after bedtime, I brought him to bed with me. I’m glad I did, because he woke up with a solid fever in the middle of the night. He also seemed to have chills.
My worst case scenario thought? What if it’s pneumonia? The cough has been around, but the fever and chills were new. With the cough, I had already discussed with Kiran’s dad that I thought we should see his pediatrician again Monday (I say again, because we have been in her office 2-3 times to have lungs checked out during the duration of this cough already). Fever and chills meant we headed to urgent care Sunday morning.
Kiran did so well at this appointment. It was an unfamiliar clinic and doctor, and he had to have a chest x-ray and get his finger poked for a white blood cell count, but he was a rockstar patient anyway. And this time, he didn’t check out okay. We weren’t just sent home, with instructions to keep doing what we were already doing.
This time, it was pneumonia, and we were told he would need to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics.
If all of this had to happen – and Kiran had to be sick with pneumonia – I can say, now, I am glad we were told to go to the ER. I am glad we were told we would have to be admitted (especially since we weren’t!), because it forced Kiran’s dad and I to make some real-life decisions about what has only been a hypothetical for so long (It’s been awhile since we have had to make a decision about which hospital).
For reasons I won’t get into, we have made a very firm decision that we don’t wish Kiran to ever be hospitalized at a particular local hospital. This is challenging, however, because this hospital has the pediatric cardiologists, and the other local hospital does not. We were told the local hospital we wanted to go to may not admit Kiran due to his heart condition and that they would need to transfer him.
We opted to go to the ER there anyway, and we made it clear that if he needed transferred, we would transfer to Iowa City hospital because all of his specialists (including his cardiologist) are there.
We learned a lot about how this is going to work – and that it does work. I am glad that in a non-emergent situation, we could figure out that it is possible (and quite pleasant!) to have our local hospital of choice be our touchstone here. We have Iowa City transferring all of Kiran’s medical records to them, so they have his extensive medical history.
That has been a worry for me for so long. How it would all work (especially since his pediatrician, who we LOVE, is associated with the other local hospital), if we were making the best decision for Kiran, etc. I am glad we could get those worries alleviated in a situation like this, rather than a situation where Kiran actually had to be hospitalized or it was something serious.
Also, I find it a bit funny that I don’t think of pneumonia as “something serious”. Not that I don’t take it seriously – I absolutely do – but my comfort level has risen tremendously with illnesses and medical situations in the last four years. The ER doctor – who was absolutely fantastic and took a lot of time with us, answering questions, explaining the situation, we never felt rushed by her – made sure we were comfortable taking him home.
Two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been comfortable bringing him home after a day like that. I probably would’ve wanted a hospital admission, at least for the night. But it was a no-brainer on Sunday. Absolutely, we are comfortable, and absolutely, he should be able to rest and recover at home.
But I am exhausted.