Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Things not so great.
Just back from the hospital. Ruairi and Sausage are spending their second night in while they continue to monitor him. General prognosis is that there's probably nothing badly wrong - but it's still very frightening to have your 6 week old baby lying there – surrounded by all that clinicalness with a huge IV jutting out of his tiny, perfect pink hand.
We've all had this bug for the last few weeks. Charlie came down first - high temperature, sniffles, nasty barking cough, feeling generally miserable. Took him about 10 days to get through it - by which stage Lily had it, of course. Leona and I have been feeling more than a little off - but you just keep going.
Inevitable that Ruairi would pick it up. He was running a low grade fever for the back end of last week. Got him into the doctor on Saturday morning for a once over. Everything fine. Over the weekend he just seemed to slow down - but still wasn't what you'd call desperately ill. Monday, the fever spiked up pretty high and he’d lost his appetite, so Tuesday saw him back at the doctor's office for another check.
Again: probably just the same virus, so sent home with instructions not to worry unless his temperature topped 39°.
A little after dinner, Tuesday night, pottering about the house and checking his forehead every time I passed his bassinet in the kitchen.
He was getting noticeably hotter.
Checked him: 39.5°
I bundled him into the car seat and off through fresh snow to the late night paediatric clinic up on the Danforth. Got there at 8:50 – it closes at 9:00. As I walked up to the glass double doors, the receptionist walked up from the inside, smiled, and bolted them.
Heated words through layers of glass. I’m embarrassed, still, but have to admit this is the closest I’ve come in a long time to physical violence. I guess she figured opening the door was a little quicker than calling the cops to drag me away, or something…
Inside. Last doctor in the place gladly agreed to see him, of course (despite the charming Ms. Jobsworth’s hopes of getting off early. No Hippocratic oath for admin staff).
The paediatrician started talking to me in that curious abstract-but-concerned doctorspeak you sometimes hear.
“Well, you know, what we like to do when they’re this young…is just be as cautious as we can be….you know…we’d typically refer the baby to the hospital and run a few routine tests, just to be on the safe side, of course…”
I snapped clear. She’s talking about MY baby. She’s on the phone to Toronto East General, referring him to the paediatrician on call. What? But he just has a nasty cold…
She’s back: “OK, so we’ll just keep him in for a couple of days – do a spinal tap, you know…”
I remember calling home on the way to the hospital – Sausage and I both holding back the tears, the fear. I couldn’t tell her the spinal tap bit. Too much cold terror in those two small words.
Leona made hasty arrangements with friends and was able to head in to meet me at the hospital. Thank God for Claudine & Doug, Thamason & Joshua - true friends in the best and worst of times.
She arrived just as they were getting him prepped for his tests: blood work, a catheter for the urine sample, and the spinal fluid. We had to leave the room for this stuff – probably just as well. But I’m not sure the pain of waiting is better than watching.
Long night. An hour just to get the IV in – lost count of the number of attempts to thread his teeny vein for the saline/dextrose/antibiotic drip. At least I got to hold him all through this, and whisper words that soothed me somewhat, even if he hardly knew.
Home at 3:00 this morning, up at 7:00 with C&L – hungry for Cheerios.
So now we wait. We spent most of today holding him or at his side. His temperature’s down, but we won’t know what it is until tomorrow at the earliest.
All we can do is hold him. Pray. Try not to freak out, or freak Charlie and Lily out. Put our trust in the wonderful doctors and nurses of TEGH, including his almost legendary paediatrician, Dr. Duke.
Updates as and when I can.