Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hospital Adventures (part 2)

How did Caleb end up hospitalized again in December?

Although he had been completely fine the day before, Caleb woke up on St. Nicholas Day not feeling well.  I normally don't take the kids into the doctor until they have been sick for awhile to give their immune system a chance to fight it off before resorting to drugs.  However, this time I felt he needed to get seen without delay so despite the fact it was a Sunday (meaning his normal doctor wasn't in), I had my husband take him in to the quick care clinic to get checked out.

He had minimal symptoms - just didn't feel well, had a low grade fever (99.3) and had a slightly sore throat - but his heart rate was in the 130s.  Unfortunately, he got seen by a PA who TOTALLY missed the ball!  She diagnosed him with dehydration.  She said Americans just don't drink enough water, drink too much soda, and we live at such a high altitude here it's easy to get dehydrated.  She didn't bother to actually get a real history on Caleb.  If she had, she would have learned our family does NOT drink soda AT ALL, and that Caleb drinks MANY glasses of water throughout the day.  As far as altitude, 940 feet above see level isn't generally considered high altitude!  Caleb's daddy said he wished I had been there to deal with the PA myself.  I would have told her she needed to figure out what was really wrong with my child instead of making an assumption based on habits of the general American public.

As the day went on Caleb continued to decline significantly.  He became completely lethargic, wouldn't eat at all, his fever climbed to over 103, and his heart rate climbed into the 160s.  I gave him ibuprofen which helped reduce his fever and heart rate a bit, though they were still above normal (heart rate dropped to 140s), and I watched him like a hawk all through the night until I could get him in to see his normal doctor the next morning.

Thankfully his normal doctor, though full of patients, not only saw him but also ordered lab work, an EKG, and a chest x-ray.  He determined he was definitely NOT dehydrated!  The chest x-ray showed the possible beginning of pneumonia (exact wording from radiology report was "suspected early or ill-defined infiltrate apical segment left lower lobe").  He wasn't even coughing, and his lungs sounded clear.  There was no clear explanation for his high heart rate, so off to the ER we went.

There was never a clear explanation for Caleb's high heart rate.  He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but it was a mild case that really shouldn't have caused his heart rate to increase that much.  In fact, it was caught so early it was barely visible on the x-ray (multiple doctors said they didn't really see it themselves).  He did have to stay in the hospital for awhile, but eventually they let him go with the promise of close follow-up with his primary care doctor (the hospital also followed up with phone calls to us as well).  However, with a diagnosis of pneumonia, though mild, and a high heart rate we couldn't go anywhere to enjoy any Christmas festivities, not to mention the fact illness started spreading through the rest of the family as well.

There's always next year...

(Oh, and we'll be following up on Caleb's heart rate issues with a visit to a pediatric cardiologist soon.)

Hanging out in the ER.  
Just waiting to be admitted to a real room in the hospital.
Heart rate of 158 during the middle of the night while sleeping.  It would spike even higher in the daytime.

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