June 22, 2010
We are now in the fifth day of a hospital stay for an unknown illness. Finding a diagnosis has been complicated by the inability of Lauren to tell us how she feels. After numerous blood tests, four chest x-rays, and a CAT scan, we finally received an answer late yesterday – pneumonia.
Yesterday was increasingly scary as Lauren was pasty pale, wouldn’t eat and was so very tired, sleeping all day. By six o’clock in the evening I was getting a little panicky. She was just so deeply asleep. She’s never like that. It took the nurse and I a good five minutes to get her eyelids to flutter. But, her vitals were all good. She must just be exhausted. About 8:30PM she woke up and ate a container of yogurt. An hour later she was back to sleep.
Today she seems brighter and stronger but still tired. Me, too. Of course, it doesn’t help that the garbage bins in the room must be noisily emptied at seven in the morning, while we are both still sleeping, after a night interrupted by vitals checks, diaper changes, and coughing. But that is the norm for a hospital stay – it’s often a terrible place to be sick. Thankfully, Lauren was put in pediatrics by the kind doctor who admitted us. It is quieter here and the nursing more understanding and available. It has not been a terrible place to be but has felt safe and supportive through the many uncertainties we have encountered in the last few days.
The trend toward using hospitalists during hospital stays, rather than your own primary doctor ,results in many, many recitations of Lauren’s history. We’ve seen four pediatricians and three infectious disease doctors in the last five days. Of course, Lauren is an interesting subject to them with her very rare disorder. I’m usually pretty good at doing a concise and pertinent history, but my stressed and sleep-deprived self is having a hard time wrapping her tongue around the various technical terms that describe Lauren’s many challenges. I’ve been having these “out of body” type experiences where I know I’m mixing up the words in the sentence, but have no idea how to unjumble them to form a coherent thought. I was able to get a few decent hours of sleep last night, crawling into bed with Lauren at one point rather that jumping up and down from my cot to check on coughs and moans and fever. So, today I am able to put these few sentences together to let you know that it looks like we may, at last, be improving, and now just need to reach the point when the doctors feel it is safe for Lauren to return home.