This time of year germs are running rampant through all the schools and daycare’s. In my daily blog post entry from Monday, I went on a little rant about people touching babies & spreading germs, and this story is the main reason why. Last year unfortunately, we dealt with germs & illness the hard way. This is a post about when Emerson was hospitalized with RSV at 4 months old, during November 2017…
It initially started out as just a cold (runny nose, little cough), and not much more. But it persisted for quite a while. (A year later I don’t remember how long, but it was at least 3 weeks, maybe even four.) But since it was just a cold, there wasn’t much we could do for her, except a few “home remedies.” We held her while the shower steamed up the bathroom, she slept at an incline in her rock-n-play, we used the NoseFrida to suction all the excess snot out of her nose, and we bought a humidifier for the bedroom. We gave her Zarbee’s cough syrup for infants, and put Zarbee’s rub on her chest (like Vicks VapoRub for babies). But the cold persisted.
One Sunday (11/12/17), the cold got a little worse and she was super congested with a hoarse, wet cough. Then on that Thursday night, she threw up her last bottle of the night immediately after drinking it. She did the same thing the next morning, but had no other “symptoms” to be concerned with. Then Friday around lunch time, November 17, 2017, we got a call from daycare saying Emerson had a slight fever (only around 101 if I remember correctly), and she needed to be picked up. She had also thrown up again after her bottle. So we went to get her, and went straight to see our pediatrician/friend Abby at the doctor’s office.
When Abby saw her and did an exam on her, she was concerned with her oxygen levels, and how difficult it was for Emerson to breathe. She was also concerned about her getting dehydrated, since she was throwing up every thing she drank. So by 5pm that afternoon, Emerson was being admitted to the hospital. Emerson had blood work, a nasal swab, chest x-rays, and was put on IV fluids. She was also given a breathing treatment. They monitored her closely that Friday night, with lots of visits from nurses & doctors, and she had a blood-oxygen monitor attached to her big toe.
The next day (Saturday, 11/18/17), they officially diagnosed Emerson with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV. Basically, it’s an upper respiratory viral infection. Adults and even older children can easily handle it, but tiny babies usually cannot, although it is relatively common for babies her age (she was 4 months old then) at this time of the year. Unfortunately though, it’s still just a virus, so there’s no real treatment for it, and it just has to “run it’s course.” The main concern with Emerson was her difficulty breathing (oxygen levels), and potential dehydration (since she couldn’t keep anything down), plus her size (she was below the 1st percentile), and young age. Saturday continued to be a rough day, with another breathing treatment, some more throwing up, and not much drinking on Emerson’s part. We had lots of sweet family come & visit us, to love on our precious baby girl.
By Sunday (11/19/17), she was starting to get a little bit better. She started finally drinking some on her own (small bottles of Pedialyte & formula mixed together), and kept it down starting Saturday night. The doctor then decreased the amount of IV fluids she was getting, since she was keeping fluids down on her own. She had a few more albuterol breathing treatments thoughout the day, and her chest started clearing up. This sweet little girl was amazingly smiley & happy during this time! Everyone there loved her and enjoying taking care of her. The nurses on the pediatric floor at TMH are amazing!
By Monday (11/20/17), Emerson had continued improving and was doing so much better. Her cardiologist, Dr. Vining (who we love), had heard she was in the hospital, and he came by for a quick “unofficial” visit Monday morning to check on her, which I was very impressed with. One of my high school friends Callie, who is now a nurse at TMH, also stopped by for a little visit. Emerson was finally eating better & keeping everything down, and was taken completely off of the IV fluids. Late Monday afternoon, they discharged us and we got to go home after four days in the hospital.
Once we were finally discharged, we kept her out of school that Tuesday & Wednesday right before Thanksgiving that Thursday. We wanted to avoid daycare germs for as long as possible before sending her back, and I think that worked well for all of us. We needed those few extra days together at home, after the chaotic, exhausting, emotionally draining four days in the hospital.
She continued to by puny & pitiful for a while, and the cough & congestion lingered for another couple of months. We were also given a nebulizer (that looks like a panda bear) to do at-home breathing treatments as necessary, which we continued for a few weeks as well.
We had lots of amazing family come help out and visit us while we were in the hospital. Our Sunday School class brought us dinner & a snack basket. Family members came to just hold Emerson, or sit with her while she slept so we could get a quick meal from the hospital cafeteria, or stay with her while we ran home for a fresh change of clothes. Jeff’s parents kept Pretzel for us at their house from Friday through Tuesday. We got endless calls, texts, emails & Facebook comments from people checking on Emerson, and checking on us. And we were so very thankful and grateful for all of that. But of course we wish we wouldn’t have had to go through it at all!
So to finish off this post, and reiterate my rant from the other day… If you’re sick, or don’t feel well, or even just sneeze, please just don’t touch the baby. Little ones are so super susceptible to germs and illness, and it’s hard for their tiny bodies to fight it. RSV was very scary for us, and it took months (literally, like 2 months), for all the lingering side effects to finally disappear. Wash your hands frequently, keep sanitizer handy for those other times, but mostly just keep your germs to yourself. Thank you very much.