Monday, September 19, 2011

Sleepless in Puteri Pediatric Ward

7 September. Our 1.5 yr old Darren had been on Augmentin for a cough and fever for 3 days but didn't seem to get better. Fever still came back. But he was still rather active. But that evening after his nap, he was just sitting on my lap, almost panting, and inactive. When Darren is inactive, something is amiss.

At 11pm, we brought him to Puteri Specialist Hospital after a GP's advice. This was our first experience as parents, admitting our child in a hospital. Strangely, I wasn't as freaked out as I would have been if it was my first child. I was rather relaxed, positive and excited. But what followed after we went into the A&E ward did tear my maternal heartstrings a bit.

We had to strip him and a nurse whisked him away to bring down his temperature by PUTTING HIM UNDER A TAP OF RUNNING COLD WATER. They say they do this to prevent fever fits. He was also quickly given the fever suppository.

Then barely dried, we had to do a chest X-ray by holding him down on the cold hard table. The husband held down his thighs, while I held onto his arms and shoulders. Both of us wearing some protective HEAVY bulletproof apron. This took less than 5 minutes. I was expecting to see an x-ray film but everything is digital now!

We went back to the A&E ward where the doctor diagnosed pneumonia. Mild, beginning stages. Consolidation in the lungs present, that means the cloudy area in his lungs.

Now they had to insert the intravenous line into his little hand. How do they do this to a conscious screaming wrestling child? I had no idea because they drew the curtain and ordered us to stay out. After what felt like days, we got to hold him, and his little bandaged IV-ed hand. No, it's not over. He has to get the neb. And he hated it. The nebulizer mask is known to inflict fear, hatred and trauma to toddlers. I know the fear part because at one point during administration, amidst his cries and screams, he muttered 'Scared'. Oh my heart sank. This is the hardest part of being a mother. You know your job is to protect your child from what he fears, yet in this situation, you can't stop it because it's for his own good.

The drama was over. We went up to the Peads Ward and checked into the High Dependency Unit. It was midnight and both of us were still wide-eyed reeling from the thrill. The husband brought me the lazy chair provided by the hospital, and I told him to go home. Darren's fever had gone down since and was back in action. BACK IN ACTION TILL 2AM! He had no problems falling asleep on his new crib, whereas I had problems falling asleep on a non-bed, in sub-zero temperature, dry air and no quilt.

So, for 2 nights, he was back in action, on antibiotics, fever-free, 4 hourly nebs... whereas I was zombified, dehydrated and delirious.


We went home on Friday. And then, I was down. The baton is in my hands.


Ellen Yeo said...

Drink more water, LY!!

p.s. Darren is already making monkey faces, good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Ally. Hope your boy had recovered now.


Linda L said...

Ally I just noticed how old this post is, so my observation may be a lesson already learned, but maybe for other new parents.

First, I'm sorry you had to go through this. When one of my sons was about the same age the hospital needed an x-ray with contrast which meant IV. I still carry the guilt, and he has two older brothers so I felt I should have known. The tech was trying to get a full size needle into his little vein. Normally he wouldn't have even cried. The Doc came in and verbally slammed her against the wall. All I could think was, "Why didn't I stop her?"

The last thing you need to do is beat yourself up over it.
As a well known celebrity says, "When you know better, you do better." What I learned was there is no way after that I would ever let them take my child or kick me out other than surgery in the OR. Taking that stance does come with a responsibility. Medical staff has a job to do and it's going to be easier with the parents out of the room. However as long as you remain calm and say/do things to keep your child calm they can't force you out. Just don't start the conversation from a lioness protecting her cub point unless they escalate.

This is just my opinion, but for what it's worth, I'm 70+ years old, raised 3 boys and helped with 2 grandchildren. Guess what? You will appreciate learning the skill to stand up. It comes full circle. I'm now facing who I refer to as the "Dr. Gods--doctors who think they are. I know my body (back then, my son's) and I will decide what I will allow you to do and when you will do it. When you are very young or elderly medical staff tend in general to assume you are brainless.

Keep in mind, there are always exceptions, but stand your ground if you think something isn't right.

A major lesson we learn as parents that can be uncomfortable when we are not accustomed to challenging authority but useful down the road.

Best of luck to all parents who have to encounter this. Stand your ground!