Like a lot of families the last month or so has been filled with runny noses, teary eyes sore throats and coughs. After quite a few visits to both the pediatrician’s office for the babies and urgent care for us parents, the causes varied from ear infections, colds and allergies. So it came to no surprise or alarm when our 7-month-old had a slight fever of 100.8 Sunday before last. However, we did decide to forego his scheduled immunization at his well child visit the next morning as a precaution. As projected his visit earned him a clean bill of health, both physically and developmentally. No fever, no ear infection, no cough. Hallelujah.
Our Wednesday morning routine started about 6:30 a.m. when my husband went to get baby boy. I love that baby, he sleeps all night and isn’t one for a whole bunch of whining unless he’s hungry. But this day would prove to be anything but routine. Upon entering his room my husband found our son’s face full of mucus surrounding his nose and mouth, warm to the touch and struggling to breath. He cleaned him up, took off his pajamas and brought him to me. “Something’s not right,” he said as he regurgitated his findings. We decided to call the pediatrician’s office, which I now have memorized and were greeted with their phone message reminding us there office doesn’t open until 8:30 a.m. Baby G seems so sleepy, he lays on my husbands chest and falls back to sleep and so do we.
By 8 a.m., it’s time to wake the princess for pre-school. I am convinced this is the quickest hour of my day. Wash up, clothes, hair, breakfast, teeth and we are one our way. When I return Baby G is still sleeping, which he sometimes does until his sister returns at noon. I retract my earlier statement because her preschool time is definitely the quickest three hours known to man. After picking her up and watching she and her daddy run down the street trying to get her kite to take flight, it’s time to call the doctor’s office again. My baby, now unable to lift his head is totally lethargic, other than his heavy panting and moving chest he appears almost lifeless.
We pack up and drive the one-mile familiar route to the pediatrician’s office for what we thought would be a “routine” sick child visit. When they call his name, the whole family marches towards the patient rooms and exchange pleasantries with nurses, who have now become familiar faces. And so the “routine” begins, update on symptoms, thermometer and weight check. To no surprise he has a fever. It’s 101.5. Our wait is short and after a brief physical it is determined to try a breathing treatment, run some blood tests and reassess. During the breathing treatment my daughter looks at me and asks “is my brother going to die?” I reassure her that’s not going to happen and will figure out where she even heard about death at a later time. A quick check of his heart rate turns our situation critical.
Cardiac Arrhythmia has our son’s heart beating a whopping 255 beats per minute; normal range is 140-160. We are ushered to the trauma room and told that doctors will have to perform a procedure to simulate a drowning in hopes of reducing his rate heart. As they describe to us in seconds what the procedure entails I doubt either of our hearts beat; but they definitely sunk. Within seconds what appears to be a 10-pound bag of ice with water is placed over our infant son’s face as he lay flat kicking for his life. They say it’s for about 20 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. My son, my baby is laying on a table with three adults holding him down trying to drown him. He panics, he kicks and waves his arms and for the first time all day, I hear him crying. And I cry. I’m scared my son will die. I’m mad I can’t stop this. I’m concerned my daughter is watching. I’m in denial because we were just flying kites. And then my son’s body stops moving and I can’t move either. I’ve never been so helpless in all my life. They remove the bag, dry his face and hand me my son.
He’s a little upset, but happy to see us. Within minutes he shoots a short smile and while doctors scramble to get us admitted to the local hospital for further tests; he’s hungry. My tears have stopped, my heart is once again beating. I look to the right and my 6-foot, strong, broad shouldered husband begins to cry. He realizes we could have lost of our son, his heir. He’s silent, but the tears keep rolling. I understand.
After a battery of tests, our son is diagnosed with SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia) a general term that refers to any rapid heart rhythm originating above the ventricular tissue. A diagnosis I am still very uncomfortable with. Neither of us are convinced this is the root of issue and are convinced a virus of some sort is to blame.
Within an hour of being discharged our son begins to pant yet again and spikes a fever. OMG, I can’t go through this again. At this moment as many the last few days we are reminded how awesome it is to know God. My brother-in-law, also a Pastor has come to visit his nephew and holds him as we feed him ice chips and reduce his fever. His heart slows down and we already know here comes another sleepless night. My husband is in full fix it mode. Straight to Lowes, air filters in every room, kick out the dog and a new humidifier.
We beat down our pediatrician’s door the next a.m. and they ask for an X-Ray of our son’s chest. It reveals pneumonia is his left lung and my husband and I am relieved. Yes, relieved, pneumonia is treatable. Pneumonia, we’ve heard of. We can beat pneumonia. We are sent home with a nebulizer to use every four hours, more amoxicillin and a whole lot of hope.