What seemed like a usual case of fever for Liam in the wee hours of Childrens’ Day worsened in a matter of hours when my helper called me urgently while I was at work, asking me to take Liam to the doctor when 2 rounds of paracetamol failed to bring his temperature down; and his lethargy got more worrying with the onset of swollen eyes.
It got a little disheartening when 2 clinics couldn’t accommodate our appointment despite offering to walk-in due to a shortage of doctors and a full waitlist of patients. In the end, I decided to do a walk-in to Liam’s birth paediatrician’s clinic at the hospital, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because there was only one patient in front of us.
Seeing that Liam ran a 39.4 degree celsius temperature, doc prescribed a flu swab test, suppository, and a blood test to be done immediately. Turns out that his white blood cells count and and c-reactive protein (for bacteria/inflammation) readings were ‘alarming toxic and off-the-charts’. She needed to treat him immediately via Intravenous antibiotics and ordered for admission to the hospital that very evening for a minimum stay of 5 days until they could figure out a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.
While seeing to the admission and updating my helper to start packing stuff for the night and dinner for Ollie as he was with us at the hospital, I couldn’t fight back those tears. After all the last time we had to ward a 6-days-old Liam proved to be a distressing affair. The husband chided me for being “silly” when I eventually burst out in tears, telling me that it was a good thing we came to the hospital so that our boy could get the immediate medical attention he needed….I knew he was right, yet I couldn’t help it.
Getting Liam to lie down and hold still while the doc inserted the Intravenous tube proved to be another heartbreaking affair. I felt useless for having to leave Liam alone with the doc and nurses while being told to step outside, yet on hindsight it was necessary to get the job done quickly. It pained me to see Liam whinge and tear as he kept requesting me to carry him and bring him to the car (to take him home), with promises of how he’ll be a good boy. And it absolutely broke me to keep declining him. My emotions got in the way of explaining why we needed to get him well first before we could go back home and I ended up spending the next 3 hours cuddling him on the hospital bed – him atop me – as he refused to touch the hospital bed. It didn’t help that the hospital was out of single-warded rooms and there was a 3-day wait list. We ended up spending the night sharing the ward with another younger boy whose cries sounded just as heartbreaking. Thank goodness for the Peppa Pig episode on “the hospital” which finally getting Liam to lie on the hospital bed on his own while I quickly washed up for the night. Back home, the husband was caring for little Ollie who was also running a cold and recovering from a prolonged cough.
By the next morning, Liam’s fever subsided a little. He looked a little more alert and was starting to have appetite for milk and food…until doc told him that he had to go for an X-ray test during her morning visit. It was hilarious seeing him enter the X-ray room with trepidation, but a dose of humour on my part helped. Our little champ then struck his best pose and asked if it was cute enough.
We were so grateful that the hospital had a single suite to transfer us to by noon. Friends & family also came by bearing snacks for me, gifts for Liam, and well-wishes. It was nice to have some company and also sneak out to have lunch with the family while the husband took over to be with Liam for a bit. It was also heartening to see Liam break into plentiful smiles and laughter as his cousin Callum and bff Ash-ash came by to play with him. Later that evening, we were informed that Liam was responding well to the meds but needed another round of blood test to determine if the white blood cells and c-reactive protein levels improved.
We got a little optimistic on day 3 and thought that perhaps we could get an early discharged but unfortunately Liam’s blood test results were not down to doc’s ideal levels and he had to be further observed. I was also starting to get cabin fever being cooped in the hospital for 4 nights with poor sleep and worried about work since there were a few ongoing campaigns. And then the cheeky little mister decided to keep playing with the hospital bed buttons, adjusting the bed to all sorts of weird transformations that I had to tell him off in an unkind manner…
Our little boy could finally be discharged on day 5 with his white blood cells resuming to normal/acceptable range while his c-reactive protein needed more work via oral antibiotic and a follow-up visit. The first thing he did was to remind his papa about the promise to buy him ANY Thomas the Train Track Master series the moment he was well enough to go home. And so our 3-year-old reminded his papa about 20 times (what a nag :p)! And of course the first stop we had to take our little man to was toy land:
I’m the sort of parent who will try to self-manage my kids’ fever (especially the common low-grade ones) whenever possible because running to the doc too many times previously have proved to be futile especially when there’s nothing much they can do except to prescribe paracetamol/ibuprofen and ask us to monitor. But after this experience, I’m definitely going to pay more attention to high-grade fevers.