A visit to the ER...
Today we had a family appointment to get our flu shots. James worked from home so he could join, and we kept Andrew out of school for the day due to the timing of when the appointment was. It wouldn’t have made much sense for him to only be at school for about 2 hours in the afternoon.
All 3 kids were able to get the Flu Mist, which was a relief. I knew the girls could get it, but I thought Andrew was going to have to get a shot. It turns out the Flu Mist goes to age 17, so he was quite pleased to let everyone know that he could have it that way ‘for the next 12 years!’ He would have been a champ getting a needle, as he’s always been amazingly brave in the past, but if you don’t have to get one why would you, I’d do the mist too if I could! Although the shot was no big deal.
The girls did really well too, and then we came home and it was a little past their usual nap time so off they went to bed. They didn’t sleep as long as usual, but when they got up they didn’t really seem to want to do much. It’s not uncommon for them to have a little bit of a ‘wake up’ time where we just veg on the couch together and watch a little show while cuddling. Margaret in particular tends to like cuddles right after waking up from her nap, and sometimes (like today) she falls back asleep in my arms, curled up under the blanket. Today, Emily tucked herself under the blanket next to her sister and rested her head against me, which for her is a bit more unusual. She likes cuddles, but not the same way as Margaret, and usually she wakes up faster after nap time and is happy to even just sit by herself, or go play with some toys. But she was cuddling up, and I started kissing her cheek and noticed they were practically on fire and very red. She definitely had a fever. I told her so, and she said, ‘NO fever, Emmy FINE!’ LOL As if she even knows what a fever is. But she was quite clingy, which is not her usual way.
James went and picked up some children’s tylenol around 5pm and gave both girls some right away (Margaret was feeling warm by this point too). I had noticed a few red marks on one of her legs that looked like big bug bites or something. Just two, but they were fairly big and it did make me watch her a little closer, but I figured they weren’t anything really to worry about. She seemed fine otherwise. Then at dinner time we noticed she had little red dots on her back by her shoulders, some on her belly, and a few more on her legs. Emily still had a fever, and had one large red bump on one of her legs. I was wondering if it might be a reaction to the Flu Mist, although that seemed like an odd side effect, so I didn’t really think it had anything to do with that, but I DID worry it could be chicken pox. The kids have been immunized against it, but they’re not fully vaccinated for that till they are 5, so they still have one shot to go. I had a bad feeling about it and I wanted to know more, especially because I have to drop Andrew off at school tomorrow with the girls, I don’t have any other options, and if the girls are getting chicken pox I’m going to have to figure something out for drop off and pick up to avoid possibly affecting other kids. I decided to call the nurse help line to see what they thought.
I was put through to a registered nurse, and as soon as I described what the red bumps looked like, she said that it was hives, which is the sign of a SEVERE allergic reaction to the flu mist, and that I had to call 911 IMMEDIATELY because while Margaret (and Emily, too, given she was showing signs as well, although Margaret was obviously worse) seemed fine over all (at that point she was running around with her siblings laughing hysterically as Andrew chased her around in his Spiderman costume), she could literally suddenly stop breathing without any notice due to anaphylactic shock.
I was dumbfounded. I was anticipating hearing that we should give her some Benadryl maybe or that yes it might be chicken pox, keep her monitored, but I wasn’t expecting to hear, ‘Hang up and call 911 RIGHT NOW.’ !!! I was in shock. Basically the way she put it was that they might be fine and just need Benadryl or Tylenol or even nothing at all, but if we did nothing, or drove ourselves to the hospital, and suddenly she’s not breathing, what are we going to do? I was freaked out at the thought, so I called 911, even though a part of me just felt so weird doing so, and like it was over the top. My gut said Margaret wasn’t going to suddenly drop, but at the same time if I didn’t listen to the nurse and something happened, how could I live with myself?
It was such a bizarre experience, calling 911, immediately being put through to Ambulance Services, being talked through what we needed to do, etc. I’d never called 911 in my life so this was all new to me! The paramedics arrived about half an hour later, if that, and were very kind and listened to Margaret’s heartbeat and took a look at the bumps. They said they didn’t feel she was in a dire condition and doubted she was going to suddenly stop breathing given that her lungs sounded clear and she seemed to be doing well otherwise. They offered to drive us to the hospital in the Ambulance as they did still want us to go to Emergency to have the girls checked to be sure, as the rash was seriously enough to warrant needing looked at as obviously SOMETHING was causing it, whether it be the Flu Mist or something else. But they didn’t feel it was at all likely either girl was going to suddenly stop breathing, so we opted to drive them ourselves. I’d called my parents right after calling 911 and they thankfully were able to come over (and got to our place just as the Ambulance was arriving!) so they could stay with Andrew so we didn’t have to bring him to the hospital as well (sooooo grateful for that).
It’s really cold out so we got the girls bundled up and off we went. To them it was an adventure, confusing maybe as we never go out ‘that late’ (it was a little after 7:30pm - early to some, but that’s their bedtime!) so it was an experience in their eyes! And definitely too dramatic of one for this mama…
We got to the hospital and the girls were wanting bed time and bottles...but they were pretty good about staying distracted just with being pushed around in their stroller, or James carrying them around one at a time while I was going through the paperwork with the other. We actually got in not all that long after we got there, thankfully. It felt like forever in some ways, but it was nothing compared to usual ER wait times.
I can’t say I was super impressed with the doctor we saw, although I can’t pinpoint exactly why. I think he was a bit too nonchalant in his approach or something. He often said, ‘sort of thing’ at the end of a sentence - for example, ‘Were they born early and that sort of thing?’ and it maybe bugged me a bit, I can’t explain why…!! He checked both girls over, then pawed at his beard a bit and said, ‘Hmmm, interesting….She’s (pointing at Emily) got the fever, and the other one has the rash!’ (It is kind of interesting how they each seemed to have some symptoms that together would be something a bit easier to pinpoint!)
It turned out, as my gut told me, not to be something serious enough to worry they would suddenly stop breathing. But it might be chicken pox. It’s not really something we can know yet, as they apparently come on over the span of about 3 days, and if that’s the case this is the first day. But we’ll have to wait and see. Margaret does have a welt in her mouth that matches with the ones on her body, and is ‘normal’ with chicken pox. But it might just be a fluke and could be a reaction to something she ate or whatever (although she barely ate today and only had stuff that is normal for her, other than the flu mist…)
We’re no further ahead, BUT at least we have some peace of mind, as the health nurse kind of freaked me out. I don’t think I’d call 811 again any time soon, truthfully. It’s true, it’s better to be safe than sorry, but I also can’t imagine going through all of what we did tonight again unless I REALLY knew something wasn’t right. I don’t know why but I just can’t stand that I had to call 911 and that we had paramedics in our house, it feels so dramatic and ahhhh I just can’t stand it!!
So we’ll see what happens, hopefully the rash is a fluke and doesn’t get worse and the girls seem back to normal by morning. They were so happy to come home and go to bed. In the car on the way home I turned to them and said, ‘You can go to sleep now if you’d like, and Daddy and I can carry you to bed when we get home.’ Margaret took her bottle out of her mouth and said in her oh so sweet voice, ‘Thank you, Mommy.’ My kids just totally melt my heart!
(Just as an aside, the girls had the Flu Mist last year with no symptoms at all so it seems odd they’d suddenly have issues with it now. Also, I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t even give the girls Tylenol at the hospital, especially since they said Emily had a fever. But whatever, we gave them some when we got home, and they’ve been sleeping soundly, so hopefully they are on the mend and will be quick to heal.