Eventful Friday Night

What does it say about my four years as a mom when I tell you that Friday night was one of the scariest times yet? If nothing else, it shows that we have been incredibly fortunate with our children's health. One little Urgent Care visit and a whole lot of mommy anxiety is enough to be labeled 'the worst,' but I know how lucky we are. My heart aches for moms with chronically sick kids. I could barely handle one little scare.

I'll start at the very vague beginning of this very vague course of illness. I warn you that this just got shockingly long and detailed, probably because I'm trying to remember it all as I type. If you want the cliff notes version, basically Truman has Strep throat and Pneumonia. He's doing pretty well now. It was scary.

But for the details...

Almost two weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 30, Truman started to say, 'I just don't feel that good,' around dinner time. He did look a little glassy-eyed and I figured he was coming down with A Virus. You know the ones that come and go all year long, sometimes lasting forever and sometimes moving quickly? Yeah, the mysterious Virus that seems to get blamed for anything in our house.

He went to bed fairly early that night without any real symptoms other than 'feeling not good'. No fever, no cough, nothing. The next day he did seem a little warm but never had a temp more than 99.0. I still gave him Ibuprofen since he said he had the aches and it worked wonders---he was totally fine all day until the meds wore off.

He went to Lori's that Friday, and I told her I wasn't sure what was going on but Ibuprofen helped and he certainly didn't seem sick enough to stay home. No fever at all that day until the afternoon at Lori's, and even then it was just 99.0. She gave him meds and he was fine.

No issues that weekend. Happy, bouncing, energetic boy.

On Monday, Truman's sister started with a GI bug. Horribly watery diapers, a call to come and pick her up from daycare within an hour, and then she puked all over me three times in 45 minutes that night. Right before Truman's first soccer practice. Thank God for my in-laws or I'm not sure how I would have done it that night, since Nate doesn't get home until 7:30pm on Mondays. I took CC to the practice but left really early with my sick girl. Truman was totally fine and in heaven all day just thinking about soccer, and did great while there I'm told.

Tuesday: we laid low with Cecelia's issues (although no more nasty diapers!) and T seemed a little tired at times. I *think* this is when he first started coughing but honestly, it didn't phase me that much. He obviously had a touch of something the week before so a cold and a cough seemed 1000x better than his sister's 'rhea and general discontent. Other kids at daycare were also sick at this point, mostly with stomach bugs. That night both kids went to bed SUPER early and slept all night long. I figured they needed the rest and I did, too!

Wednesday: CC and Truman both did fine at Lori's, except CC had another sick diaper in the afternoon. Truman was 100% normal. That night Cecelia started begging for bed at 4:45pm and I finally gave in at 6pm. Which meant my boy and I had lots of time to snuggle on the couch together, make funny faces in the PhotoBooth app on the iPad, and we watched a ton of old Truman videos from when he was a baby.

Nate got home that night around 7:30 and tickled Truman, slightly lifting up his shirt. That's when we saw this on our boy: his first case of hives. They look awful, right?

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Of course, I sort of freaked out. Did he eat something new? Was he having a major allergic reaction to something? His clothes? Our couch? They didn't itch and Truman didn't even know they were there. Should we take him somewhere? I quickly texted Dizzy and we decided they HAD to be hives. Nate and I decided that we'd see what happened in the morning because he felt totally fine and apparently kids get hives pretty frequently (just not our kid). Sure enough, the next day they were totally gone. Still no real symptoms but I'm sure he had a cough at this point. I was starting to get incredibly anxious, wondering what was happening with my kids? First CC wants to sleep her face off and now T has hives? Combine this with a really tough day at work for me, and I was becoming emotionally spent and a littttttle cray cray by Wednesday. Like, woah.

Thursday was fine. Nate got off early, Truman was happy and playful and and we went to two playgrounds that day. I randomly noticed more hives on his lower back/butt but they were gone in less than an hour. Again, no itching. Hmmmmm. Sorry for the semi-crack shot. Is this one of those things when I can say, 'It's my blog, so I can show you the top of Truman's butt if I want to?'

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Thursday night he was horribly tired and fell asleep on the couch at 6:30pm---totally not normal for him. So again, my mind went into overdrive thinking he was obviously fighting something off. But also, we've been having super physically active days outside and no naps means sleeping hard at night, anyway. And hives can be for no real reason, says Dr. Google. Or from 'A Virus'. Ah, the old 'Is my kid sick enough to warrant medical attention' question. Such a big, gray-area part of parenting for me and I always second-guess myself to death.

Friday: Tony watched the kids for me since Lori was off. Both kids woke up kind of cranky and I felt like they both seemed out of sorts. Maybe a little warm, but fever not above 99.1 for either child. I gave them both ibuprofen in case they were achey and fighting something off (A Virus??), and went to work. My stomach was a mess all day, enough said about that. Blech.

The day was fine for Tony, Truman didn't nap and was happy but low-energy most of the day. When I got home around 3pm, Truman just looked sick to me. His eyes had that glaze about them and he seemed extra clingy to me. All he wanted to to was lay on the couch. Once his sister finally woke up from her nap (which have been longer and earlier than usual, combined with super early bed times ?!?!? ) I realized she was totally fine and bouncing off the walls. Truman, however, didn't seem right to me. Anxiety in overdrive yet again.

I noticed a few red splotches on his chin, cheeks, and around his eyes at 4:00. He fell asleep for a bit and woke up with puffy eyes...and that cough! I started to freak out a bit, thinking maybe this was a true allergic reaction now and frantically texted Nate asking if I should go and buy some Benadryl. We decided that yes, it couldn't hurt, so I had Tony come back up from working on the basement and reinstated his shift of watching the kids while I ran over to Walgreens. Upon seeing Truman after being downstairs for about an hour, Tony said, 'Oh my gosh, I can barely recognize him!' That was scary to hear but affirming because I was hoping that I wasn't just overreacting. I felt like things were changing quickly and Tony agreed.

Both Nate and I got home around 6:00pm. We gave Truman his first ever Benadryl and wavered about taking him to Urgent Care. I really struggled with this one: he's never been to Urgent Care before, I knew he'd be scared, it would take forever, and figured they would tell me all of these vague symptoms were Just A Virus. We took his temp again and it was 102--the highest it's ever been for our boy. We waited a bit to see if the Benadryl helped and it definitely did not. All our boy wanted to do was lay down, he still had red splotches on his face, and felt hot.

Immediately I decided that enough was enough. Sure, a trip to Urgent care at 7pm on a Friday would not be fun and maybe they'd tell me it was nothing. But now that he had a true fever, facial hives, AND felt so awful all of a sudden? I couldn't stop thinking of the worst case scenarios. Especially in light of the numerous sad stories of children's lives instantly changing lately....I knew my decision was made by my little, hot, glassy-eyed boy. He was crying and said he was too scared to go to the doctor, but I assured him I'd be right with him. And there would be no shots. I held my breath as I said that because I wasn't totally sure what they'd do for T, but I knew he had to go.

CC wasn't happy to see me leave, but Nate stayed back with her as I carried Truman to the van around 7:15pm. We decided to go to the Children's Hospital Urgent Care, which is less than 5 minutes from our house, and we never even knew they had an after-hours clinic until Nate Googled it minutes before. I am so, so, SO glad we went there.

Parking was chaos and I had to carry my 42 pound boy from a garage, outside, to the clinics building, and through a maze of hallways that were really not labeled all that well. Eventually we found Urgent Care and the lady informed me there was an hour wait, although the waiting room was basically empty, because 'we only have one doctor on staff tonight.' Fantastic.

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It was 7:30pm when we checked in, which is Truman's bedtime. Combined with the Benadryl? He was exhausted and couldn't even sit up in the waiting room.

"I just want to rest all over, mommy."

"What hurts, buddy? Your throat? Your tummy? Your head? Do you ache? What can Mommy do to help you?"

As always he just kind of whined at all of those options, saying 'no--I just don't feel good.' He kept laying down and I wasn't sure I wanted him to sleep---it just seemed so scary to see my boy looking this miserable and I SWORE his breathing seemed incredibly shallow all of a sudden. I texted Nate saying I was feeling super anxious as I watched him sleep---like something major was going on. He assured me that it was good to let him rest, so I tried to remain calm. I wondered how we looked to the other families that slowly started trickling in, because it sure felt like Truman looked AWFUL compared to the rest of the kids there.

Is there anything scarier than feeling the helplessness as a mom with a sick child? I know this is a common bond between all of us moms, and I know we all struggle with deciding how much/what type of sickness warrants medical care. But I was really feeling alone and scared right about now, wondering if I'd missed something and he should have come in a lot sooner.

Exactly one hour later, they called us back to the room. The nurse asked questions and could tell that Truman wasn't doing so well since he still couldn't sit upright. His temp was still 102, his heart rate was 145, and she said the doctor would be in soon.

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Around 8:45pm, the doctor arrived and she blew me away by how thorough she was with us, and how concerned she was for my boy. Not an ounce of 'it's probably just a virus, go home and watch/wait,' was uttered from her mouth. I showed her pictures of the hives that started about 48 hours ago, told her about the low grade fevers that would come and go for the past week, and how he really truly felt FINE overall until this evening. I mean, he's been tired and had a cough, but stuff is going around. And yet, his first hives and first 'high' fever combined with all of these vague symptoms? Definitely concerning and the doctor agreed it all seemed very odd.

She said she wanted to swab him for Strep, even though this was far from the classic presentation. I had asked Truman a million times if his throat hurt over the past week and he always said it didn't. The doc said his throat was 'a little red' and that Strep is running rampant right now, so she'd like to check. She also said his breathing seemed a little shallow and she couldn't quite hear his left lung too well, so she wanted to test his oxygen levels to make sure something wasn't happening to his respiratory system.

Please God, just let them find something. Let us get a diagnosis so we can make Truman better.

The rapid strep test was horrible, as expected, but the doc was quick and amazingly efficient. And a green popsicle was had after the trauma. First smiles of the night!
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But still really sick.
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While we waited on those results, the nurse came in for the pulse ox test and I saw the numbers ranging from 92-96% at the most. I figured that was probably alright since the standard for adults is over 90% before we get worried in the healthcare setting.

Truman and I discussed the Daniel Tiger episode when he is sick, but Truman reminded me that Daniel didn't have to go to the hospital and wait so much. We talked about the little room, the pretty paintings, and how we were going to have the doctor help us find out what was wrong. Then go home. Truman was very adamant that we would go home soon.

The doctor came back in and said the rapid strep was positive (!!) but even more concerning was his low oxygenation. She said that part was sort of shocking, and since she couldn't hear his lungs too well she wanted a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. I asked if the hives could be related to Strep and or Pneumonia and apparently Strep can cause hives, yes. Strep can also (rarely) cause Pneumonia, which would make sense in Truman's case. But if the X-ray didn't show pneumonia, the doc said she would be even more concerned that this was a severe reaction to the Strep and could require Albuterol and maybe an ER visit to regulate his breathing. She said he sounded very tight and the more we were talking about his breathing, the more I realized that he was absolutely breathing more shallow.

I was happy to have a Strep diagnosis, but still cannot believe that his throat isn't sore, because when I had Strep for Truman's birthday I felt like knives were in my throat! The nurse offered to get us a dose of Ibuprofen before we headed down to Radiology and she also asked if I wanted a wheelchair to push him down there. I was beyond relieved for her thoughtfulness because there is no way this nearly 32 week belly could hold Truman across the hospital again. It was challenging enough just having him lay on my lap throughout our time there, since my lap is slowly disappearing.

We got the meds, put Truman in the largest/saddest wheelchair ever, and I tried to navigate my way through the empty/dark hospital at 9:15pm. My boy was perking up right away with the meds and although he was scared of the wheelchair at first, he kind of liked it by the end of our tour. I noticed the kids' artwork throughout the hospital and started feeling heartbroken for parents that spend many nights in Children's Hospital, just praying for health and healing for their babes. I simply cannot imagine the toll that must take and I couldn't stop thanking God for (relatively) healthy children.

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Nobody was at the Radiology desk and it was pretty dark, so I had to call the front desk to ask for someone. A tech did come, and so did a little girl in another crazy-big wheelchair who looked like she must be a patient from the floor. Her parents were with her and I wondered what type of X-ray she needed so late at night, and whether you ever get used to 'letting go' of your children and trusting in the doctors to figure it all out. Even just seeing my little boy in that big chair, clutching his monkey and puppy, holding my purse and his sweatshirt, it was so sad. And we were the lucky ones from Urgent Care, not staying on the floors.

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It was Truman's turn, and the nice tech talked up the X-ray like it was no big deal. Which was good, because all I was thinking about was Truman's chest x-ray he had at 11 months old. It included sitting on a tiny bicycle seat, two hard plastic shells that held his arms over head and held him still, and a LOT of hysterical crying from both me and Truman. I will never forget that one, but apparently being 4 years old instead of 11 months really helps things. I went in to the room to get him situated but the tech said, 'Since mommy has a baby inside she will have to step out when we take the pictures,' and Truman was surprisingly alright with that. So brave. I heard him tell the techs that, 'I'm only four years old, you know,' when they told him he was doing an awesome job taking a deep breath. Bursting with pride for my boy right then. He got 6 stickers from the tech, and decided that the 'babyish' ones would be for his sister and the Smurfs/Ninja Turtles would be a great addition to his tee shirt.

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I wandered around back to Urgent Care and could tell Truman was feeling a lot better by now. He was actually walking around the room this time, smiling, and we were singing 'Ice Cutters' together (i.e. Frozen Hearts from the movie Frozen, duh). The sweet nurse brought Truman another orange popsicle just because she was so happy to see him better. It was past 10pm at this point and they were supposed to be closed, but I'm guessing they have to stay late a LOT.

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The doctor popped in and said 'It REALLY looks like pneumonia, but I'm waiting for the Radiologist to rule out anything more major.' Cue the prayers that it was 'just' pneumonia because how scary to think of the other options with a chest X-ray?

Eventually the doctor did come back in and said, 'Yep, it's pneumonia. He is just unlucky enough to have both Strep and Pneumonia at the same time.' Thank God (?). She showed us the X-ray and I was shocked at how bad it looked! It was definitely not difficult to see and I commented that it looked really awful, but she assured me that it was just the bottom left lobe of his lung and lobar pneumonia can happen because of Strep. And hives can happen because of strep. So it all made sense, but was still concerning to think that he hadn't even started antibiotics and was already having a sort of allergic reaction to the illness itself.

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She said she wanted to prescribe Amoxicllin and I told her Truman has been on it twice before--once for an ear infection at 6 months, and once for suspected pneumonia at that year mark. No issues for those episodes, so that was her pick. Cue the prayers to modern medicine creators, thanking them for such amazing drugs that will hopefully heal my boy.

Our pharmacy was closed, since it was almost 10:30pm at this point, so the doctor had the great idea of just giving him the first dose in the office and sending us on our way, to fill the rest of the prescription in the morning. I was happy to avoid another trip to a pharmacy and more waiting, and Truman was just pumped to go home. He was even able to walk to the van this time, and I held his hand extra tight as we ventured out into the night together. My little boy was going to be okay, after scaring his mama. To see him smile and walk and interact with me could not have been a better gift at this point in the night. I gave him lots of kisses and 'I love you's on that walk.

We got home at 10:40pm and Nate was nearly sleeping on the couch, but was happy to see us--aware of what had happened with constant texts from the concerned mama. We did a brief bedtime for Truman, who was very tired again (rightfully so!), but not before Truman told Nate all about the nice doctor and the chest X-ray and the two popsicles he got. And the two stickers he brought home for his sister;)

I slept horribly last night although I was scary-exhausted. Around 1 am I woke up to Truman coughing and I didn't go back to bed until after 3 am. He coughed for a solid hour and every time I went in to offer him water/check on him, he refused. CC also cried out at least twice that night and was up for the day at 6 am. As always.

Truman slept until 9:30 am on Saturday (today), and seemed to feel pretty normal. No fever at first, but he has been getting more hives and they are itchy this time. His cough sounds horrible but he has decent energy, is taking the medication, and eating/drinking well. We had to convince him that playing at a playground for just a little bit would be MORE than enough activity for him, because I don't want him to overdo it and pay for it later. My sweet boy is such a trooper. It's great to see him smile and laugh again. He did get a 99.1 degree fever just now and I gave him meds like the doctor said we could do. I sure do hope these meds stop the hives and fever soon---she said give it 48 hours.

Sometimes I think that having a mom who is a healthcare provider is a good thing for Truman since I don't worry about the little sicknesses too much. But then again, I think this also makes me more of a head case as a mom, expecting the worst possible things to happen since I've seen a lot of horrible illnesses over the years. I know we HAVE to get better about forcing hand washing out the wazoo---like every.single.time he is going to touch food, he needs to wash his hands with soap and water. We all need to do something differently because this calendar year has been record-breakingly awful. It has just been one thing after the other starting in January and no other winter has been this bad before. Ugh.

I'm worried that Cecelia might have a sneaky case of strep, because Truman didn't really have symptoms and neither does she. Except that she is tired, cranky, and not eating that well. The constant, 'Is my kid really sick, or just kicking a bug?' questions are in full force yet again. I might get her swabbed for Strep just to ease my mind. And oh yeah, my stomach is also messed up and I'm fairly miserable, very pregnant, and crazy tired. Therefore I am laying on the couch typing this when I WANT to be outside enjoying the nice weather, but it's just not happening. We are a hot mess of a family over here, guys!

I need to take care of myself, I know, and stop questioning whether I missed earlier cues that something was really wrong with Truman. Hindsight is always 20/20 and in my heart I know he didn't take a turn until yesterday, and then I finally DID make the right call by taking him in. But still. I just cannot believe he has both Strep and Pneumonia, with fluctuating hives and fluctuating fevers. Craziness.

It could be so much worse.

Praying the antibiotics do their trick and Truman continues to feel better each day.


  1. Oh man! I totally understand that horrible feeling in your gut when your baby's sick. Poor mama.

  2. Poor little man, so happy it wasn't anything too serious!

  3. Oh man, even though I was hearing about this as it was happening, it was even worse to read it all at once like this!! I would have reacted the same way - and it does seem like a good idea to get CC checked too just in case. Hope the antibiotics work quick!! And that you feel better soon too... Not a fun way to spend Mother's Day weekend :(

  4. Just a gentle reminder from a seasoned .. i.e. OLD mom. strep looks different in many people. My daughter never ran a fever, never had a sore throat.. but would have a very flushed face and very tired. We found this out by accident(brother had strep.. so they swapped her.. just because)...I got better at diagnosing her.. and gladly paid the co pay.. and insisted they test her... even when they said she had no classic symptoms.. 99% I was right.. phew.. glad everything turned out o.k.. and I love antibiotics.. !

  5. So scary! Poor guy. Glad he seems to be on the upswing now. Isn't the life of a healthcare professional/parent so tricky to navigate?! As a pharmacist and professional worrier, I tend to think worst case scenarios and constantly second guess myself. My son had a 105.3 fever once, which was my scariest and most helpless moment yet as a mom, so reading your story brought me right back to our trip to the ER for Grant. Get well soon, Truman! Hope you and Cece feel back to normal quickly, too.

  6. Praying for a speedy return to full health for BOTH of your babies!!

    My "baby" (He'll be 30 in July!! HOW did that happen?!) had strep a few times as a child. He NEVER once presented with a sore - or even red - throat. His symptoms were always GI related. Our pediatrician told us there is a certain percentage of cases that present "different" symptomatology with strep. My little guy was one of those. And I'll never forget the late night trek to the children's hospital with a 4 year old burning up with fever due to...pneumonia!

    Scary, scary times when our babies are sick! (Yes...even now that he's almost 30!!)

  7. Wow. This is so scary. And isn't it crazy how you can begin to think "Thank god," for things like pneumonia. It all really gets put in perspective. We ended up in the ER on Christmas Day and so much of what you wrote was like that experience. So scary, but some amazing healthcare providers who truly showed my little man (and us), that they cared.

    I hope Mr. T is feeling more like himself soon.

  8. I totally know how you feel as a healthcare worker and not worrying as much but you hear crazy stories all the time. Glad he's on the way to recovery!

  9. My son also had strep and only complained of his ear hurting. But he did have a rash too and a high temp. The strep infection was the sickest he has ever been (he is 2 1/2). Glad T is feeling better. It is definitely so scary when they are sick.

  10. That would be so scary. It is hard to determine when to "freak out" because they do have so many little bugs. Glad he is hopefully on the medn.

  11. Yikes! As a mom, it is so hard to know what's exactly going on with our kids - especially when they can't talk or describe in exact terms what they feel like. I, too, question when I'm jumping the gun by rushing my kids to the doctor or when I should just wait it out as another cold/virus. Scariest part of parenting for sure. Hope both kids are feeling better soon!

  12. Poor, poor T - these pics just break my heart! I just want to give him a big hug. I feel so thankful I haven't had to go through anything like this with Henry or Ben, at least not yet. Cannot imagine how scary it must be. It's such an awful feeling just to have a sick kid at home, let alone at the hospital! Good job, mama, and I'm glad he's on the upswing now. May he and C stay healthy healthy healthy!!

  13. Oh man! Poor Truman. Kid Sickness is the Absolute worst. It's so hard to decide if you are over reacting, or under reacting. I always feel like I must have made the wrong decision somewhere down the line but our doctor is always so great at saying that I did the right thing. Thank Goodness for that! You totally made all the right calls. I can't imagine as a 31 week pregnant momma, carrying my 35 lb Henry around the hospital! good call on the wheel chair.

  14. so so so scary! glad he seems to be on the up and up. and also, how did you foster such sweetness in your boy that even in scary/sick times, he's thinking about bringing stickers home for his sister?

  15. I really feel for you. This sounds like a very scary situation. I am really glad that I have my mom and big sister living very close to my apartment. They've helped to get me through some really scary times with my little one. It is really a frightening feeling to know that something is wrong with your baby.

    Farrah Greenough @ U.S. HealthWorks West Sacramento

  16. I really feel for you. This sounds like a very scary situation. I am really glad that I have my mom and big sister living very close to my apartment. They've helped to get me through some really scary times with my little one. It is really a frightening feeling to know that something is wrong with your baby.

    Farrah Greenough @ US Health Works West-Sacramento-Center


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