throat cultures, nose swabs and x-rays, oh my

We have one very sick little Bumby.

We have been the super-germ house all winter, but it really took a turn for the worse on Tuesday.  I was on the phone on Tuesday morning, and Bumby fell asleep with his head on my lap. When he woke up an hour later, he picked his little baby head up, and I freaked out. The whole side of his face that had been in contact with my legs was covered in a rash, and he was ON FIRE. We rushed him to the pediatrician. When we got there he was covered in hives and had a fever of 104.7.  Long story short, he got blood taken, a urine sample (he did NOT like the catheter), Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and two big shots of antibiotics in his legs. His white blood count was off the charts (35 — I don’t know what. 3500? 35,000?  Who knows.  All I know is that his pediatrician looked positively rattled and used the word “invidious” to describe his illness) and he could barely breathe he was so congested.  With that kind of white blood count there was some kind of infection, probably a UTI or pneumonia.  When his urine came back negative, we went in for chest x-rays, and sure enough, he had pneumonia.

But is that the end of the story? Oh no.  He was also severely dehydrated from the fever.  The doctor took the urine sample at about noon, and he just didn’t have a wet diaper after that. The hours ticked by, and his diaper stayed dry.  We kept him on Tylenol and Motrin around the clock to keep the fever down, and force-fed him water with a medicine syringe. He really didn’t want it, and kept spitting it out, until Boo gave it to him. When he swallowed, she went crazy. She danced around, clapped, shouted YAY YAY over and over until he got a big smile. Then she did it again. He got more enthusiastic about drinking the water as she celebrated more and more, until he started clapping for himself with each sip.  At 9:45 pm, after getting him to drink 3 oz. of water a teaspoon at a time, he wet his diaper.  I nursed him and put him to bed.

We gave him Tylenol and Motrin at regular intervals all night, and I nursed him each time he woke to keep the fluids up.  Wednesday when he woke up, he seemed better. I took him for a check up and another shot of antibiotics, and he was relatively cheerful.  Then he got worse. And worse. By 4pm he was feverish and covered in hives again. Back to the pediatrician for more bloodwork and Benadryl.  His white count was nearly cut in half, but the high fever and rash were a mystery.  We decided to keep him hydrated and watch him overnight.

Thursday morning at 5:45, his fever was back up to 103 and he was sobbing.  We’d had enough. We packed him up, got my mother in law to stay with the big kids, and headed to the ER.  An entire day of testing ensued. His lungs looked much better, his white count was still going down, but he was still a very sick little boy. They decided to do a throat culture even though babies very rarely get strep, and they did a nasal swab for viruses. The nasal swab took 4 hours to come back, but finally we had an answer. In addition to the pneumonia, he had two viruses. One is like a common cold, but the other is much worse — it causes rashes, high fever, body aches, chills, you name it. So even though we had the pneumonia under control, this virus was causing him to have high fever and hives.

So he’s drinking water, taking antibiotics for the pneumonia, and resting. Last night for the first time in weeks, he went to sleep without fussing and slept 10 hours straight. He ate 1/4 of my bagel and half a napkin for breakfast, and is now napping.  He’s in much better spirits today but still stuffy and gets tired easily.

All of this is going on while we are selling our house. We have showings scheduled all weekend, so we have to keep leaving the house empty for a half hour here and there and keep it spotlessly clean.  If you have never had a teenager, just imagine trying to get one to keep their room spotless for a couple of weeks while you sell your house. It’s been…. challenging. Our realtor had to come over and make everyone’s beds yesterday when we rushed off to the ER.

I finally feel like we are on the mend — Bumby is recovering, the house is clean and ready to go — and I look down at my hands. My left hand is covered in a rash, and I can feel it breaking out on my back and under my bra. Here we go again.


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