Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Strength and where it comes from

Unfortunately my first post in weeks is not a positive one.  We are once again dealing with the dreaded P word: pneumonia.  Yes Tera is currently suffering from pneumonia for the fourth time in 14 months and this one has thrown us for a loop.  The symptoms were all out of order from our past experiences and it came on much, much faster this time.  A week ago Monday she started with a cough, the congestion didn't hit until Wednesday and she started running a fever, Wednesday night she was up almost every hour, got a bloody nose, and then threw up three times the next morning.  Thursday the doctor said it was just a virus, Friday she slept almost all day and ran a fever on and off and threw up again, Friday night at around 1am her fever spiked to 104 and we took her to the ER.

Just before she was transferred
to the hospital
While in the ER we had to convince them this was more than just a cold and high fever and after a chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia, we had to deal with fluctuating oxygen levels.  We had almost convinced the doctor to let her go home instead of being admitted when her oxygen dropped to around 86% for about an hour.  At that point we had to admit she needed further monitoring and they transferred her (and I) to a hospital (we were at an acute care center) to be admitted.  We ended up with the same doctor who oversaw her care back in June and who knew we were anxious to get her out of there. 

They'd already ruled out the flu, RSV, a UTI, and confirmed that her lungs sounded clearer.  She had already gotten a 24 hour dose of antibiotic and several nebulizer treatments along with fluids and the initial dose of the dreaded prednisolone.  After about five hours the doctor told us that her oxygen levels had remained relatively constant and that we could finally take her home.  

Saturday night was calm, Sunday she was more tired than usual but definitely better.  Then Monday came and it went downhill.  She was very lethargic, cranky on and off, had little appetite and was very un-Tera like.  I had an appointment with the pediatrician and the pulmonologist as follow ups to this weekend and neither had great news.  The pediatrician suspected not only pneumonia, but bronchiolitis, a sinus infection, and possible ear infection.  Her oxygen was at first back into the 80's but whether it was a false read or a just a fluctuating level, it went up to 94 before we left.  Then at the pulmon

ologist's office it read 86 and then only went up to 91 at which point he informed me it was okay to go home, but if it had read 86 again, we'd be going back to the hospital.

I hadn't been able to shower all day because she wouldn't let me put her down and I felt like my arm was going to fall off and my back was going to completely give out.  I made some calls on my way home to let people know the update and was surprisingly calm as I gave my mom all the new information.  The whole day I had felt I was teetering on the edge of completely losing it.  I had come close a couple of times over the weekend as the total loss of sleep, stress, worry, and agony at watching my baby be stuck by needles and held down for yet another test took its toll on me, but Tom reminded me that it wasn't the time to lose it and I didn't.  Monday I was coming close again and I realized that I am strong enough to do this.  I kept telling myself that I wasn't, but really when it comes down to it, I don't have a choice.  I know that I don't have to be strong all the time, but I have to be when it comes to Tera.  I can't fall apart when she needs me and when Tom needs me to be his partner through all of this.

When she was feeling a little better
on Sunday (with the help of a cookie)
So I will be strong.  I was raised by a strong woman who, while she may have fallen apart in private, never let anything get in the way of taking care of me and my sisters.  She did what had to be done and so will I.  I had to tell myself that even though it can be easier, giving in to the emotions doesn't fix anything and it doesn't take care of my daughter for me.  So where does my strength come from? It comes from my family, my friends, my husband, my daughter, and my knowledge from past experiences that I can handle this.

Today seems to be the first day that there is noticeable improvement.  I try not to be overly optimistic or pessimistic when it comes to Tera's health so I won't say she's all better because she's not.  I'm still very worried she'll get worse before she gets better, I'm worried somebody is missing something and it isn't being treated, I'm worried it will take her a long time to completely recover from this, I'm worried that she'll get sick again with something else before she completely kicks this because her immune system has been working so hard, I'm worried her oxygen is low and we don't know it, I'm worried when we send her back to daycare it will be too soon and she'll have to come home again, and I'm worried about a million other things like how we're going to get her into the ENT to take care of the ear situation and when we'll get her into the endocrinologist to have her thyroid checked.

These are the things that I think about all day that cause me to be utterly exhausted at the end of it even though the worst of this seems to have passed.  And these are the things that threaten my strength.  When that happens I look at all the many, many posts from family and friends on Facebook reminding me we have a rock solid support system full of people who offer repeatedly to help in any way they can. I am reminded over and over by the amazing people I work with who ask about her and how she's doing and are so genuinely concerned for her health and our well being as a family.  These are the things I use to re-gather my strength when I feel it slipping so that I can help my sweet girl through this and so that as she gets older she can grow up to be strong too.  

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