Last week, I was about to leave the house to take Middle Dude to basketball practice, when Little Dude stopped me.
“Mom, I think you better take my temperature before you leave.”
I instinctively felt his head and knew he had a fever before I even put the thermometer in his mouth.
For most kids with a fever of 101.6, you’d feed them some Motrin, wait for the fever to go down and hope it’s not a sign of strep or something else.
But for a kid in treatment with low white counts, you don’t screw around.
I contacted the doctor on call, but I started to get my coat on because I knew he’d tell us to go straight to the ER.
I wasn’t panicking, mainly because Little Dude was acting fine and didn’t seem like he was in any distress. I think it helps to be a little clueless too, which I was.
When we were seen at the ER and I told them about the low white counts, they told me that in the future, I should not wait in the waiting room at all and Little Dude would be ushered to a private room immediately. A kid with low white counts should not be exposed to all the hacking coughs and God knows what else in a Bronx emergency room. I felt guilty about being so uninformed, but luckily it didn’t cause any other problems.
The doctor told us to expect to stay in the hospital for a few days, to make sure he did not have an infection brewing and to also wait until his white counts went up. I’ll stay in the hospital with my Little Dude for as long as he needs, but that chair next to the patient bed, which unfolds into a “bed”? All I can say is, who the hell thinks that thing is even remotely comfortable? I may as well have slept on the floor, because I think it is softer than that chair-bed thing. I was convinced I was going to need to be checked in as a patient needing treatment for bed sores and a lifetime commitment to visiting a chiropractor after one night on that torture-sleeper. Oh and as if the bed-chair wasn’t bad enough, they couldn’t seem to locate any pillows for us.
Even though we had a private room, we could not escape the noise because we were right outside the nurse’s station. Every time a patient called for the nurse, we’d hear this high-pitched whine over the speaker, that seemed to be located right next to my head.
I slept a grand total of maybe ten minutes that first night.
Despite the hard chair-bed, the lack of pillow, and the incessant nurse call button siren-sound, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the care. Once again, the doctors, nurses, aides — all excellent.
The best part of all was the fact that Little Dude’s white counts shot up into the 2,000 range (after being at 0) after our second night there and his fever was gone. So, I only had to endure two nights on that evil chair and they gladly sent us home.
Apparently, these unexpected hospital stays are not uncommon for kids in treatment, and everyone seemed pretty surprised we had not been there as an in-patient before this time. We are in the home stretch of treatments so we’re keeping fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again. But if it does, I’ve got one very aware smart dude who will tell me I better take his temperature. And as for that dreaded sleeper-chair? I’ve got the inflatable aero bed packed just in case…
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