C got sprung from the hospital late this morning. He is sort of a basket case because duh. But he is on the mend.
Right before he got the IV yesterday a nurse threw an orange hospital gown on the bed for him. The temporary ID placed on his ankle had orange on it and I was already on edge (yes, I have a thing. A phobia as it were, about orange). I looked the nurse right in the eye and asked her for another color. I apologized, explained I knew it was crazy, but I couldn’t bear to touch my kid if he was wearing an orange hospital gown. I did not share that I knew something terrible would happen if he wore it. She was so cool about the whole thing. But very early on I felt uneasy about our hospital trip.
The boring medical details. Sorry, it’s relevant this time: he got some fancy nose swab that identifies exactly what viruses a person is rocking. The stomach bug that landed him in the hospital New Years Eve is out of his system, but he currently has two viruses, both RSV and corona. One of them is pretty mild in adults and severe in kids under two. They both are cold viruses and the colds can lead to respiratory problems. He’s got a wicked cough and his lungs were sounding a little fuzzy. According to the Family Practice nurse practitioner’s reading of the x-ray performed on C he had pneumonia. Last night after he’d had a course of intravenous antibiotics he got another set of x-rays at the hospital. The upshot is he certainly doesn’t have bacterial pneumonia. The films at the hospital looked clear. They said he might have viral pneumonia (x-rays aren’t conclusive), he might have viral bronchitis, they aren’t really sure. The attending today told us if he’d seen our boy in a clinic he would have treated him at home rather than hospitalizing.
My heart sank. Did we do the wrong thing by brining him back? Hospitalizing opens him up to so many other risks. There was a flu outbreak on our floor. C and I have had our flu shots (and we got Z one today), but some of the kids who had the flu in the hospital also had the vaccine. I explained to the attending (Who was not at all being an ass–in fact he gave us his cell phone number and told us to call him if anything happened on the drive home. Can you fucking believe that?) that the nurse practitioner said the same thing-but she said she was concerned about the many problems he’d had over the last month and that we were getting ready for a long car ride, so she thought we should be safe rather than sorry. He said he totally got her reasoning.
But I don’t know. I don’t know. The attending, who we immediately trusted and who spend a lot of time with us making us comfortable didn’t know. The Nurse Practitioner didn’t know the correct course of treatment, but made a judgement call based on what she did know.
Sometimes things are cut and dry. On Monday C had a stomach bug. He needed IV fluids. He wouldn’t pee even after he’d tons of fluids. He needed to be admitted overnight. They still don’t know why he wouldn’t pee for so long, they don’t know exactly what made him sick-they didn’t do the nose swab that time.
The medical professionals we’ve dealt with to a person have been trustworthy, informative, and kind. But I’m still getting used to the fact that they are not gods. They don’t know everything. They might never know exactly what is going on with my kid or what the right thing to do is. I guess this might be obvious to most parents, but with my crippling fear of authority comes an assumption that authority knows everything always. I have a sick kid? They will fix it. They will agree with what is wrong with him. They will make everything better.
I need to grow up for the sake of my boys. Doctors are not gods. Medicine is as much as an art and guessing game is it is a science. But now I’m playing the guessing game myself. Should we have kept C home? Should we have insisted on a x-ray in the emergency department before being admitted? Did we do more harm than good by bringing him to the hospital?
Z and I are exhausted. Classes start a week from Monday and Z really needs to get back to Syracuse. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the wonderful trip to the Bed and Breakfast a couple of weeks ago. More than anything we want C to be well. I am terrified this latest trip might make him worse by exposing him to something worse. I know the hospital staff take precautions not to spread illness. But I’m still second guessing myself. Three and a half years into this parenting gig and I am constantly reminded I have no fucking clue as to what I’m doing. Most of the time it isn’t big stuff. But when it is the big stuff, when the health of my child is involved it is terrifying. I want to do right by him. I want to protect him.
I guess the best way to do that is to accept that there won’t always be easy answers. The professionals won’t always know what is wrong or what the right course of action is. Getting hung up on the fact that it isn’t fair that we can’t magically discover what is wrong with our kids is stunted and ridiculous. Yes, perhaps it is time to grow up.
Maybe it was a mistake to admit him to the hospital. Maybe it wasn’t. But we did the best we could. He is getting better. And now we need to get to sleep so we can start the drive home tomorrow.