Saturday (and Friday and Sunday) night fever

After never having been to the doctor for anything more serious than grabbing her ear or falling over from a sitting position (neither of which came to anything), Maddi ended up spending two days of the last seven in the ER.

After her MMR shot, which was administered a month late because of scheduling (or rather lack thereof) issues, our wee one seemed “off” but otherwise fine. A week and a half later, I took her to one of our local portrait studios to have her 1-year-old picture taken (again, scheduling issues!). Normally, Maddi loves to have her picture taken and is delighted to bestow smiles and coquettish looks upon perfect strangers. We have ample photographic evidence that this baby is not camera shy.

So it should have clued me in to the fact that something was wrong when we could not get a single, solitary shot of Maddi doing anything other than crying and trying to crawl back to Mommy. But I just chalked it up to her needing a nap. I’d noticed she was hot, but chalked that up to her right top molar, which was roughly plowing through her angry red gum tissue.

But over the next 24 hours, it became apparent that it wasn’t an issue of teething at all. The standard dose of Tylenol failed to soothe our suddenly fussy little girl, and not only was she avoiding chewy food, but just about all food and drink save applesauce.

Her temperature gradually got higher and higher, until it hit 104 on Monday. Chris and I raced to the emergency room, where Maddi was quickly given a bed and some blood tests to rule out infection. Ultimately, she turned out to be OK. Her fever came down after a larger dose of Tylenol than we’d been giving her (the dosage instructions on the box are needlessly conservative) and her bloodwork and urinalysis came back fine. The conclusion was that she had either a virus or a bad reaction to the MMR shot. Either way, we were to bring the fever down with Tylenol and lukewarm baths.

Her fever broke after the ER visit and all seemed fine, but then on Thursday, we were in the ER again. Maddi had continued to eat perhaps 300 grams of applesauce a day and push her sippy cup away no matter what drink was offered. The result was three pee diapers in a 24-hour period. I could have waited for it to get more serious before taking her in, I suppose, but then again we’re talking about a person who took a baby in because said baby fell backward from sitting and hit her head hard on the floor.

Again we went to emergency and again, Maddi was swiftly admitted. Unlike her previous visit, she had nothing to offer for the urine collection bag, so blood tests were required. She had gobs of the dermal analgesic EMLA applied to the insides of her elbows for blood draws and the tops of her hands for IV insertion, if needed. Stick-on patches of clear plastic were appied over the EMLA, which kept the wee one occupied during the long hours as she tried every which way to remove them.

Finally, the results of the blood test came back — she was slightly dehydrated, but not enough to require intravenous fluids. The ER doc gave me a pair of syringes with which to force water down Maddi’s reluctant throat, and we were discharged. Having eaten nothing all day and operating on three hours’ sleep (and similar amounts for the last several nights), I drove home and plopped Maddi in her high chair for some applesauce, only to notice that the adhesive patches over the EMLA on her hands were still on.

And then, as I removed them, I realized with horror that during the 20-minute car ride, she had chewed entirely through one of the patches and apparently slurped up every last bit of the analgesic. I called the hospital, got the name of the analgesic, and was connected to emergency where their ever-so-bright operator told me that because EMLA is topical and absorbs from the skin into the bloodstream, it should be as harmless inside as out. Which would be true … if the GI tract were covered in skin and not the gastric mucosa, which is far more efficient at absorbing medications than is the dermis. Just to be sure, I checked online, where nearly every source I read said that EMLA, and I quote, “can be toxic if ingested.” Gee, thanks, ER lady. Guesses based on faulty science are the perfect way to deal with babies swallowing controlled medications.

So I called poison control, as any thinking person might do if their baby had swallowed a fair amount of lidocaine, and what do you know? Even based on her small dose, which the operator thought was probably not enough to harm her (but only after asking me how much was applied and how long it had been on her skin), Maddi had to be watched from 4:30 until 6 p.m. to make sure she didn’t exhibit any symptoms like twitching or turning blue around the mouth. I was also told, ironically, not to give her anything to eat or drink that evening except for water, because her stomach was likely numb.

And that’s how I got 10 years taken off my lifespan in the course of a few days.

Other than that, Maddi’s doing fine. She’s almost back to normal now, except for needing an extra nap and a watchful eye on her fluids. She’s walking a little more every day, although she still exhibits no desire to give up crawling until she can run. And she’s got even more words under her belt.

Recent words include “get,” “bread” (a very frequently used word now!), “car,” “bear” (said in an ever-so-cute growling voice!), and “bubbles.” She also finally says “baseball” independently when she sees a game on the TV in Chris’ office. If she doesn’t know the name of what she wants, she points and says “dat.” All told, she speaks 50 words now — not counting the ones I seem to invariably forget. About two weeks ago, she put together her first absolutely undisputable three-word sentence: “Bye-bye, Nana car.” Up until now, I’ve thought I’ve heard things such as “I’m gonna read” and “Go see Daddy” but questioned my sanity; however, this sentence was so clear there was no mistaking my ears.

In a followup to last post, Maddi is still on soy milk. Since she doesn’t like it as much as cow’s milk and thus doesn’t drink much of it, it’s not clear whether she was vomiting because of an allergy or because of overindulgence, but what is clear is that she hasn’t been barfing up soy milk. We’ll retry milk in a few months, but in the meanwhile, the only dairy she’s getting is cheese and yogurt, which have never bothered her.

And here is Maddi earlier this week, enjoying her first trip to the lakeshore with Mommy and big sister Kaija.

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