Andrew the dog · Baby

Ari, Weeks 14 and 15: Hospital Stay and Mini Road Trip

We’ve had another eventful couple of weeks! Ari’s 14th week was pleasant: on my days off, we went out with friends and took Andrew to the dog park, and he was a very nice little companion. On that Saturday, Reed College had a community celebration and we went to check it out. There were so many families with little kids and babies! There was a stage performance with a person (or two people?) dressed up as a giant dog with long, fluffy paper “hair” that looked like an even bigger version of Baker. It came down into the audience and Andrew – much to the amusement of the people around us – gave one very loud bark and then hid behind us while he kept an eye on it.

We played a nostalgic game of pool in the pool hall, handing Ari back and forth until A. decided he should hang out on the couch. I thought that was disgusting, but he insisted and I gave in. It did make for a cute picture:

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After that, I napped and then we spent a little time at a party at our neighbors’ house before I went to work. In retrospect, Ari had a lot of exposure to different germs that week.

I’ve been keeping my cell phone in my pocket at work since we had Ari, just in case A. needs to reach me. That night, I was gowned up in an isolation room when my phone started buzzing. I couldn’t answer, and I figured that if it was really important, whoever it was would call the hospital line. Then the phone out at the desk started ringing. No one answered, then it started ringing again. Then I was being called on the walkie talkie things we wear, and they said they thought it was my husband on the phone, so I left the patient’s room. A. started out with, “Ari’s okay, his vitals are stable, but…” They were in the emergency room. Our thermometer had said Ari’s temperature was 107.5 (with a couple of subsequent readings above 106). A. had called 911, and they’d had an ambulance ride to the hospital. Before they left, he had soaked Ari with cold water and given him tylenol, and when they got to the hospital his temp was 100.4. The doctors were doubtful that he ever really had such an extremely high fever, but they wanted to do the full workup. (Later, we compared our thermometer to theirs and ours consistently read one or two degrees higher, so he may have had a temperature of 104 or 105.) I thought, okay, A. is there, he’s stable, and I need to stay at work, but maybe I’ll have time to take a break and go say hi. But I told the charge nurse what was going on just in case I had to leave suddenly later on. Within a few minutes, however, I realized I couldn’t focus on my work, and the charge nurse was telling me she was dividing up my patients and she wanted me to go to the emergency room. I ran down there, and by the time I called her to check in, she had already called in a replacement for me. I went back to get my stuff, and then spent the rest of the night with my baby.

Before I went down there, he’d already been through the IV start, blood draws, urinary catheterization for a urine sample, and a chest x-ray. Right after I got there we went for a CT scan (with the same unhappy transporter I’d accompanied with my patient going to CT a few days before) and he handled it very well, sucking on his pacifier and then spitting it out and grinning. But I felt awful about exposing him to the radiation. Everything just moved so fast with no discussion about whether any of it really had to be done. Then he had a lumbar puncture. They told me to sit down for that, and I sat there crying while it took the resident four tries to get it, and Ari was screaming like I had in labor, with two people holding him still (the nurse was practically lying on top of him – they kept saying how strong he was) and his heart rate over 200 on the monitor. It was horrible!! Then we had to stay for 48 hours until the cultures came back, with him on strong antibiotics just in case. He had a crib with metal bars and I slept in the fold-out sleeper chair next to him. A. went home and got some things for me, and I stayed that night, the next day and the next night, and the day after that, and then we went home. So much happened in those few days! A. was back and forth between the hospital, home, and work. We fretted about whether to keep the antibiotics going and Ari had a “red man” reaction to the vancomycin, turning bright red when it was infused too quickly. I talked to a resident on the phone in the middle of the second night and had it discontinued, which was not what the team of doctors who saw us in the mornings wanted but they didn’t complain too much because throughout the hospitalization Ari acted healthy and had no fevers.

In the emergency room, the doctors had noticed his eyes moving side to side constantly, which I’ve been aware of for weeks but assumed was just part of his visual development. I had recently been a little concerned about it, though, and I admitted that I wasn’t sure he tracks objects or sees my face very well. They had an opthalmologist see him, which meant several visits because first the resident and medical student saw him, then the attending came a few times. She called it “pendular nystagmus” and arranged for us to see a pediatric opthalmologist next week. She also ordered an MRI and – long story short – we decided not to have it done inpatient but have now decided to go ahead and do it outpatient.

I never wanted Ari to go through all this medical stuff so early! I think it’s great that my mom is a nurse and rarely took me or my brother to the doctor as kids, and I only took antibiotics maybe twice in my childhood. At night in the hospital I was sick with guilt and indecision about the CT scan, the lumbar puncture (how could I just sit there and let them keep hurting him while he was so distressed?), the antibiotics, and whether we should do the MRI (with the sedation and contrast dye involved). Ari was stressed and exhausted, too, and we spent a lot of time cuddling, which was nice. The night we discharged, we sat on the window seat holding Ari and playing Carcassone and just being a family and those were some happy moments. We also had the same wonderful nurse for two days, and one morning she held Ari so I could eat breakfast and we had a nice talk about being a nurse and being a mom. She helped us get discharged the last night when we decided not to do the MRI the next morning, and she gave us a beautiful baby quilt made by volunteers because she said Ari was “special” to her.

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So, there was no 14 Weeks posed picture of Ari because we were in the hospital!

After the hospital stay, I worked one night, then we took a little road trip for a very brief visit to my family, then back (with me napping in the car) in time for me to work two nights.

I think Ari might be starting to teethe, because we can feel some little bumps in his gums and he had a few particularly fussy days – or maybe he was just stressed from the hospitalization. In any case, now he will sometimes hold onto and chew his Sophie giraffe. During the one day we had at home, I left him in his swing with the giraffe. It squeaks, and I thought Andrew might try to take it, so I kept an eye on him when he got close, but he just licked Ari all over – his feet, then his hands, then his face. He’s a good dog!

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Here is a makeshift napping spot on the couch at my parents’ house:

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Here are some pictures my mom took:

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All of a sudden Ari is getting very busy with his activity gym (clearly he can see something). Today he was reaching out and touching all the little parts and grabbing the ring:

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Now – also all of a sudden! – it’s fall and it’s cold outside, so I bought Ari a puffy coat and a fleece jacket at the consignment store today. The coat is a little big, but maybe this way it will last through the winter:

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Jan gave Andrew this raincoat that was too small for Baker; isn’t it cute?

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For Ari’s 15 Weeks picture today, he did not want to stay still! Every time I sat him up, he scooted himself down like this, which I don’t think I’ve seen him do much before:

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He’s a busy guy!

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6 thoughts on “Ari, Weeks 14 and 15: Hospital Stay and Mini Road Trip

  1. Oh Jessica, reading about the lumbar puncture made my eyes wet! And the pictures of him with hospital tape all over his head, 😦
    So, thanks for the funny of picture of Andrew with the red coat, and the story of him barking at and hiding from the “dog”!

    1. Andrew, the comic relief! He’s been so good but he must be getting bored, because tonight he came running up from the basement looking kind of giddy, and I went down there and found stuffing from the guest bed mattress pad all over…

  2. LOL @ “an even bigger version of Baker”! Like it or not, our dogs are practically the same size. Except that one is an XXL and XL. So almost.

    Ari is a comic relief too! Whenever he sits up, it’s like he has fun “sliding” down. He must like it since he’s always smiling when he does it.

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