Of RSV, VSD and UMC

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Do you ever feel like you are crisis-hopping?

Since Julianna was born, that’s all we’ve been doing. We kept thinking things would settle down once we got home from the hospital, once we got past the specialists’ visits, once Alex got used to sharing the spotlight.

But around the first of March Alex came down with bronchitis. We groaned and hobbled our way through four horrific nights of wheezing, crying and waking every hour (plus the two night nursings), and thought OK, this is it, we’ve hit the worst, it’ll get better now. But then he woke up better one morning—well, with a horrible cold instead of a wheeze—and Christian and I promptly succumbed to the bad cold.

And then, last Wednesday, Julianna started coughing. We went to the doctor, who said it’s a virus, and it may get worse before it gets better, just keep pumping to keep your milk supply up and let her rest, yada yada.

That worked until Sunday morning, when we landed in the hospital at UMC with a positive blood test for RSV. First we thought it was just for observation overnight…she has a VSD (a hole between the lower chambers of her heart), and so they didn’t want her heart to be strained by the breathing issues.

Her oxygen was good, and she nursed well till midnight, when she was too tired to nurse. At 2:08a.m. she woke me up coughing and wailing, and the nurses descended. She had a 103 fever. Then it was IV and catheter and blood draws and arguments between Pediatrics and Family Practice about whether she needed a spinal tap, and I thought, oh Lordy, it just can’t get any worse.

But it did. At 7 a.m. they woke me up and said we were going to the ICU. “Step-down” status only, they assured me, just in case. And they sent me home to rest.

No sooner had I gotten home than the phone rang, and it was a ventilator and a feeding tube. Oh God, it just can’t get any worse.

Christian left work and took up residence in the ICU, so I stayed home with Alex. Along about 2 in the afternoon the army of medics told Christian that she was going to be in the hospital for perhaps as long as three weeks. It was the last straw. Surely, surely there was nowhere to go but up!

Then, last night, I got a sinus infection.
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Last Saturday afternoon I had reached the point where I was refusing to ask God for help. I was sending some pretty vitriolic thoughts Heaven-ward, let me tell you. “Every time I ask you for help, you sick bastard, you send me something ELSE to deal with! Fine! I’m not going to talk to you anymore, then!”

At urgent care on the way to the hospital, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe it’s not God who keeps sending more and more for us to deal with. Maybe it’s the Devil instead. At any rate, a person of faith can’t keep screaming at God for too long. It shakes the whole foundation of what keeps you going.

And today (Tuesday) the news is better at last. Chest X ray looks “better,” they are steadily weaning her off the oxygen and the ventilator, and she’s holding her own.

And maybe…just maybe…when this is all over, and our beautiful baby girl is back at home where her brother can love on her (and lay on her, and bounce her till I cringe, and run toy trucks up and down her body)….just maybe, things will settle down at last.

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6 thoughts on “Of RSV, VSD and UMC

  1. RSV and VSD sounds like my life a little less than 13 years ago. A rough road – reading through your article it’s amazing how similar everything goes.
    Now, look at her!

  2. You are never given more than you can carry-congratulations on your little ray of sunshine-the nurse in me likes to read this the mother in me loves to feel my heart clench and tears well up in my own eyes as I remember many mothers similar to you planted bedside.

    • The staff of the PICU was amazing. They were our lifesavers through these experiences. I hope I never have to make use of their expertise & care again…but I’m so grateful I had them!

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