Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Least Awesome Day of My Life, or First ER Visit

Millie had a terrible incident recently.  She spent the morning with her father (he even took her to Mommy and Me dance!), but when we reunited in the afternoon, she acted extremely out of sorts.

Within an hour, her legs swelled up and hardened.  She stopped walking.  The swelling spread to her fingers.  She was obviously in desperate pain, which broke my heart.

With great concern, we rushed her to the pediatrician, who advised us she probably had a clot and needed to go to the ER of Primary Children's Hospital immediately.  Worst drive of my life, our first trip to the emergency room for a child.

It didn't get much better there -- doctors looked her over, murmured amongst themselves, then rushed out of the room to put face masks on.  Apparently there was concern of meningitis.  After hours of testing, she was diagnosed with HSP, a vascular disease caused by a renegade virus that causes her blood vessels to leak fluid, causing swelling, particularly in the lower extremities.

The support staff at the hospital was phenomenal, bringing her any movie she wanted, blowing bubbles with her while they inserted the IV, even offering her pink nail polish.  Doctors prescribed pain killers and sent us home late that night, suggesting the symptoms would improve within weeks.  We were naturally relieved, considering the alternatives, though we were sad she was hurting so badly.

Another layer of despair as a parent was watching how heartbroken Sophie was that her little sister was so sick.  She visited at the hospital for a brief time, and I've never seen a little human so maturely concerned for a loved one.  Millie was still pretty overwhelmed when Sophie arrived, but calmed with her sister near.  It was a sweet, powerful moment.

A few days later, we heard from her pediatrician, who had so thoughtfully checked in on her situation with doctors while we were in the hospital.  We aren't home free, he advised -- half of HSP kids end up with serious kidney problems.  For the next number of months, we'll take Millie in for urine and blood pressure testing every other week to make sure her kidneys are functioning properly.

She isn't quite her jolly old self, but getting closer.  Neighbors have come to visit and check in on her and bring her cards and gifts.  The Mommy Trauma of the suggestion that my little one might be in serious straights was so heavy, I've had serious trouble shaking it.  Definitely makes me grateful.

This was the only light moment of the night, when we were told she could return home.  I honestly don't know how she mustered this moment, really.  This was the least awesome day of my life.