Life After the Second Line

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Damn it

We'd been doing so well. Nearly ten months had passed since P, the second twin to graduate from the NICU, had come home from the hospital. We hadn't had to so much as see the doctor for anything more than your everyday, run-of-the-mill sniffles. Until Wednesday, that is.

On Wednesday, I noticed that P had developed a bit of a cough in addition to the runny nose she'd had for the previous couple days. E had been sick for a week and a half -- bronchitis, it turned out -- and had been on antibiotics since the previous Friday. He was feeling great by that point, but I wasn't surprised to see P finally coming down with the same thing. I called the pediatrician and reported that P had all the same symptoms E had exibited when he first started to get sick. The doctor said this happens to just about all of his twins, and said he'd go ahead and call in a prescription for P on the assumption that she'd contracted E's virus. If she didn't seem to be getting any better by Friday, he'd go ahead and see her. We didn't make it that far. By Wednesday night, P had a terrible, awful cough and was wheezing with every breath she took. I called the after hours number and reported the new symptoms. Not surprisingly, the doctor wanted me to bring her down to the ER, just to be checked out.

Right. Four hours later, when four rounds of breathing treatments hadn't made a dent, she was admitted to the hospital. I kept trying to remind myself that this wasn't the same as before, that she was sick, yes, but no longer a 33 week preemie with immature lungs. Still, I couldn't shake all the NICU flashbacks, nor the knot in my stomach and the voice in the back of my head telling me we were probably checking in for the next seven weeks, just like the first time. It was awful -- especially when they told me she needed oxygen and taped that damn nasal cannula to her face. Fucking cannula. I saw enough of that thing last April through June to last a lifetime.

Early Thursday morning, we got a diagnosis. Pneumonia in both lungs. The doctor said it had probably progressed more quickly than it would have in most other babies because P's lungs had undergone so much stress during her first few months of life, leaving her immune system not quite up to par and her lungs particularly vulnerable.

Anyway, long story short, we're home now, and P is doing much better. She didn't come home on oxygen this time -- WHOOOOOHOOOO! A good friend of mine who works at the hospital had already explained to me how differnet things would be this time. When I told her how long it had taken P to be weaned off the oxygen last summer and how they'd had to lower it in such tiny increments, she said, "Oh, they won't do it that way this time. They'll probably just come in and shut it off altogether and see how she does." She was right, and thankfully, P did great. She'd just needed a little help for 48 hours or so. We are still doing breathing treatments at home though, and that will go on through Monday at least. No biggie. Hopefully, when we go back to the doctor on Tuesday she'll get a clean bill of health. Or mostly clean, anyway. Anyone know how long it typically takes pneumonia to run its course?

So, there you have it. Another April, another hospital admission. But next year is going to be our year. I can feel it.

3 Comments:

  • Oh, man, that must have been so scary. I'm so sorry it gave you flashbacks to last year. But also glad to know that the experience was considerably different.

    Poor P, hope she gets to feeling much better soon!

    By Blogger Dee, at 7:57 PM  

  • Wow Heather. How scary. I'm so glad P is doing better and is at home.

    By Anonymous B, at 1:24 PM  

  • Hi. I found this blog when I saw your comment in navy blue elephant trunks. Just wanted to say I really relate with the NICU flashbacks. I have twins boys, 6 mos. Both spent about 1 mo. in the NICU. One is still going through some issues, and I still have panicky episodes when it comes to spending time in the hospital. Take care! I will continue to check your blog.

    By Blogger lagiulia, at 8:48 PM  

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