Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Top contender for the worst urgent care visit ever!!

 Yesterday was probably not our worst urgent care visit, all told. That honor might go to the time Coop puked blood and granola bar during a strep test while Harry was sick with another effusion and Dorothy broke her wrist in a sledding accident. I wouldn’t want to leave out my dystopian novel early 2020 pregnant COVID test visit. In terms of trauma, the visit that ended with Harry being immediately admitted to the PICU after being so sick the pediatrician wouldn’t leave our side until we were actually in the car and on the way was probably the VERY worst. (I feel bad skipping over our island urgent care trip when Coop was baby and had a terrible vacation virus and Ben heard a guy fresh from a motorcycle accident getting part of his ear sewn back on in the next room— a definite honorable mention.)

Still, even by Big Family standards and Kid with Heart Problem standards, yesterday was a doozy.

I told you all that Minnie has been sick for WEEKS and that I had a plan to bring her TODAY to see her doctor if she didn’t feel better, right? Well. I wrote that post— and sent the message to the doc— on Monday, and she really seemed completely better by lunch time. No fever since Sunday! An excellent appetite! Playing so hard! 3 nights of excellent sleep (thank God, literally)! 

I was so relieved yesterday when I sent her merrily off to preschool. 

Dorothy, though, was home sick. 

She sent me this text Monday night from dance:

And I just KNEW— that kid is NEVER exhausted and never ever tired at dance. We picked her up, and she had a fever **whomp whomp**

Since she was also complaining of a sore throat, I snagged an appointment for her at urgent care (side note: our doctor and all other pediatricians in all of our HMO clinics were totally booked for sick kid appointments by 8:24 am yesterday morning, which tells you a little bit about how things are going post-holiday gatherings in my town) because Minnie tested positive for strep, and we all watched in horror Saturday afternoon when Dorothy TOOK A BITE of Minnie’s Culver’s grilled cheese sandwich mid-tree trimming. I made the appointment for after preschool pick up, thinking we could also swing by Trader Joe’s if we wore masks and Dorothy wad strep negative because Minnie will only take cefdinir with mini peanut butter cups, and we only had 4 left— barely enough to bribe her into a single dose.

(Can we just go back to the above pic for a second? She was trying on her first costume of the season— for her mini tap small group,  and it is the very cutest— also has red gloves and fishnets over regular tights. SHE HATES IT because it is a sensory prison— tight! Itchy! Tight AND itchy booty shorts and big old rhinestones on the see-through chest part. LOOK AT HER FACE— her eyes say HELP ME)

Dorothy stayed in bed all morning, and I worked quietly until it was time to get Minnie, who had been so chipper and delightful in the morning. She picked out her outfit including a cardigan and said she was COOL MINNIE; she requested French braids, and she was thrilled to take her favorite stufffie for a snack time teddy bear picnic.

The kid I picked up? Was a sad, shivering, wilted flower of a person. She was clearly feverish just to the touch, and, alarmingly, she told me her neck hurt. I, of course, assumed she had meningitis because that is just how my brain works, and by the time we got to Dorothy’s urgent care appointment, I was internally FREAKING OUT because Minnie was a pathetic, glassy-eyed, slumped little lump in her car seat.

Urgent care was slammed, and the intake CNA told me from the exam room that I would have to CALL THE SWITCHBOARD if I wanted to talk to anyone about Minnie. I had been in conversation on her chart with our pediatrician’s nurse, whose office was STEPS AWAY from our exam room, but the intake nurse told me as she was taking Dorothy’s vitals that she didn’t know if that person was available because she worked in another clinic. Erm. But. Urgent care is one hallway away from pediatrics. 

I was on hold with the front desk (because I couldn’t leave Dorothy alone in the exam room per the nurse) when the PA-C we were set to see came in, took one look at Minnie, and said “Oh my— let’s look at her next.” THANK GOD FOR HUMANITY IN MANAGED CARE. When Minnie coughed (this has just been her cough for weeks you guys— I actually think it sounded better than it has), the provider said mildly as she felt Dorothy’s glands, “I think we’ll do a quick chest X-ray.”

She got Minnie on the table STAT and said she had swollen lymph nodes in her neck and that was probably why she said her neck hurt, but if she refused to turn her head for any reason or could not sit up on her own we needed to do straight to the ED (so I am not the only person who thinks meningitis when a kid has a stiff neck! Ha!). Minnie’s lungs did not sound crackly, but her thick, chesty cough prompted the X-ray. She was also swabbed for RSV, COVID, and flu (all negative, thank goodness).

 The icing on the cake, though, was a blood draw to check her counts and see if she had mono because that would explain the on-again, off-again fevers. (Negative! Phew!) (Also Dorothy asked “Minnie! Have you bee sharing cups at preschool?” When she heard what the test was for). Minnie’s veins are tiny and covered by so much delightful shiny chub that the draw itself was… um … how do I say it? A GODDAMN NIGHTMARE? Yes, I think that’s right. Fortunately, the lab people came to us, and the care team brought juice boxes for the girls (which Minnie refused because she doesn’t trust anything the doctor’s office offers now).

Minnie’s new and super inconvenient fear of oral meds showed up again when a nurse offered her a dose of bubble gum flavored Tylenol for her super high fever, and she lost her shit and spit it all over herself and me. Awesome.

Our provider checked her X-ray and said it looked clear and that she seemed to have another virus on top of the bacterial infections.

And sent us on our merry way.

BUT THEN! The clinic’s radiologist read Minnie’s X-Ray and said SHE HAS PNEUMONIA.

OH MY GOD. Not a MyChart message/call I was expecting to get.

Minnie is taking another broad spectrum antibiotic (azithromycin) along with her cefdinir and we have to follow up on Friday if she is not better. WHAT EVEN IS BETTER? It has been a long time since she’s been that.

WAY BACK on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we saw a pediatrician in our practice who said that if she got totally better and then got sick again, that was a sign of pneumonia. And wow! That guy knows his stuff because that’s exactly what happened!! 24-36 hours of completely better (LOL psych) and then HORRIBLY SICK AGAIN.

So. Anyway. I have a work thing tonight that I gotta do (thank you Harry for stepping in to babysit your sick sisters), but other than that we are going to be on the couch watching Christmas shows and eating every snack Trader Joe’s has to offer (Ben swung by on his way to pick Cooper up at diving practice and take him to hockey) until at least Friday.


  1. OMG. Sarah. OMG. This is dreadful. I am so glad - so glad -that the radiologist read it as pneumonia and it sounds like Minnie is on some pretty heavy hitters, abx-wise. Did I miss whether Dorothy was also put on abx? Or was she deemed to have some kind of virus.
    Poor Minnie indeed, poor Dorothy, poor you, and really poor everyone, because this is not the entry into December that any of you needed. (OH, and plus the schedule and job changes so recently - gah.)
    Hang in there. I wish I could help. <3

    1. story of dorothy's life-- I forgot about her. No strep. No VID. Random virus, likely. Still sick today and taking it Very Easy.

  2. I came here for a Minnie update... I'm so sorry to hear she has pneumonia and that Dorothy is sick too... Sending healing wishes to your fam!

    1. thanks!! we're a germy bunch. I just booked a water park overnight for the kids' first day of winter break, so get ready for exciting new virus/bacteria updates soon.

  3. Ugh I am so sorry to hear this! As you know, Taco was dx'd with it last week. Luckily the cefdinir did the trick and he was a different child in about 15 hours once he started the meds. He oddly did not have a cough but maybe was too weak to cough? He was such a sad, glassy eyed baby. I hope this drug combo does the trick for poor Minnie! This has been an epically bad fall. I don't know what is going on!!

    1. too weak to cough-- ugh so sad. Soon they will have caught ALL OF THE THINGS, right???????

  4. Ugh! Get well soon to Minnie and Dorothy! And everyone else stay healthy!!

  5. YES! I have been wondering about Minnie's cough and pneumonia. When I was in grad school, I had a virus that morphed into pneumonia and no one at student health believed me until I showed up for an appointment with broken ribs and a broken spirit. LOL. It took me MONTHS to recover. MONTHS. Poor Minnie. Get well to both girl! You can do this!

  6. Oh, Sarah. This is just awful. And looking at your list at the top of this post I think we can all summarize that having kids is just ONE BIG GERMY PARTY. Sigh.

    My daughter had pneumonia when she was three and it was horrible. Thankfully, when we finally found an antibiotic she would take/could keep down (the first one they put her on made her puke it back up), she turned the corner QUICKLY. But it was about a month of our life lost to the blur of doctors and dosing meds and LITTLE TO NO SLEEP.

    I am so sorry your family is going through such a sick season and sincerely hope this means everyone will be so freaking healthy over Christmas <3

  7. I read that first paragraph and just had to stare into space for a few minutes.
    Then I read the rest of this and also stared into space. My god! This is A LOT OF ILLNESS. My older son had pneumonia when he was in grade one and I lost all perspective as to what "better" was. Was it coughing all night long, or only waking up to cough five times a night? Who can say. Anyway, jeez louise, I hope the girls are better better BETTER soon. Poor things!

  8. I may be showing my naivete but I always considered pneumonia an older person's disease, and then Lisa and now you have had kids with it!! How frightening! My grandma had it and was in the hospital for days, so I am so glad that the kids can be cured with an antibiotic!! I hope Minnie is feeling better soon and is back to being her old chipper self! What a harrowing ordeal! Also PS how is Dorothy!??!?

  9. Oh I am so sorry! Pneumonia??? Dreadful! Glad the medicine is available. May the girls feel better soon <3

  10. I'm having flashbacks to MY worst visit ever when my daughter, 1.5 years old, had some bacterial thing and they needed a urine sample, so tried (unsuccessfully) to catheterize her. We had to hold her down for that. OMG, the worst worst worst. And then a day or two later when she was admitted to the hospital, the pediatrician who was treating her almost lost his shit when he found out about that, he said, "I WAS HERE, WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY CALL ME??? I KNOW HOW TO CATHETERIZE A BABY AND I HAVE THE CORRECT SIZED TUBING!" She's 27 now, clearly remembers none of it, but OMG, we remember. Horrific. All that to say, I FEEL YOUR PAIN on the blood draw.

    Poor kids, I hope they are feeling better SOON. And that no one else gets it.

  11. How you managed to sprinkle some cute pics of your kids into this horrible, heartbreaking post is beyond me. I hope they're both feeling better soon!!