I believe that it is a testament both to our wonderful fortune of having a healthy daughter as well as my own relatively non-hysterical nature that we have never been to the ER with Edie for anything except her little forehead-dive-into-mixing-bowl gash situation at around 15 months. Not that I am worry free when she’s sick, but I can usually hold my own even with the standard fretting.
Back-patting aside, I got pushed past my edge on Saturday when Edie went from her normal self to a listless, mumbling, not eating or drinking kid in the course of an hour or two that afternoon. We’d spent the morning at a playground waiting for her dad to make his way from the finish line after he’d completed the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon. It was much hotter than I’d anticipated – I just can’t seem to prepare for tropical temperatures in April yet -and there was very little shade. Edie had fun and didn’t complain, but the fact of this outing came to worry me when she fell ill. And by “came to worry” I mean my mind starting yelling “I baked the baby! She’s cooked on the inside and her brain is melting!”
The three of us were at the house of some friends that afternoon. Edie began to get crabby pretty quick, but I’m dealing with a two year old here, not a model of emotional stability. But soon her crabbiness got incoherent and she wouldn’t eat things she normally devours, nor drink from a juice box, which is practically sacrilege around here. I ran home to grab a thermometer to see if we were dealing with a fever and got back to find her pitifully crying and ultimately passing out in my lap amid a cookout. Edie does not pass out in laps. Oh, that she were a child that passed out when tired and not one that has withstood sleeping more than 30 minutes on an eighteen. hour. transatlantic trip. But this was concerning, and so I brought up the idea of taking her in to see a medical professional in the way one does among friends that you like enough not to want to lose. “Hon, I think she needs to see someone.” “Eh. What’s anyone going to do? I think she’s fine.” (In voice raised just a couple of notes:) “But, hon, I think she’s acting very weird. I’d like to take her in somewhere.” “Well, maybe a walk-in clinic. Let me [*wife translation* pull out my iPhone and do pointless things on the internet, and stop communicating with you about this].” “You know, I don’t freak out about just anything” [in voice that can only be described as freaking out] Cue: toddler, who wakes up and commences projectile vomiting.
So we’re off to the hospital. More projectile vomiting in the car. No longer calling Will “hon.” Sickness isn’t usually frightening to me, but I thought she was dehydrated to a point that could need intervention and I wasn’t comfortable putting a kid to sleep who was merely passing out from fluid deprivation. We get there, she is appropriately limp and sad looking, we sit down among the sick and weary. I chat with a mom whose daughter is lying pitifully on the chairs, not moving or talking. We bond over our woe-is-mama evening. But then, my little huddled mass starts to perk up. She wants a little juice now, please, mama. How about some cookies, please, mama? Can I share that boy’s Cheetos, mama? Heheh. Uh, April Fools! She’s not sick!(?)
Fast forward through the next three hours of our night: Edie keeps getting better. We try to exit gracefully, but are told we really should wait it out. By the time we finally a doctor sees us – some four hours past bedtime – Edie is dancing and counting to eleven as fast as she can. I welcomed Dr. Young Resident into the Model of Health room. He told us that there were some very fast moving stomach bugs going around and that’s what she probably had. No serious dehydration. No liquified baby brains. And he assured me, in spite of my bouncing child, that with the symptoms I described, taking her in was not crazy. Yet when I look in the mirror these days, I now see The Root of the Rising Costs of Healthcare looking back at me.
She had another sick spell soon after we got home that night, so I guess I’m at least glad that we had some confirmation that she was going to be all right. She got into a fitful sleep sometime after midnight. I stayed in bed with her until after 2 am, taking her pulse. And then I returned to bed for a rest time comprised jumping out of my skin at every sound on the monitor and odd lucid dreams.
So, then, who pranced into our room at seven am? Surely not world’s sickest two year old?! Oh, but, yes. Because that’s what they do. And so swollen-ankle half marathon dad and swollen-lots-of-things very pregnant mom get up and face the day. But it wasn’t pretty.