Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Healthiest Kid in the Hospital
This past Saturday afternoon my daughter got hit by a nasty strain of the stomach flu. She vomited every half hour or so for nine hours. She was so limp and weak and couldn't keep even clear liquids down.
She rested a little bit on Saturday night and my wife and I did our best to get some liquids into her on Sunday, but she still wasn't keeping them down very well. Then Sunday afternoon the diarrhea hit as well. By Monday morning, she wasn't having any wet diapers, her lips were chapped and dry, and there were no tears when she cried.
We rushed off to the children's hospital emergency room. This was my little one's third visit to this ER and we ended up in the same exam room again. I always remember it because it features an eight year old's rendition of a roller coaster on one wall. A roller coaster is a fitting subject for a children's ER. Anyway, my daughter's blood sugar had fallen to a 32, where 70 is the norm and she was severely dehydrated. The nurse started an IV and got her going on fluids and glucose. Over the next hour my daughter seemed to come back to life before our eyes.
My little one was bad enough off that she was admitted for the night and so my wife and I stayed there with her. She began to take fluids and solids Monday evening and she had a great appetite. As a precaution the doctors ordered more IV fluids through the night. On Tuesday morning, my daughter's pediatrician stopped in to see her. He said she was looking great and that she was probably the healthiest kid in the hospital. He told us with a couple more good blood sugar test results, she could go home Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday for breakfast my little girl ate Honey Nut Cheerios, whole milk and then decided she wanted watermelon and ice cream. My wife and I figured, well, we're trying to raise her blood sugar why not? She ate greedily, kept everything down and passed her blood sugar tests with flying colors. The whole family was back home and happy again by dinner time on Tuesday.
There's an important lesson here that my family learned the hard way. Hopefully other parents will be more alert to this than we were. Dehydration can set in very, very quickly. My daughter has had the flu many times before and we've been able to help her get through it without IV fluids. But when a couple of things hit at once it can set in fast. When signs like lethargy, no tears when crying, or no wet diapers start to show up, don't hesitate to take action. We almost waited too long and the results were frightening. Especially if your child is a bit frail to begin with, as my daughter is.