Chloe started first grade today. She has been talking about going to school for the last 2 weeks. Chloe looks forward to playing and socializing with other children. On the other hand, I am not looking forward to the school year. I dread flu season especially this year with the Swine Flu lurking around the corner. It is even harder because our family has already had an encounter with one of the Swine Flu Strains.
It was right before school ended for summer session in June when Chloe came down with Flu A and pneumonia (6th pneumonia to date). I will never forget that day. The memory and the fear will always stay with me as reminder how vulnerable children like Chloe are.
It was a Sunday morning and I woke up at 5 am because Chloe was coughing non-stop with a fever of 101.6 As most parents know, with a child who has Polysplenia with Functional Asplenia, 101.6 is a high fever that needs medical attention. I immediately called the immunologist on call at Childrens, took Chloe to the ER, and called my middle sister to meet me there. I also made sure that I had Chloe’s fever plan & her medical book so they would know how to take care of her. (I cannot stress enough how important it is for a parent to have a Fever Plan for a child with Asplenia or Polysplenia. In addition, you should have a notebook with your child’s medical records.) Within 15 minutes I arrived at the ER and shortly after they called, Chloe’s name and we went into her room. Right away, I kept telling the doctor that it was pneumonia. I told him, “By now I know when her cough sounds like pneumonia”. They did an x-ray and it confirmed that she had pneumonia. At that time, I requested they test her for Swine Flu but the doctor said that the CDC was no longer testing for Swine Flu unless she was to stay over night. However, I knew how to get around that so I requested a flu culture. The ER doctor said that they certainly could do that. However, I got the feeling the doctor thought I was being paranoid. Nevertheless, I did not care what he thought. I was going to listen to what my gut was telling me and I wanted the culture!
After a short time once the culture was done, the nurse came in and said that the doctor was speaking to the immunologist at childrens. The nurse also stated that the doctor would then be coming in to speak to us. In the meantime, Chloe received an IV with fluids and sugar along with a strong antibiotic injection in each thigh. The nurse explained that the injections are one of the strongest antibiotics that they have and it they use it on patients who have Meningitis. I knew my gut was right because of the extra steps that the ER was taking for Chloe. The doctor came into the room and said that the flu culture came back positive for Flu A.
My heart was breaking for Chloe. She was so sick and the poor thing had to endure blood work, two injections, IV, and a flu culture. When the Phlebotomist had to withdraw blood, Chloe had a melt down; she screamed hysterically, gigantic tears streaming down her checks, her green eyes deepen in color like a emerald stone, and she curled up into a fetal position to protect and comfort herself. She did not want anyone to touch her especially if pain was involved. Chloe also bit my middle sister’s finger when she tried to hold her down.
Chloe kept asking me repeatedly, “Why mommy”. Those words were like daggers stabbing into my heart. I hugged her and did my best to console her after her ordeal. I promised her that I would buy her two brand new Barbie Dolls and anything else she wanted. I cannot blame her for the melt down. Chloe had every right to break down in that hospital room. I told her that sometimes we had to have pain in order to make us better. You know life is not fair especially when our little ones have to suffer. Even though Chloe had a melt down, I still admire her; she is the sweetest little girl and has a heart of gold.
The ER doctor said that she would be going home. However, the ER doctor also said, if Chloe seemed as she was getting worse, we would have to bring her back into the ER. In addition, we should follow up with her doctor at Childrens. The doctor treated it as Swine Flu because the culture came back positive for Flu A. As we arrived home, the immunologist contacted me and the specialist prescribed Zithromax and Tamiflu. And wouldn ' t you know it by Tuesday my son Brady, my mother, and I were also prescribe Tamiflu.
I wanted to share Chloe’s experience early this summer but had a hard time with it. I did not want to relive this experience again especially if I had to write about it. However, I owe it Chloe to share her experience for others to know that we need to listen to our instincts when it comes to the wellbeing of our children who have Asplenia or Polysplenia Syndrome. Above all, we our childrens number one advocate.
As the day goes on, my mind wanders to Chloe and hope that her first day of school is going well. Even though Swine Flu is lurking around, I still need to find that Happy Medium and trust that she will be okay. I need to trust that she understands to wash her hands, use her hand sanitizers, stay away from people who appear sick or who are coughing and let her teacher know if she feels ills.