Thursday, July 24, 2008

Amelia's Story

Amelia was born in July of 2005, and for the following week after her birth, she seemed to be following the normal path that my other two daughters had followed after their birth. She was born on a Saturday, and the following Saturday, she seemed to be quite fussy. As I felt of her, I noticed that she was feeling a little warm and I suspected a fever. I called the nurse at the doctor's office early in the afternoon and told her what was going on. At that point, the thermometer was not showing a fever, but she was definitely feeling warm. The nurse didn't seem alarmed, so we waited about doing anything. For almost the entire day, I had to hold her in one position, and if I moved her too much she would start crying. I remember basically sitting in a chair and holding her for quite a long time. She was still feeling warm and the fact that she wasn't comfortable when she was moved prompted us to make a trip to the ER on Saturday night.

The ER was quite full when we arrived, so we signed in and went and sat down. I was in tears already at this point as I was very upset to be in the emergency room with my one week old baby and couldn't begin to imagine what was going on. A nice older lady sitting next to me started talking to me and suggested that I made sure the ER staff knew how old Amelia was. I did, and almost immediately we were called back into a room. They checked her temp, and it was quite high. The thermometer we had been using evidently was not working properly. At that point, they gave her some Tylenol. The doctor then came in and examined her and said that they would need to do a spinal tap to make sure she didn't have meningitis. They also did x-rays and catheterized her to check her urine for infection. I guess the Tylenol knocked her out as she thankfully slept through the spinal tap. When all that was over, they wanted to admit her. We got a room, and the worse part after that was the nurses trying to find a vein to start an IV on her so they could start antibiotics. Finally, that was accomplished. They started her on at least three antibiotics to cover anything that might be going on. By the next morning, she was resting much better, and later that day it was determined that she had a urinary tract infection. They wanted to keep her until Monday, but you could tell she was already feeling better and was no longer running a fever as of Sunday afternoon. We made plans to be discharged on Monday evening when the doctor made her rounds.

On Monday afternoon, the rest of the family had gone home for a while to rest, and Amelia and I were laying on a sofa in her hospital room. All of the sudden, her arms started jerking. I didn't think anything about it - I was thinking startle reflex? Within an hour or so, she did it a few more times, so I called a nurse in the room the next time it happened. The nurse immediately said that Amelia was having seizures. The doctor came in soon after, and since there was no apparent cause for the seizures, she felt it was best to have her transported to Scottish Rite in Atlanta. In the meantime, as we waited on the ambulance, a hose was connected to the oxygen mechanism in the wall behind the bed, and I was instructed to wave this in Amelia's face every time she had a seizure. She had so many as we waited, and this was so difficult. I was still quite hormonal anyway, and I just could not believe what was going on. (They didn't want to give her anything to stop the seizures as they wanted Scottish Rite to actually see what was happening.)

After two or three hours, the ambulance still had not arrived. We later learned that there was a child in the ER that was determined to be "sicker" than Amelia, so that child was given the ambulance. At that point, it was decided that they would send a helicopter for Amelia. I nearly passed out, especially when they told me that I would probably not be able to ride. We could ask, but it probably would not be possible. They arrived shortly, and as we had been told, it wasn't possible for us to go along, but I have to say that the workers on the ambulance were absolutely wonderful. They quickly talked to us and tried to console us as much as possible and then even gave us a hug before they left. That may have helped my feelings a little bit, but I was still a train wreck. We then went to the parking lot and watched as they loaded her up and took off. We then ran to our car and began the journey to Scottish Rite.

During all of this, we had called my sister thinking that she could come and pick up my mother (who doesn't like to drive in Atlanta) and take her to Scottish Rite since Brad and I knew we wouldn't be leaving anytime soon after we got there. There was a mix up and Angela went to Scottish Rite instead. This turned out to be a huge blessing as she was there before the helicopter left us, and she was able to let us know the moment it arrived in Atlanta. I was then able to rest a little easier when I knew she was on the ground.

(I'm out of time, so I'll continue the story tomorrow.)

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