Caleb’s First Trip to the ER

June 1, 2015
It’s crazy how quickly things change.  One minute you’re sitting in the sun, eagerly anticipating watching an intense triathlon, and the next you’re driving as quickly as legally possible to a hospital hours away.
Let me start at the beginning…
Caleb's First Trip to the ER | Simple Moments Stick
We were supposed to have a great weekend.  Nate volunteered to go out to Washington Family Ranch in Eastern Oregon to install some signs and Caleb and I got to go along to spend a weekend in the sun.  It was going to be a fun weekend as we watched crazy people killing themselves in the sun at the Wild Canyon Games while we sat in the shade drinking lemonade.  These pictures are just a tiny portion of the camp and don’t do justice at all to how awesome it is out there.  It’s such a beautiful camp in the middle of the desert. 
On Wednesday, the day we left to head out there, Caleb was acting weird but I chalked it up to the heat or teething or some other normal issue and didn’t think much about it.  I made a mental note to keep my eye on him but sometimes he just acts weird so I wasn’t going to worry about it.
Thursday, our first day at the camp, was stupid.  I had been excited to spend time outside, going on walks with Caleb, rolling around in the grass with the baby, and enjoying the evening with Nate after he finished work.  All Caleb wanted to do was sleep so I didn’t get to do much of anything other than sit in – or right outside – our cabin reading.  (No internet.  Boo!)  I was disappointed but, once again, attributed Caleb’s issues to the heat.  It was HOT out there and Caleb had never experienced that before so I figured he was acclimating.  A rash started developing on his diaper line but it didn’t concern me because, once again, HEAT.  After Nate got done with work we decided it would be fun to go offroading before dinner.  We took a windy, bumpy road up the canyon, enjoying the scenery, and attempting to keep Caleb from crying.  When we finally got back to camp for dinner, Caleb had apparently had enough and vomited all over Nate.  I don’t mean spit up. It was a full fledged, fire hose everything out of the stomach, throw up.  We figured it was car sickness…  No big deal.  We just wouldn’t go offroading with our baby again.  (Maybe I shouldn’t “figure” things anymore)
On Friday things were looking better.  The only issue we were seeing was that Caleb didn’t want to sleep at all unless he was being held (back to his four month old self!) but, since he was more back to his cute personality, we were thinking he was getting better.  He enjoyed people watching and letting us all smile and cuddle him even without his good naps.  All that being said, at dinner that night he gagged on a spoon and threw up again.
Looking back at all of that, I see now that he hadn’t been feeling well for days.  I should have trusted my mommy instinct a little sooner but it just seemed that everything could have been attributed to the heat, being somewhere new, or gagging on a spoon.
Caleb's First Trip to the ER | Simple Moments Stick
Friday night (or Saturday morning, I guess) things got crazy.  Caleb woke up screaming at midnight, refused to eat, and had to be bounced back to sleep.  At three he woke up again.  It is normal for him to wake up around that time so I fed him and figured he’d fall back asleep.  Instead of falling back asleep, he threw up all over himself, me, and the bed.  He fussed for another hour and a half until I was able to feed him a little bit more and help him fall asleep.  In the morning he threw up his breakfast and I really began to worry.  It was SO hot at camp and I didn’t want my little guy to get dehydrated.
Thankfully, since it was a huge athletic event going on, there were tons of doctors at the camp so a pediatrician came to our cabin to make sure Caleb was getting enough fluid and keeping hydrated.  She checked him out and said he was perfectly hydrated but she also took a look at his rash – the one that I thought was a heat rash – and got worried.  A few of the rash bumps wouldn’t turn white when pressed on – something that could imply he had a bacterial infection…  possibly meningitis!
We were at least an hour and a half from any hospital so the pediatrician told us to pack up as quickly as possible and head as fast as we could to the hospital.  Meningitis could get really bad really quick and they didn’t want us to wait a minute to get him seen.
If possible the pediatrician wanted us to get to a specific hospital in Portland (three and a half hours away) but she let us know which hospitals were along the way and told us the symptoms to look for so we could decide if we needed to stop at a closer hospital.  Thankfully none of the symptoms she described presented themselves and we made it all the way to the ER at OHSU.  It was a stressful drive as we kept our eye on Caleb, having to make intense decisions about whether it was safe to continue past the hospitals we were driving by.

Caleb's First Trip to the ER | Simple Moments Stick

At the ER they were so confused.  He had the spots that looked like meningitis but no other symptoms of the disease.  They took blood and urine samples and ran some tests that, thankfully, were normal.  None of his labs were pointing to meningitis.  He threw up yet again so they gave him anti nausea medication that, thankfully, helped him keep milk down and perked him up quite a bit.  Since they were so confused about what was going on and didn’t want Caleb to leave and then develop symptoms we were at the Emergency Room for about seven hours.  While we were there his rash spread from his legs to his head and then migrated to his stomach.  He kept looking worse and worse but was acting better and better.  The poor little guy did so well and was such a champ with all the poking and prodding he had to go through.

Finally, after seven hours, they decided that we could go home.  They said it appeared as though he had a gastrointestinal viral infection that would work itself out but that we should visit his pediatrician the next day.  (Praise the Lord for pediatricians who are open over the weekend!)  We were so thankful that they felt he was good enough to go home and were excited to get out of that ER!

Yesterday, as the ER told us to, we visited the on-call pediatrician at the office Caleb goes to and she was awesome!  She said that she had seen four cases just like his in the past two days!  For some reason there’s a virus going around Portland that gives the kids a rash that looks like it could be meningitis.  For every kid she’s seen she’s had to send them to get lab work done to verify that it isn’t a bacterial infection but each and every one of them has come back viral.

We’re praising God that Caleb’s sickness wasn’t as bad as it could have been and that by yesterday evening he was getting back to his normal self.  He has a rash all over his body, is having to take anti nausea medication so he’ll keep his food down, and wants to sleep a ton but he’s getting better.

It’s intense thinking how bad it could have been.  We’re so thankful for how cautious the pediatrician at the camp was and how she encouraged us to get him seen as quickly as possible.  My heart breaks for the mamas who have gone through situations like that and haven’t gotten the good news we did.  We’re looking forward to our little man being his happy, crazy, loud little self soon.

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