The following morning, Mari wakes up around 10am. I can hear her through the monitor playing and singing. It amazes me at how well she can entertain herself for so long. I know I should have gotten up right away to get her but I want to sleep in more. So I stay in bed until around 11am. She starts saying, “Let’s go potty” about every minute or so. Whether she really needs to go potty it does not matter because it is her way of letting us know she is done with whatever she is doing at that time. Usually, in the morning, it means she is up and ready to get out of her room.
So I get up out of bed and go down to get her out of her room. When I walk in I notice what either looks like diarrhea or throw up on her floor. Then looking further I notice it on her bed and smaller spots around her carpet. So I think, “Oh my poor baby girl!!” I decide that she needs a bath. I first get her all cleaned up and then put her in the bath tub. She just lays there with her head on her bath pillow. I decide to call Keith’s mom and have my morning chat with her.
Mari has been in the bathtub for about 10 to 15 minutes when she says in her always sweet sounding voice, “All done.” So I tell her just one second and go get her towel. I get the towel and tell Mari to stand up. She says again, “All done.” I say, “Ok Mari stand up.” She says ‘all done’ a couple of more times. I go to help her out the bathtub and it is like she cannot stand up. I tell mom that something is wrong with Mari and immediately get off the phone with her. I try to help her up by putting her hands on my arm. She becomes really wobbly and it kind of scares me a little. So I know she is not feeling good. I wrap her up in her towel and carry her to the couch in the family room. She just lays there all wrapped up. I go to get her some clothes to wear and then dry her off and get her dressed. Then I lay her on the couch.
Something I have not done since we moved on December 29th is to change Mari’s pediatrician. So I get on the phone with our insurance company and find a new one for her. I call up the new pediatrician’s office to see if we can get in that day since we have never been there before. The receptionist asks the doctor and she says we can come in as a walk in at 2pm.
When I get off the phone it is about 1:10pm. So I call Keith to come and pick us up as he has the van that day too. He gets there about 1:35pm. We immediately get Mari packed up and put her in the van. Keith decides to put a metal bowl in the van just in case. She hasn’t thrown up yet but you just never know. I leave the house at 1:40pm.
We make it to the doctor’s pavilion at Holy Cross Hospital around 2pm. I get out her stroller and take her out of the van. Then I put her in her stroller. I go back in the van to get her diaper bag and anything else we need. When I come back to her, she has thrown up all over herself. I quickly grab the metal bowl that Keith had put in the van just in case (which I am so thankful for).
So I take her up to the doctor’s waiting area and ask for a bathroom so I can get her cleaned up. We go in the bathroom. It is one of those single stall type bathrooms. I make sure to lock the door. I then proceed to undress her but I have no other clothes to dress her in. I have to call Keith to have him bring her a change of clothes. He is still at home waiting for a ride back to work. He is not happy as he knows we are going to have to make one of his recruiters drive him over to the hospital since he cannot get there himself. So he tells me he will ask and be over as quickly as he can. After I hang up, I wrap her up in her blanket so she is not just sitting there in her diaper.
We go out to the waiting area to be called back. Keith comes by about a half hour later with a top and a skirt. I think to myself, “Of all the changes of clothes he could have brought her, he brought a skirt.” So I take her back to the bathroom and get her dressed. We go back out to the waiting area and sit there until after 3:30 before we are finally called back. Once back in the office, the doctor examines her. She says that Mari is probably dehydrated and there is nothing she can do for her.
She tells me to take her down to the ER at Holy Cross Hospital. She will also call down to let them know we are on the way. I ask her if we are going to have to wait since she is calling and she says yes. Well, I am hoping that we can get in quicker because she is going to call. I mean, she is her doctor after all.
At this point, I call Keith and tell him what the doctor has said and we are heading downstairs to the ER. He tells me he will get there as soon as possible as he will have to get a ride. So we go downstairs and sign in. Keith arrives about a half hour later and we sit there taking care of Mari together.
The triage nurse finally calls us in to the triage office about an hour after we arrive at the ER. She says that the doctor has called, so they were expecting Mari. She goes on to say that when they have a room to put her in they will call her back to the ER. It seems like we wait forever. In the mean time, Mari starts to throw up about once an hour or more. At 6:30 I finally ask when we are going to be called back and I am told to talk to the charge nurse. She comes out and says that Mari was supposed to be the next one in but a person in respiratory distress just came in and took her spot. So I ask her how long she thinks it is going to take before she is called back. She says probably an hour.
So about 7:30 to 7:45pm time frame, we are finally called back. The moment Mari is being called back, she starts to throw up again. Keith is outside making a call and I cannot move. A really nice man helps me out by pushing Mari’s stroller while I hold the bowl as she is throwing up. We get back to her ER room and she has gone diarrhea again. The smell is so atrocious. I swear it can clean out a place. She then continues to throw up more and more frequently to the point of about every 5 to 10 minutes apart. She is just so sick.
Around 10pm, the ER doctor finally comes in and gives Keith and I a choice. He says that Holy Cross no longer has a Peds Unit at their hospital, so we can do either 1 of 2 things. Number one, we can take her home. If she does not seem to be improving or she gets worse, we should then take her to a hospital that has a peds unit. Or number two, we can transfer her to another hospital. My first instinct is to just transfer her for observation but Keith wants to take her home. I think it must have been my mother’s instinct clicking in to say let’s transfer her. But the way the doctor made it sound, it is really our choice and he is ok either way. Keith tells me to go and talk to the doctor because he would prefer to take her home. So I do. The doctor basically says that if they had a peds unit he would admit her to their hospital but they don’t. So he leaves it up to us, but I think just the way he talked he would prefer her to be transferred. So I go and tell Keith and we decide to transfer her.
I ride in the ambulance with her and sit in the front seat. About half way to Stroger Hospital (formally called Cook County Hospital) there is this very foul smell. I ask if that is her or is that coming from outside. The paramedic in the back says it is her. The ambulance does not go by lights and sirens to the hospital. When we get there we go to the pediatric ER and they immediately take her in the back to a bed. We clean up her diarrhea. She has another episode of diarrhea. This is the second one we change at Cook County. When I change her third one, I start to notice what looks like red that may have been blood but the nurse does not say anything. She has a fourth one and still the red again.
We finally get a room upstairs on the pediatric floor. She has a fifth one and the nurse from the floor this time notices the red too. She says it looks like blood and I tell her I agree. I tell her I did not say anything downstairs in the ER but the nurse down there did not say anything either. The nurse tells Keith and me that this is no longer a viral infection but instead it is a bacterial infection due to the blood. This obviously becomes a concern. With this diaper, we are trying to change it but it is like we cannot get it changed quickly enough. We don’t even have a chance to close it up before she has another episode. She has three just bam bam bam. She continues to have diarrhea throughout the night. When she was at Holy Cross Hospital, the doctor had given her something for her nausea and throwing up, so she is not throwing up during this time. Also, only one parent is allowed to stay in the room at night with her. So, Keith goes home as there is no way I am leaving her side and Keith truly hates hospitals.