Baby Z had been taking his medication, but the seizures kept coming and coming. By Sunday night, they were coming every 2 hours apart, then every hour apart. We spoke to the on-call neurologist, who had us give him an extra full dose, but still the seizures continued.
Because it was rush hour and heading toward the middle of Houston could cause us to get stuck in traffic, I decided to go to the nearest Texas Children’s Hospital. It was at the same location as the neurologist, so I figured she could stop by and see him.
When we arrived, I signed in, and thankfully because he was a baby and I had put down that he was having seizures, we didn’t wait long in the waiting area. But, as soon as we started to walk back, he started having another seizure. It was a mad rush of nurses and doctors getting him into the room and getting him oxygen and an IV. They gave him meds to stop the seizure, and we waited.
Here is baby Z in my arms in the ER.
By the next morning, his vitals were good, and we were almost ready to go home, but he started having another seizure. So, they wanted to transfer him to the Texas Children’s Hospital in the medical center. (I hadn’t realized at that time just how different a suburban hospital was from the medical center hospitals, but I learned very quickly!)
They needed to take him by ambulance, in case anything happened on the way, and they told me they were taking him to critical care, one step below the ICU. Unfortunately, they didn’t have room for me and my daughter, so I had to follow the ambulance 30 miles or so into the city. I tried to hold it together for my daughter’s sake, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I cried the entire way. Seeing your baby on a gurney, loaded into an ambulance, and taken to critical care in the med center will seriously mess you up. I wish I could get that image out of my mind.
Since it wasn’t a life-threatening emergency, the ambulance drivers went the speed limit and they knew I was following behind. So, when we arrived at the hospital, they flagged me down and told me where to go to valet, so I could be with my little one as they took him to his room. I know they had told me we were going to the Critical Care Unit, but I didn’t really know what to expect, and I wish someone could have prepared me. Although, I don’t know that anyone could have prepared me for what I was about to see. They halls were lined with huge photographs (20″x24″) of babies and children that had been there in years past. But, they weren’t cute pictures of healthy babies and kids. They were pictures of really sick kids with tubes and bandages and casts. But, still I was focused on my little one on the gurney in front of me. Until they wheeled us into the room. You see, it wasn’t the cushy, private room like we had last time. It was what they called a “pod”. It was a large room with a station in the middle with all the gear the nurses might need, and four “rooms”, two on each side of the station, with curtains as separators. Three of the four were full, and my little guy made the fourth. It was chaotic, with the kids, parents, televisions, nurses, and all the beeping that goes along with keeping kids in critical care well.
It was NOT what I had expected, and it was scary as hell. These kids were really ill!
Thankfully, I accidentally overheard someone tell someone else that we were there because the hospital we transferred from wanted my little guy watched by neurology, but the neurology floor was full. (Yes, folks, Texas Children’s hospital in Houston has an entire floor dedicated to neurology patients, and it was FULL.) The docs at the suburban hospital thought my baby needed more watching than a standard hospital room could provide, so they put us in Critical Care. When I asked about that, they didn’t seem to want to confirm that, but someone finally did. I’m not sure why, because that actually made me feel better knowing that he wasn’t so ill that he needed to be one step below ICU, but he was just there because of logistical reasons.
Anyway, we were there, and there was nothing else I could do. So I pulled my curtain for a little privacy, tucked my sleeping little guy in his blanket in the crib, sat in the reclining chair that would be my bed for the next 4 nights, and tried to keep the tears from falling just from the pure stress of it all.