There are certain firsts in your child’s life you know are inevitable, and you look forward to them. First steps, first word, first time sleeping through the night…you get the picture.
Then there are firsts you don’t expect, or at least ones you don’t anticipate and look forward to. First time they get sick, first time they get hurt, or you know, the first time they are hospitalized due to either.
Let’s back track a week. A week ago I picked up A from daycare and heard the words no mother wants to hear: “Don’t panic but…” She had tripped and hit her eye (close to the brow) on the corner of the bookshelf. She had a bump and it was red, but they iced it and she appeared to be no worse for the wear. I figured it would bruise up the next day, and it did, leading to her very first black eye.
I was pretty proud of how I didn’t freak out about it. She is starting to run and she trips often, so this didn’t surprise me at all. I took it in stride…and started calling her Bruiser.
Fast forward a few days to Thursday. The bruise was starting to go away, but her eye was draining yellow gunk. My mind immediately went to pink eye, but I hoped it was just because she’s been congested lately. Friday morning, while I am getting ready for work, I heard A crying in her room. This is highly unusual, normally I have to wake her up in the morning. I went into her room and found her with her eye completely swollen shut.
I had an internal debate whether I should take her to the ER, but decided to call her doctor first since it was almost time for the office to open. I scheduled a 9:45am appointment (the earliest available), and planned on getting there early. When we got to the doctor’s office they took one look at her and let us go straight to the back. Once the doctor saw her, she immediately told me she thought A needed to go to the hospital, as these types of infections can be very dangerous. She needed to go right away. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Keep in mind, John is in Nashville, and I am 1,000 miles from any family member. Having your child in the hospital is frightening and difficult, and these fears are compounded when you have to do it on your own. (It should be noted I’m pretty sure John was freaking out more than I was.)
She was admitted to the children’s hospital not too far from where we live around 10:30am on Friday. If you’ve never been so lucky to be admitted to a hospital for anything, let me just say you are not missing out on much. There was a lot of debate over the course of treatment. CT scan or no CT scan? IV antibiotics or oral antibiotics? In the end they decided since her eye was moving the infection was limited to her outer eye and not behind the eye, so they would wait on the CT scan and spare her the agony of an IV and see how she did on oral antibiotics. The official diagnosis was preseptal cellulitis.
From top left to bottom right: Tuesday morning (after hitting her eye Monday), Friday morning (at home), Friday afternoon (at hospital), Saturday morning (at hospital).
If you’ve never spent a day in the hospital with a toddler, do your best to avoid it. It’s a lot like being in a cage with a bear cub. She was all over everything, trying to get into everything, and she just about lost it every time any medical professional tried to do anything to her. We were also in isolation, so we couldn’t leave the room, which made matters worse. Getting her to sleep in the prison cage crib was a challenge unto itself. It didn’t help that every time she fell asleep or got comfy it seemed like it was time for them to give medicine or take vitals.
Luckily her eye looked a thousand times better Saturday morning. After one very long day, a restless night, and a long morning we were discharged.
I really do have to say it all could have been so much worse. A handled the disrupt in schedule well, and in spite of being poked and prodded she was a total trooper. It helped that the hospital had a ton of toys and books she never seen, I let her watch more TV than she watches at home, and I ordered all her favorite foods from room service.
I’m very proud of how brave A was through this whole ordeal, but I’m also proud of me for staying as calm as I was. It would have been easy to panic, and part of me wanted to, but it wouldn’t have helped anything. It would have made things harder, for both of us. If this ordeal taught me anything it’s that I am strong enough to handle just about whatever motherhood throws at me. As of today you can’t even tell anything happened to her eye, and we’ve both just about recovered from the trauma. I am very happy and relieved to have my sweet, healthy girl back.