Saturday, February 18, 2006

Weekend Report From the Hillbilly Mansion

There are two items of interest to report this weekend. Of interest
to ME, but I don't know about you. One concerns a new possibility
of WAR for Hillmomba, but I'm going to have to put that one off
until Sunday. Don't invade justyet, JustLinda. The other is the health
of Hillmomba's spare heir, #2 son. Let's get right to it. In my winding
kind of Hillbilly Mom fashion.

We took the boy to Chuck E. Cheese today, which we'd been
promising since last weekend for his birthday that was the 15th.
Last night he was pooped out by 7:30, and something just wasn't
right about him. He felt a little warm, but not feverish. I leaned over
the back of the couch to tuck in his Little Bear, and I got a whiff
of BAD BREATH. It was the kind that can sear the eyebrows
right off your face. Just like he smelled when he had pneumonia.
He coughed through the night, the dry, unproductive cough like
when he had pneumonia. This morning I hugged him from behind,
craftily placing my hand over his POUNDING little heart to take
his heart rate. It was 160. He was just standing in front of the TV.
He wasn't running or jumping.

I talked it over with my Hillbilly Husband.

I can't see waiting two more weeks for him to see a cardiologist.

The doctor said if he thought he was really sick, he would have
sent him to the hospital yesterday.

But the doctor also said he looked at the X-rays, and he didn't
have pneumonia. And forgot to call in the antibiotic, and took
5 days to get back to us on the EKG.

Well, he said he'd call a cardioligist Monday, and let us know
if he needs to be seen sooner.

Monday is a holiday.

Not for doctors. His office will be open.

What if they mess up like they did before?

I felt comfortable with what he told me.

I will worry all weekend. Last time I waited until the weekend
was over, and he had pneumonia.

Well, then we can take him to St. Anthony's emergency room
while we're in the city. It's only 5 miles from Chuck E. Cheese.

They might think we're stupid and say nothing is wrong with him.

Well, at least you'll know he's OK for now.

I don't like his breath and that cough. But he doesn't have a fever.

We'll take him and make sure it won't hurt to wait 2 weeks for
the cardiologist.


At Chuck E. Cheese, #2 ran around like one of DeadpanAnn's
ferrets-on-crack. He had a high old time. He ate THREE pieces
of pizza. He was the picture of health. I started to feel foolish,
like an overprotective mother. I asked my Hillbilly Mama what
she thought. "Well, he's eating and he looks OK. But I worried
about him all last night. If nothing else, it will give you piece of
mind. I'll pay for the emergency room cost."

Now let's get one thing straight. We are not paupers. We spent
$178 this morning on those two stray puppies' vet bill, and that
is not even for neutering them. We do not need my HMama to
pay our medical bills. It is not about the money, but about the
boy's health. Should he sit around a germy ER if there is really
nothing wrong with him, or is that tachycardia something that
should not wait two weeks? I do not want to look like a creepy
Munchausen Mom, but I do not want to let something go that
should be taken care of now. Like I wish I had taken him to
the ER that Saturday when he had the cough and fever instead
of waiting until the office visit Monday. And since I am the only
person in the whole freakin' family that can MAKE A DECISION,
I opted to go by the St. Anthony's ER at the risk of looking foolish.

We walked right in, didn't even have to sit down. They hooked
#2 up to a pulse-ox and took a blood pressure and heart rate,
asked him some questions, and within 5 minutes we were sent
back to an exam room. There, they got him a gown that was too
big, hooked up wires for an EKG and monitor, and had a real
live PEDIATRICIAN to see him within 15 minutes. This guy
frightened #2, who had been happily charming the nurses, and
he clammed up and wouldn't talk. The doctor asked him is his
regular doctor was a man or woman, and #2 said, "I don't know."
Now don't go worryin' that this second boy of mine doesn't have
and IQ of almost 100. Don't think that his doctor is PAT, the
impossible-to-discern-gender character from the old Saturday
Night Live show. The boy sometimes sees a man doctor, and
sometimes sees his wife, who is also a doctor, and sometimes
sees their nurse practitioner if they have to work him in. Then,
the ER doc asked #2 if he smoked. The boy would not answer,
but stared straight ahead.

The doctor sat at the foot of the bed, and wrote down the history
on a clipboard. He was very thorough. As he did this, #2 inched
down the bed until his sock feet were near the doctor's clipboard.
He tried to open the clip with his toes. The doctor poked his foot
with a finger. #2 kept trying. The doc kept poking. #2 started to
giggle, and kick his feet a bit. HH, who is not a master of the
details, admonished #2 to stop kicking and giggling so we could
hear the doc. Doc had to point out that he was tickling #2's feet.
That broke the ice, and he went on with the exam. He listened
to heart, lungs, and belly, looked in the ears, nose, and throat, felt
the lymph glands, went through a facial expressions thing to check
the brain function or something, checked pulses in the feet and
groin, and squeezed on the belly. He even smelled the bad breath,
and said it was "not too bad." As HH said when he left the room,
a much more thorough exam than the family practitioner had given.

The ER doc said that this is what he does for a living, all day every
day--treat kids. He said he was not worried about the heart rate
unless it was over 200 resting. It was around 120-130 while we
were there. He said the lungs sounded good, the heart sounded
good, and that he would check on the Zyrtec to see if it increased
heart rate. He came back and asked if it was Zyrtec D or plain
Zyrtec, and surmised it was regular when I told him the dosage.
He said he wanted to get another lung X-ray to see if the heart
was enlarged, because the EKG looked OK. #2 was whisked
away to be weighed, and X-rayed. He was mighty cute in his
floor-length gown and jeans.

The doc came back and asked if we knew where the pneumonia
had showed up in the X-rays. HH pointed and said, "We knew
the lab tech, and she showed us, and it looked like the bottom
part of his left lung." This was news to me, because I was in
charge of #1 son at that X-ray-fest, and didn't crowd into the
booth to see #2's. The doctor said, "Well, come out and let's
take a look." We went to a computer behind the nurses' station,
and saw #2's innards. I was worried, because it looked like his
heart was a misshapen lopsided blob. That's why I'm not a
radiologist or a lab tech. The ER doc pointed. "Here's the right
side of his heart. It has a smooth border, it's the right size..."
He traced the outline of it. "Now here's the left side. Here's the
top...but you can't see the bottom, because there is fluid in the
lung, between the upper and lower part, that is blocking the
heart. He still has pneumonia. We are going to give him a
stronger antibiotic. If that doesn't clear up the tachycardia in
10 days, then you should see a pediatric cardiologist."

Whew! That was good to know. It was a $100 co-pay, but
that is cheaper than the vet bill. I am not going to let my
HMama pay. Or for the $25 co-pay Omnicef antibiotic
suspension-in-a-glass-bottle, either. Let that be a lesson to
all you high-priced doctors. Even though a kid looks and
sounds all right to you, the mama knows the kid, and her
instincts JUST MIGHT BE RIGHT.

HooRah, St. Anthony's pediatric ER unit! YOU ROCK!
Fast, efficient, thorough care for the helpless little kids.
Keep up the good work. We were in and out in an hour
and thirty minutes, and our boy young 'un is on the mend.
As long as he doesn't turn out allergic to the antibiotic.

13 Comments:

Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
I hope No.2 gets better soon.
As for that JustLinda, who does she think she is?Beclakia is at war with Hillmomba. Thereis no way we are going to let her walk in and start a new war. Beclakia unites with Hillmomba against JustLinda. Once she is gone, we will keep fighting you again.
HooRoo
Rebecca

12:51 AM  
Blogger LanternLight said...

Specialist docs rock!

GPs seem to take the "two arms, two legs, still walking? Can't be all that bad then." route.

Glad to hear that the little fella is getting better.

Now about those pups, named them yet?

2:50 AM  
Blogger ill man said...

Hi Just a note to say i've nominated your blog in our weekly 'blog of the week' poll at http://amischiefofmagpies.blogspot.com/

Cheers

10:54 AM  
Blogger MamaKBear said...

Wow! Excellent ER experience! Wish they were all like that. Hope your little man is good as new in no time! :)

12:56 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Bec,
I'm not sure JustLinda is prepared to tangle with Hillmomba. Perhaps she is justblowingsmoke. We'll see what develops.


Lantern,
Yes, we have named the pups. The vet wanted names for the files, since we now have 8 pets that are sucking the savings out of the young 'uns' college fund.

The boy pup we named "Cubby" because he looks the most like a little bear. The girl we named "Little Ann" because #1 son read "Where the Red Fern Grows" last year, and picked that name like every other child who's read the book.

The vet thinks they are a shepherd mix because of the way their ears stand up. They were wormed and given shots and Cubby has some medicine for some type of skin condition that the vet does not think is ringworm. She took a culture of it.

After we returned from the ER, Cubby was missing. HH went looking for him, and when he came back, Little Ann was missing. Go figure! Right after we'd spent $178 on them at the vet. Then he found them in the driveway under his Scout golf-carty-looking thingie. He put them back up on the porch in their house, since it was 14 degrees F and they needed to huddle together to heat up their house.


Ill Man,
WOW! Thanks for the nom. Are you feeling OK? My blog hasn't been very exciting this past week, but I'll do my best.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

MamaKB,
You snuck in that comment while I was typing up my replies!

I hope your girls get over their sickness. No vomiting or diarrhea here. Just the cough and fever and rapid heartbeat. But he IS feeling well enough to play GameBoy, which is a good sign.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Chickadee said...

I'm glad you listened to your intuition and took Boy #2 to the ER. He's bound to get better with that second round of antibiotics. That doc sounded like he had good bedside manners. Kewl.

I hope you have a restful night tonight and tomorrow.

http://www.danno.org/blogs

5:51 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Chick,
That boy slept so soundly last night, I had to check if he was breathing! Not a cough all night. I hope this new drug does the trick. He must be exhausted with his heart pounding so fast for two weeks. He says he feels good now, except for the taste of the medicine. He felt like he was trying to start a fever, but then it was time for the antibiotic. We'll see.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Redneck Diva said...

I love it when the ER runs smoothly. Fortunately every time I've had to take one of the kids we've gotten right in and seen quickly. The night KD was having as asthma attack with a Croup fit they rushed us in so quick I felt like I was on ER.

Glad he's doin better today. Kady's little heart was racing so fast last night it was freaky! Like she'd been running away from Fitty or something.

9:06 PM  
Blogger ill man said...

HM, feel free to link so yr readers can vote for you.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Diva,
Take care of little Kady's flu, and watch her for pneumonia. I guess it's the fever that makes them have the Fitty-palpitations.

Ill Man,
Link it is...on my Monday post.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

My son, 8, has tachycardia and they are considering doing an ablation to stop the rapid rates (it's been going on for years.)

I know it's really stressful when you feel that fast rate.

And for me, I don't really trust his reporting of how often it happens. I think it happens more frequently than he reports. anyway, good luck.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Mary Beth,
I hope everything works out OK for your son. I understand what you say about him not reporting every time it happens. My 8-year-old doesn't even think about those things. Every now and then I would catch him putting his hand on his chest. He still wanted to run and hop around, but then would stop and say, "I'm so tired."

As of today (Feb. 27) the pediatric cardiologist checked him out, and said he thinks it was just due to the prolonged bout of pneumonia. He also did an EKG (the third one), and said it looked fine. My kid has not had any fainting spells, and was fine when he was seen by the doctor 2 months ago. Sooo...I am comfortable with the cardiologist's diagnosis. That general practitioner did not seem like he knew what was going on. Especially since he missed the relapse on the pneumonia the DAY BEFORE the ER visit.

Again, I hope your son gets what he needs to deal with this. I know what it is like to worry about the little guys.

8:31 PM  

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