Tylenol & Gratitude

Zion is sleeping in my arms.

This morning we visited the ER at 7:00a, after a morning of poor sleep and lots of fussing. Zi had been whimpering in my arms, then it escalated to real tears, hard cries and a noticeable high fever. Then, after a dirty diaper change, he vomited across his bedroom floor.

Our first thought was his shunt. Because – really, where else can your mind go? The symptoms suggested so much of what we went through when it malfunctioned in January. Adam’s call to “first nurse” confirmed our worry, as they suggested we bring him to the ER at Mary Greely – our pediatrician’s office wasn’t open, yet.

In the ER they administered Tylenol for his fever of 104 degrees and began blood work. Drawing blood is not a pleasant experience for most people, and on a 7-month-old who clearly doesn’t feel well, it was terrible. And he is just so strong. Keeping him still is the hardest, and finding the right vein of those tiny squiggly lines is another challenge. After all of the poking and prodding, swabs and protocol, Zi fell asleep on me.

Zion slept. We waited. It was about a 30-minute nap, in which my mind played out all of the possible scenarios. Upon the completion of these tests, our plan was to likely head to the University of Iowa hospital where Zion has had all of his neurology appointments and 2 surgeries to do an MRI and see our doctor there. That is if we didn’t have conclusive answers in the Mary Greely ER room. The scent of baby Tylenol and the air of the hospital just increased my recollection of our previous experiences with Zion’s Hydrocephalus. Adam and I didn’t talk, I think we both silently prayed that this wasn’t our fear – another shunt malfunction.

When Zion woke up, he began smiling and we both felt a surge of hope. He seemed refreshed and much closer to his normal self. The Tylenol had clearly kicked in. He also had a few more dirty diapers, 3 since arriving in the ER. These signs were pointing towards a viral infection. Funny thing when you are thankful to change a diaper filled with poop. 

The doctor seeing us agreed that Zion was looking much better and no concerns were found in his blood work. It was too soon to receive results from the stools, but that test would be completed in the next 2 hours. After speaking with our Neurosurgeon in Iowa City, the ER Doctor relayed that they both felt comfortable with Zion going home and passing on the MRI at the U of I, today. We actually have a scheduled check-up there this Friday, and will see our doctor then.

Now, we’re at home. I just received a call from Mary Greely that confirmed it is indeed a virus. A stomach virus that will run its course in 1-3 days. Praising God for answers! Although sad my baby doesn’t feel well, we’re so grateful for a “normal” sickness. (Not that it’s ever easy to have a sick child!)

You don’t consider that news of your baby having a viral infection, could actually be good news. That to be at home – not a hospital, awaiting surgery – is grace. To cuddle my baby in our bed and nurse him often is an answered prayer and ultimately a reason for gratitude. 

Read about Zion’s shunt malfunction when he was 2-months-old, here. 

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