Another Hospital Visit

January 16, 2023, Tiffany Newman

Photo of a child in a hospital bed holding hands with a support personIt has been a while since I have written a blog post. I had taken a break due to family emergencies, but I am back and ready to share some of the last month or so. This winter season has shown to be a really difficult one. In one of my previous posts, I shared our recent struggle with RSV in Caleb. Caleb ended up getting sick again a month after that, and we were again in the hospital. I felt defeated and like I was letting my son down because, for a second time, we were sent to the hospital, and he was poked and prodded. We could not figure out why this was happening again.

Caleb and Carson ended up getting sick at almost the same time with pretty much the same symptoms. They both ended up with fevers, a cough, and snotty noses. As the week progressed, Carson seemed to bounce back quickly, whereas we were still struggling to keep Caleb’s temperature down, he was getting uncomfortable, and then he just stopped drinking and eating.

This pattern was all too familiar again, and my husband and I both got worried. We decided to take him into Urgent care to make sure things were looking okay and that the cough and fever were not showing any underlying issues. At Urgent care, they took a few swabs and checked him to make sure he did not have COVID, RSV, or the flu. The COVID results came back negative, and we had to wait for the rest of the results later. They gave him some medication and sent us to the hospital for an x-ray. He was struggling to sleep, eat, and keep his temperature down.

At 2 am on Monday, Caleb became lethargic. He did not want to open his eyes or move, and he refused any liquids we tried to give him. By around 10 am, when he wasn’t getting better, we decided it was time to take him to the emergency room again. We drove to Corvallis, got him checked in, and waited to be seen. Once in the room, he was evaluated, his temperature was still high, and he was still lethargic. He became their top priority! They hooked him up to fluids as quickly as possible, gave him ibuprofen, and got him on oxygen. His oxygen levels were low again.

Small yellow toy ambulance sitting on a white wooden surfaceAt this point, we still did not know what was going on, and the results of his tests were still not back. The ER took blood samples and nasal swabs to get to the labs to see what he had. By around 2 pm, they decided he needed to be transferred up to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland. We were happy about this decision because the last time he had RSV, he was transferred twice and ended up at Randalls.

My husband rode in the ambulance with him up to the hospital while I went and picked up our older son from daycare and stayed with him that night. We still didn’t know what he had at this point. We hoped it was not RSV again, even though his symptoms seemed so similar.

Once up at Randall’s, he was settled in, and luckily he no longer needed to be on oxygen. He was also not admitted to the ICU and instead was on the main floor. This was such a good sign for us! It meant that his body was enough oxygen on its own, so we hoped his hospital stay would be much shorter. The hospital finally got Caleb’s test results, which showed he had two things going on: Parainfluenza and Rhino/Entero virus (basically a bad flu with a bad cold on top of it). His x-rays also showed possible pneumonia again.

Front and side xray image of lungsThe pediatrician came in and talked to us during rounds. My husband and I asked her different questions about why this may be happening and what we could do to prevent this in the future. She said this had been an extremely bad year for flu and colds. She also said that because the x-rays showed ‘possible’ pneumonia,’ there are other possibilities, like a cist in his lungs that he may have had since birth, that could be showing those “shadows” on the x-rays. Without further tests, we can’t know for sure.

Luckily, Caleb was only on oxygen for a short time and could have the IV’s out after a couple of nights. We stayed in the hospital for three days this time (much shorter than last time) and went home when Caleb started drinking liquids on his own and eating. Thank goodness it didn’t take long for that to happen.

Photo of Tiffany Newman and her family at ChristmasNow that we have spent two separate times in the hospital, we are trying to figure out how to keep him out of the hospital from here on out. We are thinking of life changes that will either move us somewhere else or keep us in the area but possibly have me becoming a stay-at-home parent. We have so much to think about and try and figure out what to do. We will be taking Caleb into some studies to see if there is an underlying issue going on with him. I hope this will give us more information to make the hard choice for our future and what will be best for our boys. Our boys LOVE their daycare and have good friends there, so taking them out of it would be very hard for both them and me. It is difficult, and there may be no clear right answer, but we will do what is best for our boys and family. Hopefully, things will calm down in the new year, and we will stay out of the hospital.


More Information

My Child Is Sick, Could It Be RSV?

Know When to Seek Care for Colds & Flu

Caring for your sick child at home

Cómo cuidar a su hijo enfermo en casa