Ruby had her first hospital overnight tonight. Those benign looking purple-dinosaur band-aids mask a 24-hour first-time-parents’ harrowing trip with toddler through the ER system.
Ruby was complaining about pain in her leg in the morning before school. “My leg hurts,” coupled with “I don’t want to go to school,” and no apparent trauma to the leg — we didn’t know what to think. We crossed our fingers and headed to Kindercare. About an hour after we dropped her off, they called us to come and get her. The knee was swollen and warm, and she wasn’t putting any weight on it.
We started at an Urgent Care, but they thought she would need more than an x-ray so they sent us to Northern Suburban Hospital. She had a fever, and was complaining about the knee. She still would not walk. When we got to the hospital, she heartily vomited all over herself and me — which made for a pleasant afternoon (Momma had NO diaper bag). They whisked us through triage, put in an IV (Good Lord, this was horrible) and took some blood. Her tests came back showing infection somewhere in her system, so we had to go to the ER at another hospital (Children’s in Denver) so she could see a pediatric orthopedist and get a tap of the knee (like a spinal tap, but they go into the knee joint instead of the spine). Insert: screaming, tears, screaming, tears, screaming. This, also, was horrible. Five minutes later, though, she was charming everyone out of popsicles and stickers and showing off her band-aids. I requested a martini-drip, and was not accommodated.
They kept us overnight to observe her. They thought she had pediatric septic joint, but her ultimate diagnosis was reactive arthritis, which is when an infection gets into your body somewhere, and settles into a joint. By getting some of the fluid out, they relieved the pressure and some of the pain for her. She slept like a champion there (every child that spends the night in the hospital takes home a handmade quilt made by the Linus Foundation — now her “special blanket”), with me in a little barcalounger next to her. We were discharged in the morning. She’s still limping, but she is bearing weight on the leg and in fine spirits. They say it can take a while for the infection to go away, just like a cold.
They were so nice to her throughout our 24-hour experience that she woke up this morning and said “I want to go to the hospital.” We opted for Starbucks instead.
Now, Joan, I don’t mean to worry you, but I thought about you and Nate and your trip to Children’s Hospital in DC (don’t let the US News “Best” rating fool you!) while Ruby and I were being treated like Goodwill Ambassadors at our three different medical locations. Yes, we’re still coming home, but I think if Ruby scrapes her knee once I get back, I may have to fly back here to get it looked at.
When we were limping back to the car yesterday, we passed a father wheeling his son (and all his IVs, oxygen tanks, etc.) out into the sunshine in a Radio Flyer wagon. They were not heading for home. Today, at the park, Ruby looked no worse for wear.
I realize, in the grand scheme of things, that this was a minor scrape. I just share it because it was our first. I am thankful for Ruby’s health, every moment.
Note that I am not including a photo of her harried, exhausted, milquetoast mother.