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Our experience in the ER

After we received the diagnosis from the doctor, she explained that a treatment would be administered via an IV. At the time everything seemed very simple and the risks minimal. Little did I know what lay ahead.


There was a shift change and another ER doctor came to see us. She examined Isaiah again and we had to repeat the order of events all over again. As with the first doctor, she also brought in her senior to take a look at Isaiah. They took some time pointing out various symptoms to each other. They proceeded to tell us that Isaiah's symptoms were not "textbook.". He was missing some of the classic signs of Kawasaki's disease, including the red hands/feet and red whites of his eyes (conjunctivitis).  It was possible that he was an atypical Kawasaki case or that his illness was due to some sort of bacterial infection. They decided to start him on antibiotics in the event that it was in fact an infection. Blood work would need to be completed to help figure out what was really wrong with our little guy.

IV and bloodwork

The plan was to get an IV needle in place and use it for both drawing the blood and then later for the IV. A pair of ER nurses came in to insert the needle in Isaiah's hand. They were not able to draw any blood, so they tried the other hand and had the same problem.  According to them, Isaiah's high fever and lack of hydration were causing his veins to contract. Another pair of nurses tried both hands again, but to no avail. They decided to page the IV team for the hospital in order for them to get the needle in place. Poor Isaiah was exhausted and tired of being poked.  We had to hold him down each time and try to reassure him that everything would be okay. He would fall asleep between tries only to be woken up again.

When the nurse from the IV team finally arrived she took one look at his hands decided that she would use his foot instead. She was able to get the needle in a "good" vein, but was still unable to draw any blood. She decided that the IV needle would stay and that the doctors/nurses would need to get the blood sample later. I think the hope was that with a little hydration from the drip his veins would not be so constricted.

The senior ER doctor came to talk to me and recommend that instead of continuing to poke Isaiah that we go for the "surer" option and try drawing blood from an artery. He said that he would need to penetrate deeper, which would mean it would be more painful, but it would be a more reliable method of getting a blood sample.  I really didn't want to put Isaiah through any more pain or trauma, but felt it was important that the doctors received the blood samples so that they could pinpoint what was causing Isaiah's illness, so I agreed to the arterial gathering of the Isaiah's blood.

Two doctors and one nurse came in to draw the blood.  As soon as the doctor prepared to insert the needle I  had a feeling that he was unsure of what he was doing.  He hesitated for quite awhile before actually penetrating the skin and I grew more nervous as each microsecond passed.  The other doctor, the nurse and myself were prepared to hold Isaiah still.  As soon as he penetrated the skin Isaiah started crying and fighting us.  I had to put my weight on him and hold him very tightly in an effort to keep him still.  Even with all four of us holding him down he managed to put up a UFC worthy fight.  That moment showed me that my son is a survivor.  He hadn't eaten in week, he had a 40C temperature, he was dehydrated and sleep-deprived, yet he had enough spunk left in him to fight off four perfectly healthy adults.  The doctor seemed to be having trouble getting to the artery and keep digging into Isaiah's tiny wrist.  All the while Isaiah kept crying and struggling to get free.  I tried to be calm and reassuring, but the whole time I was just holding back tears with everything I had left.  The doctor was unable to get any blood despite this being the "more reliable" method.  I could have killed him right then and there.  Luckily, the nurse noticed that one of the veins on the back of his hand looked like it might work.  She was able to get some blood flow from it and began the blood sample collection.  The flow started slowing down, so she was heavily massaging his arm to get more blood.  I felt like my poor child was being milked.  Finally, they had enough blood to do the appropriate tests.  As soon as everyone left the room Isaiah fell asleep in exhaustion and I burst into tears. It was the worst night of my life.


We were told that there was no room available for us yet, so we spent the next few hours in the ER room.  I just held Isaiah while he slept, as there was no proper bed -- just a gurney.  In the morning, the doctor from pediatrics came to see me, along with a whole team of residents, including the one from the night before.  It felt very strange having to talk to all of these people at once.  I guess that's what you have to deal with when you go to a teaching hospital.  I even ended up being "interviewed" by a first year med student, just for practice.  After the night I had just had I really didn't feel like talking to anyone, but I was too nice to actually say that and agreed to it anyway.

I was so happy when someone finally came to move us to a room.  Needless to say, that moment of happiness was short-lived.


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