Beware of colds, flu, pneumonia

I am typing this article at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. Our daughter, Jenee, has been here since early last Friday morning. Here's what happened. We spent Presidents' Day at the swim center and McDonald's with a friend of Jenee's and everything went just fine. But after only being at school for two hours, I got a phone call that she had a temperature of 105 degrees. How can that happen in two hours?

She was coughing and I could get the temperature down to 104 degrees by Wednesday morning. The cough was still there so I called the pediatrician's office and kept in contact with Chris the nurse on Jenee's progress. I really thought on Thursday afternoon she was on the road to recovery with a fever of only 101 degrees. But that darn cough wouldn't let up. Neither of us had slept in two nights and she hadn't eaten since Tuesday morning.

Friday morning it was clear to me that I needed to get her medical attention so we were on Dr. Toth's doorstep in Carson City at 8:30 a.m. Jenee had lost 4 1Ú2 pounds and had sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. Dr. Toth wrote up the admitting paper work and we were on our way to the hospital.

When we arrived at 9:30 a.m., we were quickly put in a beautiful private isolation pediatric room. There were orders were for strep and flu cultures and chest X-ray. The cultures turned out negative but the chest X-ray showed a large thick mass in her upper right lobe requiring a heavy antibiotic and respiratory therapy to break up the mass. With an IV pumping in one arm to rehydrate her and a pulse oximitor attached to her right finger checking on her blood oxygen levels she was soon resting quietly. The doctor explained this was a life threatening situation and I was very worried.

Our only daughter is 44 1Ú2 pounds now and ready for her eighth birthday in just a week. She looked so frail and hollow like she was dying. I was very emotional until my husband and my parents showed up for support. I just couldn't notify anyone else until I knew she was out of the woods.

Respiratory therapist Donald started breathing treatments. He explained to Jenee that he has had 28 years' experience and she would feel better after he "beat her up." I watched as he pounded her frail little body but he calmed me by saying, "Watch, she'll be asleep when I'm done," and she was.

Donald said she'd sleep all night which was music to my ears after not sleeping in so many days, but with all the nurses coming in at all hours to check her vitals, she slept but I didn't. I was still too worried.

If you have a child in the pediatric area they offer them Xbox, Play Station or Game Cube and that's how we got Jenee to start drinking fluids. I would pour two ounces for her to drink and she could play for a half an hour. Sounded like it would work, it did once. Then she said she was too tired.

Tonight is Sunday and she is asleep so I ran down to the hospital cafeteria to type this article. We should both be home Monday or Tuesday - we'll just have to see.

Carson Tahoe was a wonderful hospital experience for both of us. I felt we had excellent care and a wonderful new environment. Thank you to Jenee's school class for making her such creatively handcrafted get well cards. Thanks to others in the school that came by wishing her well.

-- Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.


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