Last Monday I received a call from the elementary school nurse. Annabel was in her office, complaining of a bad headache, lethargy, and body aches. I picked her up from school, and when we got home she went straight to her bedroom and slept for hours. The next morning, she had a bit of a fever, so I kept her home. But by the afternoon, her fever was gone and she was up playing with James and running around. I sent her to school the next day and everything was fine through the week. Until Saturday. deja vu
The weather has been very windy and dry here the last two weeks, and I’ve woken up with a headache almost every morning. So when Annie said on Saturday morning that she had a headache, I was sympathetic but not too concerned. Then she asked to take a nap, which immediately made my Spidey sense tingle. When she woke up, she had a 103 fever. Damn it. Off to Urgent Care.
The nurse at the Urgent Care took Annie’s vitals and immediately noticed that she had a very rapid heartbeat, far above normal. The doctor decided to administer an EKG, do blood work, and give her the rapid strep, flu, and mono tests, “just to rule everything out.”
She was so brave during the blood draw — something she’d never had done before — and was rewarded with a popsicle, which also had the intended effect of bringing down her temperature a bit.
Annie was also brave during the EKG. Anyone who’s had one knows they aren’t painful, but when you’re seven years old and you have to get a bunch of cords stuck onto your body it’s hard not to be freaked out. She was a champ.
Unfortunately, her EKG didn’t look “totally normal,” so they sent the results to a pediatric cardiologist. While that was happening, the rapid tests came back showing positive for strep. That blew my mind because she hadn’t once mentioned a sore throat.
The pediatric cardiologist asked for chest x-rays, so the doctors quickly obliged. The x-rays revealed Annie had pneumonia! Annnnd, because nothing is ever easy, the pneumonia was in two parts of her lung, making it hard for the doctors to get a good look at her heart. BECAUSE OF COURSE.
At this point, the doctors started saying stuff like, “admit her for observation,” “enlarged heart,” “strep might be in her bloodstream attacking her heart,” and her blood work showed a very high white blood cell count and very low sodium levels. After MUCH hemming and hawing and consulting and more hemming and hawing, the doctors decided that Annie could go home on Saturday night as long as Mike and I watched her closely and promised to bring her back in first thing in the morning. AND they wanted to give her an antibiotic shot before she was released. Poor Annie.
I was really glad she got to come home but needless to say, Mike and I didn’t sleep much. Mike had gone semi-catatonic when they brought up heart issues, but I was fine until they said she had pneumonia. That’s what Madeline had when she died. And while Annabel is obviously older and stronger, it’s hard not to freak out when one of your kids is diagnosed with the same illness that killed your first child. It brought up so many horrible memories.
On Sunday, we took Annie back to urgent care for more blood work and another EKG. The blood work showed that she was improving, with her white cells and sodium going in the right directions (yay!) but her EKG was still concerning (boo). They gave Annie more antibiotics, a breathing treatment, and an inhaler, and they gave me strict instructions to take her to her primary care doctor the next day.
Dr. Looove is always gonna be #1 in my heart. She is the best family doctor ever. After looking at all of Annie’s test results, including her EKG and chest x-ray, she prescribed Annie a stronger antibiotic (to really attack the pneumonia, which is in two parts of her lung), breathing treatments, and rest. She was mildly concerned about her heart, and wants Annie to come back in after her course of antibiotics so she can get a better look at what’s going on there.
My girl has been such a trooper through it all. She’s had to miss school and softball, which was really hard for her. But I’m so happy that she’s getting stronger every day. The sparkle is back in her eyes. Every day she breathes a bit easier. I do, too.
(And don’t even get me started on James, who decided to FAINT on Tuesday. Someday I will recover, I swear.)
I swear, I felt your fear and concern while reading every word of this. You must have been frantic. She looks a little feverish in a couple of the photos, but I’m so glad to read that she’s looking better every day. What a scare!
Norma DeLaGarza says:
I know this must be absolutely terrifying for you. I’m sorry that you are all going through this. Praying that your sweet girl is back to normal in no time.
Poor sweet Annabel
How scary for you, Heather. Hoping that Annie is doing great very soon, and that the heart is fine.
How awful for all of you to go through that and what a great patient Annie was. I’m sending good thoughts for a speedy and complete recovery and some breathing room for you and Mike.
That was scary just to read, I can’t imagine it from your side. I’m tough as nails on my girl, but the minute she’s sick (which lucky for me is extremely rare) i melt into a puddle and will do ANYTHING to make her feel better. She’s 13, but she once again becomes my baby.
Hope she’s back on her feet with a clean bill of health (I initially typed clear, and then puzzled to what a clear piece of paper had to do with anything) soon!
Heather and Mike: I am so sorry you guys have to go thru this. Yes, all of us parents do have sick kids, but I can totally understand how frightening this is for the both of you due to fears from Maddie. It is very natural to be so, but that doesn’t help your feelings.
What a brave girl you have! Many adults aren’t that brave, so be proud of her.
Keep us posted as I was beginning to worry when you hadn’t posted since Sunday.
Wishing well vibes for all!!
Terrifying indeed! Fell better Annie!!!
I mean FEEL better!
Pardon my French, but….holy shit Heather!!!! I just about fainted reading this!!!!!
So glad Annie is on the mend.
Sending you all so much love!!!!!!
Oh, baby! I so feel for her.
I had walking pneumonia three years ago (Sounds like what she had: e.g., it’s pneumonia that can affect you for a while without any symptoms, only to escalate in intensity all of a sudden, leaving medical personnel stumped at first).
It sucks, because one moment you’re feeling fine and going about your business, and the next you’re totally feeling terrible while no one can quite put a finger on what’s wrong just yet. By the time they did figure out it was pneumonia, I had been in the ER a day and a half, had had ultrasounds done from my neck down to my thighs, and had to be put on oxygen when my levels dipped in the low 80s and I was gasping in pain at every breath.
I had two C-sections before this and a thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer right after, and yet the pneumonia is still the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me medically.
I’m not a doctor, so take what I’m about to say with a large grain of salt, for the anecdotal nature of it: I had to go on blood pressure medication for two months following my bout of pneumonia. My blood pressure readings were very, very abnormal for someone my age. My primary doc got really freaked out by them. But as soon as the pneumonia cleared, my blood pressure returned to normal levels.
Here’s hoping that follow ups will show that the EKG readings were off due to temporary stress brought on by the pneumonia
Oh, that helps to hear! Thank you, I’m hoping Annie’s situation will be similar to yours!
Thanks for posting an update. I know you’re nowhere near the wildfires, but I wasn’t sure about Mike’s family, and between that and your Sunday post I’ve been thinking about you guys. Poor Annie, but I’m glad to hear she’s on the mend. I was terrified when I read the part about her heart, so I can’t imagine how you guys felt.
Oh, thank you. Mike’s parents aren’t in danger, thank goodness! Although, they are close enough to have smoke and ash. It’s so awful, it breaks my heart.
I held my breath until I read the very last sentence. How scary. I’m glad she’s feeling better.
Aw, she looks so sick in that picture with the popsicle. Glad she is on the mend.
You all have been in my thoughts & prayers this week. Annie is a real trooper & I’m glad that she is on the road to recovery. Hoping that the heart issues is related to the pneumonia & you get to the bottom of it! Now Mr. James needs to behave!
Hugs from Kansas!!
Hope Annie feels better very soon and Mom and Dad can stand down. Will be sending good thoughts your way.
Oh Heather… I just want to give you all a great big hug. Healing thoughts for Annie!
Omg I am so sorry for her pain AND yours and Mike’s. So glad Dr. Looove can provide you with such comfort and care! At first I was thinking her lungs may have been affected by the fire, but I think LA is probably too far for that, right?
Like so many of your readers, my thoughts have been with you and your family since your Sunday post. I’m glad to hear Annie is feeling better and am sending positive thoughts her (and your) way. Hang in there!
While of course it’s unrealistic, I feel like the universe freaking owes you and Mike no illnesses – not one, not even a cold – for Annabel and James. I am SO sorry you had to go through this (and still are, until the heart concern gets the all-clear).
I hope Annie keeps getting better and stronger and everything is smooth sailing again soon.
Oh my God, Heather. How terrifying. I hope Annie improves quickly and the heart issues resolve.
I’m so sorry you all have to endure this stress. Hoping for a speedy recovery and neede rest for your whole family.
(My husband is a pediatric cardiologist. I realize not much can be deciphered via posts/written exchanges, but feel free to lob questions this way if you would like.)
Sorry to hear Annie is poorly. Get well soon. xxx
This must have been so scary and stressful for you all. I hope Annie feels well soon, and that you are all able to rest easier this weekend!
Lisa F. says:
Very scary! Hopefully whatever is going on with her heart is a symptom of the pneumonia and will go away when that clears up!
I hope she feels better soon and I will keep her in my thoughts. I am sure this has been horrible for you guys.
Strep can actually be in other places in your body other than your throat but lots of people don’t realize that.
Sending healing thoughts your way
Sending lots of healing and loving thoughts your way and a super speedy recovery for sweet Annabel.
Reading this post made me cry but also made me so proud of your girl – she is a true modern day Wonder Girl!!!! (Wonder Woman in years to come!)
This made me feel panicky on your behalf. Hope Annie is feeling better!
Annie is going to get all better soon! So sorry to know that Annie had to go through all those tests, but those were very helpful for her! I am sure you all are very tired! Stay positive always!
You are doing great Annie!?
Don’t know why the question mark came!
Oh. My. Gosh.
I would have been having a panic attack… and I likely would have passed out too.
I’ll be thinking about you all and praying she gets better quickly.
So sorry that you’re all going through this, and that the horrible bugs are making it over the Pacific. Areas of Australia have been hit with pneumonia outbreaks too, trust Annie to pick up the latest “in” thing! I hope she feels much better soon.
Seriously, I hope everyone is feeling better and yours and Mike’s pysches are in a more natural state. Fingers and toes crossed that when I go read the next blog, the EKG was just secondary to the pneumonia.