First steps, first birthday…and first ER visit


Teddy spent his birthday stoned on Benadryl.

A few weeks ago, one week before his first birthday, Teddy took his first steps. The next afternoon, he acquired an intestinal bug. We were so excited to see him spontaneously take about five paces with confidence, without any provocation from us. But over the next few days, we got more and more worried as the bug took everything out of him and he showed zero interest in further practice of his new skill. On the fifth day of his illness, when he wanted nothing more than to cuddle me (which generally I love but not when it means he’s sick) and kept staring listlessly (the red flag for dehydration we’d been told to look out for), I called the triage nurse and was advised to take him to the ER.

So not what I wanted to hear. But the nurse assured me we could get a quick IV and be back home in time for dinner. In hindsight, I wonder, has she never been to the ER?

We were indeed triaged quickly, but we were in the hospital two hours before an IV was even started. Judging by Teddy’s appearance (despite being low-energy, he was still responding to the nurses), the attending staff were confident a two-hour drip would be enough to rehydrate him and have him walking all over his hospital room. But blood work showed that Teddy was worse off than he had led his doctors to believe. His case still wasn’t serious, but it warranted an overnight stay on an IV drip.

We were admitted to the hospital and moved to a new room, one with a reclining chair so I could get some sleep. Several friends helped make the short stay more bearable, bringing me dinner, chauffeuring Mike and I between hospital and home, and delivering a Starbucks order to me the next morning.

Despite a night of interrupted sleep, the next morning looked much brighter. Teddy was smiling and chuckling again and wanting to get out of his crib, and the attending physician declared him ready to be taken off the drip. But his birthday party scheduled for two days hence? I was advised to postpone that until the following weekend.

I have to admit, I was more bummed about that than I probably should’ve been. Obviously Teddy wouldn’t know any different. And given the fact that I was starting to feel sick, I knew it was best to wait until the entire family was 100% before hosting a party.

So why was Teddy stoned the day he turned 1? The day before his birthday, Teddy was fully hydrated and back to eating normally (well, normally for Teddy). And then welts appeared on his eyes. And on his legs. And on his chest. I freaked, certain he’d somehow come down with the chicken pox. (You go to the hospital with one illness and come home with another, right?) We called the triage nurse again. Turns out, Teddy was having an allergic reaction to the illness. The nurse said the welts would come and go every few hours during the next few days.

We didn’t give him Benadryl right then because the triage nurse didn’t mention it. You see, we were calling on Sat, when Teddy was still under 1 year of age. Evidently Benadryl isn’t on the list of recommendations for triage nurses handling calls concerning children under 1 year. The next morning, Mike went into the nursery and found Teddy’s eyes swollen shut (yes, we have pictures; no we’re not sharing them—think Will Smith in Hitch), so he called the doctor on call. Teddy was now 1, and the doctor recommended Benadryl.

And that’s how Teddy ended up stoned on his birthday.


About savoringeverymoment

I'm a grammar geek (I'm firmly on the side of the serial comma), the wife of a baseball fanatic, and the mama of two delightful, rambunctious children. I live in the nation's capital and attend a church where all are welcome and encouraged to use their gifts and talents.

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