Had the doctor said “back pain and a fever” or “back pain and a high fever”? I couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter much now as I followed my husband up the Beltway around 7 pm on Saturday night. In the back of my car, my older children chattered away endlessly and the toddler talked to himself. I don’t like driving to start with, let alone having to drive in the dark, so my full concentration was on the traffic. I tried not to second guess our decision to bring Pumpkin Girl to the emergency room.
Very late Thursday night she woke up with back pain. With a little motrin and her dad snuggled next to her, she slept peacefully through the rest of the night. Friday morning she still had some pain, but more motrin fixed her right up. She was her normal, happy self, playing with her friends at our homeschool group. She was fine on Saturday morning at Boo’s soccer game, and enjoyed her Mexican folkdance class in the afternoon.
Still, something nagged at the back of my mind. With our family’s history of vesico-uretal reflux (VUR) – reflux between the bladder and the kidneys- our doctor’s instructions were to take the children to the emergency room if they ever have back pain with a fever. Or was it back pain with a high fever?
We went to Mass on Saturday evening. Pumpkin complained of back pain again, so I snuggled her close and in doing so, I felt her forehead. For the first time, she felt warm.
Church is a good place to be if you’re going to panic.
As soon as we got home I took her temperature. 99.8. Not too high, but a fever nonetheless. I turned into Highly Efficient Mom, complete with Calming Smile and Comforting Voice. I instructed Pumpkin and Boo to pack some books while I heated something to eat. We ate dinner, warm comforting soup in a pumpkin tureen with our family’s favorite cornbread. Pumpkin’s big eyes betrayed her nerves and I knelt beside her to comfort her.
And that is how I found myself driving to the emergency room on a Saturday night.
Pumpkin Girl did have the beginnings of a kidney infection. In a couple of more days she would have become very sick, with nausea and vomiting. But God was good and sent her just enough of a fever for us to know to take her in. She got an IV bag of fluids and a big dose of antibiotics and we were able to go home once her bloodwork showed that her kidney function was good and her white blood count was fine.
The whole experience wasn’t scary for me in the way you would think. I wasn’t worried about Pumpkin Girl. She looked and acted healthy at the hospital, and I had brought Philip along to help me manage the medical folks if I ran into any resistance. I knew exactly what I wanted them to do for us. I knew she would be fine.
It wasn’t until we arrived home at 11:15 and had tucked our weary Pumpkin in bed. I realized then just how easy it was, just how easy it should have been for Rebecca. A simple test, some antibiotics, everyone goes home no worse for the wear.
Today Pumpkin Girl is pain free. Now I am worried about what this means for her, long term. She has never had a UTI before now and she had been off the daily antibiotics since January. Monday I will call her pediatric urologist to see what we do next.
For today, we just wait. And pray without ceasing.