No kidding, a year to the day after our last ER visit due to fever, we took Machen in for a fever in its third day (we’d consulted with the nephrologist’s office two days earlier and then his pediatrician’s office the day before).
We went to a different ER this time, because we were pretty frustrated by the lack of care the previous one showed to our concerns about his kidney (I ended up getting a little testy and spoke a bit too loudly to the doc, but that’s another story). This ER doc (and staff) focused on the terms “transplant” and “immuno-suppressed” right off and kept him away from other sick patients and one of the first things the doctor said was “I’m going to run this by your nephrologist before we do anything.”
What a relief.
After some quick checks, they decided to admit him for observation and a course of antibiotics. But first, his first nephrologist was in town for a weekend as the on-call nephrologist. So we got to see him for the first time in almost a year before they admitted him. Which was nice (and allayed a lot of concerns—not that we’d have had concerns with his nephrologist or her partner—just seeing a trusted nephrologist early on was nice).
He was mightily dehydrated—which made getting blood tests and an IV ever so fun. But once he had a handful of bags of fluid in him, he bounced back pretty quickly. The fever came and went a few times over the first 36 or so hours, but never got so serious that anyone was worried.
The team at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise did a fantastic job. Between interns, students, residents and doctors we lost count of how many we saw/answered questions for/heard from—all of whom were focused on diagnosing and treating whatever was going on and making sure that Machen’s kidney stayed healthy and protected. The nursing staff was great, too—I shouldn’t neglect to mention them (although we saw less of them than we saw of nursing staff in previous hospital stays…that’s an observation, not a criticism).
In the end, despite trying their best between tests and asking roughly 1.4 million questions, they weren’t able to be sure what the infection was. The consensus seemed to be that it was probably viral, but they couldn’t rule out a bacterial infection. But the fever went away, his appetite and energy bounced back, his other symptoms decreased, and he was basically back to his status quo. To be safe, they sent him home on an 11-day course of antibiotics.
Roughly 48 hours after we showed up, we were sent home. I’d say he was at 80-87% of his normal health at that point, another day of rest and eating (something he’d really neglected to do Friday-Monday), he was good enough to resume normal activities.
Not the most enjoyable way to spend a couple of days (it was a three-day weekend for his mother and I, and a day off from work could be much more entertaining). But it was needed and uneventful enough that no one got too worried. A good reminder that even on this side of his transplant, life is probably never going to be normal when his health is concerned.