By the time we made it to the ER at PCMC, it was well after 10pm. After checking in, we were led back to one of the rooms to wait for the ER doctor.
Being in the ER is not a pleasant experience. Being in the ER late at night is even less pleasant. Once you check into the ER, you are basically at the mercy of the ER staff. You're not supposed to give your child any of their medications or anything to eat or drink without the OK from the ER doc. And depending on how busy the ER is and how "serious" your child's emergency is, you can be waiting for a long time.
So we explained to the nurse about the fever and about the shunt and how the pediatrician thinks it's probably a shunt infection. She wrote stuff down and said the doctor would be in to speak with us as well. And so we waited.
After a while the doctor finally came in and we had to retell him everything that we had already told the nurse. He checked the incisions on top of Nathan's head, behind his ear, and his abdomen. The one behind his ear looked a little swollen and tender. And when he pushed on it a little, this ugly, slimy, white puss came oozing out by one of the sutures. Definitely an infection.
So he paged the neurosurgeon resident on call to come over and see Nathan. As we waited for the him to show up, it kept getting later and later and later. When he finally showed up, he checked Nathan over and told us that we would be admitted to the hospital and that Nathan would most likely be scheduled for surgery in the morning to externalize the shunt.
But right now they were going to tap the shunt to draw some CSF from inside Nathan's head to check it for infection as well. From what they could tell but just looking at Nathan and the infected site, it appeared that the infection was just on the outside of the shunt. But if it were to penetrate to inside the shunt and get inside his brain, it could lead to meningitis -- a potentially deadly inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. So they wanted to rule that out as quickly as possible.
Eventually, sometime after about 4am or so, we were officially admitted back into the hospital. Since we didn't know exactly what time Nathan would be having surgery, we decided that Bekah should stay at the hospital with Nathan so that one of us would be there when it was time to take Nathan in for surgery. I would be going home to try and get some sleep before heading back up for the surgery in the morning.
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