owen

Berta was commenting on how we really don’t document the kids’ activities anywhere. I suspect she doesn’t read the blog as much as I would like to think she does, not that I write out everything that we do with the kids here. But now we have something important to record, and I might as well do it here, if anywhere.

Wednesday, Berta took Riley in for his 15-month checkup. He’s been a little cranky this week. We were thinking that maybe he’s getting a little cold in his ears because he was a bit wobbly and irritable over the weekend, but the doctor said he was ok. Berta says that he was very uncooperative. He didn’t want to sit

In addition to the check-over, Riley had some vaccinations. Three shots, two in one leg, one in the other. And that is where things started to go awry.

When Berta finally brought Riley home, he wasn’t a happy baby. He moped, and was sleepy, and cried for no reason that we could determine. This is pretty standard for post-vaccination. Abby behaved similarly, and Riley did this for his other vaccinations. They both also carried fevers for at least 12 hours after the shots.

But one thing that was different this time is that Riley did not move. He would not stand up, he would crawl or otherwise make an effort to move himself.

At one point on Wednesday evening, after noticing this behavior, I set him on the floor in the living room and used all manner of persuasion to get hime to come to me, a mere 4 feet away. He just sat there and screamed. He leaned on the nearby diaper pail, and barely tried to sit back up. I kept calling him to come to me, and he just wouldn’t. Even when he settled down, he still refused to move, and he would start crying again when I made any approach toward him.

Well, we figured he was just a bit sore and feeling betrayed by the visit to the doctor, since Berta was able to comfort him and Tylenol seemed to calm him a bit. We assumed he would return to normal after a good night’s rest.

Thursday morning, Riley didn’t eat much of anything for breakfast, and he still hadn’t stood up on his own. Berta found him in his crib that morning, laying down, crying to be picked up. This is very unusual for Riley, who usually all but climbs out on his own.

After breakfast, we all left for work, still under the assumption that he was yet a bit bothered by the shots. After all, it had taken days to fully get over the effects last time. I made a note to come home for lunch and check on him.

At lunch time, Nana told me that he had eaten just a little fruit and milk for lunch. She said he didn’t stand up in his playpen after his morning nap, which she found very unusual. And just looking at him sitting on the couch, I could tell that something was very wrong. He was just kind of slumped there, not at all the envigorated little boy from a week before, but completely unwilling to move. He cried whenever you touched him.

I looked around for the vaccination info papers we got from the doctor so that I could read up on the side effects of these vaccinations. These papers give you lists of possible things that could happen as a result of the vaccinations, and categorize them by severity. Each symptom has with it a ratio, like “1 in 1000 children”, indicating that these things are pretty rare. There is also a list of warning signs; things about which you should contact your doctor immediately.

Berta had taken the papers to work - obviously, I wasn’t the only one concerned about Riley’s behavior. Instead, I looked up the info online, which had similar information.

After reading that weakness was one of the “call your doctor” symptoms, I had had enough to call over there. They did the usual routine - “No doctors can talk to you right now, can one call you back?” And then it’s not a doctor, but a nurse that returns your call. I suppose that it all works out in the end, but it’s not a procedure that makes you feel comfortable when your child can’t lift himself into a sitting position.

I told the nurse the symptoms and after she consulted with a doctor, she told us to bring him right in. There was some gymnastics at home about arranging for a car seat for him, since I don’t have one in my car. Berta came home and we packed everyone into my car and headed to the doctor.

Riley was not happy to return to the doctor’s office.

Anyway, he seemed to check out ok, except for the irritability and the refusal to stand up. Still, Dr. Bay had me hold Riley on one side of the exam room and let him walk to Berta, which he did, quite wobbly. This was somewhat of a relief, since we hadn’t seem him stand at all in a full day. Still, if my legs hurt a lot, and I was being tortured, and all I had to do for comfort was walk across a room, I think I would manage it too. It wasn’t like he did it without screaming. It was still obvious to everyone that something wasn’t right.

The doctor said to give him Motrin for his pain and sent us home after filling out a vaccination incident report for the CDC. Berta commented in the car how strange it is that doctors can blow off things like seizures, since Dr. Bay had said nonchalantly, “And if he has a seizure just go ahead and take him down to CHOP. They’ll want to admit him for observation.” I told her that it wasn’t a blazé attitude toward seizures, but a very practiced method of calmly suggesting, “You’re probably not going to need to know this, but you do need to know this,” without completely freaking you out. Because really, a seizure would freak me out.

When we got home, Riley still wasn’t walking, but he seemed happier to be away from the doctor. He took a nap with Nana, and Berta and I went about with what little was left with our workday.

Later Thursday night, there was still no walking, although he did manage to stand a couple of times when we coerced him into it. Berta decided to give him a bath, since all of the crying had made him a wreck. The bath must have been a miracle cure. Riley was up wandering around and smiling. He still wasn’t as adroit as he had been, but he was voluntarily walking, which he hadn’t done in over a day.

So that was a relief.

I don’t know if he slept through the night (he hasn’t for a week, usually waking up near both 2am and 5am) or not, I’ve been so tired from this week. I woke up this morning to a giant close-up Berta face and the alarm clock in the background reading a fuzzy “7:03”.

Anyway, there’s a harrowing experience for you. There was seemingly nothing we could do to fix him. I was really worried for him for a while.

There should be a note in his file at the doctor’s office about considering our options for his 4-year-old vaccinations - whether we want to skip them or not - but I think it’s good to have a separate personal record and an account of the experience, which the doctor wouldn’t have recorded.