Monday, November 15, 2010

"My Story..." Monday: Rotovirus in a Cast

(If you missed the beginning of this story, you can find parts 1-6 here:

C. was doing alright in her massive pink cast. She was angry that she couldn't roll from back to tummy and that she couldn't sit up. It was difficult to sponge-bath around the cast and it made our arms ache to hold her for very long... while our little girl was a tiny little thing, the cast was amazingly heavy. But we were ok. Things just took a little more planning.

And then... the rotovirus arrived.

I'm not sure if you've ever had a child with rotovirus, but it is essentially the nastiest stomach bug you'll ever deal with in your life. My first child had also had it (while we were living in the Ronald McDonald House after C. was born) and it was terrible then too. But he wasn't in a cast...

I knew we had a problem when C. woke up crying one morning (not typical) and I rushed into her bedroom. I was immediately assaulted by a horrible smell. Rotovirus diapers do NOT smell like normal messy diapers. I am absolutely serious when I say I think I could diagnose a baby with rotovirus using only my nose... it is THAT distinctive to me.

I removed the way-too-big sleeper we had put over both baby and cast and surveyed the scene. She had leaked, but just a little. I attacked it with wipes and felt like I did a pretty good job. Once she was all cleaned up, I didn't notice any lingering stench.

The day went on.

I gave her Pedialyte in a bottle and, though she would eagerly drink it, I could literally hear it go straight through her body. Sometimes I would have to stop her mid-bottle to change her pants. I would diligently try to make sure her diaper was perfectly tucked into the cast opening but, alas, every time she would leak, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

We battled sickness for almost four days. By the time it was done, the cotton around the edges of her cast was stained and reeking. To be frank, it was difficult to be in the same room as our precious baby girl, let alone hold her. The stench was overwhelming.

I called the casting clinic and spoke to a nurse. "Please," I begged her, "tell me there's something I can do to help this situation!"

She advised rubbing the cast all over with dryer sheets. Not a bad idea. It helped... a little bit. I still can't smell Snuggle Emerald Isle fabric softener without going back in time...

C. had had her cast on for just over two weeks. The doctor had suggested that one month would be when we would look at getting it removed. We had about two more weeks of horrible, nasty stinkiness to endure. We could do it.

And then I noticed the rash. Getting C. dressed one day, I saw the edge of her back under the gap between the cast and her skin. It was covered with dime-sized angry red sores. I flinched when I saw them- they were that painful looking.

I called the casting clinic again and they asked that I bring her in the next day... if it was really that bad, they said, she may need to have her cast replaced.


So we did. We drove her the two hours back to the children's hospital and, upon examining what skin they could see, the nurses knew the cast had to come off. Before removing it, they took an x-ray and forwarded it to the orthopedic surgeon who had casted her weeks before. (He was in surgery at the time, but they sent it to a computer in the room there- isn't that wild?)

While we waited for his response, the cast came off...

C's entire backside- from the top of her thighs to her lower back- was covered in large red open sores. Some of them were weeping. Others had crusted over.

I wept when I saw her. I had never- and have not since- seen a worse rash on a baby. Even the nurses cringed a little.

The phone rang. It was the orthopedic surgeon...

Her leg had healed. Completely. She didn't need another cast. She didn't need anything. Somehow, some way, our baby girl's broken femur had been healed in only two weeks. We would be heading home with a free-legged baby. Hallelujah!

Still, the nurses joined us in eyeing that nasty rash. The more experienced of them told us, "It's a yeast infection. We'll give you prescription strength anti-fungal cream. It'll look better by tomorrow. It'll be gone in five days."

Hard to believe.

It was gone in three. And life went on.

C. has not broken a bone since. And I have never been under any kind of investigation.

The End.

(Would you like to hear another story starting next week? I have lots of them. :))

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