Avery’s been in the hospital since Tuesday. There isn’t a clear timetable for when she’ll be released; the initial best-case of Friday is beginning to look wildly optimistic in retrospect. I’ve held off on writing anything about Avery’s condition in the hopes that we’d be in and out quickly and I wouldn’t have to mention it at all. Well, now that it looks like we’re going to miss our big family reunion this weekend, I wanted to let everyone know what’s going on.
A fever hit Avery Sunday. You might remember those pictures of her cruising around our living room on her 8-monthiversary. She was noticeably sluggish, but the fever didn’t appear to affect her behavior significantly.
The fever persisted into Monday. Tylenol did not break it. My mother-in-law came over to help out. She gave Avery sponge baths to keep her cool. Avery was very clingy and preferred to be held by Lynnette or Mama but merely tolerated me, she would fuss if anyone attempted to put her down. She also stopped drinking and eating. We took Avery to the ER. She had the flu. She got some IV fluids, a prescription, and Lynnette and I were told to continue treated her as we had been.
Avery barely slept overnight Monday into Tuesday morning. The fever still had not broken and she spent Tuesday morning intermittently taking 15-20 minute naps. She would wake, realize Lynnette or Mama wasn’t around, then fuss. She still wasn’t drinking as she usually does. We had some hope in the middle of the day – Avery tried playing peek-a-boo with Lynnette, Madison, and me – but it didn’t last. By the afternoon Avery was grunting with each breath she took. We thought they were sighs or sounds of aggravation, but they never stopped. We took her the the ER again. My parents came by to see us, and at about 7 PM Avery’s throat began to swell. She was still grunting for breath. The doctors could not figure out the source of the swelling, but it was obvious that Avery was having trouble breathing. We were admitted Tuesday night.
Avery didn’t sleep at all that night. She wasn’t crying, she just complained. In retrospect, I don’t think she could breathe well enough to cry at that point. Lynnette stayed up all night holding a groaning Avery in her arms. The swelling in her face and neck was so intense that she Avery was unrecognizable. I teared up because she didn’t look anything like my Gravy. When the doctors came in and could not explain what was happening, Lynnette knew I would not take it well. She walked up to me while the doctors and nurses checked Avery. She hugged me and whispered “They’re doing their best, OK? They’re going to figure it out.” I don’t know how she finds the strength. She’s incredible. When Avery finally settled down on Wednesday morning, they ran a few tests and scans. They found an infection behind Avery’s windpipe which explained the swelling as well as her difficulty breathing and drinking. Luckily, the hospital was able to schedule Avery for surgery only an hour after the diagnosis. She was out of the OR by 8:30, but has been under ever since.
She is still dealing with the fever. She’s taking medication for it as well as the infection. A ventilator is assisting her breathing. Basically, we’re waiting for her to be well enough to wake up. Then we’ll wait for her to be well enough to leave. The doctors think that the flu weakened her immune system to the point where it wasn’t able to fight off the infection in her throat.
We’re in a holding pattern and none of the doctors or nurses will explicitly say that the worst is over. It seems like they’ve been very careful not to say that. This, of course, might just be my legendary paranoia brought on by too much literary criticism. When I asked Lynnette about this, she said that Avery’s stable, but there are too many variables in play to be sure about anything. I suppose we’ll make updates through my blog; I hope we’ll have good news. Thanks to everyone who has helped us out and offered their thoughts and prayers. We are grateful for your support.