I knew we were going to have a low-key 4th of July because Kiera had already been sick for two days and wasn’t getting any better. She came home from school one day with a bump on her neck between her jaw and ear on her right side.
Kiera’s neck bump day 1- before it started getting painful.
That night she woke with a high fever. We took her to the Dr. the next morning and they drew blood to test for a few different things. We had to wait 2 days for the results and it was a ROUGH few days. Kiera was very sick and feeling miserable. We could barely manage her fever and the bump just kept getting bigger and more painful. She could only sleep in one position (because of the painful bump). This meant she hardly slept at all, which meant I hardly slept at all- for about 2 1/2 days. When the girls are sick they only want their Mama, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way- I need to make sure they’re getting everything they could possibly need. It’s just so hard seeing your kid in that much pain and not being able to do anything about it.
The only position she could sleep in..
Finally it was time to call and get the results of her blood tests. It turned out to be a bacterial infection that went out of control. So odd that it developed so fast- the day before the bump appeared she felt and acted fine. The Dr. prescribed an oral antibiotic.
The next day Kiera felt even worse and her neck was more swollen and red. I asked Simon to take her to the hospital to get her checked out again (I stayed home with Quinnie). He called a little later to say that they were admitting her because she needed IV antibiotics (I guess the oral ones don’t touch an infection this bad). I wasn’t that surprised they admitted her- but it was still a jolt to have it confirmed that your kid is so sick that they need to be in a hospital. At the same time it was a relief to know I was going to have nurses and Doctors there to help take care of her- I was so exhausted- physically and emotionally.
By the way- after Kiera was admitted to the hospital Simon ran Quinnie to Urgent Care downstairs because she was ALSO sick. Turns out Quinnie had Strep Throat for the THIRD time in 3 months. When it rains it pours, right?!
This is Kiera’s hospital room. It’s a two-patient shared room. Thank God there wasn’t another patient in her room because it was tiny. The Children’s Hospital here is OLD (from the 60’s!). I guess there are plans to renovate soon. At first I was taken aback by how dated everything was (being used to American hospitals that have the latest everything). But Americans also pay an INSANE amount for medical care (and are probably also paying for being in a hospital that has the latest everything).
*after reading this Simon thought that I should clarify that all of the important stuff (medical equiptment, etc.) was up to date. This is true- I was mostly referring to aesthetics.
I heard from a few different people that this hospital had a great reputation, and I found the medical care there excellent as well.
We pay the equivalent of $440 a month for health insurance for our WHOLE family. We will not get any bills for this 5 day hospital stay. All of our Dr. visits (even specialists) AND medicines for the girls are free (after our monthly payment).
We pay less in taxes here in Germany than we did in California. And you actually get A LOT for your taxes here. Free medical/dental (after a reasonable monthly insurance payment). Very inexpensive after school care for kids (some include tutoring). Free College education. You even get Kindergeld (monthly money from the government for having kids!). Not bad.
Kiera’s room had a nice view. That’s actually a back walkway there outside her window. One of the days she was there Simon called me at home (we took shifts so that one of us was always there with her). He was irate. I guess a child was admitted next door to Kiera and there were about 10 family members in there with the kid and they were really loud and obnoxious. Lots of the family members were smoking cigarettes right outside Kiera’s (and other patient’s) windows. Um, hello? There are kids in these rooms who live here long term because they have horrible, debilitating ASTHMA. Never mind that there are signs everywhere saying there is no smoking allowed anywhere near the ward. The nurses asked them numerous times to stop smoking and were ignored. They were eventually kicked out. Thank God we didn’t have to share a room with them- can you imagine?!
The Dr. said Kiera might need surgery. I guess lymph glands don’t have great circulation (especially in kids), so even if the IV antibiotics work it can cause the pus to crystallize, and the only way to get rid of it is through surgery. Ugh. After a few days of antibiotics the swelling went down a little, but not as much as they were hoping. They decided to also put her on a second antibiotic that permeates tissue better. It was a pill (the size of a Tylenol capsule) and she had no problems swallowing it 3 times a day!
Kiera had about 3 or 4 ultrasounds (during her 5 day hospital stay) to help check how well the antibiotics were working. The first few ones were really painful for her because they had to really dig in around the bump to get good images. She was such a trooper throughout this whole hospitalization process. She did great while getting the IV in her hand (and didn’t complain about it at all the whole 5 days!). When I told her how proud I was of how brave she was being she said, “Mama, I don’t want to be brave anymore.” Kinda broke my heart a little bit. She’s been through (and put us through) the wringer lately (see previous post). Speaking of which- look at poster I saw at the hospital…
We got through the first few days with lots of Popsicles and lots of Art (Kiera LOVES to draw and will happily do it for hours). By the way- Kiera wore her own clothes the whole hospital stay. I think in the States they would have given her a hospital gown?
Celebrating 4th of July from the hospital!
When Kiera finally started to feel better we started to wander around the hospital a little bit. A favorite of both girls was the big aquarium in the lobby.
Kiera REALLY missed Quinnie when she was in the hospital. Come to think of it- I think that’s the longest period of time that they’ve been apart (that she would remember). When I told her Quinnie was coming to visit you’d have thought I told her it was Christmas or something!
Card that Kiera made for Quinnie (It says Dear Quinnie).
They had fun playing at the outdoor hospital playground…
and the recently renovated indoor playroom was a BIG hit…
Quinnie imitating the girls’ favorite fish from the hospital aquarium- the scum sucker fish- you know- the one that sucks the scum/algae from the tank walls? The girls LOVED him.
The hospital had a cafeteria where parents could get free meals (though we only found out about it on the 3rd day- after reading a pamphlet!). Lunch was the warm meal of the day, (above) with 3 options. Breakfast and dinner was Brötchen (buns with cold cut meats) and coffee or tea.
On day 5 they let us go home with 2 antibiotics. Kiera just finished them yesterday. She is doing great and back at school. She still has a bump on her neck though (albeit much smaller). The Dr. said to give it 2 weeks to go away. We have one more week to go- hope it gets smaller. If it doesn’t go away, I’m not sure what that means- hopefully not surgery. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
I cannot even express properly how Thankful (with a capital T!) I am for modern medicine. When I think about what Kiera would have gone through without medical intervention- actually, I don’t even want to think about that! We were lucky this was a fairly easy fix. We saw lots of seriously ill children going through chemo while we were there. I think about those kids and their parents often…
I’d also like to say a special Thank You to Oma Marion and Opa Friedel, who took shifts with Kiera at the hospital to give us a break. They also helped with Quinnie’s camp pick-ups and drop-offs/ medicine giving/ lunch making, etc. It sure is nice to have family around in a crisis!
Here is some of the Art work the girls drew for the 4th of July during all of this…
I love that when there is blank space beneath a picture Quinnie just assumes she is supposed to write a story…
Not sure who Lora is, but she’s been featured in a lot of the stories Quinnie has been writing lately (lol)… Both girls drew pictures of the flag cake (above and below pics) that we usually make every year for the 4th of July. We didn’t have time to do it this year- the girls were pretty bummed about that.
American tattoos (Quinnie also had her Hawaiian hula dancer costume on)
Around this time of year Aldi (a popular store here) has their American Extravaganza sale where they sell “typical American food”. Here are some pics of the advertisement…
Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Burritos, Bagels w/ cream cheese…
Popcorn, Peanuts, Ripple Potato Chips (barbecue and sour cream and onion flavors), Marshmallows, Granola Bars, Jelly Beans.
Donuts, Apple Pie, Muffins, Brownies, Pancakes, Bourbon, California wines.
Steak, Ribs, Wings, Popcorn Shrimp, Wraps
Cranberry and Blueberry Juices and Jams (not usually found here), Peanut Butter (I’ve had to try many brands before I found one that tastes like American PB), Ice Cream (Ice Cream/ Eis tastes different here- not as rich and creamy as it is in the States). Luckily they import Ben and Jerry’s!
By the way- look what’s going on out in front of The Weckschnapp (took this from our living room).
Lots of port-a-potties were delivered because tomorrow there will be a HUGE party on The Rhine with a big street fair and a massive Fireworks Show at 11 pm. The city puts it on every summer and we’ll have some of the best seats in the city- from The Weckschnapp tower! The girls are very excited- especially since we didn’t see any fireworks on the 4th. We’ll have to see if they can stay awake that late. I wonder if the fireworks will rival the ones at New Years. I’ll let you know…