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Blythe in the Hospital: Day Two

We got through Day One in the hospital, and as I watched the sun stream through the window on our second morning, I truly felt the worst was behind us.

I was wrong.

Blythe was talking, responding, and feeling hungry – all great signs that her health was improving.  Her blood sugar was extremely low, because she was unable to receive “normal” IV fluid, which contains dextrose (and therefore corn) for that very reason.

It was important that she start holding down fluids so that she could get her blood sugar regulated. 

We started with ice chips, which came right back up.

The doctors, nurses, and pharmacy techs were researching like crazy to find an anti-nausea medicine that didn’t contain corn.  There are few choices, especially for children, and they never found one.

Good to know, for the future.

In the meantime, I had my mom bring in corn-free popsicles, which were a huge success.



We all breathed a sigh of relief, putting our hopes for good health right there on that popsicle stick.

But she couldn’t sleep.  She began to get agitated.  She had screaming fits.

She wanted to go home.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but her behavior was showing me signs that she’d been exposed to corn. 

It’s my job to protect her, and I do so, fiercely, every moment of the day. 

I watched the nurses like a hawk, questioning everything they brought in, making sure they’d washed their hands, bringing only my own approved popsicles, juice and broth.

How could I have known?  Sysco brand cups, the type the hospital supplied for her popsicles, juice and broth, contained corn.  In an effort to be more eco-friendly (which I obviously support), had replaced the polystyrene in their products with corn.

When kept cold, with the popsicles and juice, the corn in the cups only leeched into her system in minute amounts.

But when the nurse warmed her broth in the cup right before bed, the heat released a deluge of corn, right into my baby girl’s mouth.

Thank goodness, she only drank an ounce before falling asleep next to me, exhausted.

Soon, she woke.  Coughing.  Crying.  Screaming.

I buzzed the nurse and asked for motrin.

And then I turned on the light. 

Her face, my beautiful baby girls’ face, was distorted and swollen, and she was clawing at her mouth.

I buzzed the nurse a dozen times, afraid to leave for even a moment.

I grabbed Blythe’s Zyrtec out of my purse, but the nurse took it from me, saying she needed the doctor’s approval first.

I told her she’d better go get that approval, NOW, because it wasn’t going to be pretty if we didn’t stop the reaction. 

She ran for the phone.

Blythe was screaming.  Crying.  Flailing.  Kicking.

She yanked off her heart monitor and threw herself against the rails of the bed.  Clawed at her face.

The nurse ran back in and said, “OK!  Do it!” and I could see that her hands were shaking as she handed me the bottle of medicine. 

I couldn’t get the Zyrtec into Blythe’s mouth, she was thrashing too much.  The nurse tried to hold her down, but most of it spilled. 

We waited a minute.  Two.

I looked at the nurse and said, “It’s too late.  She needs Epinephrine, and she needs it NOW.  I have an Epi-Pen in my purse.”

“I need to call the doctor and ask,” she replied, and ran from the room.

Blythe somehow ended up on the floor, throwing herself repeatedly into the tile, into the wall, into my legs. 

“Mommy HELP ME!” she screamed as the hit herself in the face, neck, chest. 

“I’m trying, baby,” I whispered, reaching out for her.

She smacked my hand and went into the bathroom, trailing her IV line. 

Three more nurses arrived and just watched my baby thrash around in pain. 

I screamed at them, “Get the Epinephrine!  Her insides are on FIRE, don’t you understand?”

The answer I got infuriated me.  They told me if she’d stopped breathing, they’d have given the
Epi to her immediately, but since she was breathing, they had to wait for the doctor.

Blythe started tearing the tape off of her IV.  “It HURTS!” she screamed.

I wrapped my legs around her body and held one arm still as a nurse tried to save the IV.

Blythe’s body had become incredibly strong, and I struggled to hold her down.  She screamed and thrashed against me, begging me to make it stop. 

The nurse pushed the call button over and over and over again, and told me she was so sorry.

Finally, the charge nurse arrived with the Epinephrine and, tears streaming down my face, I lifted my red and swollen child up for them to put it into her IV.

It took every ounce of strength I could muster to keep from dropping her while she flailed in my arms.

And in a moment, finally, it was over.

She collapsed against me, weeping.

I sat on the hospital bed, my arms around her, and sobbed, “Thank you”.

To Blythe.  To the staff.  To God.

They left us alone, and we lay there together, both of our tears falling down her face.

Blythe’s nurse came back in. 

She told me I was strong. 

She told me she was sorry. 

She told me she hadn’t believed me when I told her Blythe was having an allergic reaction, that she just thought Blythe was throwing the worlds biggest temper tantrum, and had maybe hit herself in the face to cause the swelling.

She told me she’d never seen anything like that, and that it had scared her.

For hours we lay there in the dark, unable to sleep after what we’d been through.

And then, wrapped up together, Blythe and I finally fell asleep.

20 Responses to “Blythe in the Hospital: Day Two”

  • Oh Andrea. I had no idea things were that bad. My heart just broke into a million pieces reading that. It is the worst thing in the world to see your baby hurting like that. I am in tears just reading it. I cannot imagine having to go through it. Thank God that sweet baby has you to fight for her. ((Hugs))

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  • Holy shit. That’s all I can think to say. Your strength is incredible. xoxo

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  • Wow, I am in shock at what your sweet girl had to go through! So very sorry, you are one strong mommy (physically and emotionally) to have gone through that with her! Sending love from AZ, Patty

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  • What anguish you must have felt when they wouldn’t let you help her. I’m so sorry you had to go through this.

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  • KLS:

    I am so sorry you both went through that. I know what it’s like to see your child in pain and not be able to help. But I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in fear that something as innocuous as a cup could be fatal. Sending thoughts for a quick recovery for Blythe, and some peace for you.

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  • Oh my god, oh my god, I can’t believe those nurses! How could she not believe you? You are so strong and brave for your daughter. I hope you and Blythe never have to go through anything like that again.

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  • My heart felt like it was outside of my chest while I read this post (and the previous one). I’ve never heard of a corn allergy and I would’ve never imagined it was so life-threatening. I’m so sorry for all that you have to endure because of it. But I’m so glad Blythe is ok! Sweet little girl!

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  • My god, how awful for you both! I’m so sorry that you had to experience this. My youngest (age 1) was hospitalized recently for 5 days and I never left her side. Truly, one of the worst experiences of my life.

    I’m so happy to know that Blythe is fine now!

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  • I got chills reading that. I can’t even imagine…

    So glad for the happy ending, you and Blythe must have been so scared.

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  • OMG your poor baby and you, I would never have thought about the cups, you always just think food. I’m so glad you know your stuff. Hugs to you and Blythe.

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  • Andrea… tears spill out of my eyes when I read about Blythe having to endure this. Why is it that the MEDICAL staff is not familiar with corn allergies??!! I am enraged for you!

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  • I really wish the medical profession would listen to us mothers. We are with our children constantly! They seem them for minutes every few months and think they always make the best assessment. Be proud of yourself for standing up for your daughter!

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  • Next time just give her the Epipen. Screw procedures. You’re her Mom and you knew she was in distress. They didn’t believe you? They had to wait until she was not breathing to act without a doctor’s orders? Really? Did anyone think it might have been too late then? The nurse should be written up for negligence. She was scared? Who cares how she felt? Why wasn’t your daughter’s health her first concern? I’m pretty much a “take no prisoners” Mom when it comes to my girls. I think your daughter is very lucky that you are the same way with her.

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  • Issa:

    Oh honey, this is so scary, even to read after the fact. I can’t even imagine.

    I am so glad that she is better and at home where she belongs.

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  • mel:

    You are a great mom. so strong. My heart goes out to little B. She is a trooper as well.

    I have feeling that nurse will now share that story to keep B and others safe going forward.

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  • jen:

    I graduate in a year from nursing school. If I ever find myself making assumptions about a patient, I will remember this post and stop myself. Thank you. Please remember that nurses don’t know everything. If you know your daughter is having anaphylaxis, don’t hesitate, use her epi-pen. What can that nurse do to you for saving your daughter’s life? As both a mother and a nurse, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it if I knew for sure that she was in anaphylaxis as your daughter was.

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  • I just caught up. I am so sorry you went through that. I’d like to say I can’t believe that happened, but, well, I’ve had some hospital experiences of my own and I can believe it.

    Corn allergy is unbelievable. How terrifying. Give her a huge kiss and hug from me and a great big wonderful corn free Thanksgiving treat!!

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  • OMG. I am sitting here sobbing reading what you both went through. Doctors and nurses need to learn that parents know their children better than anyone and all the medical training in the world can’t replace that.
    You are an incredibly strong woman and mother.

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  • It’s an awful thing to have our loved ones ill in hospitals without the power to truly help them. You handled this situation great and I’m glad she’s feeling better. I had no idea that corn can be such a great problem and that it’s found in almost anything we eat.

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  • […] read the story from a year ago, go here, here and here¬†although, reading those posts again, a year later, I left out so much of what happened. […]

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