4 mins read

Will’s Sick and The Spinal Tap

Now that I have a little more time, I thought I would talk about what happened this weekend. Will got sick on Saturday. He was crabby all afternoon and really was not eating well. We were at my cousin's house, and they did not have their air conditioning on, so I did not notice if Will was warm or not.

That night Will was inconsolable. After two hours of everybody trying something, my mom ran to the store and bought Tylenol and a thermometer for him. We thought he felt warm, but not high fever warm. Boy, were we wrong. It was about midnightish at this point and I rectally took his temperature. It was 101.2. Well, Will is only 11 weeks old, so I knew that we were going to have to take him to the ER. The worst part of this was that we were 4 hours from home. I didn't even bother calling his doctor. Instead, I called Bellin Ask A Nurse. I was able to talk to a nurse about what I should do, and they told me what I already knew. We had to bring him in.

We got to the hospital and they too took his temperature. It was still 101. They ran an entire sepsis workup: bloodwork, urine test, chest x-ray. By the time we got out of there (4 am), his temperature was 99.6. The plan was to drive home on Sunday. Well, we decided to stay and ride out his fever. We ended up having to rush him back in to the hospital. With Tylenol, he was running a 102.6 fever. He started breaking out with a rash too.

The second trip required them to rerun everything we had done before and a spinal tap. A spinal tap is a procedure performed when a doctor needs to look at the cerebrospinal fluid (also known as spinal fluid). Basically, they were making sure Will did not have meningitis. I'm not going to go too much more into that, because you can do a google search. Let me tell you, those are two words you do not want to hear. Your heart stops. However, a spinal tap is not as bad as you think it is which is why I am blogging about it. If any other parent has to go through this, I don't want them to be as afraid of a spinal tap as we were.

The ER doctor we had was great. She explained that it was like when I had my epidural. It was exactly like that. They had told us that babies hate being held in the position needed more than the procedure hurt. We had the option of staying or leaving the room. We opted to stay (even though it would have been so much easier to leave). While they did the spinal tap, the doctor and nurse told us everything they were doing. First, they held Will basically into a C. His feet were right by his head. As soon as they held him down, he started screaming. Not the hurt kind of screaming either. He was mad. They iodined his back and then came the hard part. The first stuck him with an anesthesia agent, so that he wouldn't feel the spinal tap. I didn't watch as they did it. I just couldn't. Once they had everything set, I did turn and watch them fill the 4 vials of spinal fluid. It ran out like water. They said normally it did not go as fast as it did with Will (so we were lucky in those regards). The best part of this test is that you do not have to wait long for the results. We were given the all clear in 45 minutes.

The spinal tap was scary. However, it was nowhere near as bad as I had envisioned it in my head. They don't just do these for the heck of it, so if you doctor tells you your child needs one, get it. Will having untreated meningitis would we way worse than this test. He has had no lasting side effects.

What does Will have? Well, they don't know. They think it is a virus at this point. I have to bring him into the doctor this afternoon, so I'll let you all know if we get told anything different.

17 thoughts on “Will’s Sick and The Spinal Tap

  1. Aww! Poor guy! I hope the doc figures it all out and his little body mends very soon. It's always a bit scary when the little ones are sick like that.

  2. Great write up on what actually goes into a spinal tap. Yes, it IS scary for your kid to have one, but when they are this little with a temp that high, it's imperative that it be done.

  3. Awww, poor little guy. Hope they find out what's wrong.

    And you're right, spinal tap only sounds scary.

    Both my boys have had one, I've had 3 for various tests relating to my surgery.

    It's not all that bad, just sounds scary as hell.

    Let us know how he's doing later on. 🙂

  4. Will do. Here's my afternoon — drop Madison off at preschool, go to doctor, hope we get out in time and pick Madison up at preschool.

    It should be a fun afternoon. 🙂

  5. Just curious if anyone here has actually had a spinal tap (And not an Epidural, they are *not* the same thing.)

    I've had both, and I can say without a doubt that they are *Not* the same feeling, one is a pressure that is uncomfortable but numbing.

    The other is a pressure, and the feeling as though your entire back is being compressed. It is excruciating, and I'd never, ever put my child through it.

    It's nice that the doctors SAY it isn't painful, unfortunately its a lie. They have no idea what the child is feeling, they just say these things to comfort the parents and who cares if the baby is hurt, not like it will remember… Right?

    Unless someone has had both an Epidural AND a Spinal Tap, don't talk about it "not hurting" or the fact that "Holding them down is what they hate." You'll hear that parroted across all the Doctors and Nurses in America.


  6. Kyle, they didn't do it without anesthesia. And his cry was more "I'm pissed" than anything. As soon as they let him go, he quit crying. Trust me, I would not put my soon through anything that the doctors didn't tell me was medically necessary.

  7. Kyle, I've had 3 spinals and epidurals, I know the difference.

    They make you hold still so they don't damage your spinal canal. I'm an adult and the nurses held me down during all 3 that I had. Not because it hurts, but because moving can cause severe injury.

    They use local anesthesia so it doesn't hurt.

    Trust me, I've had it done 3 times, had it done to both my sons when they sick.

    It doesn't hurt if used with anesthesia, they hold you down so you don't move and cause the needle to slip and cause injury.

  8. oh wow. I'm sorry. I hope he feels better soon.

    Mine had a spinal tap when he was very small. He was dehydrated and they did it to find out why.

    It's a very scary thing to go through, especially when you can hear them screaming for you in the next room.

  9. Aw! What a rough weekend you all have had. I hope he is feeling better and your appointment went well so you could pick up your daughter on time.

  10. Kyle, you wrote:

    "The other is a pressure, and the feeling as though your entire back is being compressed. It is excruciating, and I’d never, ever put my child through it."

    I wouldn't put my child through it if it wasn't necessary, but if the other choice was possibly dying of meningitis, you'd better believe I'd allow it. My daughter was having problems right after birth and part of the work up was a spinal tap. There was no way I'd refuse that. If the doctors were saying it was needed, I knew it was for a reason. They don't just do those for the heck of it.

    Be careful saying you'd "never, ever do something." Too many times you end up tasting crow.

  11. Karen, thanks for the follow up comment. 🙂 My husband's cousin had meningitis a couple of months ago and almost died (he was 2 months old), so this was a no brainer to get the test done.

  12. I hope he gets better soon, I will keep you all in my thoughts. And I know someone else said that a spinal tap wasn't that bad but for me when my youngest was two weeks old they did one on him and I about freaked out(got sent out of the room before they even did it), but it all turned out ok.

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