First Trip to the ER + Two PSAs

4 Aug

My mom education has grown vastly in the last 24 hours. I thought I’d just about heard of everything, but turns out: nope! Here’s our story for your future reference.

When I picked up Jane Darby from daycare yesterday, I happened to notice the tiniest red dots all over one side of her face. There were a few dots on the other side of her face, too. I showed them to her teacher and we both tried to wipe them off, but it wasn’t working. I knew it was popsicle day and thought maybe that had attributed, but it hadn’t.

I wrote it off as a food allergy, since Jane Darby seemed fine and only had a bad diaper rash. In fact, when we got home, she was in the greatest mood and playful as ever. She was clapping over and over again, her new favorite thing. Drew and I both kept commenting on how strange the rash was as I tried to rack my brain to remember if she’d had new foods or anything new topically.

We bathed her, and then she had almost a whole bottle and went right to bed. Normal night for sure. Then I went to the internet.

Usually, Googling things is not the best idea, but in this case it helped. Baby Center stated something along the lines of: “Most rashes are fine…except little purplish-red dots.” It also suggested conducting the glass test, which involves taking a drinking glass, pressing it up against the site, and seeing if the rash blanches or disappears.

I thought about it a while, and I decided Drew and I should wake Jane Darby up just to perform this glass test. When I put the glass to her face, the marks did not diminish at all. Of course at this point I became pretty alarmed, because what I’d been reading told me this could indicate everything from a bacterial infection in the blood to meningitis to leukemia.

When I spoke with our pediatrician’s nurse, she asked very carefully about the glass test, and I made sure I reported correctly. She also asked if the dots were pink, like mosquito bites, or red like blood. I told her they were bright red and that, in fact, to me it looked like tiny little blood blisters on her cheeks. This is what made the nurse suggest we get her examined immediately to check for petechiae. (Crap, I thought. That’s the bad word Baby Center had been using.)

From my understanding, the petechiae itself wasn’t the emergency, but the fact that it can grow pretty quickly, even sometimes before your eyes, they said. I assume had our clinic been open, we would have just been sent there.

The entire emergency room experience really wasn’t bad at all. We got there about 9, got to a room in less than five minutes, and left around 12:30. I loved the fact that seven different people saw us (I counted) and they all repeated the same questions and examined Jane Darby over again, too. The worst part was drawing her blood. They stuck my poor baby four times before finding a vein. Interestingly, the tourniquet used when drawing her blood made more dots show up on her arm.

The good news is: generally, if petechiae isn’t below the nipple line it isn’t a cause for concern. Jane Darby had just a few on her thighs, but since her mood was great and she had no fever, the chance of meningitis was very low. So low that they skipped the spinal tap (thank goodness!)

She passed all other tests (we’re still waiting on some cultures) and the verdict is that she likely has something called enterovirus, which can sometimes present with petechiae. I was asked many times, “Has anyone in your household had a virus in the last few days?” I had the stomach bug Monday night, so I guess I’m the culprit. The mystery is that Jane Darby hasn’t been sick, has had no fever, and has been eating and drinking extremely well. She did have a bad diaper rash, and more BMs lately, so perhaps her tummy’s been upset. Still, the doc told me I’m free to return her to school on Monday.

PSA #1: Don’t dismiss tiny red dots on the skin. Bright red is bad, pink can be okay. Perform the glass test, and call your doctor. (Of course, all rashes probably need your careful observation. Do your research and make informed decisions.) I had trouble finding images online that showed what I saw on Jane Darby, so check out the visuals.

PSA #2: Children’s Hospital ER is moving to its new location! In fact, we literally were there just hours before the old location’s closing. They told us if we had to return that evening to return to the new location. So, if you have to go to the ER, go to the new building from here on out.

One Response to “First Trip to the ER + Two PSAs”


  1. Woodstock fail « atcrawford - August 4, 2012

    […] Hospital ER with Jane Darby. You can read all about it over on Jane Darby’s blog. It was not a “hair on fire” emergency, but still enough to freak us out a little bit. […]

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